Cinematography – Understanding the Process with Director of Photography Matteo Martignago
Making a movie is a complex and intrinsic process that involves a numerous amount of people in order for it to be successful. “Everything starts from an idea”, Director of Photography Matteo Martignago says. “That idea is then elaborated into a script which is then brought to life by the Director and the Director of Photography”.
Matteo Martignago in one of his recent movies, MyDorian, spent several months in pre-production with the Directors of the movie, Alessandro D’Ambrosi and Santa De Santis, in order to make everything perfect and cover every possible problem even before the production started.
One of the most important phases in pre-production is the dialogue between the Director of Photography and all the other heads of department, such as Wardrobe, Makeup and Production Design. Production Design in particular is one of the most important departments that must work together with the Director of Photography. The quality of the look that the Director of photography wants to achieve depends on how well and in-depth they have worked together during the preproduction phase.
One of the most difficult challenges that Matteo Martignago faced in this movie as Director of Photography was the approach for every flashback scene present in the movie. According to a recent interview Matteo said that “when it comes to flashbacks, I have always avoided using transitions in the editing process to shift from present to past. I have always found that technique to be lazy and obvious. I think that as Directors of Photography we need to show just with images this kind of transition and that is why I put a lot of work into MyDorian and decided to change the look and color palette every time we transitioned to a flashback”.
The role of the cinematographer is extremely important in the creation of a successful film. They work very closely with the Director of Producers in order to plan everything accordingly. A cinematographer must have a keen eye for detail, be able to work with and be in command of all the Grip and Electric crew on set, and be able to juggle multiple tasks at one time without being inefficient or confused.
The work of a Director of Photography does finish after the production days. It is essential for the DP to work together with the colorist in post-production as well. Without doing so there would be a high chance of not getting the final look that was discussed at the beginning with the Director.
Therefore, it is extremely important for the DP to be present in every stage of production since he or she needs to supervise everything together with the Director.