“There weren’t a lot of contemporary mechanics introduced, like helicopters and zoom lenses. It was a tableau form of moviemaking, where the actors move in and out of frame, very straightforward. It was supposed to feel like a period piece… There was no discussion of lighting. I just did what I felt like doing. The design came out of the juxtaposition of the bright, cheerful garden party wedding that was going on outside, and the underbelly in this dark house. I used overhead lighting because the Don was the personification of evil, and I didn’t always want the audience to look into his eyes, see what he was thinking. I just wanted to keep him dark… (In those days) screens were so blitzed with light that you could see into every corner of every toilet and closet on the set. I’d always hear, ‘They have to be able to see it in the drive-ins….’ When the dark stuff started to appear on the screen, it seemed a little scary to people who were used to looking at Doris Day movies.” - DP Gordon Willis talking about The Godfather in Peter Biskind’s book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. Willis died yesterday at the age of 92.
When I was a focus puller on a movie with Adrian Biddle, BSC, I told him I did not have focus marks, and he said, ‘Feel the Force.’ I use that advice all the time. - Dan Mindel (Enemy of the State, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness)
1) Learn how to listen; 2) Choose one strong idea per film; and 3) Really understand your motivations, why you do something and not something else, and the direction you take in your work. - Darius Khondji, ASC, AFC (Delicatessen, Se7en, Midnight In Paris)
At ILM, Dennis Muren, ASC had a simple, powerful phrase: ‘One shot, one thought.’ When we lapse into gilding the lily on a setup, that quote provides a reality check. - Pete Kozachik, ASC (Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas)
Never take rejection personally if you don’t get a job. There are so many cinematographers vying for so few jobs, and there are many forces at work that have nothing to do with one’s talent. - Nancy Schreiber, ASC (The Nines, Woody Allen: A Documentary)
Stay calm, listen, observe and lead by example. - Jonathan Taylor, ASC (Iron Man, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy)