Avijit Mukul Kishore and Shankhajeet De

Avijit Mukul Kishore is a film director and cinematographer based in Mumbai. After a course of cinematography at the Film and Television Training Institute in Pune (India) in 1995, he came to Mumbai. In a short span of time, he has worked as cinematographer for a number of documentary films, most of which have been shown at international film festivals and won critical acclaim. Mukul also teaches documentary filmmaking and works for television.

Shankhajeet De teaches at the department of film and TV production, Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts & Communication, New Delhi. He started his career in 1996 working for the cultural TV programme “Surabhi”. He is also an independent filmmaker and freelance scriptwriter. Shankhajeet organizes Twilight, a festival of Short films that promotes filmmaking culture amongst the youth.

The following conversation took place at Persistence Resistance, Delhi in 2010


Shankhajeet De’s introduction to the session

This is the first time that cinematography is being looked at very clearly with regard to the realm of the documentary. It is a privilege to have Abhijit Mukul Kishore with us today because he is one of the very few people who after passing out from a film school, which is known as a bridge to the popular film industry in Bombay, Kolkata, Chennai and other parts of India, chose to consciously enter the realm of the documentary.

In my time, it was almost taken for granted that after doing cinematography in FTII one would naturally progress to make feature films. Very few used to move into other realms, and I often used to wonder why people would chose to take a decision like that and not enter feature films.

I was told that it was because they couldn’t cope up with the mainstream Bollywood industry, which requires a lot of courage, strength, the big idea, vision and the perseverance. So, the implication was that these people were a bunch of failures, and that’s why they went into all this “side-y” stuff.

– So, let me start by asking you this: Why did you take on the decision to stay with documentary even though technically, you were quite qualified to enter the mainstream industry?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: I guess it was a variety of things, and here I’m going to pick up from something Saba Dewan said, about how documentary was seen as this form of social issues and propaganda while fiction was seen as a form where you could experiment with film form and language. For me the reason to take documentary was because my experience was just the opposite of this presumption.

I felt that to engage with fiction filmmaking, which I’ve done and if given a chance would like to do again, the whole genre is very dependant on factors that are completely external to what you want to do. The director, cinematographer and the entire creative teams’ vision is dominated by the genres’ sense of aesthetics in dealing with the actors, the market and so on. So I felt that independent documentaries were free of those shackles and one could experiment with what one wanted to do.

My first couple of films were quite complicated, in terms of how they were addressing the issue of constructing films formally. It was also very exciting to deal with real people while working and also, to deal with aesthetic issues like- how do you film performing arts? How do you film painters? Etc. Working out devices of dealing with all that is what interested me in the documentary form.

It was not connected to any mainstream form and so the distribution system was, of course, a problem. We keep talking about the need to disseminate and make people familiar with non-fiction forms like the documentary; these films need to be seen more, distributed more and they also have to be more remunerative. All those things are there, but it has also made a lot of things possible.

Shankhajeet De: Rather than the lack of courage and perseverance needed to survive in the mainstream, it is actually more challenging to deal with documentary cinematography. As far as the form is concerned, you don’t have prewritten screenplays and scripts, the shots are not discussed at length; and also there is no art direction department per se. The reckie options in a documentary are also very limited as compared to fiction.

Before you or your generation of twenty years ago, independent documentary in India did not really exist as a movement, but now I see a pattern of proliferation of independent documentary coming up.

In your school, I am sure, what you were taught and how you were told to create the larger framework must have been very different. I would like to know more on how, you devised a strategy to negotiate with the filmmaker and how did you deal with this absence of a screenplay?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: In the words of Madhusree Datta, it is easier to find a life partner than a unit you can happily work with, whether it’s a cameraperson or an editor! So yes, the entire question of being in sync with your unit and for the unit in turn to be in sync with the director is of such utmost importance, before you even arrive on location and deal with the subject.

You have to be able to understand how the other person thinks. Where the person is coming from, what their sense of politics is; aesthetically too, you have to be on the same plain. Both have to be willing to negotiate a way between somebody else’s sense of aesthetics and my sense of aesthetics, and it should be a process through which you grow. I shouldn’t bring in any preconceived notions, that this is the way it should be shot; the director should not have a unilateral way of looking at things.

