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Andrew Colton

Seeking DP Recommendations

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I was wondering if anyone could recommend any DPs who would feel comfortable doing

something in the same filming style as what Rodrigo Prieto tends to do...

The project is a docu-drama. It will have to be filmed in that shaking style.

More like "Amores Perros" or "21 grams" and not like" The Bourne Supremacy" (sorry Oliver Wood).

Not sure how much of things like bleach bypass, etc. would be needed yet...

I would appreciate any referrals.

Thanks,

Andrew

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And where are you based?

And what's your budget?

And what are you shooting on?

And when are you shooting?

 

And I am based out of LA.

And my budget is large enough not to worry about the budget. At least as far as below-the-line cost.

And I am shooting on 35 mm

And I am shooting in around March, 2007 - May, 2007.

And anything else I need to clarify? :)

 

At this point, I just want to know who of the well-known DPs has done

similar work to Amores Perros and 21 Grams. Shaken but not stirred that is...

 

Any non-patronizing replies would be greatly appreciated.

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If budget really isn't an issue, then you'll find that in that Emmanuel Lubezki (Ali), Harris Savides (Birth, The Yards), Barry Ackroyd (United 93) all have done work in that pseudo-documentary style. But most Dops can do a variety of looks and adapt themselves to the stylistic requirement of the project, so in the end it is more important to find the right person for the job than merely someone who has already worked in a certain style.

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It might help if you could be more specific about what level of DP you are looking for. Do you want recommendations for DP's with the same sort of profile as Prieto, or are you looking for a good Indie feature DP? It's hard to make recommendations without knowing what league you're looking at.

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Personally, I wouldn't go to a job interview where I knew they really wanted Prieto, couldn't get him, and therefore wanted someone to copy Prieto. It starts the whole creative process on the wrong foot, from my perspective as a DP. We're supposed to be flexible people, stylistically, adapting to the needs of the material. Even Prieto has different styles for different projects.

 

But good luck finding someone!

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Personally, I wouldn't go to a job interview where I knew they really wanted Prieto, couldn't get him, and therefore wanted someone to copy Prieto. It starts the whole creative process on the wrong foot, from my perspective as a DP. We're supposed to be flexible people, stylistically, adapting to the needs of the material. Even Prieto has different styles for different projects.

 

But good luck finding someone!

 

Andrew, perhaps you can watch those films that you like and note the specific characteristics of the cinematography that appeal to you and fit the story, then mention those characteristics to each DP during interviews, without ever mentioning any other films or other DP's unless the DP asks for other films/DP as inspiration or reference.

 

A well-prepared justified reason as to why these specific characteristics fit the story would probbaly be good, too.

Edited by Keneu

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Handheld and bleach-bypassed feature work... well, there is also Matthew Labitique. Januz Kaminski.

 

Even though not bleach-bypassed, the work on "Narc" (DP Alex Nepomniaschy) was in that style.

 

Jim Denault does excellent work in that realistic mode.

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It just depends on whether it's appropriately done. I watched a few minutes of "Friday Night Lights" the new TV show, and it was SO annoying. People claim it as "documentary style", but really sometimes it seems more "home movie" style with the constant zooming in and out.

 

I usually don't mind if there's an occasional zoom in a scene, but when there are 2 to 3 zooms in every shot of every scene, it grows tiresome.

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Thank you everyone for your replies!

Just a few comments...

- I did not specifically look to hire Prieto. I probably would if I could... I just mentioned his projects

as a point of reference. Because that's the style I want to follow for this project. Please understand,

I am not a DP. I can only go so far in the tech talk...

- I do not see anything wrong with mentioning Prieto's work during the interview process. Again, because

that's my point of reference. If that hurts someone's fragile ego, I am sorry. But it's not a dating game.

- I do have the latest issue of the AC. There is a lot of information on "Babel". If anyone can point me

to anything on "Amorres Peros", that would be great.

- I realize that a professional DP should be able to emulate any style. But unfortunately this town is big on

type-casting. Sometimes for a very good reason. In the case of Prieto, every single film except "Frida" was

done in the style I want...

