What does a cinematographer do?

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#51 Post by zedz » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:58 pm

I'd add to that, as a kind of link to the territory that David's been exploring, that you can also start to explore to what extent a characteristic treatment of mise en scene is essential to a given filmmaker's style. It occurs to me that Ozu is a good case study: so much of what's distinctive about his work is mise en scene (camera position, framing of architecture and bodies, movement and stillness, set decoration for pictorial effect rather than logical consistency, treatment of colour), but there are also other very distinctive authorial characteristics that are not (use of music, non-Hollywood cutting, style of performance, story themes, content and structure).

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#52 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:58 am

Sorry, I hope this isn't swerving too off-topic but it's a question broadly about cinematography.

What's the technical term for a shot where a character appears to float, as if to represent a dreamlike psychological state? So the actor/actress is of course pulled towards the camera by some movable object or other. The example; in The Young Victoria, this occurs she meets Prince Albert again, having decided she's in love, and she almost floats over to him, leaving those previously at her side behind. I'm probably not explaining it well. Hope it makes sense.

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bdsweeney
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#53 Post by bdsweeney » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:04 am

thirtyframesasecond wrote:What's the technical term for a shot where a character appears to float, as if to represent a dreamlike psychological state? So the actor/actress is of course pulled towards the camera by some movable object or other. The example; in The Young Victoria, this occurs she meets Prince Albert again, having decided she's in love, and she almost floats over to him, leaving those previously at her side behind. I'm probably not explaining it well. Hope it makes sense.
I'm not familiar with The Young Victoria, so my suggestion may be completely wrong.

However, the description you've given sounds very much like one of Spike Lee's 'signature techniques'; the 'moving sidewalk talk' where the characters are not so much walking towards a camera as it tracks back but are seemingly being pulled along with the camera on the dolly. The effect is that they are rolling or floating rather than walking.

It appears in Jungle Fever, Malcolm X and Inside Man, among others.

If that's the shot you mean, then I 'spose the term for it is a reverse tracking shot--but I'm not sure what to call it if the actor(s) is/are pulled along with the camera on the dolly.

Sorry I haven't been much help.

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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#54 Post by Matt » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:56 pm

bdsweeney wrote:one of Spike Lee's 'signature techniques'
which he stole from Scorsese, but that's neither here nor there. Uncommon shots and techniques don't always have a name. In this case, it's just a tracking/dolly shot where the actor sits or stands on the dolly. It's not a reverse tracking shot, which implies that you are dollying away from the subject (and which is often confused with a dolly zoom or retrograde zoom).

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exte
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#55 Post by exte » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:26 pm

Which film did Scorsese use that in?

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Antoine Doinel
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#56 Post by Antoine Doinel » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:46 pm

Mean Streets

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SoyCuba
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#57 Post by SoyCuba » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:57 pm

Wasn't a similar shot used in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg as well?

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HerrSchreck
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#58 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:26 pm

exte wrote:Which film did Scorsese use that in?

Taxi Driver. When Travis is standing in the hallway of the tenement cathouse, holding the $20 bill that Keitel gave him days/weeks before ("Forget about it cabbie, it's nothin',"), Travis "floats" towards the hallway lookout. A very famous effect, which was explained as Bickle's belief of almost being an angel of vengeance, which causes him to lift off of the floor via his urgency or whatever..

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knives
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#59 Post by knives » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:32 pm

I think it was also used in Beauty and the Beast, correct?

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HerrSchreck
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#60 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:39 pm

definitely-- the Belle Float!

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Antoine Doinel
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#61 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:16 am

Sight & Sound has a brief history of cinematography.

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MichaelB
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#62 Post by MichaelB » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:13 am

The print version also includes mini-eulogies to some of the great DOPs - and I'm delighted they found space for Sergei Urusevsky, not least because he was my nomination (though not one I thought would make the shortlist!).

Sadly, I've yet to see an Urusevsky-shot film not directed by Mikhail Kalatozov - has anyone?

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HerrSchreck
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#63 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:03 am

I've ached to see Sorok pervyy (aka The Forty-First) from the mid-50's, which sees Urusevsky collaborating with Chukhrai (of Ballad of Soldier fame), for a long time... just not gotten around to grabbing the DVD.

You have great taste, Mike. In my book Urusevsky's work with Khalatozov puts him right up there alongside John Alton in the pantheon of the all-time greatest cinematographers of the sound era. Breathtakingly lyrical images. Beautiful lesson in the comppsition of "artistically beautiful" shots which nonetheless flow effortlessly with the substance of the narrative and therefore never seem out of place or blaringly loud as is the case with so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so sooooooooooooooooooooo much of today's work.

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MichaelB
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#64 Post by MichaelB » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:02 am

That's absolutely right - the great Urusevsky shots are phenomenal technical achievements (and how!), which clearly took a vast amount of planning and manpower to execute, but they never feel as though they're showing off just for the sake of it: there's a lyricism about them that's absolutely integrated into the rest of the film.

I still remember watching The Cranes Are Flying for the first time - my mum saw it on its original release and never forgot it, so when a screening popped up at the NFT in the late 1990s, I took her along. From the plot summary, I was expecting something pretty schmaltzy and dated, but it was clear right from the opening shot that it was far, far more than that - and that Urusevsky was a cinematographer of the rarest genius. And I went to see the big-screen revival of I Am Cuba specifically because it was shot by him.

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Matt
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#65 Post by Matt » Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:53 pm

Have you guys seen this demo of the I-Movix SprintCam? Everything is shot at 1,000 frames per second. Gorgeous stuff.

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Oedipax
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Re: What does a cinematographer do?

#66 Post by Oedipax » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:56 am

Matt wrote:Have you guys seen this demo of the I-Movix SprintCam? Everything is shot at 1,000 frames per second. Gorgeous stuff.
Nice - but I think the Phantom is still king.

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