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Filmspotting Message Boards => Filmspotter Pantheon => Topic started by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 02:42:50 PM

Title: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 02:42:50 PM
Would there be an interest in doing something like this?

I know once we move out of the realm of Director and Actor people are a little bit sketchy as to names they know, but I figured we could work on a thread which helped people recognize various cinematographer's body of work.

I'd certainly be interested in helming this endeavor, but I'd need help figuring out the best way to collect, sort and rank all the data.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on March 27, 2011, 02:44:28 PM
I'm just beginning to get a handle on what cinematography is.  So I think I'll pass on this one until I feel better able to intelligently participate in this discussion.   I am looking forward to what others say, so that I may learn.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: 'Noke on March 27, 2011, 02:47:11 PM
I'd much prefer to do it by film rather then by Cinematographer.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 02:49:16 PM
That's a possibility as well. What would we call that? Top 100 Cinematic Films?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: 'Noke on March 27, 2011, 02:50:49 PM
That's a possibility as well. What would we call that? Top 100 Cinematic Films?

Nah, that makes it sound like we are voting for the most cinematic films rather then best caces of cinematography.

I, for one, think we should just get rid of artifice and call it "Filmspotters' top 100 prettiest movies"
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 27, 2011, 02:51:16 PM
That's a possibility as well. What would we call that? Top 100 Cinematic Films?

Top 100 Best Cinematography

You're welcome.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 02:54:43 PM
That would be like calling it the Top 100 Directions. It just sounds wrong to me for some reason.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 27, 2011, 02:58:51 PM
That would be like calling it the Top 100 Directions. It just sounds wrong to me for some reason.

When you give out a Filmspot you call it Best Cinematography, this ain't no different. Top Cinematographers would make for a very short list comprised mostly of names like Doyle, Lubezki, Cardiff, Deakins and such.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 03:01:34 PM
It would force people to educate themselves more about films they love, though. But maybe I'm being too optimistic in thinking people would actually be interested in trying to figure out cinematographers who have created a body of work they find visually fascinating.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: smirnoff on March 27, 2011, 03:07:31 PM
I would be more interested in celebrating brilliant cinematography than brilliant cinematographers (i.e. films over people)
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bondo on March 27, 2011, 03:18:01 PM
The work required to consider such a list far exceeds my interest in cinematography. I prefer to look at films as whole entities rather than as a bundle of component elements. So lists like Film, Director (which I rated on filmography rather than "direction"), Animated and Doc are find but even with Performances I didn't put a lot of effort in.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: 1SO on March 27, 2011, 03:31:44 PM
I would be more interested in celebrating brilliant cinematography than brilliant cinematographers (i.e. films over people)
Just tell me when to start the natural v. stylized lighting debate and where the anti-Malick cabal lines up.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 27, 2011, 03:32:39 PM
Of course, Wall-E and Ratatouille would have to be up for consideration.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 03:44:15 PM
And that's where we get into all sorts of issues calling it Cinematography. Because, technically, animation isn't quite the same thing, although they certainly share disciplines and principles.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 27, 2011, 03:48:54 PM
This has been discussed on and on and I think it's pretty clear that 3D computer animation employs the techniques of real cinematography enough to be called cinematography. 2D animation is a different issue entirely.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 03:52:11 PM
Yea, that's part of the issue. If we want to just avoid that whole aspect all-together, we could call it the Top 100 Visually Compelling Films or something along that lines.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 27, 2011, 03:54:36 PM
Nah, I'm all for Cinematography. Just make sure to stipulate that the only animated films that can be included are stop-motion and 3D CGI.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 04:00:24 PM
IF we call it Cinematography, I want it to be of films with clear Cinematographers, so I'd just as soon leave out all animated films that don't have a credited Cinematographer.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 27, 2011, 04:16:26 PM
IF we call it Cinematography, I want it to be of films with clear Cinematographers, so I'd just as soon leave out all animated films that don't have a credited Cinematographer.

