Within this session I’ll be covering on the different ways that you can become a cameraman, what they do, the roles to work up to becoming a Cinematographer as well as some research on a famous cameraman and the Auteur Theory.
How to become a Cameraman
There are various different methods on becoming a cameraman – of course the main ways like always are through:
University to get the better experience and also to be able to gather the contacts to get you in the industry easier.
Internships and Apprenticeships to be able to gather more skills and know more about the industry itself.
A key skill that could be used could be Photography: From week 1 you’ll be learning all about framing which would allow you to understand a lot better.
You could become a Camera Assistant to start off with. This would allow you to be in charge of the technical side of the camera, for example, making sure the battery is charged, there’s a spare battery etc. as well as you’d know the script as much as possible so you know where the cameras would have to be and what’s happening at what time. They could also have a team of Junior Assistants that they would be in charge of to do the smaller tasks. Finally, they can either have very vast or very tiny jobs – something simple or something more complicated.
This could end up leading onto becoming a Camera Operator (or a Camera Man) which are the people that actually are in charge of the camera – they are in control of filming and have the creative skills and have a creative mind to know what they want filmed. They add extra elements into what they do with the camerawork.
Cinematographer/Director of Cinematography
The Cinematographer (or the Director of Cinematography) is at a similar level to what the director is at – they are in charge of where the cameras go, what sort of angles and shots should be created and used as well as creating floor plans for where the camera locations should be.
A famous cameraman that I’ll be talking about within this is Stephen Czapsky who is famous for working within Tim Burton films.
Stefan Czapsky has been nominated for various different awards, including:
- An ACCA Award in 1994 for “Best Cinematography” for the film Ed Wood (1994)
He has physically won various different awards
- A BOSFC Award in 1994 for “Best Cinematography” for the film Ed Wood (1994)
- A LAFCA Award in 1994 for “Best Cinematography” for the film Ed Wood (1994)
- A NSFC Award in 1995 for “Best Cinematography” for the film Ed Wood (1994)
- A NYFCC Award in 1994 for “Best Cinematographer” for the film Ed Wood (1994)
- 3rd place in the NYFCC Awards in 1990 for “Best Cinematographer” for the film Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Stefan Czapsky Awards (IMDB, No date)
Taken from Stefan Czapsky’s official Bio over on his website, he “has captured visually iconic films such as Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns and Ed Wood for director Tim Burton.”. This shows that he has worked on various different films that have been directed by Tim Burton, which shows that he must be good at what he does as Tim Burton has invited him to various different films. He also spent two years in New York, and whilst he was there he made a transition from studying films to making them. Taken from his website as well, “He worked as an assistant cameraman and gaffer for 11 years on groundbreaking independent productions from directors”. Finally, Czapsky has mentioned that being a cinematographer, he relies a lot on new Hollywood films for inspiration on what he does in his work.
Stephen Czapsky Biography (Czapsky, S, No date)
Auteur is a French word for “Author”. This theory around this is that the Director is the author of the production. They have a certain style that they like and want to stick to, and they are the leader of a team: Lighting, Sound, Camera, Editors and Writers. They all have their own versions of scripts. There are also actors. If one actor was picked for a role, they would need to fit that role – the film would be very different if it had a different actor! The director of the film actually chooses their team, so that is the main reason they are known as the “Author of the Production”. Some examples could be Christopher Nolan or Tim Burton, as they usually choose their whole team, and Tim Burton likes to stick with the same sort of actors, for example, Johnny Depp, whereas Christopher Nolan has the exact same team all the time.
Overall, I think this session was good as I like a lot of things to do with camerawork, however, personally I don’t see myself going through the cinematography path, so I feel that it wouldn’t be something I would be up for in the future, but it was really good to get a better understanding of everything to do with how I Could become a cameraman if I wanted to in the future.