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Jeremy Parsons

How does the DP work with the AD?

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What does that even mean, 'empowered'? Are you supposed to be a vat of magic mutant goo that they can dip their toes in and gain superpowers from?

 

No, I get this. I've certainly encountered it a few times. Some directors are very specific about wanting to feel like their vision is being captured. So for them, as the DP, we need to be giving them the means to get as close to that vision as possible (rather than suggesting alternates).

 

I think that's totally valid on their part. I consider it a key aspect of pre-production on any project, to figure out exactly how the director wants to work in relation to me and my team. And then find a way to execute that on set, so that they feel supported in the way that they need.

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What have directors ever done for us !

requested out reels lol

 

but I know what the director means. It often comes up even with crew under the DoP (gaffer, KG, AC sometimes) where they push just a little too hard or in a slightly obtuse way their vision too much. Normally not a problem and I'm lucky to work with top notch people who generally understand if i don't go with their idea, though there have been some times. . ..

That said, I personally like it when I'm given an option i'd've never thought of even if we don't wind up going with it.

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This conversation has made me realise how long it's been since I actually shot anything for anyone else.

 

Usually this is helpful, since the standard of directing in the UK, at any but the highest levels, is very low, especially from a visual standpoint. I'm sure it creates bad habits, though.

 

P

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The "unempowered" director didn't like my reigning her in when she went off track. I had a little more invested in the success of that project because it was one of my final Cine projects. I invited her in on it because I didn't feel like writing-casting-producing-directing-lighitng-shooting on my own again. I did get an A, not that it matters anymore.

 

On the more extreme end. I have talked to other directors who complained of DPs pushing for shots that look pretty, but don't fit with their vision of the story. Or they pushed for fancy, expensive gear that was ultimately unnecessary to telling the story. That is the DP I never want to be.

 

This conversation has made me realise how long it's been since I actually shot anything for anyone else.

 

 

 

I think this will be the last freebie I shoot for someone else for a while. It seems if I want to be part of a good visual story, I'll have to do it myself.

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What does that even mean, 'empowered'? Are you supposed to be a vat of magic mutant goo that they can dip their toes in and gain superpowers from?

Yes. The DP is the main audience for the Director. I think it can be the biggest part of the job, and I don't say this cynically. Positive reinforcement can be the most powerful creative tool sometimes. It's also important to remember that most frames (set-ups) don't make or break the movie. Pick your battles carefully.

 

About the AD relationship: Some want to have creative input. Try to respect that and help them achieve it, and they'll be your best friend when you need an ally. Others are just about keeping a schedule, so it will be just you and the director, creative wise. Hopefully the AD will help you coordinate all your decisions and ideas with the proper departments.

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About the AD relationship: Some want to have creative input. Try to respect that and help them achieve it, and they'll be your best friend when you need an ally.

That can be really difficult if you're also operating. When you are stuck on a dolly and don't know what's happening and you have the A.D. whispering to the director that they really oughta ask for a lens change or a lighting adjustment and you're not involved in the decision, they are taking advantage of the fact that you are operating the camera and they are ignoring you as a DP and treating you as an operator.

 

I had that happen where the director who was always fine with my work, was suddenly getting really nitpicky and tweaking everything on me. Micromanaging every shot. It came out of nowhere 3 days into the film and correlated with the arrival of a new 1st A.D.

 

I had to put the brakes on that. What I did was ask my 1st A.C. to operate on every locked off shot, and I would watch at the directors viewfinder, within clear earshot of both the director and A.D. At no time, while I was present at the monitor, did the A.D. have an issue with anything.

 

I didn't have to say anything. Just being there was enough cause he no longer felt comfortable to "backseat DP" the project. It was my first lesson to always go for an operator in the budget when possible.

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That can be really difficult if you're also operating. When you are stuck on a dolly and don't know what's happening and you have the A.D. whispering to the director that they really oughta ask for a lens change or a lighting adjustment and you're not involved in the decision, they are taking advantage of the fact that you are operating the camera and they are ignoring you as a DP and treating you as an operator.

 

I had that happen where the director who was always fine with my work, was suddenly getting really nitpicky and tweaking everything on me. Micromanaging every shot. It came out of nowhere 3 days into the film and correlated with the arrival of a new 1st A.D.

 

I had to put the brakes on that. What I did was ask my 1st A.C. to operate on every locked off shot, and I would watch at the directors viewfinder, within clear earshot of both the director and A.D. At no time, while I was present at the monitor, did the A.D. have an issue with anything.

 

I didn't have to say anything. Just being there was enough cause he no longer felt comfortable to "backseat DP" the project. It was my first lesson to always go for an operator in the budget when possible.

Agreed. I operate the camera as little as possible for just that reason:)

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When I was in school, they highly encouraged us to work as a "hands off" DP on our thesis projects. Most of my classmates did not. I did. It was the best thing in the world. It made working a scattered director a lot easier when I had a crew I could give instructions and they would happen. Finally I had the manpower that could keep up with my brain. I more constantly engaged with the Director and AD as the day progressed and changed.

This shoot is not so big of a budget that we can rent a monitor or even have a full crew. I was operating camera and had one grip and one AC...kind of. I missed a lot of details I wouldn't have otherwise missed if I was solely attentive to the image.

 

We finished our first weekend today. As I review the footage, I am happy with...probably only a few shots...but the director is loving everything, so mission accomplished, right?

But I am happy with a few shots:
17310902_139795726543818_886355565174929

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