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DP, DOP or Cinematographer ?

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  • TravisA
    replied
    I do think "Videographer" is more and more referring to one-man-band Video Producers and shooters. I've definitely acted as a "Videographer" and have been referred to as that, but only in corporate/commercial shoots. It's a term that's a lot more common in those spheres.

    Generally agree with EYu. I find that DP/Cinematographer are used interchangeably, at least by non-camera department. I don't think I'd ever correct anyone, either.

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  • EYu
    replied
    IMO, they are all just titles. I never cared for them. At the end, everyone is a filmmaker so I refer to myself as a filmmaker. So if anyone ask me what I do, I'm a filmmaker and I make movies. 99% of my ending credits are not my decision - I let the producer put whatever she/he wants for what I did for their movie. Some logs it as DP, others as Cinematographer, Editor, Colorist, Director, etc... I'm fine with whatever they decide to put on print. I get paid what I expect to be paid for what I did for that production and it's been good for me.

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  • Roman
    replied
    Great post. I really hadn't even considered the distinction between DP and Cinematographer with regards to multiple units and playing more into overseer.

    I don't think I've ever introduced myself as a "DP" or Cinematographer, just that I happen to be handling those duties when someone asks. When I once had to run down the basics of teaching a "DP" the basics of exposure and how to maintain it accurately between A B and C cameras, I realized I never... want to be the 'that' guy. In a big market, I'm sure these people get weeded out very quickly; everywhere else though you'll see anyone who actually purchased a camera for the purpose of shooting anything... gladly identify themselves as a DP.

    I think the title is what's earned and being credited as DP / Cinematographer etc, is different. Like, you can go off to war with emergency medicine training and do battlefield surgeries but I'd be hesitant to say that person would be competent as a Doctor in diagnosing illnesses and knowing the first thing about the subtleties of the medical field as a whole. I'll take credit but I'll never be the one to introduce myself as a Cinematographer / DP outside the context of an actual shoot.

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  • trispembo
    replied
    Originally posted by John Brawley View Post
    There's no right or wrong because people use these terms very interchangeably. Here's my view.

    A cinematographer chooses or sets exposure, based on their lighting or subtraction of lighting.

    Camera operators generally do not, or do so under instruction from a Cinematographer, DP or lighting camera person.

    A DP is a cinematographer that oversees more than one camera team and often more than one unit.
    The first Director of Photography (he was also an accredited ACS member) I worked with many years ago explained it this way as well. He said it took him years before he could call himself a DoP.

    Really, it comes down to respect for the craft.

    After 25+ years, using at first video cameras, and now digital cinema cameras, I feel comfortable calling myself a cinematographer. Certainly for the type of work I do - documentary, music and corporate films. And that is ONLY after many discussions with other, more experienced cinematographers and accredited DoP's who have offered I can do so - in other words, I've demonstrated the knowledge and experience to carry that title. But I would never compare myself to a cinematographer working in narrative films - there's still SO much I'd have to learn yet. And as for calling myself a Director of Photography, I doubt I'd ever do that. Unless I decide to devote my life to that role, then I don't believe I'd ever be good enough.

    BTW, I never use the term "videographer." And don't like being called one. I think it comes from the wedding film industry - of which I've never participated, and never will. Sure, some people love making wedding films, and produce amazing creative work... it's just not for me.

    It took me years to feel comfortable calling myself a director, but that's effectively what I am. The creative decision maker for films, and in Australia that usually means you're an auteur. You have to own the story, and bring it to life yourself. But along the way, it's usually necessary to wear many hats - the more you wear, the greater your earning potential.
    Last edited by trispembo; 03-28-2019, 05:42 PM.

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  • fahnon
    replied
    You know what? After reading this I think I will also stop using DP/DoP and Cinematographer interchangeably.

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  • Taikonaut
    replied
    Originally posted by GeranSimpson View Post
    Personally I think it's only possible to credit yourself on-screen as a "cinematographer" if you are basically one-man-banding it. It's pretty pretentious to claim you are responsible for everything on the screen when there are probably half a dozen or so people in the camera department alone. Writers and producers are overseeing the story, DP coordinating with the director on the look of each shot while the director coordinates with the executive producers and show creators.

    Cinematography, to my understanding, is the study of creating narrative through moving pictures. You could argue that everyone in the crew is a cinematographer for a narrative piece.

    Videography is capturing something unscripted like a concert or an interview.
    Not necessarily true. You don't have to be one man banding to credit yourself as a cinematographer. You could be working with a team of people but if you are the main person operating the camera you can still be the cinematographer. The DoP involves in charge of multiple units that can involve mutiple camera operators.

