Good cinematography and pretty landscapes - any difference?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Patrick Sun, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Sometimes I get the feeling that people confuse pretty landscapes in a film with good cinematography, anyone else feel this way?
     
  2. Kami

    Kami Screenwriter

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    Not really, because landscape photography is actually pretty difficult. Just ask any photographer. It's not as easy as it looks. Even harder when shooting film/video IMO. Of course I am thinking from a TECHNICAL standpoint, there's only so many ways you can compose a big wide landscape shot.
     
  3. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I've seen bad or mediocre cinematography of nice scenery, and good cinematography of rather dreary scenery. The main things I look for in cinematography are use of color or grayscale, depth of field, and composition in regards to aspect ratio.
     
  4. Kami

    Kami Screenwriter

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    Re: Matthew's post...

    Some good cinematography with dreary scenery would be Sleepy Hollow. I love the look of that film.
     
  5. StevenA

    StevenA Second Unit

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    I always thought Out Of Africa's Best Cinematography Oscar was more for the scenery than for especially outstanding work from the DP (especially as the DP who won the award didn't shooot the aerial shots).
     
  6. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    Cinematography is all about use of color, lighting, and composition to me. Sleepy Hollow is a good example as mentioned above. Royal Tenenbaums has wonderful cinematography to me, and thats almost all interiors for that film, but the colors and coposition of hte frame is just breathtaking.
     
  7. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    Whereas both outdoor (landscape) and indoor cinematography are difficult in their own regards, far too much weight is placed on the landscapes, usually at the sake of indoor work. When it comes to awards season, outdoor work consistently garners more praise than does indoor.

    It's like the showy performances where an actor is called upon to cry or otherwise highly emote where a more inward, controlled performance is passed over (think some of the remarkable work done by Morgan Freeman). Both are difficult in their own regards, but awards typically go to those characters whose emotions are out there for the world instead of those whose emotions are bottled up.

    The same is true for cinematography. The pretty landscapes usually take the edge over the moodier indoor or studio work. One simply needs the beauty captured on film (a difficult task as has been mentioned) and the other needs everything (light, shadow, color) created. One isn't really any better than the other so long as they serve the scene well, but the landscapes tend to get the accolades.
     
  8. Nathan V

    Nathan V Supporting Actor

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    Cinematography is much, much more than pointing a camera at something pretty (a landscape, for instance). You're right, it is too often confused with beautiful imagery. It's HOW the dp shoots it, not WHAT he shoots. Cinematography is about composition, choice of angles, use of grain, lighting technique, choice of film stock, filters, and developing technique (bleach bypass, saturation, etc), among other things. Watch 'The Man Who Wasn't There,' dp'd by Roger Deakins, for examples of great cinematography. The film has no landscapes. Other well-shot non-landscape movies include Fight Club, Casino, and JFK, among others.
     

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