Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography
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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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even though this is approaching 25 yrs. old, it's the best film about the behind the scene artistry of cinematography. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Ludy
You can't find a better analysis and collection revealing the history of cinematography from the 1890s to the 1990s, before the digital evolution of film making.Published 6 months ago by Spencedogg
I purchased this after having viewed the Kodak Master Class Series on Lighting. At the time the Lighting classes were more interesting. Read morePublished 11 months ago by PamelaJC
Very well done. As a photographer, I learned some lighting techniques from this documentaryPublished 12 months ago by W. C. Spangler
An amazing history of milestones in Cinematography and of the Directors of Photography of the American Society Of Cinematography, those un-heralded, quiet heroes, who made it... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mark Bender
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 morePublished 17 months ago by Mr. Hawlywood
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
My boyfriend always appreciates the cinematography of movies, so I decided to do some research and look for a documentary about it. Read morePublished on January 8, 2012 by cmc