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Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1993)

Conrad L. Hall , John Bailey , Arnold Glassman , Stuart Samuels  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

Price: $114.90
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Product Details

  • Actors: Conrad L. Hall, John Bailey, Vilmos Zsigmond, Charles Lang, Sven Nykvist
  • Directors: Arnold Glassman, Stuart Samuels, Todd McCarthy
  • Writers: Todd McCarthy
  • Producers: Arnold Glassman, Stuart Samuels, Irene Ohno, Mariko Hirai
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 9, 2000
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630583685X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,474 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Experience the dazzling story of cinematography as seen through the lenses of the world's greatest filmmakers and captured in classic scenes from over 125 immortal movies. Discover Gordon Willis's secrets of lighting Marlon Brando in "The Godfather" and Greg Toland's contributions to "Citizen Kane." Hear William Fraker on filming "Rosemary's Baby," Vittorio Storaro on his use of color and light in "Apocalypse Now" and much, much more. From black and white to Technicolor, silent to "talkie," glittering Hollywood musical to film noir and art film to blockbuster, this critically acclaimed masterpiece presents movies in a new and unforgettable light!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visions of Light-a must have DVD! October 25, 2000
By Paul
Working in the film business here in Los Angeles, it's easy to understand my appreciation for all aspects of film production. However, there are many people who don't unerstand the knowledge needed to get an image on film. Visions of Light is an incredible look into the world of cinematography, and the artists who have lit some of the most beautiful faces and film sets of the past 100 years. When I received this DVD, I wasn't expecting any "added footage", any "supplemental material." I was simply expecting a DVD that was enjoyable, entertaining, and somewhat educational to watch. In a nutshell, it delivered beyond my expectations. This DVD contains wonderful clips from some of the most popular and most beautifully photographed films of the past century. It includes interviews with an array of cinematographers giving behind the scenes stories of their careers and films that they have shot. Technically, don't expect this DVD to test your home system with incredible explosions and flawless picture quality. The clips are dated and the quality of sound and picture ranges from very good to incredibly dated. No one can expect a clip from 1930 to look THAT good, yet this DVD manages to present even the oldest clips in their greatest beauty. If you are a big fan of films, or you love the art of cinematography, or you simply have a curiousity on how films are made, then this DVD is a MUST HAVE. It is put together very well. It is incredibly entertaining, with wonderful film clips and interviews that will introduce you to the artists responsible for some of the greatest and most memorable films in history. Buy Visons of Light and it will surely be one of you favorite DVD's to watch. Enjoy!
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Study of lights and shadows is visually enlightening December 6, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
"Director of photography. The person in charge of lighting a set and photographing a film. Also known as 'first cameraman,' 'lighting cameraman,' or 'cinematographer,' he is responsible for transforming the screenwriter's and director's concepts into real visual images." From Ephraim Katz's Film Encyclopedia.
This collection of film clips and interviews with various DPs (director of photography) and camera operators such as Allen Daviau, William A. Frakeman, Haskell Wexler, and Nestor Almendros reveals their influences, the period during which they worked, what techniques were evolving, and anecdotes. Clips from about two hundred or so films are examined.
Yes, as Ernest Dickerson says, cinematography's the way one responds to light. Initially, there was just a director and cameraman, the director in charge of the actors, the cameraman in charge of everything else. And the stationary cameras didn't give them much to do, but of course that changed over time with the camera dollies and booms, and later, handheld cameras, made more effective by Steadicams, whose inventors won a special Oscar in 1977 in the technical field. But camera movement gave the DP greater ability to achieve his visual triumphs.
Other than the Katz quote, DPs were to tell the story visually and to make actors and actresses more handsome and prettier but to enhance special features. Actresses like Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo required special attention, but boy, did they sparkle! Dietrich's cheeks were made narrower with the lighting used in Shanghai Express. And small wonder Harold Rosson made Jean Harlow prettier in Red Dust--he even married her (lucky guy!) after her husband Paul Bern committed suicide.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Will ramp your appreciation of cinematography to new plane. I felt priveledged to see through the eyes of the cinematographers whose interpretive visions become our filmic memories. You will understand at a new level the mix of man, machine and method that give us the larger than life illusions that carry the cinematic message to an eternal place we always carry with us. This is a must for any aspiring cinematographer and/or filmmaker.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary For Movie Buffs June 22, 2009
People who appreciate the visuals in movies should love this documentary as it deals with how they are photographed and how the cameramen and we, the viewer, see them. That may sound a bit dry, but this documentary is anything but that. They never stay more than a few minutes on any topic, personality or movie.

I appreciated this DVD more and more as I became more familiar with films. The more of a fan you are of both movies and cinematography, the higher you will rate this documentary. From silent movies to modern-day, the producers on this did a fine job showing examples of films from every decade up to 1990. (It would be fun to see an updated edition of this to include films since 1993)

This video gave me a new appreciation for black-and-white films. Some of the photography was magnificent and many cinematographers think that is the medium in which they could really show off their talents.

Regarding color, this documentary is where I first heard about the fabulously- filmed movie, "Days Of Heaven" (1978), which has become one of my all-time favorites. In all, there are about 125 films mentioned, so you may discover some gems you weren't aware of, as I did.

Whether you know most of these films or just a few, you should find a number of things in here interesting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good.
Published 14 days ago by S Jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let this one get away...
If you've never seen this documentary, treat yourself. Its appeal is wonderfully broad, meaning it will make as much sense and have as much value to a noob cinephile as it will to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Hawlywood
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast service.
I have been looking for this DVD for an appropriate price for a while. So I was happy to finally find it. The service was fast, and so, far, the DVD seems fine.
Published on September 18, 2012 by dawn
4.0 out of 5 stars Gave it as a gift--recipient loved it.
My boyfriend always appreciates the cinematography of movies, so I decided to do some research and look for a documentary about it. Read more
Published on January 8, 2012 by cmc
3.0 out of 5 stars muddled "visions"
After reading the glowing reviews, I purchased this item and was looking forward to viewing something on the level of Kevin Brownlow's "Hollywood" series Hollywood: A Celebration... Read more
Published on February 22, 2010 by culture lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Film School level documentary
I first came to know about this film from my Film I professor who is also a working cinematographer. Read more
Published on January 21, 2010 by Mary H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Visions
This is one heck of a great documentary about cinematography and the important visual effect it has on the look and feel of a film. Read more
Published on June 15, 2009 by B. Bosher
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant documentary
For anyone even remotely interested in film, this is a must-see. The information and the remarkable images make this a worthwhile purchase. Read more
Published on March 16, 2009 by Thomas Desimone
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Visions of Light
I had seen this film in two different Media classes in college, and fell in love with it. I'm so glad I was able to find it on Amazon, and the vendor I bought it from was prompt in... Read more
Published on September 27, 2008 by A. Fry
4.0 out of 5 stars I like!
Visions of Light provided me with a well-explained history of cinematography in Hollywood, starting with the old days (early 1900s) to film noir (Hollywood in the 40s) to the... Read more
Published on July 17, 2008 by John Plavdjian
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