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  • John Brawley
    replied
    And also this great piece by the wonderful Phil Méheux BSC whom I was lucky enough to sit next to at the ASC Awards a couple of years ago.

    He also views that the phrase DP is senior to the term cinematographer.

    "One feels that the term should be reserved for cinematographers who have a wealth of experience as the criteria for BSC Full Membership states"

    https://bscine.com/news?id=144

    JB

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  • John Brawley
    replied
    Getting way OT so sorry about the diversion. feel free to skip over.

    Here's an interesting article with recent info and some cool comments at the end. And not a single mention of shooter :-)

    https://stephenfollows.com/cinematog...f-photography/

    This is what I understand the title DOP or DP to carry. The management of multiple units and cameras.

    A cinematographer (maybe) has some more indie vibe, that the DP is also operating a camera, something that's very common in Australia and the UK / EU but less so in the US.

    Also, the UK for a long time was "lighting camera"

    I've also seen some thoughts that the DOP term was invented by the guilds in the US to create job demarcation / protectionism for operators. For example, I HAVE to always employ a camera operator, even if I did prefer to operate on US / union shows.

    From the comments on the link above this quote makes sense to me.

    "Director of Photography really should only relate to larger productions where there are large crews and an element of managerial and organisational skill required from the HoD"

    I think "cinematographer" relating to cinema finish was only a thing in the last few years. When I was coming up in Australia, everyone was a cinematographer until they graduated up to DOP on bigger shows (be they film or TV) and none of us had the luxury of full time operators. We all operated ourselves. It's interesting to me as well that many of the most revered DP's also operate.

    JB

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  • GeranSimpson
    replied
    Originally posted by Taikonaut View Post
    I always consider someone who shoot a feature for the big screen the "cinematographer" because it is shown at a cinema. Those who shoot for a TV show a "DoP". A "videographer" for someone who shoot corporate stuff.
    Personally I think it's only possible to credit yourself on-screen as a "cinematographer" if you are basically one-man-banding it. It's pretty pretentious to claim you are responsible for everything on the screen when there are probably half a dozen or so people in the camera department alone. Writers and producers are overseeing the story, DP coordinating with the director on the look of each shot while the director coordinates with the executive producers and show creators.

    Cinematography, to my understanding, is the study of creating narrative through moving pictures. You could argue that everyone in the crew is a cinematographer for a narrative piece.

    Videography is capturing something unscripted like a concert or an interview.

    Leave a comment:


  • Denny Smith
    replied
    You are only a DoP on TV shows if you are in charge of the shooting crew, and setup, including any lighting. Otherwise for TV if you just run the camera, you are a Camera Operator.
    Cheers

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  • Taikonaut
    replied
    I always consider someone who shoot a feature for the big screen the "cinematographer" because it is shown at a cinema. Those who shoot for a TV show a "DoP". A "videographer" for someone who shoot corporate stuff.

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  • dop16mm
    replied
    This thread has gone in a different direction, but I will say I agree with JB in terms of cinematographer credit. I don't consider myself a shooter as I don't do corporate or event stuff, although I will say I shot something. I only do narrative, mostly shorts but a few features as well, all no/micro budget so I don't usually even have a proper single camera crew with assistants let alone multiple units and tend to operate myself. When asked I prefer the credit Cinematographer or Cinematography By, although I have been given Director Of Photography by those that don't know better or bother to ask. I have a web series coming up that will be shot sitcom style with 3 cameras (gen1 Bmcc and Bmpcc) and I may take DOP credit for that one.

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  • John Brawley
    replied
    Originally posted by joe12south View Post
    Besides, saying you "cinemagraphed" Avatar IV doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
    Saying someone "photographed" Avatar IV sounds logical to me ? Or "DP'd".

    JB

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  • GeranSimpson
    replied
    Originally posted by John Brawley View Post
    I honestly cringe when I get an email from someone looking for work as a 2nd AC saying they're a DP / EDITOR / COLOURIST. The qualification for being a DP now seems to be the owning of a mirrorless camera.

    ....

    I happen to think titles matter. But the rest of the world has moved on.

    JB
    Thank goodness colorists have to be certified for the title. The same analogy carries over to every person who applied a lut in Premier apparently.

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  • joe12south
    replied
    Interesting, and understandable. Having started first as the creative or art director, I always had the right to impose my vision, but I had to fight to get behind the camera. Maybe for this reason, I consider it something of a badge of honor to be called the "shooter" because most of my compatriots couldn't operate a camera to save their lives.

    Besides, saying you "cinemagraphed" Avatar IV doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

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