- Yes, I could go over several movies taking notes. Or in this case, I could just mention the two movies

that were done in a very specific way. And I actually think that if a DP did not know what I was referring to,

he or she would probably not be right for the job...

- I did think of Labitique as well. But I think he would have to scale back a lot on his hip-hop montage and

such...

 

Again, thank you for all your help.

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It might help if you could be more specific about what level of DP you are looking for. Do you want recommendations for DP's with the same sort of profile as Prieto, or are you looking for a good Indie feature DP? It's hard to make recommendations without knowing what league you're looking at.

 

Stuart,

At this point, with the same sort of profile as Prieto. But I am open to learn of any interesting Indie feature DPs.

Thanks

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It just depends on whether it's appropriately done. I watched a few minutes of "Friday Night Lights" the new TV show, and it was SO annoying. People claim it as "documentary style", but really sometimes it seems more "home movie" style with the constant zooming in and out.

 

I usually don't mind if there's an occasional zoom in a scene, but when there are 2 to 3 zooms in every shot of every scene, it grows tiresome.

 

Thank you, Jonathan!

You actually prove my point. One would walk a fine line between making it look seamless and powerful, or just plain annoying and dizzy... Hence, again my reason to be very specific on what I want...

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I think the show that really went waaay too far with this style was that football show, Playmakers. I think it was on ESPN. I never really watched it, except when flipping through the channels. I noticed it and watched a few minutes, but it went crazy with the snap zooms and jerky camera.

 

While yes, it can be effective when used in some scenes or if youre intent is to mimc a documentary. But other than that, it comes across as being quite self-conscious, or having a lack of faith in the content and how the scenes are constructed and how they unfold.

 

But yeah, if you feel your script calls for it, good luck t oyou in finding your guy.

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- I do not see anything wrong with mentioning Prieto's work during the interview process. Again, because

that's my point of reference. If that hurts someone's fragile ego, I am sorry. But it's not a dating game.

- I realize that a professional DP should be able to emulate any style. But unfortunately this town is big on

type-casting. Sometimes for a very good reason. In the case of Prieto, every single film except "Frida" was

done in the style I want...

- Yes, I could go over several movies taking notes. Or in this case, I could just mention the two movies

that were done in a very specific way. And I actually think that if a DP did not know what I was referring to,

he or she would probably not be right for the job...

- I did think of Labitique as well. But I think he would have to scale back a lot on his hip-hop montage and

such...

 

You are being way too judgemental on DP's -- for one thing, Prieto has done other films besides "Frida" that are in a different style than "Amores Perros", such as "Alexander", "Brokeback Mountain", and "8 Mile". And Matthew Labitique has done many movies where he has avoided any "hip-hop" style. Most DP's can manage the simple trick of moderating the amount of handheld to the level that the director wants to employ!

 

These people are artists and have to be treated with more respect than "if you're going to work for me, you have to curb any hip-hop tendencies..."

 

It's totally the wrong attitude to take with a serious artist, as if you are ordering from a Chinese menu. Commercials are approached with this attitude ("find me someone who can shoot red wine, not white wine") but features are more collaborative processes where you hire an intelligent, artistic DP who breaks down the script and then works with the director and art director to create a visual approach tailored to the project.

 

Generally you look at a LOT of DP reels, maybe from the agencies, create a list of people in the ballpark stylistically and experience-wise, interview them, tell them that the movie will be in the style of "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams" and get their feedback, hire the person who fits the bill, and then let them work out the details with the director. In the end, they may even decide to employ a totally different style.

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Meet as many people as you can, but go with someone you trust. Lots of DP's are able to work in a multitude of styles. Someone might be known for a certain style and be looking to break out of that mold. You might be surprised - The names that you are throwing around get from $12k to $35k a week ( and their crews and appetite for equipment can be large too ). if you have that kind of cash to spend on your DP+Cam Dept and your script is GREAT I would think that you would have many interesting choices. Pick someone who you think will stick with you when the sh!t hits the fan in some unexpected way and you get in trouble with an star/actor or the studio both of whom love to squish 1st time directors for the sheer fun of it.

