Cinematography : Getting the most out of your DOP and camera team – Top five tips by Gregory Mandry

Gregory Mandry

Getting the most out of your DOP and camera team – Top five tips

As a DOP you wouldn’t believe some of what I get asked to do (and for that matter some of the little details that didn’t quite get passed on), but as a producer/ director what I thought you should know is five of my top tips for getting the best results out of your DOP. 1 – You are going to need some budget. Lights, camera, equipment and grip all cost money, and unless the look is not important to you, making do is just not going to give you good results. 2 – Give your DOP some examples of what you are after, links are an easy way of doing this and most DOPs, even ones that you think are specialists in specific looks, will be able to replicate looks. Even if you think you are getting most of you “Look” in post, it’s still worth discussing it with your DOP. 3 – Share information with your DOP if you have a script and shot list guess what, the DOP will probably want to see these. 3 – Recces are a great way of including the DOP in your vision and for the DOP to look at the practicalities of what is possible. If the DOP can’t go on the Recce take lots of stills in every direction. Remember the DOP will not just be interested in the direction you want to film in, but will want to see the how much space there will be to work in behind the camera, where sockets are, light fittings and windows. Will the shot you are planning be possible on a 12ft jib? 4 – Ask the DOP about setup times. Something you think will just be a simple shot may be more involved than you think, even a simple close up is likely to involve a lens change and light being moved. 5 – Listen to what advice the DOP can offer. Chances are they have done something similar before and can probably offer several options that may get you the results you are after. Big Yellow Feet have been making award winning video production for over 12 years.

Stage 32 Staff - Julie

Gregory - this is such a wonderful and well-thought out post. It's important for all people on set to communicate with one another and know each other's roles. If you have a few minutes, listen to On Stage with RB where Chris Boardman talks about how you should become a "filmmaker" and at least take the time to know each other's roles so the final product comes out better. Thank you so much for posting this.

Amanda Toney

This is SO useful! Thank you for taking the time to put this together Gregory!

Gregory Mandry

A little rushed but I think the sentiment is there. Yes the Chris Boardman interview is a cracker, I've been dipping in and out as it’s so long (not a criticism, as the long form is so important). But I think you guys could put up some shorter edited punchy versions of some of the more salient points. Would certainly help people on the move get more out of it - but well done.

Michael Gomez

Thanks for posting this. It is very clear and one of those things that you know you should always do but sometimes get rushed and forget.

Scott Danzig

Learned all of this the hard way! It's all true :)

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