A View From Behind the Meter
Last week, I went to the ASC Breakfast with Paul Cameron, ASC as the guest speaker. It was very well attended as usual, and he said something I would like to share with all of you… When asked what was his best advice about the challenge of being a cinematographer was, he referred to a comment made to him as he was in the early learning stages of the profession. The comment was “be interested and be interesting.” It’s a simple statement but it encompasses a huge area of involvement. A cinematographer needs to be constantly interested in not only the project he is working on at present but the innovations that occur in the profession daily. Being truly interested means having a passion for your craft and in a constant state of learning. One comes close to obsession when getting involved with the process of film making and most of the great cinematographers that I have come in contact with possess that kind of devotion to the craft.
His work on “Man on Fire,” “Collateral,” and “Total Recall” were discussed with excerpts from each of the projects were screened for the groups discussion. As I watched examples of this man’s work I kept in mind his words “interested and interesting.” He accomplished both while I watched with great enthusiasm. His work was absolutely on the cutting edge and it’s obvious why the Director’s Tony Scott and Michael Mann hired him. He followed his words with action that proved his point. By the way the ASC breakfasts are well worth the expenditure and the insights gained are priceless. If one wishes to achieve greatness listen to those who have already attained that plateau. Be interested and you can’t help but be interesting.
While on the way out of the clubhouse once the presentation was over I ran into a cinematographer which I gave an experimental LED car mount kit for his use on his last feature. He had come into my office and was talking about a feature he was about to shoot in Nebraska. There were a number of interior car shots and they needed to set up fast. It happens that I had been working on a complete LED car mount kit that was battery run and very bright. He could easily shoot in the daytime or at night because each light had dimmer controls and they were daylight LED’s. The system was handed over to him and he had just come back after shooting for three weeks with the instruments. The test that I had done on the instrument gave me a four hour run with two lights on a single charge. Having worked with the Kino-Flo car mount kits for years the advantage was remarkable and this cinematographer was of the same opinion. He will be bringing me back the kit tomorrow with picture and we will be putting the system up on our website for sale with user recommendations that are verifiable both creatively and economically. Speak to you all soon.
-Michael Rogers, Lighting Consultant And Education Outreach
BIRNS AND SAWYER