They do. All of of the Pixars, except Toy Story, which instead has a listen Camera Supervisor and two Lighting Supervisors, and Monsters Inc. which had Camera and Lighting Supervisors.

A Bug's Life - Sharon Calahan
Toy Story 2 - Sharon Calahan
Finding Nemo - Sharon Calahan, Jeremy Lasky
The Incredibles - Andrew Jimenez, Patrick Lin, Janet Lucroy
Cars - Jeremy Lasky

On Ratatouille they started their deal of crediting as Director of Photography: Camera and :Lighting
Ratatouille - Robert Anderson, Sharon Calahan
Wall-E - Jeremy Lasky, Danielle Feinberg (Martin Rosenberg: Live-Action)
Up - Jean-Claude Kalache, Patrick Lin
Toy Story 3 - Jeremy Lasky, Kim White

And if you have doubts about the inclusion of Toy Story and Monsters Inc., the people listed as Lighting and Camera Supervisors on those films were all credited as Directors of Photography on later Pixar films.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 27, 2011, 04:31:28 PM
Also, Dreamworks was a little behind the times (a lot behind the times actually) on this issue. It was not until Kung Fu Panda in 2008 that they began listing a cinematographer. I'm sure all the previous films had people who would be the equivalent of the position, but it's difficult or impossible to figure out who those people would be. And even after Kung Fu Panda they didn't always list a cinematographer.

The problem, of course, is people who are unwilling to accept the idea of CGI films containing cinematography. If the terminology of the medium is not set in stone then neither is the credit.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 04:55:41 PM
I doubt there's a pre-Kung Fu Panda film that anyone would want to consider for the list anyway. If there is, they could always try to make a case for it.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 27, 2011, 05:01:51 PM
Finding Nemo looks pretty fantastic. But yeah, you're right.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 05:02:40 PM
I meant in the context of Dreamworks. 
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Verite on March 27, 2011, 05:36:37 PM
Would there be an interest in doing something like this?

Back in June '09, I posted a poll asking people if they would be interested in such a list.  You can see the results and read about people's concerns back then here (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=5933.0). 

A great primer on DVD is:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5139J7P96CL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


And a decent one (also a DVD) is:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NIEwoQ8XL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Verite on March 27, 2011, 05:42:01 PM
That would be like calling it the Top 100 Directions. It just sounds wrong to me for some reason.

We can model it after the Oscars' technical categories.  Call it something like Filmspotters' Favorite/Top Achievements in Cinematography.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Verite on March 27, 2011, 05:52:53 PM
The work required to consider such a list far exceeds my interest in cinematography. I prefer to look at films as whole entities rather than as a bundle of component elements. So lists like Film, Director (which I rated on filmography rather than "direction"), Animated and Doc are find but even with Performances I didn't put a lot of effort in.

But the components can't really be separated, really.  For example, cinematography can enhance performances which are expressions of the script and results of the director's vision and prompting.  Gordon Willis helped the characterization of Vito Corleone by overhead lighting that cast Brando's eyes in darkness which worked in conjunction with the makeup artist's effort and Brando's characterization of Puzo and Coppola's writing.  You can check the bonus feature on the Godfather set to hear what Willis was trying to express.

Cinematography has as much impact on story narration as the actual script and, say, the editing does such as framing to exclude/include things or highlight character relationships via the arrangement of actors to one another, etc.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bondo on March 27, 2011, 06:11:55 PM
But the components can't really be separated, really.

Which is why I avoid doing so and try to just evaluate films as a whole entity and thus oppose this list.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Beavermoose on March 27, 2011, 07:48:04 PM
Don't we have enough top lists?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: tinyholidays on March 27, 2011, 07:50:22 PM
I would love to participate in this. Always trying to learn more about cinematography.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Verite on March 28, 2011, 02:45:05 AM
But the components can't really be separated, really.

Which is why I avoid doing so and try to just evaluate films as a whole entity and thus oppose this list.

