We can argue whether it’s easier or harder for the young cinematographers today to display their work to the wide audience. No matter which point of view each of us takes, we can agree over one thing – it’s definitely very different today than it was 20 or 30 years ago. In a video by Cooke OpticsTV, some of the world’s most renowned cinematographers discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being a young cinematographer today.
Cooke Optics interviewed Paul Cameron (Westworld, Collateral), Roberto Schaefer (The Kite Runner, Monster’s Ball), Michael Seresin (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Angela’s Ashes) and Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire, Snowden), asking them about the opportunities and drawbacks young cinematographers have today. Considering that they have been in the industry for several decades, it’s very interesting to hear their opinions.
- You’re young: according to Paul Cameron, the advantage of being young is simply that – you’re young. I believe this means you simply have more energy to make an effort to rise to the top and succeed.
- Editing tools are more available: another advantage young cinematographers have today is that everything is available. You can make a 4K video directly on your cell phone, transfer it to the computer immediately and do all the necessary editing right after the shooting. A few years ago, Nokia even ran a competition for short movies made by cell phones.
- Video equipment is more available: the choice of the equipment is also much larger today, and video recording devices are simply available to more people. This means that it’s easier for those with an idea to create something and share it with the world.
- It’s easier to reach people: if you are cinematographer today, it’s much more probable that you’ll get the message out than it used to be. Even if you don’t reach the wider audience straight away, there are so many channels you can use to display your work, reach people and gain audience. This is one more thing veteran cinematographers didn’t have.
The main disadvantage is in a way connected to the advantages, and it’s the matter of availability: availability increases competition. While the availability of video equipment and editing tools can be a good thing, at the same time, it can also be a disadvantage. Wider availability means more people can and want to be cinematographers. As Roberto Schaefer points out, everyone thinks they are a cinematographer (photographers, does this sound familiar?). This means that the competition is much bigger, and it may be more difficult to get attention, showcase your work to a wider audience and achieve success.
At the end, the interviewed videographers advise the young ones to work, to study from the professionals and from their own experience, and to do their best. As Paul Cameron suggests – good cinematographers do rise to the top.
What do you think? Is it easier or harder for young cinematographers to get noticed? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of being a young cinematographer today? And what about photography? Does the availability of cameras make it easier or more difficult to get noticed? We would love to hear your thoughts.