Movie Still Photography?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by TylerF, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. TylerF

    TylerF TPF Noob!

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    I was watching some special features on a dvd I bought and noticed a picture gallery. I turned the commentary on and they were talking about how important it is to have a still photographer on set as much as possible. I never thought of that! haha I was wondering how one could go about getting into that. Seems like it would be an amazing job
     
  2. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    I studied television and movie production and rotated around the positions on the production crew. After script writing, producing, directing, audio, editing, camera work, floor director, etc. I knew what an on set still photographer needed to shoot and how and when to go about it. We also discussed mistakes in major films due to items not noticed in the stills used to rebuild scenes after take downs at the end of a week.

    skieur
     
  3. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    There are two main sets of images that are done by the stills photographers on movie sets. One set comprises the promotional images the world sees. The other set is done for "continuity".

    These later are done to record fine detail in the actor's costume and the set. Since scenes are not shot in the same order that they appear in the film and adjacent scenes are often shot on different continents even when the actors seem to walk from one to another (e.g. actor walking from outside toward a door to enter a builting then cut to actor walking into the room) a photographer need to document the exact appearance of the actor in once scene (e.g. pleat in the knot of the tie) so that it can be matched months later for the second shot. This work is a bit more mundane than the promotional shots.

    I've known several photographers that were primarily stills photographers for movies. I used to manage a camera specialty store that supplied a number of movies with their still film (e.g. Robocop, Phar Lap, Jaws 3D, ...). The job could be a good fit for someone who funcitons well with irregular freelance work and isn't tied to home. The stills photographer needs to be on the set throughout the whole shooting schedule and may be on location for many months at a time. Also, in some states in order to get the job you would need to be a member of one of the movie industry's unions.
     

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