Role of the Director of Photography in Film Making

The Director of Photography, also known as the Cinematographer, is a vital creative force in the Film making process. He or she is that one person who is responsible for translating the Director’s cinematic vision onto the screen. Not only does a Cinematographer need to be adept at creating engaging visual moods, but must also be able to both envision them and execute them.

And it is here that the role of a good Director of Photography becomes most challenging. Because in order to envision a visual scenario, he or she needs to be extremely creative, which is a right-brain function. But because that envisioned mood will be realized using mechanical tools, such as light and camera, he must also possess a scientific bent of mind in order to achieve the right mood. This then makes it a left-brain function.

The two combined make it a very complex job that can only be effectively executed with deep knowledge and creativity. Because in the role of a Director of Photography, the individual is both an artist and a technician, and must be the best of both these divergent worlds. So how does one prepare for this highly complex role? How does one develop the required skills needed to be a compelling Cinematographer? There are creative and technical worlds to conquer and master, and the required preparation is immense.

At the time of shoot, or even in pre-production visualization stages, a Director may lack visual thinking. It is the Director of Photography who translates the Director’s literal thoughts to screen. The whole Cinematography team gets engaged in that job, under the guiding force of their Captain – the Director of Photography. The question is how to train oneself to that profile?

Digital Academy – The Film School is the answer. The DA Cinematography program will give you the most comprehensive and in depth grounding, by using world-class equipment and instructions from the most sought after artists & technicians in the business. While you will learn the theory of Cinema, you will also physically handle and shoot on a wide array of cameras & lenses. While you participate in workshops by leading Cinematographers from Bollywood, you will also build contacts and create your network to eventually work in the industry.

Armed with the training from DA, you will truly broaden your horizons as an individual artist and as a young DoP hungry to work in the Film industry!

Passion To Profession, What Do You Need?

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites
you” -Oprah Winfrey

Many battles have been fought and won, by sheer passion. Many kingdoms have been
built, on sheer passion. From the Sparta to the present day dynasties, it is passion that
makes the world's greatest societies. It should be no different when it comes to the
careers of individuals. Because it is passion alone, that can bring true realization, and true
happiness.

Today, we live in a world where it is more likely than ever, that we will be able to convert
our passion, into a lucrative, rewarding, and fulfilling career. Gone are the days when one
had to be a doctor, an engineer, or an IAS officer; a limited set of predetermined career
avenues. Today, if you have the burning passion, no matter what it is, you can make it
your career.

There are several examples in the Indian Film industry itself. Stories of rank outsiders
that have come in with no background, academic or social; and made it in Bollywood,
thanks to their stubborn passion, that never ever gives up. The industry's biggest icon
himself, as is well known, struggled through countless Films as a new Actor, before
he became the Big B as Amitabh Bachchan is known today. Even more recently, Saif
Ali Khan is another true example of a passionate Actor quietly pursuing his dreams,
unperturbed by many failures at the beginning of his career.

A passion then, requires two things for it to transform into a profession. One is the
courage of conviction, and the second, the support of a quality education. Having that
burning passion will take you far, no doubt, but at what cost? It may take years. But
supplement that passion with an education at a sought after Film academy – be it in
Writing, Cinematography, Acting or Directing; and you would have given your passion a
quantum leap into a potentially life-long and thriving career.

Today, a great Film education is accessible and available. It is a huge advantage that was
not present until recently. So to all those of you truly passionate & creative, let nothing
stop you from studying hard, and realizing all your dreams!

“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the
mastery of his passions” -Tennyson

Passion, To Dream Bigger

Don’t let anything stand in your way, be the first”; words that may not sound very inspired, but they come from a real life hero, Jeff Arch, the critically acclaimed screenplay writer of the 1993 Oscar nominated hit ‘Sleepless In Seattle’ starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. And these words rang true in Jeff’s own life, and his relentless struggle in recognizing his passion for writing.

Jeff Arch had struggled with writing in his early years. He had written many screenplays. They would take him, on occasion, up to three whole years to finish, and never ended up being considered for production. Disillusioned, Jeff set up a karate school. But while his life as a martial arts school owner seemed on course commercially, within him, the passionate beast of writing lurked.

Perhaps under the guidance of his mentor, Hollywood cameraman Conrad Hall, Jeff decided that he could no longer ignore his Screenwriting passion; but he had to give up everything else and focus singularly on writing. Make a firm and unshakable commitment. He surrendered his karate school, and inspired by an infomercial that he credits for breaking his ‘mental crunch’ when it said, ‘You’ve got to think bigger than you ever thought you could think’; Jeff ordered a series of instructional tapes on writing. And unlike his earlier attempts, this time he sat dedicated, listened, learned, and began writing in earnest.

The result? A Cold War script that was well thought out, but not commercially viable. The kind of ‘setback’ that would earlier have dissuaded him; this time only served to fuel Jeff’s fire further. And he persevered with an unquenchable thirst until his passion finally gave the world, the much sought after ‘Sleepless In Seattle’. He was nominated for an Oscar as well as several other prestigious Screenplay category awards, and the Film has become an iconic landmark in popular culture.

Despite Jeff Arch’s success; it is undeniable that it came to him rather late in life. Why? Perhaps because he did not act strongly enough on his passion, as early in his life, as he could have. But today, passionate young people striving to be Writers and Film-makers have a tremendous opportunity to really fast-track their dreams. By attending a Film academy and receiving a formal education in the medium; young creative minds can skip the unsavory aspect of Films, the lingering doubt, the constant struggle. Because being armed with a comprehensive Film education, you are already prepared. All you then have to do is, work. You don’t have to go through several years writing or trying to Direct without full knowledge, and neither do you have to be self-taught. A good Film academy can give you all that & more, in a controlled, professional, and time-restricted manner; so that you emerge a confident, aware individual, who is ready to take on the Film world.

It’s now or never. Don’t let your passion stagnate. Let a great Film education be the fuel to your Film passion!

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