American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 12

I have been a Major League Baseball fan - more specifically, a radical New York Yankee
fan - for my entire life. And while detente has been reached with artificial turf, expansion
and the designated hitter, the past season introduced an annoying new trend: the proliferation of meaningless statistics and records touted by the announcers and color commentators during every broadcast. It was a practice carried out far, wide and way too often, and
on more than one occasion precipitated my clicking to another channel ... for a hockey
game, if I could find one.
"Well, Pete, that marks the first time in history that a left-handed hitter has checked
his swing three consecutive times during one at-bat on a Tuesday evening after 8 p.m."
"Eleven more knuckle curves and Tommy will top the all-time list for breaking pitches
on a cloudy day."
"You might not know that Charlie is a distant relative of the Queen of England, which
technically makes him a Royal even though he plays for the White Sox."
Admittedly, this is a trivial thing to get wound up about. But it gains meaning when
you realize the cheapening effect it has on the game, not to mention the way it deflects
from the truly relevant things that have made the sport so special since the beginning.
A similar situation exists in our own industry with the continued expansion and complication of the technology used by cinematographers. It's just another smoke screen that
causes us all to take our eye off the ball. Obfuscating a creative process with increasingly
cumbersome and more onerous technical requirements does not help us do our jobs better or more efficiently. But why do
there seem to be so few attempts to redirect that bend in the river? How is it that the community of cinematographers -
especially the younger ones - aren't demanding simpler, more "plug-and-play" solutions to image making?
Look back to those annoying goofballs in the broadcast booths of the baseball world and you just might find an
answer, one symptomatic of a whole new agenda. Among many of our manufacturers, a catastrophic loss of clarity has
pervaded what not long ago was a smart, sensible atmosphere. Time and again I hear it from my colleagues; I also see it in
my own experiences. Nothing is basic or intuitive anymore. We understand that it's difficult for the makers of our gear to
keep it simple, to pursue the elementary - but I have no sympathy. Anything worthwhile in life requires focus, commitment
and effort. When you don't approach it from that level, you end up with the type of mess we're now forced to deal with
every day. Go out to photograph a movie or television show and what you need to pull it off recalls not so much the building of a rocket (which is bad enough) but the launching of one. Yes, the game has changed. For those without the benefit
of a few decades' perspective, I assure you, it's not for the better.
Another publication recently asked what technological development would be most beneficial to cinematographers
in the next decade. Only half-jokingly, I answered "film." Clearly, that's never going to happen - and that's okay, since digital images are finally starting to approach the potential of what we had before. Besides which, I'm not a Luddite and can
hardly be described as slow-witted. I realize this is a scream into the wilderness - and a wilderness it is. Sit quietly in the
desert for an hour and you'll be amazed at the quick shifts in the textures and topography surrounding you. Review the tools
and practices you employed on a shoot just last month and you'll experience the same sensation.
So, this being the Christmas/Hannukah season, the season of light and hope and, most familiar of all, gift-giving, I
look forward with the greatest of optimism and implore our manufacturers to stop mistaking movement for progress. If
there's one present you can give to cinematographers as we move into the future, it would be to make our tools and workflows more compatible with a direct and uncluttered mind.
Until then and until we meet again in 2015, everyone at the ASC wishes you health, happiness and nothing but the
best!

Richard P. Crudo
ASC President
12

December 2014

American Cinematographer

Photo by Douglas Kirkland.

President's Desk



American Cinematographer - December 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - December 2014

Contents
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 1
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 2
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - Contents
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 4
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 5
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 6
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 7
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 8
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 9
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 10
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 11
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 12
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 13
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 14
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 15
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 16
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 17
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 18
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 19
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 20
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 21
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 22
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 23
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 24
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 25
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 26
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 27
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 28
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 29
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 30
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 31
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American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 33
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 34
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 35
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 36
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 37
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 38
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 39
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 40
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 41
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 42
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 43
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American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 45
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American Cinematographer - December 2014 - 50
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American Cinematographer - December 2014 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - December 2014 - Cover4
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