Musings

Personal experiences, opinions and predictions about the nature of our wonderful industry and what it might hold for you in the future.


"Welcome!"

I am thrilled you are visiting the website, and I hope you find it useful, thought provoking and maybe…

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"Train to Nowhere"

I  love trains, grew up with them – and go out of my way to get on one.  I’m…

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"A Technicolor Camera That Works!"

I’m down in Los Angeles looking for work - but I have lots of friends here too. One of…

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"Some Sports Tips"

This fall I’ve been working on getting better at shooting volleyball. The gyms here in Montana are old and…

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"John Glenn 1921-2016"

Me and my entire second grade class saw John Glenn blastoff  - becoming the first American to orbit the…

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"The Value of a Histogram"

This is less a rant or even a clarion call. Think of it as a peer review… ...concerning Histograms.…

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"Forensic Color Analysis"

I spent several minutes trying to figure out what to call this post and I’m still not sure I…

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"The Modern Camera Operator"

Much more than panning and tilting. To be the camera operator on a project means you see all the…

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"Blue Screen Process - circa 1980"

The following submission is a verbatim copy of the script for Blue Screen 1980. (Burn In) I have wanted…

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"Key Collaborators: The Production Designer"

I love art  - wish I could draw better, paint better and be good at Photoshop. Production designers do…

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"Film Lives!"

“I may never shoot on film again.” (from a recent post -  Is Film Dead?) Well, less than a…

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"Key Collaborators: The Gaffer"

- A new series highlighting the relationship a DP has with key creative personnel. Gaffer My friend Jasmine in…

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"Key Collaborators: The First A.C."

The First Assistant/Focus Puller (two different titles/same job!) *There are four key people the Cinematographer will hire while building…

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"Key Collaborators: The Camera Operator"

In addition to my duties as a cinematographer, I am a camera operator and a fan of camera operators.…

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"The Power of a Reference"

As you build your network and attain seniority, sooner or later someone is going to call you for a…

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"The 5 “Senses” of a Shot."

Focal Length, Movement, Composition, Focus & Lens Height The other day I was talking to a young filmmaker about…

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"Guest Muser - Cory Geryak - Gaffer"

The role of the Chief Lighting Technician, or Gaffer, on a motion picture, is a balance of creativity and…

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"A Tale of Two Meters"

If I could only afford to buy one light meter it would be a spot meter. An incident meter…

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"Guest Muser - Courtenay Miles - 1st AD"

One day I would like to publish a collection of "How I got into the business" stories. I think…

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"Guest Muser - Scott Fuller - Camera Operator"

Dateline: May 20, 2014 The first time I ever looked through a real camera, I was hooked. I was…

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"Is Film Dead?"

Lets see now. Will we really miss scratches, cinch marks, edge fog and hairs in the gate? Torn perfs,…

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"A quick comment on Directors"

I have heard people say that making a film is like being in a battle. I think combat veterans…

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"Finding a Job"

I get asked about this frequently. First, you have to go where the work is and that is not…

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"Thoughts on Agents"

Agent: a person who manages business, financial or contractual matters for an actor, performer or writer. Well almost. There…

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"I make shot lists."

Years ago when I first started directing - I remember being annoyed by AD’s and producers that wanted to…

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"The Joy of Dailies"

I've been a part of the film industry for a long time and have seen many changes since my…

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"Operator Guidelines"

I handed this out to my gang of operators for the pilot, "Secrets of the Heart" - a concert…

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"An Amazing Little Camera"

On “King Tut”, our director, David Von Ancken wanted me to come up with a small camera that we…

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"Additional thoughts on testing -"

I just posted a new video on Testing and it barely scratches the surface regarding the virtue of the…

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"Grip Lighting"

Cinematographers are freaks about light. Adding it, taking it away, leaving it hard, softening it, bouncing it, skipping it,…

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"How to shoot a 2 element composite!"

"If an actor can’t travel to a distant or exotic location." The following musing will review the step by…

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"WORKING WITH ANIMALS"

I’ve worked on 15 feature films that have relied on animal actors, and here are the animal species I…

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"Adios Morocco!"

Goodbye Ouarzazate!  10/26/2014   The following excerpt is the final post and conclusion to the TUT BLOG - started…

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"Best Job Ever"

I wrote this article for the ASC newsletter -   GIG OF A LIFETIME... BY MARK VARGO, ASC "THE…

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"Thinking of changing your major?"

Recently, because of actor availability, production was suspended on SALEM -  the television show that I am co-cinematographer on.…

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"SALEM: Beyond the halfway point!"

Salem, thus far… (April 5, 2015) We are now into our 9th episode of Season 2 - (9 of…

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"My New Gig - winter 2014"

I’m excited to be a part of the camera crew for a new dramatic TV series entitled SALEM. The…

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"New Film Class"

I presented this proposal to the Dean of the film school after she asked me the question, "What do…

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"film quiz answers"

What does "shallow" depth of field mean? The distance between what’s in focus and soft is very short. What…

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"Notes on Salem"

SALEM - season one is in the can - season two starts January 2015. What a tremendous experience. Perfect?…

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"History Repeats Itself!"

I just had a wonderful 3 weeks finishing up the principal photography on COSMOS : A SpaceTime Odyssey for…

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"Make a chair dolly for under $100"

You can build a “CHAIR DOLLY” for under $100 Some people call them “BUTT DOLLIES" but I don’t like…

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"DP Workshop"

A few years ago I did a workshop from this document, you might find it interesting! - MV Being…

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"SYLLABUS - MTA - 255 - Cinematography I"

Welcome! Our class is designed to introduce the participants to the process of photographing a narrative feature film as…

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"It was 50 years ago today."

I have a few vivid memories and one of them occurred 50 years ago tonight, February 9, 1964. As…

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"GRIP IT GOOD script"

I have a crazy creative process and the following is the VO script for "Grip it Good". There is…

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"Film Quiz"

Recently, I taught two levels of Cinematography at our local University. I handed this questionnaire out on the first…

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"Consultation Update"

I’ve been very impressed with the quality of questions asked by everyone who has booked a consultation with me…

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