Creative jobs are those that require a person to originate, develop or expand original ideas in order to help complete a final product. These roles are for imaginative and creative people who have lots of ideas and can work both independently and in a group with other creative people. Examples of these jobs are set designers, cinematographers, script writers and storyboard artists.
A Director of Photography (cinematographer) has a key role in designing the look of the film by working closely with the Director and Production Designer. Directors of Photography are required on most moving image productions and they often progress from commercials and promos up to feature films. DOP’s have to work with a wide range of people in the crew. They must be able to take direction but also collaborate and guide the camera crew, gaffers and even work with the hair, make up and production designers. They are responsible for giving the film or show its visual signature, created through camera work and lighting.
DOP’s learn their craft through many years of experience on film and television sets. They have often studied film/photography to degree level or higher and may work their way up through the hierarchy of film/TV crews. Camera operators, 2nd Assistant Camera and workers in the Lighting Department all can potentially progress to becoming a DOP. They may start on student films or in advertising before moving onto bigger productions.
A DOP might have to travel for their job and will likely only be employed for the length of the production. Their work will begin in the pre-production stages and end when the shoot is complete. This means they are often freelance and have to keep their skills up to date and keep themselves active and well known in the industry to keep getting more work. Being a DOP is hard and very skilled job but very creatively rewarding.
As usual a great deal of this information and much more can be found on the Skillset website and in particular the section on Directors of Photography. If any DOP's read this, please get in touch so I can maybe grab a lovely quote or two from you! It's all in the name of education!
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