You arrive on a location with absolutely no screenplay and you have to deal with a set of variable and real people, for things like changing light and so on. Very often we make it a virtue to shoot on available light and done does that a lot. We may carry a basic lighting kit, but to understand how light will change across a room is something that has to be done on the spot.

Naturally, there are a set of conventions that one follows and just an understanding of filmmaking, whether its fiction or documentary, helps. For instance, I am classically trained in fiction, and Madhu has her own background in theatre and film, so you also apply the conventions that you bring in with you.

It’s not that difficult really- you do a mental breakdown or a mental script. For instance, you need these many long shots, group shots, close ups, cut aways, and so on. Likewise, you devise this approach to whatever your subject may be.

It gets a little more complicated when you are shooting an artist, be it a visual artist, fine artist, performing artist, whatever. There can never be a set answer to anything; it is all location and situation specific. The exciting part for me as a documentary cameraman, which I feel becomes a problem for me when I shoot fiction, is that I am constantly responding.

Things happen and I respond to them. My camera responds and I decide how to move with the camera. For instance, if you are shooting with a small camera or a DV camera or an HDV camera, most of the times you hand hold it. I prefer it that way, unless of course it’s a long sequence, or an interview or a steady frame.

There are no definite marks for the camera or the people, so you keep it fluid. If some one is coming towards me, for instance, I may decide to move away or remain there, depending on the situation and what keeps the frame interesting. You also have to create a sense of movement within the frame, and of the frame, by creating changing perspectives. One is also constantly thinking of the edit while shooting. If it’s a talking sequence, for example, you think of an edit in a certain way.

However, what is very exciting is to shoot is the visual sequences. I love shooting markets and activity and movement; I love responding to it. Defined by the reality and the entire visual scene that you are shooting, at some point, once you think you have enough long shots, you simply move in. Then you just stay with the person, and observe in order to develop your own language of covering things.

Shankhajeet De: As a cinematographer you say what you want to say through your camera. Later on, however, you moved on to direct your own films. In the process, you must have realized this shift in being able to direct an entire sequence rather than working with a camera, silently observing.

I want to talk a little about the change in the technology of the camera, from a bulky beta cam 4375,or 5376 or film cameras, which were even bulkier, to the coming of these small digital cameras. How did you negotiate with those smaller cameras that came with their own problems and advantages in terms of you as a cinematographer, engaging in documentary?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: The point at which I came into documentary filmmaking, was pretty much the same time when the transition was made from large cameras to more compact DV cameras. The Sony VX 1000 was the one thing that we were all very excited about, but I know a lot of people who said, “How can you shoot with this? This is a toy”!

My training was at FTII where we shoot on 35 mm cameras, which is a great luxury. My first film in fact, was on a mix of 16 mm and DV because of the way it was constructed. I am talking of Kumar Talkies that was about a filmmaker visiting a small town in Southern UP where his family owns a cinema hall. The film was essentially about a small town and its relationship with cinema. It was also about being a filmmaker and revisiting this place, and looking at the economy of the small town. The 16 mm camera, called the A-camera was the one we used to shoot the film and the DV camera was filming us, filming the film. That was a mix of classical 16 mm and DV, which was meant to look like video.

We were not trying to hide the fact that we shot on video, so in terms of quality of course, it didn’t look like it was shot on film. This was in 1997 when film transfer facilities, in terms of budget, were not an option and, they were also very rudimentary. But we decided to edit the video separately and then shoot it off a monitor, even if we get lines or the contrast gets blown off. We decided to, of course, let it go within limits but not fight the fact that it’s shot on video.

So one was able to shoot a lot on mini DV, where one had to accept its limitations and its various advantages. It put people completely at ease. In the flesh was shot with a handy cam, not even a big PD-150 or something which was necessary because Bishakha was shooting in intimate settings and discussing very intimate things, and the camera was not seen as something threatening, but as a toy, so it helped her.

