Posted by: beya in Untagged  on Print PDF

In my recent blogs we have been considering how to get our productions to the “next level” Due to the dart of formal training institutes in filmmaking and related media, the Nigerian film, television and radio industry severely suffers from inadequacy in technically competent people. While the initial technical base of the workforce came from former employees of the Nigerian Television Authority, there has been little scope for training and capacity development of the personnel involved in the industry. This is evident in the relatively deficient quality of Nollywood films, television production and radio programs when compared to Bollywood or Hollywood films, television productions from Europe and the Americas. Improvement in quality is essential if Nollywood and the Nigerian audiovisual media have to make a mark in the global film industry and reach a global audience. This brings to fore the need for professionalism. Television and radio productions are for professionals. It needs requisite skills to ensure quality productions. Discipline, training, regulation and maintenance of standards are of utmost importance. In my blog last week we took a look at he need for good lighting and lighting technicians and their contribution towards the making of a good production. This week we look at the importance of good cinematographers and cameramen to the production process. A great deal of thought and effort is put into camera angles, lighting and specific shots in all films. Cinematographers using cameras are responsible for working on creating these effects. They use and manipulate cameras, lighting and related equipment to create the desired visual mood or "feel" of a film or video production. Cinematographers are sometimes called "directors of photography" (DP). DPs make many creative decisions that affect the look of the film. They usually direct a number of assistants who operate the cameras and lighting equipment. For example, the cameraperson operates the camera according to the strict instructions of the cinematographer. If they want the camera to pan a scene or shoot from a bird's eye view, this will happen in the filming process. Cinematographers by adjusting cameras for desired focus, exposure, composition and other settings and by the use of lighting and other techniques, such as lens selection, filtration, exposure and focus create images on film by working closely with the director and other production crew members, especially the camera operator. Cinematographers must be talented and creative individuals that can visualize a finished product before its completion. They must be willing to put in long hours of practicing their art, developing their own style and keeping up to date with technological Cinematographers must enjoy directing and co-coordinating camera and lighting work, finding innovative ways to do things, and working with equipment. A cinematographer is in charge of a small crew and should enjoy dealing with a multitude of different people and must be able to co-ordinate the work of others and teach apprentices how to operate and manipulate cameras. They should be knowledgeable in all aspects of camera and film production, and in different styles and sizes of film and cameras. This is why formal training is recommended, as cinematographers need a solid grounding in both the theoretical and technical aspects of the work. They need to know cameras inside and out, including lenses and filters. Most have undergraduate degrees in technical film studies. Film camera operators operate film and motion picture cameras and related equipment to record different types of film. They use specific cameras, lenses and lighting techniques to create a desired look to a film. They sit or stand behind the camera lens and try to compose moving pictures. On a film set, the camera operator works directly under the director of photography (DP) and over the second cameraman. They are responsible for the smooth panning and tilting of the camera and keeping shots framed and composed as required by the (DP). The DP has the authority to reject any shot that has faulty camera movement, focus, composition or any unwanted encroachment in the frame by a person, thing or effect, therefore the camera operator may have to re-shoot any shots with flaws. Camera operators read charts and compute ratios to determine variables such as lighting, shutter angles, filter factors, and camera distance. Camera operators use different techniques in filming such as zooms, fades and blurring of the background, with a close up focus. Camera operators adjust the position and controls of photographic equipment and select cameras, accessories, equipment, and film stock to use during filming. Camera operators trouble shoot around the set or location for potential problems and to determine filming and lighting requirements. Camera operators make sure that all the visual components of the story are captured accurately and interestingly. They need to have excellent motor (hand-eye) coordination, good vision and hearing and a great deal of stamina. They should possess an interest in electronics and new technology. Camera operators must remain alert while performing routine, repetitive tasks and respond quickly if any potential problems occur. They should enjoy working with a crew of people and be able to clearly communicate ideas.