Director of PhotographyJob Description:
Provide creative direction to lighting and camera crews to bring a vision to life.Job Category:
What you will do:
You’ll work with directors, camera crews and lighting departments to get the right frame, lighting and mood for a film or TV programme. You’ll plan camera angles, shot sizes and lighting.
Before filming, you’ll discuss with a director how a script will be translated for the screen.
- visit a location (known as a ‘recce’) before filming to check its suitability
- order filming and lighting equipment
- test equipment
- manage all aspects of filming, sometimes operating a camera
- supervise the camera crew to decide on any special camera moves
- work closely with the lighting team to decide on lighting techniques
- review film footage with the director
- knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
- knowledge of media production and communication
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
As well as:
- to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity)
- excellent verbal communication skills
You’ll usually need paid or unpaid experience of:
- operating cameras and testing equipment, like lenses and filters
- lighting and planning for any camera and lighting equipment that might be needed
- photography and capturing images with light
- working with a camera crew
- A ‘reel’, or portfolio, of your work to show to employers will be helpful.
A degree in a related subject, like art, drama, photography or film studies, stills, may also be useful, but isn’t essential.
You could also start as a camera trainee or runner, and move on to 2nd assistant camera (AC), then 1st AC, before applying for work as a camera operator.
Working Hours and Environment:
Your hours will be long and irregular. You may need to work 12 to 14 hours a day during filming, including evenings and weekends.
You could be based in a film or TV studio, or on location.
You may need to travel in the UK, or overseas.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could work on TV and film productions with bigger budgets, or become a director or producer.
Many DoPs work freelance. You could earn a salary significantly higher than average if you work on big-budget films.