Duties of a DP?


New member

I'm having a little problem being definitive about this. As a DP what exactly are the duties involved? I know the obvious ones like Lighting/camera planning, but my question is more directed towards the duties where the director if also involved like in shot list.

Now it's is my understanding that the Director is the one in charge of calling the shot list from the first page of the script to the end. the director calls the angles the compositions and so forth. Am I wrong here? I know the DP has to see the shot list to communicate the directors vision to the screen, but how much say does a DP have when making a shot list? Is it ultimately the director's decision as to what gets shot? or can the DP have power here?

How about calling lenses. Does the director get to call lenses as well, since most have their little director's viewfinder?

Just want to make sure I'm thinking this the right way. Thank you.

In your experience on set, what have been your duties besides lighting the scene and going to telecine and picking up/choosing equipment?


I think a lot of it depends on the director. Some directors are good to let the DP do their job, and others are very specific about which lense, stock, etc to use. Generally, though, I think it's up to the DP to make these decisions, based on what the director communicates about how they want it to look. In larger budget situations, the director might be a little more knowledgable about cameras and optics and such, and therefore want more control. For more low budget indie shoots, the director might not know as much about the camera department, letting the DP do what they want and only making sure they like the way it looks. You're probably more interested in what D. Mullen has to say, but I figured I'd go ahead and give my input anyway. Hope this helps.
The director is the final word on many issues, but that's not the same thing as doing everything on the set -- they "direct" others.

As a DP, I'm in charge of the photographic approach and execution, but I work for the director and in collaboration with the director. I rarely work with a director who just tells me shots to set-up. We discuss ideas, suggest things to each other (like what lens to use or how the frame should be composed) and we make a decision together. Some directors take more of my ideas than others; that's their choice.
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