We're still looking at the film as whole, though.  Only thing is cinematography is foregrounded a little.  It's another perspective through which we evaluate the film as a whole because the film's content, themes, etc. is expressed/materialized through cinematography.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bill Thompson on March 29, 2011, 08:21:15 AM
Nah, I'm all for Cinematography. Just make sure to stipulate that the only animated films that can be included are stop-motion and 3D CGI.

If that were the case I would not be participating.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 29, 2011, 08:41:59 AM
Nah, I'm all for Cinematography. Just make sure to stipulate that the only animated films that can be included are stop-motion and 3D CGI.

If that were the case I would not be participating.

Really? You oppose the inclusion of CGI films so strongly that the spectre of one or two of them maybe getting on the list would cause you not to participate in a list that holds no serious stakes? Why not just send in a list and not put any CGI movies on it?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bill Thompson on March 29, 2011, 08:52:36 AM
Nah, I'm all for Cinematography. Just make sure to stipulate that the only animated films that can be included are stop-motion and 3D CGI.

If that were the case I would not be participating.

Really? You oppose the inclusion of CGI films so strongly that the spectre of one or two of them maybe getting on the list would cause you not to participate in a list that holds no serious stakes? Why not just send in a list and not put any CGI movies on it?

I oppose the omission of animated films that are not stop-motion or CGI.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 29, 2011, 09:07:33 AM
Ah. Well, do you vote in the Filmspots under the Cinematography category? Because traditionally animated films aren't allowed there either. I think the conclusion that was reached by most was that the look of traditional animation has more in common with art or production design than with cinematography.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 29, 2011, 09:18:40 AM
This is part of why my original idea is superior to cinematic movies and why I really don't like the idea of doing films instead of cinematographers.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bill Thompson on March 29, 2011, 09:26:52 AM
Ah. Well, do you vote in the Filmspots under the Cinematography category? Because traditionally animated films aren't allowed there either. I think the conclusion that was reached by most was that the look of traditional animation has more in common with art or production design than with cinematography.

Ah, I did not know that was the case, but if it is then yes, I will, in the future abstain from voting in that category.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 29, 2011, 09:40:37 AM
Really? Seems a little harsh.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 09:51:12 AM
Just out of curiosity Bill, which animated films would you consider for a top 100 list of films with great cinematography?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bondo on March 29, 2011, 10:03:08 AM
I don't get the animosity. I'm one of the forum's biggest fans of animated film and I resolutely believe that animated film does not have cinematography. It doesn't make animated film less good or less valid. The cinematographer is also known as the director of photography. Animated films aren't photographed, they are drawn (or computer generated). I suppose stop-motion (and puppets) and motion capture are all exceptions to this, but those are fairly rare.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on March 29, 2011, 10:04:55 AM
Just out of curiosity Bill, which animated films would you consider for a top 100 list of films with great cinematography?

I'm not Bill, (and I'm clueless about cinematography), but in the "prettyful" category, The Secret of Kells would go up high on my list.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 29, 2011, 10:07:05 AM
I look at it like this. If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences accepts nominations for CGI and motion-capture CGI films in the Cinematography category then it seems a safe bet that those films have something close enough to cinematography to actually call it cinematography. It's good enough for me.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: 1SO on March 29, 2011, 10:07:44 AM
There's a poll (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=5205.0) for this debate.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 29, 2011, 10:11:55 AM
That poll doesn't have a choice eliminating only 2D animated films. Either way, I don't see why we should just use the eligibility rules we've been using for the Filmspots, which as I understand it has been to allow CGI and motion-capture. I'm more curious as to the reason Bill is taking some sort of ideological stand on the issue. Bill, you do know this is just a ranked list that has no real meaning, right? It's just for funtimes.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on March 29, 2011, 10:15:05 AM
I understand Bill's perspective, in that, if he has a film that he considers "great cinematography" but the rules disallow him from putting it on his list, then it isn't "funtimes" for him anymore, so he'd rather not participate.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 29, 2011, 10:17:29 AM
There are rules:
(http://application.denofgeek.com/images/m/BADASS/GUYS/009_Walter_Sobchak.jpg)
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 29, 2011, 10:22:15 AM
Yeah, but he seems to be taking an all or nothing approach, at which point I bring in the idea that this list is not holy. It's just a list made for fun. If no animated films were allowed at all I'd be annoyed but I'd still submit a list because why not?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bill Thompson on March 29, 2011, 10:26:34 AM
I understand Bill's perspective, in that, if he has a film that he considers "great cinematography" but the rules disallow him from putting it on his list, then it isn't "funtimes" for him anymore, so he'd rather not participate.

