Preditor = Producer + Director + Editor
DP-Preneur = DP + Entrepeneur
Hybrid Roles in the film industry
01:05 – Filmmakers aren’t restricting themselves to being solely directors, editors, or DPs. People are taking on hybrid roles like Director+DP or DP+Colorist, etc. This a trend that will continue into the future.
High End Production = Specialize
01:25 – At the very high level of feature films and commercials, people specialize because the projects are so big that it would be impossible to fill multiple roles at once.
New Media Landscape = Hybrid
01:45 Cinematic branded content is a hybrid of commercial, a short film, a documentary and it helps broadcast a company/brand’s message to it’s customers.
02:20 The visual quality bar is much because of access to quality cameras and post production. Micro budget content is starting to look like the 1 million dollar commercials and feature films.
The Pros of Hybrid Roles
02:42 The DP + Colorist has more creative control and authorship over the final image. Shooting and Coloring are part of the same image making pipeline and technology is allowing modern cinematographer to both shoot and color.
The Old Ways
03:00 When DPs shot film they never really had a hand in the color timing process. They were often there supervising but the actual process and mechanics were too complicated and specialized.
03:20 With Digital Intermediate technology, systems like DaVinci and Pablo were tied to expensive hardware that were not accessible to DPs. They cost millions of dollars and training on the systems meant working night shifts and apprenticing under a “master” colorist.
03:40 These days DaVinci is free and can be run on a modest laptop computer. Black Magic Design, who own DaVinci, also manufacture really decent digital cinema cameras that are incredibly affordable.
With these cameras and post production software, anyone can create imagery that would have cost millions of dollars to produce in the past.
04:00 These days people are skipping the “paying your dues” phase. They want to jump right in to the learning the skills that are 1:1 relevant to being a cinematographer and a colorist.
Internet of Things
Access to affordable quality equipment (Black Magic Ursa Mini + Xeen Prime Lenses) and access to affordable post production software and hardware (Macbook Pro + Adobe Premiere + DaVinci Resolve) have lowered the barrier to creating professional imagery.
Online learning resources like Cinematography Database (yes this site!) and others like it have given access to information that was hidden away in NYC and LA.
The Cons of Hybrid Roles
05:30 The obvious con of having a hybrid role is danger of being a “Jack of All Trades and a Master of None.” Traditionally this was a bad thing in the industry. People valued specialists and the goal was to be the best at one type of thing.
I’ve followed this methodology in my career and I’ve achieved success within my speciality or niche. However, there are more avenues these days to create content. We are not limited to the traditional :30 TV commercial, 30 minute TV show, or 90 minute feature film.
With these new avenues of content, there is more room for hybrid roles and for individual filmmakers to retain more control of the final product.
The Modern Cinematographer (and colorist)
05:50 The modern cinematographer today can learn both cinematography and coloring at the same time.
Cinematographer A – Specializes in learning cinematography only.
Cinematographer B – Learns cinematography and coloring.
Cinematographer A may progress more quickly at gaining cinematography skills in the short term, than Cinematographer B who is also learning coloring.
Cinematographer B, long term, will be a better cinematographer for learning both cinematography and coloring at the same time. They are both part of the image making pipeline and they inform each other.
As you travel the DP or Colorist Spectrum, you will likely specialize. But having learned both cinematography and coloring early on, you will have better perspective on the craft you chose to specialize in.
Online Course on Cinematography + Coloring
I want to work with Black Magic Design who create the Black Magic Ursa Mini digital cinema camera and DaVinci Resolve, the industry standard coloring software.
I want to create a series of online courses that teach the fundamental concepts of cinematography and coloring together. They are both part of the same image making pipeline and modern cinematographers should learn them together. <3
My Hybrid Background Makes Me a Better Team Player
09:30 I have a background in directing, shooting, coloring, compositing, and 3D. Today I specialize in shooting but my background and fundamental understanding of other fields allows me to place myself in others position.
I have a better understanding of what I can do as a cinematographer to make their lives easier and the final product better. That is the goal of a modern cinematographer. You must understand the full image making pipeline, understand your role in the pipeline, and how you can make the best final image.
Learning Audio Recording and Mixing
10:00 To produce content for Cinematography Database I’ve had to learn how to record and edit audio. And I’m terrible at it, but I’m working and improving every day.
10:44 One thing I don’t have the time or experience to do on my own is produce quality music. And music is important to making compelling Podcasts, Youtube videos, and online courses.