When one works with small cameras, it helps to break the whole spectacle of shooting. You could be right there and yet, you could mingle. It was very important that we didn’t make a spectacle of ourselves while shooting. The standing joke was that the camera has shrunk, but the mic is still a monster. The moment you take out a boom mic and the mixer, everybody is aware that you are shooting. Of course, there are technical and scientific reasons because sound can only be recorded in a certain way. But cameras became completely unobtrusive and a lot more was possible with them. It facilitated a lot of things. For instance, it’s impossible to shoot on the roads in Bombay; there are these stupid rules in the sense that because it’s seen as the centre of mainstream Bollywood, so shooting with anything is considred “shooting”, for which you need permission from three different organizations. You need to inform the police, the traffic police, pay a hefty fee to them. But DV cameras made it possible to go to a location, pretend to be tourists, get some shots and just get out of there.

I made a film over a long period of time with my parents, which was called Snapshots From a Family Album which was shown at a festival a couple of years ago and it was only possible to do that because of the DV camera. If I had used a larger camera, it would not have the kind of intimacy that was needed to shoot somebody at home or somebody hanging around with the same level of closeness.

Audience Question: How do you shoot artists and performers and how do you devise a structure for it? And, why did you think that this was an area that needed to be especially thought about? Also, most of the time, documentaries have a possibility of dealing with personal stories; so, how do you carve out a structure for this purpose, as opposed to the classical learning that you have received?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: The first thing that I learnt is that without making a spectacle of yourself, you must focus on putting your subject at ease, if intimacy is of importance. For instance, if it is an observational film, you want people to perform the way they naturally would. But sometimes for editing purposes, you do need to give directions like- “walk from here to here”, “climb the stairs”, “dab you paint brush in paint”, and so on. But it is very important that one must not intrude on someone’s personal space, at least at first.

Whether it is a painter, a theatre person, a musician or a dancer, at first you must be an observer and the language of shooting a sequence comes from the discipline of filming. For instance, dance has its own movement within it, so you have to devise a way of moving the camera within it.

Ever since shooting has become cheaper, with the coming of DV and so on, what you can do is that you can just start filming and respond to what is happening and then figure out what can be done better in what way. Say maybe, I can go handheld or whether I can move the camera to include other angles and so on. These were not the options we had on film, because film is expensive and the cameras are heavier.

One of the earlier films we did was Sundari: An Actor Prepares, which was directed by Madhushree Datta, and was based on a play done by Anuradha Kapoor on impersonation. It’s on the life of an actor called Jayshankar Sundari who used to perform women roles in Gujarati theatre in the 1920’s.

We were filming the rehearsals of the play and in such a situation, you have to be very careful because not only the theatre people, but all performers are very conscious of the camera, because they are not yet entirely prepared; they make mistakes, and the very fact that somebody is filming it, gives it permanence. They could come across as amateurs, and not sure of themselves. One also has to respect the fact that it’s a process through which they arrive at a performance.

For example, at first we would just sit in one corner and film from there and when they would take a break, I would move to another angle and take shots from there and so on. It was only until later that we could take the liberty of moving the camera around or ask them to repeat a certain scene because we needed it for editing.

So you work out a way through which you give them space and they become comfortable around you. Largely in these situations, you have to work at remaining invisible until you feel that it’s alright to step forward.

When you are shooting painters, it’s one story but, how do you shoot painting itself? You discuss what is happening in the painting and what is the movement within painting, how can the camera works with it or against it, do you want the camera movement to highlight it or conflict it? Etc..

For example, in the film Made in India, the brief was Indian Art- in the bazaar, in the shrine, on the street and in the gallery, commissioned by an art gallery in England. So it was all about different styles of filming the different types of art.

Shankhajeet De: In Made in India, when you pay attention to the manner in which it was filmed, it’s almost a new style that was emerging as a way to capture art and artist.

As a filmmaker and cinematographer, here what would be considered as a bad shot in classical form of filmmaking, but you chose to go ahead with it. Why? Because, it’s almost as if you are developing your own form and your way of looking- developing your new gaze, not only in terms of documentary, but also in terms of the new technology.

Interjector 1: This is the first time that the Dadasaheb Phalke Award was given to a cinematographer, VK Murthy.

Shankhajeet De: That is a good point that you’ve mentioned here. Slowly, in the last two years something very interesting has started happening in India, where technicians and people behind the scenes are being given a lot of recognition and respect. Even the Oscar was given to Resul Pookutty. It’s very exciting actually; from my experience as a teacher, I am slowly seeing that now it’s fashionable to be a technician. The whole confusion between the concepts- “I want to be a filmmaker” equals “I want to be a director” that I personally deal with among young students, is also dying slowly.