Steve made my point for me. This list will be fun for you all I am sure, but if I'm not allowed to include movies for a reason I do not agree with then the process will not be fun for me. There's no animosity on my part, I'm sure it will be a fun list and you all will have a great time compiling it, all I'm doing is giving my reasons for why I would not participate.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 29, 2011, 10:30:47 AM
How about if we do a separate list for best looking animated movies? Like an addendum to the main list. We can throw all animated films in there. I'm cool with compromise.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 10:32:49 AM
Just out of curiosity Bill, which animated films would you consider for a top 100 list of films with great cinematography?

I'm not Bill, (and I'm clueless about cinematography), but in the "prettyful" category, The Secret of Kells would go up high on my list.

It's a beautiful work, but isn't that more because of the artwork than the camera technique?

I like the idea of a "100 Most Beautiful Films" or "100 Most Visually Striking Films" or something that could include animation.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bill Thompson on March 29, 2011, 10:34:59 AM
Just out of curiosity Bill, which animated films would you consider for a top 100 list of films with great cinematography?

I'm not Bill, (and I'm clueless about cinematography), but in the "prettyful" category, The Secret of Kells would go up high on my list.

It's a beautiful work, but isn't that more because of the artwork than the camera technique?

I like the idea of a "100 Most Beautiful Films" or "100 Most Visually Striking Films" or something that could include animation.

Sorry I missed your first post Martin, but some examples would be,

The Thief and the Cobbler
Beauty and the Beast
The Secret of the Kells
My Neighbor Totoro
Grave of the Fireflies
Barefoot Gen


There's more, but those are just a couple of examples.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 29, 2011, 10:37:59 AM
I think Martin has the right idea. In a case where it is so hard to distinguish, removing the term "cinematography" may just be the best option. The Thief and the Cobbler contains nothing even close to resembling anything nearing something remotely like cinematography, but it is probably in my Top 5 Most Visually Striking films of all time.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 10:42:18 AM
I think Martin has the right idea. In a case where it is so hard to distinguish, removing the term "cinematography" may just be the best option. The Thief and the Cobbler contains nothing even close to resembling anything nearing something remotely like cinematography, but it is probably in my Top 5 Most Visually Striking films of all time.

It'd probably make my top 100.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on March 29, 2011, 10:43:22 AM
And I have to say that I don't know enough about cinematography to say what is good or not.  But if there was a list of "visually striking" films, I could participate in that.

And Thief and the Cobbler would be in my list as well (under The Secret of Kells).
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 10:46:12 AM
Sita Sings the Blues would probably make my list as well.  And maybe Mind Game and Cat Soup.  Oh, and definitely Tale of Tales!
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: FroHam X on March 29, 2011, 10:47:47 AM
Zoolander for #1!
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on March 29, 2011, 11:18:41 AM
Sita Sings the Blues would probably make my list as well.  And maybe Mind Game and Cat Soup.  Oh, and definitely Tale of Tales!

Tale of Tales is pretty fantastic.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: 'Noke on March 29, 2011, 12:15:51 PM
So, hands up for who wants to do visually striking films instead of cinematography?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 12:20:00 PM
So, hands up for who wants to do visually striking films instead of cinematography?

hand
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on March 29, 2011, 12:59:58 PM
hand
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: smirnoff on March 29, 2011, 01:25:33 PM
Hmm, "visually striking" sounds like it favours bright colors and flashy camera moves (Speed Racer). Could we call it something more all-encompassing so that all visual styles receive equal emphasis?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Melvil on March 29, 2011, 01:52:20 PM
I don't get the animosity. I'm one of the forum's biggest fans of animated film and I resolutely believe that animated film does not have cinematography. It doesn't make animated film less good or less valid. The cinematographer is also known as the director of photography. Animated films aren't photographed, they are drawn (or computer generated). I suppose stop-motion (and puppets) and motion capture are all exceptions to this, but those are fairly rare.

