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One of the great problems of picture production is securing stories for the screen. Several hundred productions are turned out annually by the industry, and any author will concur that no such number of new plots exist. The studios are therefore obliged to revamp many of the old reliables, give them new casts and dialogue, a change of locale, and depend heavily on new photographic treatment. This continual search for a new photographic approach is one of the most exciting aspects of the industry.
Thousands of workers throughout the land have a hand in it: the physicist creating a new or better product; the chemist perfecting a better formula; the engineer fabricating a machine that will do what could not be done before. The writer devising a scene in some new and unusual setting, and the producer, director and cinematographer translating it finally to film are all part of a team striving to do something better and more interesting than it was ever done before.

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Useful info

How to become a director of photography

Many DPs come from the camera department. As with all the departments on set, the specific responsibilities of each position depend entirely on the size and nature of the shoot. Generally speaking, though, there are three primary positions in the camera department: the camera operator, the first assistant camera, and the second assistant camera.

The lighting & electric department

A strong DP will usually choose the look he wants after discussing it with the director in private. He will relay this to his crew, who, if they are dedicated and competent can then find that look without any further input from the DP. This may seem counterintuitive, but the DP is after all the Director of Photography, and his job is to direct the crew, not micromanage them.

What is a cinematographer?

Danny Cohen has received an Oscar and a Bafta nomination for his cinematography on The King’s Speech. The London-based film-maker previously worked with King’s Speech director Tom Hooper on the Emmy-nominated HBO TV series John Adams, and Channel 4’s Longford.

‘Trick of the light’: the Hollywood pioneers

In 1980, Thames TV broadcast a 13-part history of Hollywood silent movies titled simply Hollywood. It was written, produced and directed by David Gill and Kevin Brownlow. Since the publication in 1968 of Brownlow’s first book, The Parade’s Gone By, a lavishly illustrated account of the pioneers of silent cinema, Brownlow has been the veritable point man on the era.