IFH 490: Cinematography for Directors with Jacqueline B. Frost


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Cinematographers are really the directors of images while directors are the authors of the performances. Evidently, the collaboration between these two important persons on set with a shared vision and respect influences the work environment and (the ultimate result) the film, a great deal.
We’re inspired this week by cinematographer, and author, Jacqueline B. Frost’s book, Cinematography For Directors: A Guide For Creative Collaboration.
She compiled her 30+ expertise in cinematography and production into this book. Its 2nd edition was published in March 2020. The book is a handbook for directors and aspiring filmmakers who want to get the best visuals for their films while establishing a collaborative relationship with their cinematographer. Through interviews with current ASC cinematographers, and a balance between technical, aesthetic, and historical context, this book guides the director into a powerful collaboration with their closest on-set ally. Topics include selecting a cinematographer, collectively discussing the script, choosing an appropriate visual style for a film, color palette, film, and digital formats, lenses, camera movement, genres, and postproduction processes―including the digital intermediate (DI). Interwoven are quotes from working ASC cinematographers.
From my own experience directing and working cinematography a few times, it is no secret that the relationship between a director and his cinematographer must be intuitive and non-contradicting. A quick sit down to break down the script, vision and general approach makes the work way easier for every party.
Frost’s background in fine arts, photography, and cinematography--- merged, has made it easier for her to spot the crevices in approaches or the lack thereof pertaining to DP, and head of images that have been the detriment of many projects.
Cinematography for her is a long-time love of the image and the endless learning process that was ignited when she pursued her graduate degree. To date, she’s taught cinematography, film, and documentary production at UCLA and through shorter courses and produced over 20 feature films and documentaries.
We cover several themes from Frost’s book including what directors need to know about aesthetics of lenses, focal length, and its depth of field.
Our conversation was definitely like a mini masterclass on cinematography and Jacqueline was a goldmine of knowledge.
Enjoy my conversation with Jacqueline B. Frost.

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