I was going to respond to this, but I decided to bear-hug a cactus instead.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: 'Noke on March 29, 2011, 02:01:24 PM
Hmm, "visually striking" sounds like it favours bright colors and flashy camera moves (Speed Racer). Could we call it something more all-encompassing so that all visual styles receive equal emphasis?

The wording isn't great, I agree, but I was more just asking whether it would be better if we did a list on the entire visual component rather then arguing over the boundaries of cinematography.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 02:17:24 PM
"Visually Striking" is the most neutral term I can think of at the moment.  I don't think it implies flashy Speed Racer style, and as long as the terms are defined up front, I don't think it matters much.  Maybe "Top 100 Visual Masterpieces"?  Of course, that might imply a certain grandiosity to some.

Also, I keep thinking of films I would include... I better start writing these down, if we're actually going to do this.

If we do, it'll be a fantastic thread for screenshots, if it doesn't break the forum.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bondo on March 29, 2011, 02:21:44 PM
I don't get the animosity. I'm one of the forum's biggest fans of animated film and I resolutely believe that animated film does not have cinematography. It doesn't make animated film less good or less valid. The cinematographer is also known as the director of photography. Animated films aren't photographed, they are drawn (or computer generated). I suppose stop-motion (and puppets) and motion capture are all exceptions to this, but those are fairly rare.

I was going to respond to this, but I decided to bear-hug a cactus instead.

I don't understand. Are you claiming that animated films ARE photographed?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: 1SO on March 29, 2011, 02:35:06 PM
I always liked the term "feast for the eyes" to which films as varied as Brazil, Days of Heaven, Rope and Last Days all qualify.

That being said, I preferred voting for actual Cinematographers.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Melvil on March 29, 2011, 03:02:57 PM
I don't understand. Are you claiming that animated films ARE photographed?

Not that specifically (Although they are photographed in a sense. Unfortunately most people simply don't understand how 3D animated films are made, and substituting disparaging terms like "computer generated" in place of what is actually involved doesn't help (i.e., "computer-generated" describes animated films about as much as "canvas-generated" describes paintings). My argument is that the art of cinematography is shared between the mediums despite purely technical differences of implementation. Sorry that my post was confusing, I think groaning and saying something snarky is my permanent reaction when this subject comes up after 18 pages of this thread (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=5205.msg583540). :)

Back to the topic at hand, I realize we're getting a bit far away from the original idea of "Best Cinematographers", but personally I think that is a much more difficult endeavor. I think doing a list of best-looking movies, however we end up titling it, would be a lot of fun.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 29, 2011, 03:04:19 PM
I think so many problems get solved if we just stick to my original vision. Sure, not as many people will participate, but I hope those that do will be able to craft a list that give people a good idea of the people behind some of the best shot films of all time.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 03:20:19 PM
I think so many problems get solved if we just stick to my original vision. Sure, not as many people will participate, but I hope those that do will be able to craft a list that give people a good idea of the people behind some of the best shot films of all time.

I think there's two problems with this:

1) It's going to be mostly the same handful of names over and over again.  I can rattle off maybe 20-25 cinematographers that I love before I need to start looking up credits on IMDb.

2) The look of a film is not solely in the hands of the cinematographer.  Some films look fantastic because of their set design, or their animation, or their special effects, or even their choreography.  Also, it's often difficult to know whether a film has great photography because the cinematographer knew what he was doing, or because the director held his hand.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Melvil on March 29, 2011, 03:23:59 PM
It seems like the only real problem is figuring out what to call it. The idea itself of "Best-Looking Films" doesn't seem to be in much contention. I'm mainly in favor of that idea because it would be a lot of fun to participate in, whereas I would be completely unprepared to do the other (maybe I could come up with 5 names that I felt good about). Leaning more about Cinematographers and their bodies of work is a great idea, but I'm not sure a group top 100 list is the best way to do it.

