Roger Deakins Quotes

  1. There are some sequences in films that I think work filmicly, that stand out to me, but that’s much more to do with the staging and the cutting and the mood of the thing as a sequence, the way everything comes together.
  2. Some of the smallest things on a smaller film, to me, are greater achievements than on a big film when you have the resources and the time and everything else.
  3. I don’t really believe in the mystery of cinematography – what happens in the camera is what the cinematographers create and all that nonsense – I want the director to see what I’m trying to do.
  4. What’s seemingly a simple thing can actually be the hardest to achieve.
  5. I always had an interest in seeing people within their environments.
  6. When I left art college, I was a still photographer for a year.
  7. I did a few documentaries as co-director and cameraman. I started off shooting a film about the war in Rhodesia. Then I did a film about an ‘around the world’ yacht race with a friend, and we spent nine months on a yacht. The film was about how people get on in confined spaces under extreme stress.
  8. I couldn’t imagine ‘True Grit’ in 3D. I think the idea is sort of absurd.
  9. I don’t approach films purely in context of genre.
  10. I loved movies ever since I was a kid.
  11. I don’t really like watching 3-D.
  12. I’ve always painted or drawn pictures or taken still photographs; now I shoot movies. It’s just about making images, really.
  13. I don’t do that virtual reality stuff. I’m not even into 3D, actually… I’ve been offered it. I just don’t want to.
  14. I do think observing is important in learning.
  15. The biggest challenge of any cinematographer is making the imagery fit together of a piece: that the whole film has a unity to it, and actually, that a shot doesn’t stand out.
  16. I don’t study any films. I’ll watch them, but I don’t study anyone else.
  17. I’ve always been a fan of Westerns, but my favorite kind of Westerns mostly were Sam Peckinpah’s Westerns, and they mainly took place in the West that was changing.
  18. There’s so many films from around the world, I emphasize, that are so beautifully photographed, but they don’t get the recognition.
  19. There’s nothing worse than an ostentatious shot. Or some lighting that draws attention to itself, and you might go, ‘Oh, wow, that’s spectacular.’ Or that spectacular shot, a big crane move, or something.
  20. I love reading different scripts and helping create different looks, different environments. Sometimes you go to meet a director over a particular script, and they’ll say, ‘I want you to do this because I want it to look like Shawshank,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, I’m not that interested in doing that again.’
  21. I’d done a big movie that I wasn’t happy with, and I was moving out of London when I got approached about Barton Fink, because my agent said the brothers were in London. We hit it off immediately, and suddenly I found myself on the way to America!
  22. I think that lens flares can work really well under certain circumstances. Personally, I am trying to get rid of them most of the time. I don’t like artifacts that draw attention to the surface of the image.
  23. I think technology has advanced so far now that there are some cameras on the market that give film a run for its money. It’s all about flexibility in capturing images, and digital or film, it doesn’t matter to me.
  24. My dad was a builder, so I didn’t have any connection to the arts at all. I never really considered film as a career, but I knew I didn’t want to be a builder.
  25. If you shoot with a billion cameras, then there’s no perspective. You want to use one shot at a time, so it’s better to discover what that is before you shoot, rather than trying to make something in the cutting room, and then it just becomes generic.
  26. My time in documentaries was very educating, in terms of life experience as well as the filmmaking side of it.
  27. If I bring anything to the Coen Brothers’ films, it’s my ability to change tack and create a different mood from film to film.
  28. I feel every shot, every camera move, every frame, and the way you frame something and the choice of lens, I see all those things are really important on every shot.
  29. I like simplicity. I like using natural sources. I like images to look natural – as though somebody sitting in a room by a lamp is being lit by that lamp.
  30. On ‘Sicario,’ we storyboarded key sequences but not everything.
  31. I love the writing of Walter Tevis and what he views as the possibilities of science rather than science fiction.
  32. I shot film with the Coen brothers on ‘Hail, Caesar!’ That’s fine. I’m sentimental about film; I’ve shot film for forty years or something.
  33. I came up, I suppose, a fairly traditional way. I went to art college. I always wanted to be a stills photographer, really, when I was younger, and I briefly worked as a stills photographer.
  34. People confuse ‘pretty’ with good cinematography.
  35. I love everything that Cormac McCarthy has written.
  36. The little town I was brought up in, I’d go to the film society to these very extreme sorts of films that you wouldn’t normally see in the movie houses. But I never dreamed that I would get into the position to be shooting movies equivalent to the ones I loved as a kid.
  37. Some of what I consider my best work, and some of the best films that I’ve ever worked on, kind of disappear without a trace. There’s no accounting for it. Something connects, or something doesn’t.
  38. Every scene is a challenge. There are technical challenges, but often it’s the simplest challenge where you feel a sense of achievement when you pull it off.

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