The relationship between a Director and the Director of Photography (DP) is extremely important. You need to be able to communicate your ideas precisely and with as much detail as you can to your DP and vice versa. If the communication is not there, then the film won’t be either.
This post focuses on how to better communicate your ideas with a DP to make sure you are both on the same page and get the images you need to make your film.
1. Give Examples
Sometimes the best and most accurate way to get a point across is to share an example of what you want. If you’re having trouble explaining how you want your film or scene to look, try finding a movie that has a similar look and show that to your DP. This will help clear any confusions and cut straight to the point.
2. There Is No Such Thing As Too Much Information
The more information you can pass along to your DP the better. This is especially true if you’re working on a short schedule and don’t have the luxury of working together extensively in pre-production.
I’m currently working with a DP on some test shoots for our next feature; because of scheduling issues, we’ll only have the day before the shoot to meet-up and discuss the plan. In order to make sure the DP and I are on the same page with what we want to achieve I’ve sent him: Storyboards, Dimensions of the Rooms, Screen Captures of Movies we would like to imitate, Stills and Video of the Locations, etc.
All this information helps give your DP a clear idea of what you want and will allow him/her to let you know what they need in order to achieve your vision.
3. Listen To Your DP
It’s always best to have a plan to present to your DP so that you both understand what it is you want to do, but it’s also important that after you present your ideas for shots, that you listen to your DP and any ideas they may have that could improve what you’ve laid out.
Remember, you hired your DP because they have a skill so make sure you listen to what they have to say about a scene or a shot. Often they will improve on what you have presented and give you exactly what you want but with a little more flare.
Every time you work with a new DP the relationship will always be different but the process won’t. No matter how you work, there are always things the two of you can do to get your points across and make sure your vision for your film is achieved.
I hope this post helps you so that the next time you work with a DP you can precisely communicate your ideas to increase your chances of making a successful film. If you have any questions or ideas regarding this post be sure and leave us a comment at the bottom of the page.
As always if you enjoyed this post be sure and SUBSCRIBE at the top of the page and the SHARE the article with your friends~ Bill and Alexander Shumake