What is a Director of Photography?

Director of Photography

A Director of Photography is one of the most important people on the set of a film. He is essentially responsible for the look of the finished movie. Let’s get something out of the way first, “Director of Photography” can be referred to in many different ways such as DoP, DP, or cinematographer but never as a videographer. That is a completely different thing. Now, technically the DP is the head of the camera department but also controls both the grip department and the electrics department. This creative mastermind is in charge of anything and everything that has to do with the camera, it’s settings, what and how it captures these frames and how all the lighting around it works. Some DPs even go as far as to sit in the editing room to make sure the movie looks exactly how they want it to look. Keep in mind that this is all done to the director’s and producer’s discretion. Most of the time a DP does not out rank these people in the film hierarchy and will not have final cut on the film. We have many Directors of Photography members right here on FilmLocal.

Famous DPs

The unfortunate thing about DPs is that they aren’t nearly as widely recognized by the general public even though their influence is greatly shown in the final product of the film. You’d be hard pressed to walk up to a random person and have them name even one, but hey, I guess that’s why you’re reading this article now isn’t it? There are many famous DPs I could mention, however, I’ll only mention the two most famous ones as of right now; Roger Deakins and Emmanuel Lubezki. If you’re looking to get inspired and learn more about cinematography as an art form, I would highly suggest looking these two people up and watching their movies, you won’t be disappointed. There’s a big chance that you’ve already seen something they’ve shot! For instance, The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio was shot by Emmanuel Lubezki using only natural light. This means that the only source of light was either from the sun, moon, or fire. No lighting equipment at all was used on the set of this film. Except maybe to light up the nearby crafty table for the cast and crew.

The Revenant behind the scenes photo featuring it's Director of Photography

He's in there somewhere! (so am I)

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