5 Best Pieces of Advice for Student Cinematographers

Inspiration and insights for students of cinematography from Richard Crudo, ASC, Anastas Michos, ASC, Ron Dexter, ASC, Hiro Narita, ASC, and Brian Melton, Award-Winning Cinematographer, 2007 ASC Heritage Award…
Pictured above: Working On Set, México. Photo by Ritchie Rodas, Filmmaker. Follow @soyritchierodas. | ritchierodas.com

 

5 Best Pieces of Advice for Student Cinematographers

 

Tip # 1

“I encourage students to watch all kinds of movies – not just the ones they automatically like. The internet has tons of information, too. I tell them to talk to people who are working, get on the phone, email people, write letters. You can’t be shy – be aggressive!
~Richard Crudo, ASC

Read more in this interview conducted by Jacqueline B. Frost, “Richard Crudo, ASC on ‘Being a Working Cinematographer’“. Richard Crudo, ASC, President of the American Society of Cinematographers from 2003-2006, has been shooting films for over twenty years. He began his career as an assistant cameraman in New York working with master cinematographers Gordon Willis and Michael Chapman. He also worked as a Steadicam operator on Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever and as a camera operator on Donnie Darko. His credits include American Pie, Outside Providence, American Buffalo, Federal Hill, as welll as Brooklyn Rules with Alec Baldwin and Freddie Prinze, Jr., Marker with Steven Seagal, and My Sexiest Year with Frankie Muniz and Harvey Keitel. He often collaborates with director Michael Corrente. In this candid Q&A, Mr. Crudo shares his advise and insights for students, talks about the collaborative relationship between director and cinematographer, and much more.

Tip # 2

“You need flexibility as an artist to rethink and adapt your ideas to the project at hand.”
~Anastas Michos, ASC

Anastas Michos, ASC discusses more in this interview conducted by Leonard Guercio. Director of photography Anastas Michos, ASC has followed a convoluted path toward his profession. He started out in theater, played in a rock-and-roll band, worked as a roadie, and began his apprenticeship in the art of cinematography as a television cameraman/editor for WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. As a news cameraman, he learned to make instantaneous decisions as a shooter that helped him hone the art of visual storytelling. Michos also worked as an assistant to Steadicam inventor, Garrett Brown, and learned that skill as well. He had his first job as a DP in 1986 on The Hooters’ video documentary, Nervous Night. Like many cinematographers, Michos shot music videos for popular recording artists such as Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, and Tina Turner. His first job as a feature cinematographer came in 1997 on an independent feature-length film called The Education of Little Tree.

Tip # 3

“Cinematography is basic photography. The only difference is you’re dealing with time and maybe the camera moves. There are incredible books out there on basic photography. I think that if people are going to be cinematographers, they should shoot, shoot, shoot all the time, all the time. Both with a video camera so they can perfect their moves, and with a digital still camera if necessary to learn how cameras respond to light.”
~Ron Dexter, ASC

Tip # 4

“Students of cinematography should experiment and study with color extensively. In a given image, color has just as much impact as lighting and composition.”
~Hiro Narita, ASC

Read “Mindful Nourishment” written by Hiro Narita, ASC. “Some students explore possible careers in the film industry, while others are simply fascinated by filmmaking. Cinema is a synthesis of art and technology, and I believe there is no short cut to success in the field. I find that students – and professionals – who excel in filmmaking take a broad perspective on art and intertwine that understanding with their own unique life experiences.”

Tip # 5

“Locations can facilitate or even dictate style choices. Finding a good location is often the most important step in creating an interesting image.”
~Brian Melton, Award-Winning Cinematographer, 2007 ASC Heritage Award

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