Martin's second point is a good one also. It seems the cinematographers that I do know I know because of their tie with a director.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 29, 2011, 03:41:33 PM
The inverse could also be said of directors. How many great directors are coupled with the same cinematographer time and time again? Who's to say they don't influence the film just as much as the director?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 03:58:32 PM
The inverse could also be said of directors. How many great directors are coupled with the same cinematographer time and time again? Who's to say they don't influence the film just as much as the director?

There's some merit to what you're saying, but come on.  The director has far more control over the finished work than the cinematographer.  We often think of directors in terms of their body of work.  With cinematographers, we tend to think more of their individual projects.  Even some of the greatest cinematographers have projects where they're just a hired gun, phoning it in so to speak.

It's just more interesting to highlight the look of specific films than the talents of specific cinematographers.  If we do cinematographers, everyone's lists are going to have the same names over and over, in slightly different orders. 
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: 1SO on March 29, 2011, 04:10:25 PM
The inverse could also be said of directors. How many great directors are coupled with the same cinematographer time and time again? Who's to say they don't influence the film just as much as the director?

There's some merit to what you're saying, but come on.  The director has far more control over the finished work than the cinematographer.  We often think of directors in terms of their body of work.  With cinematographers, we tend to think more of their individual projects.  Even some of the greatest cinematographers have projects where they're just a hired gun, phoning it in so to speak.

It's just more interesting to highlight the look of specific films than the talents of specific cinematographers.  If we do cinematographers, everyone's lists are going to have the same names over and over, in slightly different orders.

and there are numerous films where the director gave the cinematographer complete control over the lighting and camera placement. If we discount one for not having complete control we should discount the other for the exact same reason.

I agree that a list would be too heavy with films shot by Roger Deakins and films by Terrence Malick. I would like to see Top Cinematographers ranked against each other, like March Madness. (Gregg Toland vs. Emmanuel Lubezki), but for a list of 100, it should be Top 100 Feast For The Eyes.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 04:12:58 PM
As a sidenote, I've started compiling my "feasts for the eyes" and I'm already up to 156.  Including a number of movies I'm not that crazy about in general (I've got a lot of problems with the The Fall, but it sure makes nice eye candy).
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: JeanRZEJ on March 29, 2011, 04:22:16 PM
I find the cinematographer to often be a very, very distinctive element of a film. One of my favorite filmmakers worked with a number of different filmmakers, and you can tell which films shared the same cinematographers without consulting the credits. You know immediately which Raul Ruiz films had Sacha Vierny as cinematographer. You probably know before you know it's a Ruiz film, in fact. As with directors, some cinematographers have a more pronounced stamp than others, and that doesn't necessarily mean they are less talented, but it's not so different from directors or actors.

All that being said, I think all popularity contests are meaningless, and this one moreso than others.

This 'feast for the eyes' thing seems to miss the point by a mile. Some films are great because they're the most exquisitely prepared hors devours.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on March 29, 2011, 04:24:49 PM
I find the cinematographer to often be a very, very distinctive element of a film. One of my favorite filmmakers worked with a number of different filmmakers, and you can tell which films shared the same cinematographers without consulting the credits. You know immediately which Raul Ruiz films had Sacha Vierny as cinematographer. You probably know before you know it's a Ruiz film, in fact. As with directors, some cinematographers have a more pronounced stamp than others, and that doesn't necessarily mean they are less talented, but it's not so different from directors or actors.

All that being said, I think all popularity contests are meaningless, and this one moreso than others.

If I was doing a list of cinematographers, Vierny would be very, very near the top.  Maybe #1.

