One of the most collaborative relationships on any film set is the relationship of a Director and Director of Photography (DOP) . They are the two sides of a coin; a director visualizes the film but a DOP is responsible to create and put his vision creatively on the celluloid.
A Director needs a DOP who has all the visual and technical skills to make a film “look great,” which has the creative sensibility to understand the subtext of the story and the nuances of an actor’s performance. This relationship should have a mutual bond of respect and trust just like a marriage. Of course, disagreements are bound to happen from time to time, but having proper channels of communication ensures this never becomes a tricky issue.
But how does a collaboration of this magnitude begin? Through regular conversation that helps them connect at a personal level, the process of forming a bond starts before production and carries on post production as well. During this time, the Director should figure out the best way to convey his ideas to his DOP whereas the DOP should try to understand the Director’s vision for the film. Understanding the technical interpretation of the script and why, is an important conversation between the Director and Cinematographer that can either enhance or destroy a film.
Matthew Libatique, ASC says “As a Cinematographer, what you are looking for in a Director is a partner in making the film. Because ultimately you are trying to achieve a vision, especially if they are a Writer/Director, so it’s about getting that vision right and getting to know them.”
Ultimately, it is a good script that will get a Cinematographer interested in the project along with the Director’s passion to bring forth enthusiasm and creative ideas on how to visually interpret their story. The goal of the film is to take the audience on a journey, to entertain, to make them believe in the characters. Getting a formal education from a world-class institute such as Whistling Woods International will help budding filmmakers realize their full potential.