Art-List.io and Ira Belsky
Ira is a Cineamtographer-Preneur or DP-Preneur. He is a working commercial DP and a entreneur. Ira created Art-List out of a want and a need to make quality content. Art-list.io is a platform that connects real world musicians with real world filmmakers.
There are quality musians who need to make a living licensing their music and there are quality filmmakers who need music. Art-list is a $200 /year subscription service that gives filmmakers unlimited access to a large library of music made by real artists.
12:00 MW: I found Art-list.io from the beautiful branding films that Ira shot. They were shot economically but they have a look of a much more “expensive” production.
Ira Belsky Interview
13:43 MW: You have a cool story, you are a working cinematographer. But you have a new company called Art-list. Can you talk to me about your journey from cinematographer to entrepreneur?
14:00 IB: I was always working as a DP and editor at the same time. Music was always a big part of my production workflow. I felt like there wasn’t a good source of music that was affordable that I could use for any project.
Dealing with licensing on other platforms took me out of the creative process. I knew a lot of musicians and web developers so we had this idea of building a platform of our own. That is where Art-List came from. Out of necessity of good music.
15:08 MW: The more DPs I talk to I’m finding that there are less specialized cinematographers. Filmmakers are becoming more hybrids.
I’ve been a specialized DP for 10 years but now I find myself having to do my own audio, editing, etc. and I need quality music for my content.
Art List Branding Films
16:00 MW: I love the idea of seeing the artist who are performing the music. We get to see who’s music we are using.
Can you talk about how the branding films and the campaign came together?
16:40 IB: We knew from the start that the audience is making their owns films. They are enlightened customers. The key point we wanted to make was that Art List was a source for real music, not stock music.
The artists love making music. From the beginning there was this idea of bringing the musician up front. At the end of the day Art-List is about the music and the artist who makes it.
18:51 MW: The branding films are great, I felt like I was watching a movie about the musician. It’s a great alternative to a music video and a great way to promote the artist.
19:30 IB: The musicians know video is so important and for them they love being able to speak and give insight into WHY they do what they do. They loved the opportunity and the end results.
The Concepts and Techniques
20:11 MW: Can you talk about what cameras, lenses, and how did you come to your decisions on those?
21:00 IB: One of the key aspects was the fact was that I was the client and the filmmaker. And that gave me freedom to my creative choices. The hybrid that is commercial but guided my creative instincts will influence my future work.
London, I chose the Sony FS7. And I knew I could count on it. I knew that it had great dynamic range and low light. It’s a great one-man crew camera. We used Canon L Series 24-70mm f2.8 lenses. Chasing a zoom was based on the fact that I would have to things very quickly.
23:33 IB: There are a couple of key things that I do:
- Knowing the camera you are using and how it will work in post production.
- When I come to a room, I turn off all of the lights and look at the daylight from the windows.
- I try to work with the natural fall off of the light. Where are the spaces in the room I can shoot.
- Then I determine how much of the background I want to feature in the shot.
- I use long lenses to selectively chose what I want in the background. I want to limit what the audience sees.
- I want to focus the frame and try to get as little information as possible. Keeping the decisions precise to what you want to show.
25:58 MW: I think the approach works for any size project.
I heard that “the best director and DPs, they pick the spot where the light or location looks the best.” that is 90% of the job.
You choice of what you show and don’t show in camera is the core of filmmaking.
Once you learn the camera, you forget about it and you just use your eyes and mind to see the location you are in.
28:00 IB: The film here I shot with the FS7, the Ursa Mini, the Red Dragon, and the Pocket Cinema camera. Each of these cameras have their strengths and shine in certain situations. If you get to know them, you can get great results.
29:00 MW: There are new avenues with style of content that allow filmmakers to be hybrids and have more control and authorship over the image and still get great results.
30:00 IB: Back in the day someone who was a DP was just a DP. And they think that by doing multiple roles brings the value down.
But the tools are available to everyone. You don’t need 20 years experience to use a proper camera or a use a proper editing and coloring suite.
People are talented and they want a certain look and they will go the extra mile to learn how to do it. No matter how many hours they need to spend learning it.
31:50 MW: Where can people go online to learn more about Art-List?
32:00 IB: The idea is to bring music into this generation that wants access to everything, so they can create quality content but not have to spend money they do not have.
Today you can follow us on Facebook and there is a landing page (pre-launch) that will give you 5 free songs for signing up.
Art-List Branded Films
Behind the Scenes Gallery