The "popularity contest" aspect of doing things like this is of little interest to me... I just like to showcase the films (or filmmakers) that I love.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: JeanRZEJ on March 29, 2011, 04:25:51 PM
I find the cinematographer to often be a very, very distinctive element of a film. One of my favorite filmmakers worked with a number of different filmmakers, and you can tell which films shared the same cinematographers without consulting the credits. You know immediately which Raul Ruiz films had Sacha Vierny as cinematographer. You probably know before you know it's a Ruiz film, in fact. As with directors, some cinematographers have a more pronounced stamp than others, and that doesn't necessarily mean they are less talented, but it's not so different from directors or actors.

All that being said, I think all popularity contests are meaningless, and this one moreso than others.

If I was doing a list of cinematographers, Vierny would be very, very near the top.  Maybe #1.

The "popularity contest" aspect of doing things like this is of little interest to me... I just like to showcase the films (or filmmakers) that I love.
Judging from the names thrown out so far I'm not so sure he'd make the list.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Verite on March 29, 2011, 05:15:47 PM
How about we drop the "Top 100...." aspect from the title and go for something like Filmspotters on Storytelling Through Images?  Or Filmspotters on Visual Storytelling?  Or just plain Storytelling Through Images or Visual StorytellingSight and Time?  Or something like that.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: smirnoff on March 29, 2011, 05:17:19 PM
Filmspotters on Visual Storytelling
I like this.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Verite on March 29, 2011, 05:19:51 PM
As for the issue of voting on cinematographers or films, why not do both at the same time?  The cinematographer list could be shorter, say, a top 25, and the films might be, anywhere from 25 to 100.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 29, 2011, 05:29:13 PM
Yea, it might just be shorter on both ends, I guess. I don't really like the idea of a top 100 visual films (or whatever other name you come up with), but if people aren't up to the endeavor of 100 cinematographers or if more people want to do film compromise is inevitable.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Verite on March 29, 2011, 05:32:57 PM
Yea, it might just be shorter on both ends, I guess. I don't really like the idea of a top 100 visual films (or whatever other name you come up with)

It's obvious what your preference is.  I say do it how you want to do it.  You got my support wholesale.  Start it up.  If this list bombs, it's alright because you did what you really wanted to do.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: smirnoff on March 29, 2011, 07:48:57 PM
Heh, yeah. This discussion only happened because you gave us a choice. I'll do anything :)
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: íKeith! on March 31, 2011, 12:27:48 PM
i would submit a top 25/50 cinematographers list.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on March 31, 2011, 12:30:32 PM
I could submit a Top 50 Visual Films, but I couldn't do cinematographers at this time.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 31, 2011, 01:50:56 PM
So I'm thinking an even 50/50 split between a list of cinematographers and a list of films. Anyone have any problems with that?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: 1SO on March 31, 2011, 01:54:12 PM
That's a pretty awesome idea. Even I would have trouble naming 100 DPs, but 50 sounds doable. Then we have 50 films for individual achievement. I like this.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on March 31, 2011, 03:42:55 PM
Do you mean two lists?  Can we participate in one and not the other?
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 31, 2011, 03:43:48 PM
Yea, two lists. And you can participate in either, both or none.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on March 31, 2011, 04:07:00 PM
Then I'm all for this.  That sounds like a lot of extra work, though.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: smirnoff on March 31, 2011, 04:26:37 PM
I'll start with putting together a list of films, and through that I may come up with a list of C-togs.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: tinyholidays on April 01, 2011, 05:36:53 PM
50 sounds much more manageable. Should we have a broader nominations list that people can take a gander at to try to familiarize themselves with unfamiliar work before casting their ballot? (People=me.)
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 01, 2011, 05:54:57 PM
That was one of my plans, actually. A For Your Consideration thread of Cinematographers much like the Filmspots.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: lifeoffiction on May 04, 2011, 05:23:39 PM
I could see Kurosawa and Malick films completely dominating this list, which is anything but a bad thing.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 04, 2011, 05:26:48 PM
Maybe their cinematographers. However, I think there are a good number that could give them a run for their money.


