How should a DP help to achieve a look that helps sell a picture in todays cash-poor production environment? Producers and Directors want maximum value and maximum creativity generating the right look for the production and every DP will assure them that they can do what's needed - but of course that's a big claim for anyone to make.
Should a DP be able to light fast, light beautifully, or light cheaply? Is it possible to combine several of these qualities - or even all three? What other skills does a DP need to bring to a production to maximise the desire of the producer and director that their production should shine? Often DP's are asked to imitate a look of a project with much bigger budgets - I spent a year shooting trails and promos for all the major broadcasters - each job asked for Apocalypse Now, NorthFork, a Flm Noir look, Wallander, District 9, Pan's Labyrinth - you name it - and we got as close as possible given budget and time and access to the right shooting format, lenses, dollys and the right production path (baring in mind most of the originals were shot on film and most copies can afford video or Electro-CInematographic formats at best). Occasionally a Director asked for something new and trusted my suggested route to achieving that innovative stance.
I believe that being able to achieve the Directors needs is all about the producer assembling a team with the DP's advice, a team that who will trust in the DP at crucial moments when it really matters, so that impossible things can be pulled off. During a feature the crew develops an 'id', an amorphous yet very real character which when called upon will rise to any challenge - the DP with the 1st AD is the motivator of that id - both are there to support the Director in his or her endeavour, yet with flourishes of creativity that are above and beyond the call of duty - I guess that's what we call 'added value'.
The clips below are a certain sort of thing and if there's no example of the project you're working on by genre - let me know and I'll find something to represent my work. For instance, th Ungone, my most succesful short, which won Best in SHow at the Hollywood DV/HD festival, was a sci fi drama which I don't yet have a copy of.
Here's some low budget productions where there was no time and no budget - where the emphasis was always on bringing in beautiful, interesting or atmospheric lighting in an impossible situation - all of it is digital, there's film stuff on my general showreel (link below) - :
SKIN DEEP £50,000, 26 minutes, the largest of the low budget productions represented here - excerpt from fight scene and its lead up - pulling it off under pressure
LADIES £12,000, 18 minutes, controlled interior lighting at speed - some fine acting from the actress at 3minutes 20 secs, which demanded something extra from me too
ISAAC £12,000, 14 minutes, less than £1000 per minute, interior, exterior and underwater scenes withi a consistent look
THE RIVER £9,000, 10 minutes, the biref was: give me dawn for the 3 days of the shoot - come rain, come shine. This is really low light in some places and will push the internet - find a dark place to watch this. I'm proud of it because we had no chance from the beginning, yet pulled off something interesting that has atmosphere
CLUTCH £7,000, 5 minutes, exterior normality, through to heightened interior reality - I like the powerful atmosphere we obtained on the interiors
STRAW IN THE WIND £4,000, 5 minutes, this is a personal favorite because there were no rules, heightened interior and exterior realities derived fromuse of ND grads on every part of the frame - plus, abuse of the colour matrices - wherever and whenever possible!
FOREVER £9,000, 19 minutes, a ridiculously small budget to pull off a sci-fi project and bring in interesting photography on limited time and budget
All of these are digital, but I also shoot film and electronic cinematography.
Electronic CInematography and Red One
Here's some hand held stuff made on DV for Channel 4 - both of these and several others I made in the series won RTS awards, (also look at Skin Deep above for hand held)
BLAZED Hi8 to Beta SP for Transmission (to VHS to Mpeg1 to Premier to Quicktime for Web)
THE VISIT DV to Beta SP for Transmission (to VHS to Mpeg1 to Premier to Quicktime for Web)
Other movie clips