Q, You’ve been a cinematographer for nearly four decades. The technology has changed a fair bit. Has what makes a good cinematographer changed? The techniques have changed. The speed of film altered first. In the studio system, with highlighting, to trying to do no lighting, yet having slow speed so you had to do lighting. And then you moved into digital, which had a higher speed, so lighting started to disappear altogether. It’s more about shading than lighting. Composition altered. You got the handheld shot. All changes created by technology.
Q, Almost all ‘films’ are now shot in the digital format. Do you see this more as a loss or a gain? I could take both those perspectives. Film has been developed for years as a way to capture human skin tone more naturally. It has a softer resonance. But digital’s moving into a larger space of comfort, a wider range of capture. Also, you have to use less light to achieve the look.
Q, So would one argument for the digital format be about being closer to life, more natural? That’s where they’ve gone. But, in a film, you’re telling a story. Even a writer can’t do that in a ‘natural’ manner. Why should a cinematographer?
Q, You’ve had close working partnerships with great directors like Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. Have you ever been tempted to direct? I&rsq