Also, I'm thinking about kicking off some buzz for this soon, unless it would conflict with another major thing...maybe the top 100.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bondo on May 04, 2011, 05:45:30 PM
Also, I'm thinking about kicking off some buzz for this soon, unless it would conflict with another major thing...maybe the top 100.

Top 100 Animation would typically be kicking off in June...don't know if we feel like we need another of those this year or not.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Bill Thompson on May 04, 2011, 05:58:05 PM
Also, I'm thinking about kicking off some buzz for this soon, unless it would conflict with another major thing...maybe the top 100.

Top 100 Animation would typically be kicking off in June...don't know if we feel like we need another of those this year or not.

I planned on it being a bi-yearly thing when I first came up with the idea. But, so many people pushed for me to do it two years in a row that I went with the flow. This year life has been so busy that I decided to take a break from the list, but it will be back next year.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Beavermoose on May 25, 2011, 07:32:38 PM
We could do other kinds of lists. By Genre or Country for example. It would be another way to make people watch films they wouldn't normally watch.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: tinyholidays on May 25, 2011, 07:34:41 PM
Far East bracket is ready and waiting.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 26, 2011, 03:08:39 PM
Unless they're are any objections, I think I'm going to start pushing for this in early June, with Ballots being due in mid to late July.

The list will be split into two sections, Top 50 Cinematographers and Top 50 Visually Striking Films.

My game plan is this: I'm going to spend the next few days gathering a list of Cinematographers from my own brain, IMDb, the internet and the filmspotting community and then make some kind of megathread For Your Consideration post to help filmspotters make their lists.

So what I need from you guys is to PM me a list of cinematographers you want people to consider. I'll probably hit a lot of the highlights and I'll probably PM a good number of people before I post the list so I don't have any glaring omissions.

For the Film side of the list, I think it best to leave it open to all films by simply denoting it as films you perceive as visually strong.  This means you can vote for animated films. There won't be any kind of FYC for this because I'm trusting we all know well enough what films we perceive to be the most visually appealing to us.

Also, it almost goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, you're free to participate in either one part or both of these lists (or not at all if you want to be a sourpuss). So don't feel the need to abstain just because you don't feel like making one of these lists.

Sound good, everyone?

Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: MartinTeller on May 26, 2011, 03:14:27 PM
Hmm.  I can come up with a list of great cinematographers, but I'd have a hell of a time trying to rank them.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Jared on June 03, 2011, 09:55:08 PM
That's how I feel about every list
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on July 15, 2011, 03:17:38 PM
This one won't be happening anytime soon. Probably not this year at least. I would love to do this at some point, but I feel like I'm going to have to do way more work convincing people to even consider putting a list together, let alone getting them to do so. It's a challenge I'm up to, but I think the timing is going to be all wrong. Top 100 looms, and once that is done, I'm back in school. Maybe next summer if I can start a strong push in in mid May.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Verite on July 15, 2011, 03:23:47 PM
This one won't be happening anytime soon. Probably not this year at least. I would love to do this at some point, but I feel like I'm going to have to do way more work convincing people to even consider putting a list together, let alone getting them to do so. It's a challenge I'm up to, but I think the timing is going to be all wrong. Top 100 looms, and once that is done, I'm back in school. Maybe next summer if I can start a strong push in in mid May.

I didn't even know you asked for PMs as I've only read your previous message in this thread just now.  How many PMs did you get?  Sad to see this not happening.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on July 15, 2011, 03:25:52 PM
None.  :P
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: Verite on July 15, 2011, 04:06:26 PM
None.  :P

Pretty sure several would-be participants missed your call for PMs as I did.  I think not starting a new thread for shortlist formation may have had something to do with it.
Title: Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Cinematographers
Post by: oldkid on July 15, 2011, 09:38:47 PM
I didn't see the request, either.  Sorry, Sam.

I think that a thread for consideration could be opened anyway, even if you can't do it this year.  This one may take some more thought than a month or two.