Avijit Mukul Kishore: For me, it’s convenient to be a technician because I get paid more!

Audience Question: In the film, ‘Snapshots of a Family Album’, Mukul moved on to direction apart from cinematography. You can hear him indulge in a prolonged dialogue with his mother as he conducts the camera. The reason I point out this part of the film, is that you can sense the intimacy, not only in what is being talked about, but also in the way in which the camera was positioned. It would not be considered as a good composition when you look at it in classical terms, but why did you decide to take that particular decision?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: Well. I’m going to digress a bit here. The one thing that I find very hard is to write the synopsis of a film, so I am not going to summarize this one before I begin. This one was on a family that lives divided between two cities. My mother and father worked in two different cities at that point and both my brother and I were coming of age while my parents were drawing closer to their retirement; so in a way, the film is about these rights of passage and the mode of that is the one of intimacy. Therefore for me, intimacy is the language of the film.

It came a lot more easily with my mother, who is happy to perform for the camera. But slowly it becomes a very teasing kind of performance between me and her where I’m just not happy with what she said; I want more, and so I keep giving chaabi to her and she plays along till she can’t take it anymore. When she was genuinely uncomfortable I switched off, which is a conscious decision that I made, both while filming and during the edit of the film.

As you see, there are no dramatic elements in the film and if I felt that at any place my parents would feel vulnerable and feel their space intruded upon, I just would not film. My grandmother who is in the film, passed away a couple of years after I had shot this sequence with her, and a lot of my filmmaker friends said, “Why aren’t you filming this? It’s a very important part of your family’s history”. But I didn’t want to film it because that was an intrusion and it was a choice that I made.

Coming back to this scene, I had to shoot it very close because the whole nature of the conversation is that I am lying next to my mother and chatting away, talking rubbish. The content of that conversation is next to nothing; you even wonder what the sequence is leading to until it gets to that part when I tell her how hot it is and that I cant deal with it. I ask her if she wants to go back to Bombay and she says that she can’t deal with that pace even more. It brings in my hometown, Allahabad, which comes later in the film.

Another reason for shooting it so close was that there was just me in there. I couldn’t have a sound recordist and expect the quality of intimacy to come through. I could not have lit up the sequence. So things that are technically incorrect (like the shot with the grain is pushed up) is because the natural light is much more exciting. Just in terms of camera for instance, this scene was shot with 12db grain which introduces a lot of grain in the picture; it also looks so red because it was Delhi and the voltage at night was very low but I left it as it is.

This kind of intimacy is not something that my brother or my father lent themselves to. In fact, there was a lot of formality and a lot of back and forth when I was working with them. At the end of the film, for my father to say what he says, took a lot of time because for them, performance was very formal and immediately it became not as spontaneous and my mother lost her ease to it.

Shankhajeet De: How do you capture memory? How do you look at memory on a physical space, because the camera itself is a device to get visuals out?

The film shuttles between Bombay and Delhi. Bombay is where you lived with your father and brother and your mother lived in Delhi. Your ancestral place is in Allahabad, and we have our own ideas about Allahabad through the film.

In a film like this, how do you look at a sequence and how do you look at old people, (I mean, people of your grandparents generation) where you feel that these are the repository of memory and history and things like that?

This film looks at those parts of Bombay, which perhaps don’t echo the popular images of the city. There are perhaps a lot of parallel cities that live and the filmmaker says that perhaps the Bombay he explores is the “real” Bombay or, perhaps it’s not.

So he’s developing a way of looking at Bombay with a new eye because the film was more about seeing the aspect of Bombay that people might not otherwise see; that which is lost or that’s gone into oblivion behind the façade of the new structures and lifestyles that have come up.

In a documentary usually, nobody gives you a shot; you have to compose your own shot. The cameraman or the cinematographer is greatly responsible in the whole scheme of things. The director often can’t see or does not create the shot; so it’s the cameraman who mostly decides what the image will be.

In this one particular shot in the film, with the ten cement mixer trucks standing at the Bandra flyover, popular documentary notion gets broken here. I was quite intrigued by this particular shot because I wasn’t sure if you were just reacting to a situation with his camera, or was it constructed and planned to be this way.

