For me cinematography has several parts, the craft of understanding the tools you have available and how to use them. The ability to communicate with the Director and crew to bring the Directors vision to life. The ability to adapt to changing creative, logistics and the unforeseen that happens often. But for me the real heart of it is the emotional aspect. Any image you capture has to create an emotional connection with the audience. Regardless of what it is, a movie, a commercial, a music video, you have to create images that connect to peoples emotions and convey the story being told. To do that cinematography has to come from the heart, if not you are painting by numbers which is no fun.
Another thing that happens often is the desire to use a certain piece of equipment, a technocrane, a Movi, etc etc. All these tools are wonderful but you can’t put the tool before the shot, meaning select the tool that’s right for the shot or scene and the story being told. Yes, it’s fun to create these amazing shot’s but again it must serve a purpose, certainly in action scenes for example go wild and have fun, as we have seen there has been some incredible shots created for these kinds of scenes. There are wonderful creative tools available today but use them wisely and with purpose.
Another thing I hear a lot is, I really need this particular light to make this look or shot. Certainly there are situations that this maybe true, especially with either limited space or extremely large set-ups. But remember, the physics of light don’t change, it’s hard to super soft and everything in between. There are many ways to create this and sometimes it can be really fun finding solutions with the tools you have. It’s important to remember that line producers have a budget to work with and it’s our job as cinematographers to support them as much as we can balancing the financial challenges with the creative..