 

Matt Uhry

www.fuzby.com

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"Shooting a movie is an act of love. You need to understand the director's vision, build on it with your input, and translate it into every image."

-Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC

 

I think that's the kind of thing cinematographers like to hear they'll be able to do on a project...which is why they want to hear about that "vision" and may be put off if they sense the only intention is to copy the latest fad. To you, you're referencing a look you want, to them, you're asking them to steal someone else's vision and infringe on their "act of love." (heh, sounds sketchy)

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"Shooting a movie is an act of love. You need to understand the director's vision, build on it with your input, and translate it into every image."

-Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC

 

I think that's the kind of thing cinematographers like to hear they'll be able to do on a project...which is why they want to hear about that "vision" and may be put off if they sense the only intention is to copy the latest fad. To you, you're referencing a look you want, to them, you're asking them to steal someone else's vision and infringe on their "act of love." (heh, sounds sketchy)

 

I think a lot of you take your self too seriously. To follow the docu-drama style with shaking that does not make you too dizzy is to "steal an act of love"? Give me a freaking break! What if I told you I was making a dogma movie? Would I be stealing from Lars?

 

And where do you get off telling me that I want to copy the latest fad? I don't even know what the latest fad is. Try to wrap your brain around this... Maybe my "vision" is to shoot the movie in the style I want.

If I was making "Aquaman", I would certainly be open to more ideas... Then again, I could be looking

to hire the guy who worked on "Waterworld". :)

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Generally you look at a LOT of DP reels, maybe from the agencies, create a list of people in the ballpark stylistically and experience-wise, interview them, tell them that the movie will be in the style of "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams" and get their feedback, hire the person who fits the bill, and then let them work out the details with the director. In the end, they may even decide to employ a totally different style.

 

David,

I completely agree with you. And that's how I would do it with any other project.

But with this one, the creative decision to film in certain style has already been made.

If I find a lot of resistance to that from seasoned DPs, I would have to hire someone with more flexibility

and the ability to film according to a specific requirement...

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I think a lot of you take your self too seriously.

I'm not a cinematographer and wasn't speaking of myself. I was not saying you are trying to copy the latest fad, but that a cinematographer may think that you are (as it seems they did.) I just thought it might help in relating to cinematographers to hear how they speak about their own work. They're artists, you can't approach them without the allure of employing their art. I'm from outside looking in just like you are, and tried to approach from an objective viewpoint so you wouldn't think I was judging your project or yourself, and I'm sorry if it came off that way.

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- I did not specifically look to hire Prieto. I probably would if I could...

I'm curious why you can't? You implied that your budget is big enough that you don't have to worry about how much a DP will cost, so surely you can afford him.....can't you?

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And where do you get off telling me that I want to copy the latest fad? I don't even know what the latest fad is. Try to wrap your brain around this... Maybe my "vision" is to shoot the movie in the style I want.

If I was making "Aquaman", I would certainly be open to more ideas... Then again, I could be looking

to hire the guy who worked on "Waterworld". :)

 

Andrew, this really isn't the place to argue or get offended by what anyone says. Fact is, nobody's seen your film yet. Get your DP, make the film, then let THAT be your definitive argument.

 

good luck!

 

Jon

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Andrew, this really isn't the place to argue or get offended by what anyone says. Fact is, nobody's seen your film yet. Get your DP, make the film, then let THAT be your definitive argument.

 

good luck!

 

Jon

 

I did not come here to have an "argument" or to engage into a pissing contest. And I don't really need to prove anything here whether the final film is good or bad. I only asked a simple question about a specific style that I am going to employ on the project. I have only seen it done properly by Prieto and maybe by Nepomniaschy.

As to the previous question, I was going to approach Prieto. But I needed to know who else HAS DONE the same type of work in case he declines... Again, 9 out of 10 times it's done the way I don't like it. Hence the reason for me being somewhat careful about who I hire...

I thank you those who have provided positive and constructive answers to my question.

Peace.

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