In this shot my question is, was it composed or real?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: It was completely organized. A lot of people have said that we were very lucky to get that shot and they often ask how we managed to do that. Well, we paid for it!

It was a long film, and it was shot over a period of time. As part of entering the film and devising a way of looking at the city, Madhu and I would go driving around and the first part of the shooting that we did was in the monsoon because as the cliché goes- Bombay has two seasons, heat and rain. The city becomes really gorgeous in the monsoon.

We were on the Ghorbander Road that connects the western suburbs to Thane and a lot of quarries and construction activity was happening there. We saw one of these cement mixer trucks and we filmed it, with wipers running and we found it very exciting; so, we got that man’s number. Then Madhu said, we have to do this, this has to be an iconic shot, and it has to be an iconic sequence.

It took a lot of time and negotiation because the moment you tell people that we want to use this in shooting, they smell money but the assistants did their job well and organized it.

So yes, the shot is completely organized; it’s set up. We chose to do this at dawn on a Sunday morning because of the light, the early morning light before sunrise, or the magic hour as it’s called.

In Bombay, it’s impossible to shoot on the roads that too, the Bandra flyover that now leads to the Bandra-Worli sea link. The security there is crazy and I wonder if we will even be able to do it today; this one was done five years ago.

So we got there at the crack of dawn, with two cameras, just in case something went wrong with the primary one. This shot was actually taken by my friend Ajay Noronha. We had two cameras and I was on a different camera, using the tripod and that shot is also seen later in the film.

We weren’t satisfied so we wanted to turn them around and bring them in again, but bringing back ten trucks would have taken twenty minutes, at least and the cops would have arrived by then. But we still did it again, we got it in two takes- four shots with two cameras, a completely set up shot.

Shankhajeet De: Most of the time we don’t have video assistants, the director doesn’t see what is being done, and there are no rehearsals as compared to fiction film. In documentary, the cinematographer needs to know what has been shot and it can only be seen later, when it is comes to video and it is viewed only when the sequence is completed.

Keeping this is mind, did you feel that as a documentary cinematographer;, is it necessary for you to have a vision, and how different is that visualization different from narrative or fiction shooting?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: That style or outlook is completely mediated by the cameraman’s sense of politics, aesthetics, composition, and colour. So yes completely, the cinematographer needs to have a vision.

Shankhajeet De: How different was it to do the camerawork for yourself, once you started directing your own films. Is there a difference in how you perform as a cinematographer when you are working for yourself or for others?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: In an ideal situation, the energies of a Director and the energies of a Cinematographer should come together and give you something more than a simple equation that entails two plus two is four. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t happen. When I am directing, the way I shoot for myself is very different from the way I shoot for somebody else.

Snapshots from a Family Album was another story because I was shooting my parents, and that was not really direction because I was simply shooting things as they were happening and the film was completely made on the table.

But in, say, Certified Universal, it became quite a strain because a director not only directs, he also does PR, chats up people on location, directs the crew and so on. It becomes particularly difficult in uncontrolled locations. I remember, at one point, I actually started to flake out.

And besides these, one has to do interviews and some people have really developed the skill to do that. Ranjan Palit does it, Pankaj Rishi Kumar does it… There are people who shoot, do sound (I wasn’t doing sound, thankfully) and do interviews, take care of everything else, and direct!

It was all still fine for me till someone started talking in a language that was alien to me. That is very difficult to handle.

So you definitely look for inputs. It’s not like the director is never looking for it, because say, there is an LCD and you’re not always sure, so you just ask the director for pointers. The Director has a certain vision of the film and so, for instance, there might be a good frame but he might want it to show a little bit of context, so in that sense, he’ll go for a tight frame. You are always looking for these pointers and that’s a very special partnership that the two share.

Audience Question: In the last scene of John and Jenny, where was the camera?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: It was on the top of a skyscraper; all those shots were taken from the top of a high-rise building. The last shot is where you can see the aircraft landing one after the other, which is why it is taken from various high points around the airport.

Audience Question: We often wonder about the medium when we plan a film, which camera to use and how to shoot, whether we need DSR or HDV or Mini DV etc. So if somebody has a story and they have to decide the medium, how do they make a decision about the camera that will give them the result that they want?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: That depends on what the film is meant for. If it is meant for television, they usually have standard specifications- whether it’s okay to shoot with HDV or do you need a bigger lens and so on. The second factor is the budget, of course.

