Thread: DP, DOP or Cinematographer ?

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  1. #1 DP, DOP or Cinematographer ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe12south View Post

    * PS. Not all cinematographers are camera operators, and not all camera operators are cinematographers. "Cinematographer" often feels pretentious, but I guess in the context of describing the person who decides how a scene should be captured, it's the most appropriate term.
    There's no right or wrong because people use these terms very interchangeably. Here's my view.

    A cinematographer chooses or sets exposure, based on their lighting or subtraction of lighting.

    Camera operators generally do not, or do so under instruction from a Cinematographer, DP or lighting camera person.

    A DP is a cinematographer that oversees more than one camera team and often more than one unit.

    "Shooters" infer's at best, a camera operator, not someone who's a creative, not someone that lights, that makes exposure choices. It says " camera pointer". It devalues the role of a cinematographer has beyond the physical manifestation of operating a camera. Cinematographers are visual storytellers that mostly use cameras, but also use lighting, camera movement, and make choices about storytelling that transcend pointing a camera or "shooting". It doesn't cover what a DP is doing on an animated film for example.

    I know that many use "shooter" in non-narrative work, but it only devalues what you do to describe yourself in this way in you're doing more than just camera pointing. It also ties the art of cinematography to a physical device and therefore discounts the arguably great influence lighting has on the final result of the images we capture.

    I prefer not to "shoot" anything, although I'm as guilty of saying I'm shooting a show. I just never want to be called a "shooter"

    It took me a very long time to allow myself to be credited as a Director of Photography. I felt like I hadn't really earned the right to use that title until I'd actually done a show that had multiple cameras and multiple units and even then for a long time I still prefered to be called a Cinematographer on the credits. I still felt like I couldn't call myself the equal of those that had that title.

    It was only once I got an agent who started negotiating deal memo's for me that included that title that I felt OK using it.

    I honestly cringe when I get an email from someone looking for work as a 2nd AC saying they're a DP / EDITOR / COLOURIST. The qualification for being a DP now seems to be the owning of a mirrorless camera.

    And that's what I object to. Saying a camera defines a DP. The physical object that captures the LIGHTING isn't what defines me as a DP.

    I happen to think titles matter. But the rest of the world has moved on.

    JB
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  2. #2  
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    +1 John, well put!
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    Interesting, and understandable. Having started first as the creative or art director, I always had the right to impose my vision, but I had to fight to get behind the camera. Maybe for this reason, I consider it something of a badge of honor to be called the "shooter" because most of my compatriots couldn't operate a camera to save their lives.

    Besides, saying you "cinemagraphed" Avatar IV doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Brawley View Post
    I honestly cringe when I get an email from someone looking for work as a 2nd AC saying they're a DP / EDITOR / COLOURIST. The qualification for being a DP now seems to be the owning of a mirrorless camera.

    ....

    I happen to think titles matter. But the rest of the world has moved on.

    JB
    Thank goodness colorists have to be certified for the title. The same analogy carries over to every person who applied a lut in Premier apparently.
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe12south View Post
    Besides, saying you "cinemagraphed" Avatar IV doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
    Saying someone "photographed" Avatar IV sounds logical to me ? Or "DP'd".

    JB
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    This thread has gone in a different direction, but I will say I agree with JB in terms of cinematographer credit. I don't consider myself a shooter as I don't do corporate or event stuff, although I will say I shot something. I only do narrative, mostly shorts but a few features as well, all no/micro budget so I don't usually even have a proper single camera crew with assistants let alone multiple units and tend to operate myself. When asked I prefer the credit Cinematographer or Cinematography By, although I have been given Director Of Photography by those that don't know better or bother to ask. I have a web series coming up that will be shot sitcom style with 3 cameras (gen1 Bmcc and Bmpcc) and I may take DOP credit for that one.
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    I always consider someone who shoot a feature for the big screen the "cinematographer" because it is shown at a cinema. Those who shoot for a TV show a "DoP". A "videographer" for someone who shoot corporate stuff.
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    You are only a DoP on TV shows if you are in charge of the shooting crew, and setup, including any lighting. Otherwise for TV if you just run the camera, you are a Camera Operator.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taikonaut View Post
    I always consider someone who shoot a feature for the big screen the "cinematographer" because it is shown at a cinema. Those who shoot for a TV show a "DoP". A "videographer" for someone who shoot corporate stuff.
    Personally I think it's only possible to credit yourself on-screen as a "cinematographer" if you are basically one-man-banding it. It's pretty pretentious to claim you are responsible for everything on the screen when there are probably half a dozen or so people in the camera department alone. Writers and producers are overseeing the story, DP coordinating with the director on the look of each shot while the director coordinates with the executive producers and show creators.

    Cinematography, to my understanding, is the study of creating narrative through moving pictures. You could argue that everyone in the crew is a cinematographer for a narrative piece.

    Videography is capturing something unscripted like a concert or an interview.
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    Getting way OT so sorry about the diversion. feel free to skip over.

    Here's an interesting article with recent info and some cool comments at the end. And not a single mention of shooter :-)

    https://stephenfollows.com/cinematog...f-photography/

    This is what I understand the title DOP or DP to carry. The management of multiple units and cameras.

    A cinematographer (maybe) has some more indie vibe, that the DP is also operating a camera, something that's very common in Australia and the UK / EU but less so in the US.

    Also, the UK for a long time was "lighting camera"

    I've also seen some thoughts that the DOP term was invented by the guilds in the US to create job demarcation / protectionism for operators. For example, I HAVE to always employ a camera operator, even if I did prefer to operate on US / union shows.

    From the comments on the link above this quote makes sense to me.

    "Director of Photography really should only relate to larger productions where there are large crews and an element of managerial and organisational skill required from the HoD"

    I think "cinematographer" relating to cinema finish was only a thing in the last few years. When I was coming up in Australia, everyone was a cinematographer until they graduated up to DOP on bigger shows (be they film or TV) and none of us had the luxury of full time operators. We all operated ourselves. It's interesting to me as well that many of the most revered DP's also operate.

    JB
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