Useful and handy Camera Assistant’s guide to better cinematography / Útiles consejos de un Asistente de Cámara

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Lamentablemente no tengo tiempo, por ahora, de traducir este artículo al español, pero no dejen de leerlo porque sus consejos están muy apegados a la realidad que se vive en un set de grabación/filmación.

Si alguien se anima a traducirlo yo puedo colgar el texto y darle todo el crédito.


Evan Luzi is a camera assistant who learned a lot from his spot behind the camera. He decided to share his knowledge and so he wrote some cinematography tips that might be useful and handy. Working directly with the director of photography has helped Evan become a better cinematographer. So here are his tips with some excerpts!

1. Less Lights Makes Everyone Happier

“From a practical standpoint, the less lights you use, the happier everyone will be. Literally, everyone. The assistant director will be happy with less setup time, the G&E departments will be pleased to lug less equipment, and the director will appreciate more time for rehearsals and takes. (…) You’ll be able to do run ‘n gun style shooting with skeleton crews with ease. (…) Often I stand next to the camera and watch a DP command 5 or 6 lights for a simple close-up shot. In the end it looks good, but I’ve seen similar shots use ambient light from a window, clever blocking, and 2 – 3 lights to fill in the gaps with similar results.”

2. Just Point the Camera and Shoot the Story

“Just because you can use something doesn’t mean you have to. (…) Much like using less lights, a simple composition may be just what the scene you’re shooting demands. If the story, the characters, and the dramatic tension in a scene is strong enough, you don’t have to do anything more than point the camera and film it. (…) Sometimes the audience cares more about what’s happening inside the film world than what’s happening with the frame.”

3. Ceiling and Wall Bounces Work Wonders

“The ceiling/wall bounce is one of the most underrated lighting techniques in use. I work with one DP who uses them heavily and the images he creates are stunning. He swears by them and, after several films with him, I’ve come to learn the advantages:

  • The motivation of the light is natural (in most cases)
  • The spill/softness of the light is natural (in most cases)
  • The setup time is minimal (since you only set the light, not a reflector)
  • The footprint of the gear is smaller
  • The throw you can achieve is huge
  • You can transform hard light sources instantly into soft ones without softboxes”

4. A Great, Talented Gaffer is Invaluable

“Gaffers — the department head of the electricians — have a wide range of responsibilities that differ depending on the project and their relationship with the director of photography. But many times, they play just as much a role in lighting a scene as the cinematographer. (…) It’s not uncommon for a DP to describe the type of mood or lighting they want in generic terms and the gaffer to deliver on it. For instance, I watched a DP once request “a little bit of a hair light” on a character in a wide shot. It was the gaffer who then chose the light, dimmed it to the correct brightness, and set it in the scene.”

5. Perfection is a Commodity

“All too often I’ve sat next to the camera for unbearable amounts of time while the contents of the frame were touched up and detailed. DP’s, directors, producers, and anyone else with creative input are all equally guilty for succumbing to this vacuum of perfection. (…) So take it from the guy who’s almost always ready by the time a scene is lit: perfection is rare. So, if you’re allowed to chase it, don’t spend the rest of the day doing so because you won’t find it.”

6. There is No “Right” Way

“My last piece of advice is what any (smart) person giving advice ends with: Nothing is gospel. Do what you want. Ignore the rules if you need to. Forget my tips if they don’t serve your vision. Because the most important cinematography lesson I’ve learned from watching various cinematographers is there is no “right” way.”

There’s a lot more to be learned from the full article, so if you found this topic interesting, make sure to follow this link.

Source: and



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