For John and Jane, we chose to shoot on 35 mm because a certain kind of image quality was important to its Director, Ashim Ahluwalia and I think, he’s used it very well in the film. Its not just about being obsessive regarding film quality but it was because he wanted some kind of formality associated with the film. Of course, because it was shot on 35 mm, it had a theatrical release in the US; he managed to have a release it on HBO and it even ran for a week in PVR.

Shankhajeet De: In ‘The City Project’, which is about how cinema has influenced the city and how people look at the city, you have worked with different imaging devices such as mobile phones and so on; it uses archival footage, documentaries from Films Division’s reign, as well as excerpts from popular cinema. Why did you choose to do that?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: This is part of a package that was jointly commissioned by Majlis and PSBT as a part of this project called ‘Cinema City: Mumbai’, which is Majlis’ initiative, an attempt to look at Bombay and its cinema, and the way they produce each other. There are various aspects to it; there is an urban studies aspect, a cinema aspect and a whole lot of things that are happening around it.

This is one of the films of a six part series that have already been produced and it’s called ‘Certified Universal’, it’s about the city’s engagement with image making, and our engagement with image making through various forms that are accessible to us.

The whole idea of proliferation of the image and our engagement with it, whether, its coming through people taking pictures of each other or making movies of each other through cell phones or surveillance cameras, like there is CCTV footage of VT on the 26th November attack; we are forever surrounded by news cameras and images that come to us are very often unedited, unmediated and so on.

Also, there is this sequence of me coming down an elevator with my mobile phone, which shows that we are forever in and out of the city, its image making and how real people are depicted in cinema. The entire sequence of slum demolition and the building where they have been moved to, and their engagement with their personal choice of cinema is crucial. When this woman says. “I like watching sad films”, it is completely against this whole idea of people watching happy and feel-good films.

Shankhajeet De: Mukul, don’t you miss working with twenty light boys and focus puller and 65 kilowatts of light and the big camera?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: No. Like actors often say, “I’ll so a nude scene if the script requires it and if its artistically done”, similarly, if I am shooting a commercial or there are bits of say, Seven Islands and a Metro (that’s a film that uses fiction a lot, and a lot of sequences were set up), we’ve used cranes, rainmakers, all kinds of lights, everything because the scene needed them. That’s not verite; you can’t shoot that with a tiny camera. So yes, I do like it, but only if the project needs it.

Shankhajeet De: Where do you think documentary cinematography is going from here? You have seen the shift in technology- the way a new space has emerged for documentary, and camera and editing is much cheaper now and so on. In this light, where do you see the camera in documentary in the future?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: I can’t answer that, it’s like you’re asking me to be prophetic! But I do think that it’s a very positive trend and it is important that people are educated to look at things and make informed choices when they are going about producing, whether it’s BMM courses or Mass communication or film schools. A lot of these are designed to service the growing media and film industry but people can chose whether they want to join that as a service provider or they want to engage with it differently.

It’s a great trend but I do feel that it has to be guided a lot more. Things have come up but there isn’t enough infrastructural or academic back up. There is a lack of teaching staff for these courses, but I do feel that we will get there.

Audience Question: Since we are talking about cinematography, it is very a macho kind of thing when you have twenty light men and when the DOP rules the roost. But now, the camera is becoming smaller and the documentary is becoming very personal. So if I am making a very personal film, why do I need another interlocutor? Why do I even need a documentary cameraperson? Why can’t the director himself just shoot his film?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: You don’t. A lot of filmmakers are doing it, especially if intimacy is of importance to you, then its best if you do it yourself. These days we know the basics of camera technology and the basics of composition. So if small crews and intimacy is of importance, then of course, filmmakers should shoot their films themselves.

Shankhajeet De: In what kind of circumstances would you recommend somebody to take on a cinematographer?

Avijit Mukul Kishore: I would say when technical expertise is of importance and the Director does not want to bother with buttons and dials, and where you need to be focused on your work, do interviews, do PR, make small talk etc, one should hire a cinematographer.

Interviews is one area that I find very difficult, because you have to make eye contact and look at the frame and listen, which I can’t do at the same time. Also if you are shooting with a big camera, you need assistance, if not a cameraperson.

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