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A cinematographer definition:
As wiki-defined, a cinematographer, or Director of Photography (DP)is the chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, and responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The study and practice of this field is referred to as cinematography.
There are differences between the British and the American traditions as regards the role of the director of photography.
In the British system, the director of photography ("DOP"), sometimes credited as the lighting cameraman, is responsible for lighting the set and the visual look of the film, but has no final say over more purely camera operating-based visual elements such as framing. This system means that the director consults the lighting cameraperson for lighting and filtration, and the operator for framing and lens choices. "DOP" is the British and Canadian acronym for "director of photography".
In the American system, the camera operator and everybody else in camera department is subordinate to the DP, who, along with and next to the director, has the final word on all decisions related to both lighting and framing.
The cinematographer selects the film stock, lens, filters, etc., to realize the scene in accordance with the intentions of the director. Relations between the cinematographer and director vary; in some instances the director will allow the cinematographer complete independence; in others, the director allows little to none, even going so far as to specify exact camera placement and lens selection. Such a level of involvement is not common once the director and cinematographer have become comfortable with each other, the director will typically convey to the cinematographer what is wanted from a scene visually, and allow the cinematographer latitude in achieving that effect.
Similarly defined "Director:"
Film directors create an overall vision through which a film eventually becomes realized. Realizing this vision includes overseeing the artistic and technical elements of film production, as well as directing the shooting timetable and meeting deadlines. This entails organizing the film crew in such a way as to achieve his or her vision of the film. This requires skills of group leadership, as well as the ability to maintain a singular focus even in the stressful environment of a film set.
Moreover it is necessary to have an artistic eye to frame shots and to give precise feedback to cast and crew, thus, excellent communication skills are a must. Since the film director depends on the successful cooperation of many different creative individuals with possibly strongly contradicting artistic ideals and visions, he or she also needs to possess conflict resolution skills in order to mediate whenever necessary. Thus the director ensures that all individuals involved in the film production are working towards an identical vision for the completed film.
The set of varying challenges he or she has to tackle has been described as "a multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle with egos and weather thrown in for good measure". It adds to the pressure that the success of a film can influence when and how they will work again. Omnipresent are the boundaries of the films budget. Additionally, the director may also have to ensure an intended age rating. Theoretically the sole superior of a director is the studio that is financing the film, however a poor working relationship between a film director and an actor could possibly result in the director being replaced if the actor is a major film star. Even so, it is arguable that the director spends more time on a project than anyone else, considering that the director is one of the few positions that requires intimate involvement during every stage of film production. Thus, the position of film director is widely considered to be a highly stressful and demanding one. It has been said that "20-hour days are not unusual".
Aaron Stipkovich, Publisher: With an education in information, technology, business and related disciplines, Aaron entered business on radio. Beginning as a disc jockey in Southern California, a nationally syndicated talk show host position soon followed. During the transition from regional to national, he launched a national print magazine in several countries, and was distributed by Time Inc. Having a handful of humble business media entities, a decade or so later he has divested himself from most of his companies... (more...)