DP-Production Collaboration


Having been a DP for many years, I have watched the industry change and evolve. It’s a different landscape out there today. As a DP, I always want to create beautiful images. I admit that in the past, I viewed production as a hindrance for me to achieve that. This was wrong and I’d like to explain why.

My girl and partner of 13 years, Lindha Narvaez is a very talented producer who not only manages production budgets but also values the creative aspect of a project greatly. During our time together, I've gotten to see the layers and layers behind the scenes that as an on set creative, we are rarely privy to. These layers involve directors, clients, executive producers, agencies, talent and many other elements that affect costs and logistics. It’s a wonder we even get to production!

Especially in today’s film industry, budgets are continually getting tighter and much more challenging but at the same time a high standard of work is still expected. I have learned that working with and supporting your production team helps us as cinematographers to continue to deliver high quality work. 

Recently at the onset of a project, I was speaking with the producer and let her know that I was happy to help if she encountered any difficulties that i could help with.  She immediately informed me that there were cost issues with equipment for a very specific shot. I offered that we jump on a call with the director and talk through the creative. I was able to suggest a slightly different approach that basically would achieve the same result and her problem was solved. The producer felt she could approach me throughout prep so by shoot time, we were locked in and had a smooth production.

The point is that it’s important to communicate that you are a part of the team or alternatively, you may seem to be inflexible and stand offish. I also remind producers that i am a huge resource as well and can bring tremendous production value if allowed!

Great night speaking at the Camera House.

I was invited by The Camera House last week as the first guest of their new series "An Evening With" for a candid discussion with owner Rufus Burnham. We spoke about my career experiences, what I've learned ,along the way and my views on the ever-changing role of the cinematographer. We touched on the differences of shooting film vs. digital imaging and the ways technology has advanced throughout the years. It was a lot of fun and hope to do a lighting workshop soon. I also put together a montage of images which was a fun process. It was good to look back though these are just a few images from a large body of work.


More thoughts on the Ursa 4.6K

I wanted to follow up my last post on the Ursa Mini 4.6k.  I believe that this camera is not getting the recognition it deserves. As a cinematographer, my biggest priority is the image.  In my opinion this camera is second only to the Arri Alexa. In fact I have used this camera many times as a B cam with an Alexa as my A cam. I challenge anyone to tell me which was which after the footage has been corrected. The camera has been flawless, yes there are some things I would like to see incorporated much of which can be added with firmware updates. But at $5495 for the PL version it’s beyond amazing value.  I really don’t understand why more people have not embraced this camera, they don’t know what they are missing and if they are spending more money on anything other than an Alexa they are wasting money.

In my next post I will address the plusses and minuses, but you will see the plusses far outweigh the minuses.

My camera including Bright Tangerine Matte box.

Cinematography thoughts Pt 1

  There’s much that seems to have been left behind with film, but I think it’s important to retain the fundamentals of cinematography. You still need to create a world with light, shadow and color.  I believe that you still need to do as much in camera as possible. Regardless of the quality of color correction etc it is still limited by the digital image that’s sent into the color session. There is a trend to capture images with less than ideal lighting and framing and then fix it in post. It can work and does, but it puts limits on the creative process on the post side. I hear from colorists all the time how they have had a really hard time making images look good. Multiple power windows, layers of manipulation etc. Also for me there is much to be said for the feeling on set when these images are shot. It’s about being in that moment when I believe the creative process of a filmmaker is at its peak. 

Blast from the Past

So, like everyone, I have boxes of old papers and stuff that I have not looked at in years. I was cleaning out one of those boxes out the other day and I came across a resume/job list from the late 80's.

So many of these jobs have disappeared from my memory until I saw this. Crazy Days for sure