What is a Director of Photography?
At the top of the Camera Department, the Director of Photography (or DoP) is in charge of giving the film its own visual style and identity, coherently with the Director’s creative vision.
The DoP is responsible for coordinating the camera crew, including Camera Assistants and Trainees, as well as the Gaffer, who takes care of the lighting, in order to respect their idea of the visual theme of the production.
This week, we chat to veteran DOP and Director, Joe Dyer, on working with music superstars and BAFTA nominated TV shows.
How did your career start?
I started at the BBC and Granada in the north of England working as a freelance camera assistant filling in for staff crews who were unavailable. I assisted cameramen to do interviews, documentaries, and anything we could for the TV companies. I often worked on shooting football matches for news bulletins – sensing when you thought there may be a goal, running the camera with the hope that you were right! The film was then rushed on a bike to the labs and put through video transfer to go on the news still wet! The quality was embarrassing!
You’ve worked with a lot of high profile talent including Annie Lennox, Kylie Minogue and Bryan Adams – how do you work with them effectively, so they can take direction from you?
With directing Annie Lennox, the secret I believe, was always that we were able to get inside each other’s heads and see that we understood the same sensibilities. Annie has very strong views and visual ideas and I found my role was to make these dreams a reality. With artists like Kylie Minogue and Bryan Adams, when working with them as a DOP it was more trying to understand the needs of the director (Kevin Godley) in the case of Bryan Adams and feel the hugeness of the idea and be very, very brave! Art is my background and those times were about art not technology.