Film Roles: Director of Photography

Director of Photography is typically the "official" title given to a film's Cinematographer (and let's face it, despite being longer, is probably easier to say!). But, there job is to take control of everything that relates to the cameras, as well as the lighting on a film set. They are traditionally the person who gives a scene a certain style or element to it, creating ambiance.

The overall amount of "power" that the Director of Photography might have generally depends on a variety of aspects, such as budgets (a large budget will probably bring a larger amount of roles to a film, whilst a smaller budget might mean one person doing more than one thing, for example). Another aspect that would likely effect the role the Director of Photography is which country the film was made in:

For example, in Hollywood, the Director of Photography works alongside the Director in the sense the everyone who works behind or with the cameras reports to him, as well as the main Director. The Director of Photography is also likely to have a strong say over aspects related to shots, including how they are lit.

The main Director may trust his Director of Photography completely, allowing him to select aspects such as appropriate lighting, lenses, filters etc depending on the Director's overall image for a specific scene. However, some Directors prefer to have the final say over how a shot looks etc, this is perhaps most common if the Director has a history of working as a Cinematographer. Nevertheless, the type of relationship tends to vary on a film-by-film basis.

On the other hand, if a film is being shot in Britain, then the Director of Photography only takes charging of lighting, as well as filters. The overall look of the shots, however, will be down to the main Director.

The role of a Cinematographer, or Director of Photography might not be one that many of us hear about very often, but many have become well-known with their business, and most Directors - throughout film history - have had Cinematographers that they trust, and have worked with often.

Find out more about other film roles:

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