Jump to content
George Ebersole

Hiring a DP

Recommended Posts

Since every kid with a DSLR is nowadays a "DP", ask them this question:

 

"Have you ever shot on film?"

 

That should get rid of the wannabes right then and there. ;-)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get a reel but on top of that ask for an actual short they themselves DoP'd to see their work in action for an actual story and not a song. If it's a verbal interview, try to get them to talk about themselves. Not to see if they're text-knowledgeable about cinematography, but to make sure they're not a total bore (or serial killer).

 

If they're under 25 and come out the gate bragging about shooting film that'd probably be a red flag for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they're under 25 and come out the gate bragging about shooting film that'd probably be a red flag for me.

 

If they have film to show, then why? Carl is like 22 or so and he shoots film....well, he says he does, I think most of the time he is troubleshooting his ACL. ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I'm thinking shooting my own stuff might be a job too many. The most I've ever done is call up PAs, a few grips and a gaffer or two (people I already knew). I've never been a production manager. Thanks for the replies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 11/15/2017 at 7:54 PM, Samuel Berger said:

Since every kid with a DSLR is nowadays a "DP", ask them this question:

 

"Have you ever shot on film?"

 

That should get rid of the wannabes right then and there. 😉

...Well, it should get rid of the less pompous and pretentious ones, yes.

Otoh, you could actually something meaningful like what short lighting is, how they'd colour balance their camera, what focal length they'd shoot a close up in, how they'd expose log, where skin tones should be on a vectorscope, etc. But that would select people who were actually competent at using a camera rather than posing with one.

The time you should ask if someone has shot on film is if you are... shooting on film.

Edited by David Mawson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/15/2017 at 9:45 PM, David Mullen ASC said:

Look at their resume and some of their work, then interview them. Talk to whoever worked with them before if possible.

That's just being gratuitously sensible.

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The questions you want to ask also depend on the project you're hiring them for.  I hate answering ads for a DP position when there's no indication of what the actual job is and whether it's commercial or narrative.  Be clear and ask appropriate questions based on that so applicants give you relevant reels and information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What David said - try to talk to people that have worked with them before. There are plenty of DOP's with stunning reels but are glacially slow on set. Or won't compromise "their" vision - none of these things will show on the reel (if anything the reels will be better). But we aren't shooting DOP showreels. 

A great DOP is one that know when its appropriate to take the extra time and push for a look.  But also understands that when you backs against the wall, they are prepared to compromise to get the shot done. The biggest fight I ever had with a DOP on set was about a lighting setup that was good enough, the DOP wanted to make it better (normally a good instinct) - but not when your running late and I'd not have enough time to get all the shots I needed for the sequence. 

Its real find line - the DOP's job its to fight for the photographic integrity of the image, but its a balance and understanding compromise is a big thing. Talk to 1st ADs, even if they are the natural enemy of the DOP, they will let you know who's quick and efficient. 

You can normally tell from the showreel if they are technically competent, the important thing is can you work with them personally and can they work to the schedule.  My questions would be more logistical, how would you marshal the resources we have to hand to make the film in the time available?  I may ask crewing questions e.g do you have a team you work with etc? Do we need a Gaffer etc.... Things that impact the budget. Do you drive? (its a pain in the arse having to pick up your non car driving DOP from the train station each day)

I would have already checked from their CV (resume) that they had shot on the proposed shooting format (or similar) and they wouldn't be in the room unless their reel looked stunning. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • G-Force Grips



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Just Cinema Gear



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Rig Wheels Passport



    Visual Products



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    Paralinx LLC



    Ritter Battery



    Abel Cine



    Serious Gear



    Metropolis Post



    FJS International



    CineLab



    Glidecam



    Tai Audio



    Wooden Camera


×
×
  • Create New...