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Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography

4.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(May 09, 2000)
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DVD Video
$139.98 $54.56

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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!

Special Features


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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630583685X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,696 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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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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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.
1 Comment 14 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
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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