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Max Field

Your Top 5 Cinematographers?

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Robby Muller 

Harris Savides 

Michael Chapman 

Christopher Doyle 

Raoul Coutard 

Sean Price Williams is a new favourite for Good Time

In no particular order. But Robby does come to mind first.

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2 minutes ago, Adam Frisch FSF said:

Gordon Willis will forever remain my number 1. A maverick.

Agreed... didnt care for Hollywood parties .. took huge risks .. and this sort of joke Oscar at the end of his career .. maybe the best ones get the most nominations and least gongs .. !..  

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In no particular order:

Gordon Willis

Bill Pope

Robert Richardson

Roger Deakins

Peter Suschitzky

And if I could have a sixth, Benoît Debie.


Cinematographers that can make big looks that don't distract (debatable amongst the members of this list of course) are a definite personal favorite of mine. Definitely a quite hard thing to master.

Edited by Taylor Russ

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I've been obsessed with Mark Lee Ping-bing's work lately, especially his stuff with Hou Hsiao-Hsien. His dark scenes are often so beautifully rich and saturated, like in Millenium Mambo, Flowers of Shanghai, or parts of Three Times. And he pushes brightness and highlights so far in some of his daytime scenes, like in Café Lumière or The Assassin. I'd never have the confidence to push something that bright, but his images absolutely sing. If I could spend a few days on set to learn from anybody, it would be him.

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Guest Nisar Bazmi

Adam Greenberg, Matthew Leonetti, Stefan Czapsky, David Eggby, and John R. Leonetti

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This is just what comes to mind without thinking too deeply but it feels very limiting to not be able to fit Wexler, Nykvist, Daviau, Cronenweth, Suschitsky, Ondrechek, Kline, Slocombe, Wolski... not to mention so many other classic and foreign cinematographers...


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I like stuff which manages somehow to be stylish without having an overt look stamped on it. The natural reaction to working on really low-budget stuff without decent locations and production design is to use lots of contrast in lighting, camera setup and grading, strange camera angles and generally push a look onto it. Desaturation and pushing contrast was common. People do this (I used to do this) because it's less unacceptable than just having it look bland, and because when I started doing it we were mainly shooting on (by modern standards) terrible standard-definition cameras. Cranking up the black level on your DSR-570 was an effective way to make your music video look like something, as opposed to having it look like you'd gone outside and shot whatever was there with a handycam.

But it did mean that everything came out looking like a hack, cheap imitation of Saving Private Ryan, regardless of whether that was particularly appropriate to the material.

I find it terribly intimidating when people can make stuff look like it was shot in the real world (which gives it so much more impact) and simultaneously look like a proper movie. A good example of the reason for this intimidation is a single behind-the-scenes shot taken during production of The Interpreter, in which, to light a relatively simple sit-and-chat scene in the lobby of the United Nations building in New York, Khondji used what must have been half a megawatt of light suspended from an array of cranes to illuminate a huge picture window at the end of the building. I understand how to do that, it's just mathematics, but the sheer scale of it means that to most people that sort of stuff is on Mars.


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Posted (edited)

In no particular order:

- Claire Mathon

- Robbie Ryan

- Natasha Braier

- Bradford Young

- Seamus McGarvey

Edited by Christian Klein

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Top 5 is kinda hard, depends on who made the best movies, or who seems the best to work with, etc...

But my 5 are, and in no order:

Chris Doyle - Hero and In the Mood for Love, he is just very poetic and colorful.

Roger Deakins - Always good, and always serving the story.

Conrad Hall - Road to Perdition is "the" masterclass.

Haskel Wexler - Mostly because of his big part of Days of Heaven (he isn't nearly as credited for that as he should be i.e. no oscar), and the fact I got to work with him for a while and he truly was brilliant.

Gregg Toland - I admit I only know I have seen Citizen Kane of his work, but simply put, Citizen Kane is about as good as it gets, and if he manage to bring out that with a first time director then he surely knew how to work with people.


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