Dante Spinotti on technology, new workflow, directors’ personalities
LOS ANGELES: BYDGOSZCZ, Poland-Dante Spinotti, who served as a jurist on this year’s Cinematographers’ Debuts Competition at the Camerimage film festival, is a firm believer that changing technology benefits filmmaking at all levels.
The Italian-born DP, who has credits that go back to the 1970s, says that the advent of digital tools has democratized entry into the profession as small, inexpensive, and easily available cameras have made it possible for anyone to create moving images.
But if technology is more plentiful, talent is not. “What has not changed is that good ideas are just as difficult as they’ve always been. Anyone can push a button, but what’s important is what’s inside their heads.” Spinotti’s enthusiasm for digital extends all the way from production through exhibition.
For example, he welcomes the presence of on-set monitors and how directors and crew today can view and evaluate material immediately after shooting it. “I’m happy to see dailies when I’m shooting,” he proclaims. “I don’t want to wait 15 hours. I’ll choose anything that takes me there faster.”
This new, more rapid workflow has slightly altered the exalted status of the cinematographer, he admits. “We used to be the bishops on the movie set. We did the sign of the cross at the end of the day and said ‘go in peace because we will see beautiful things in the screening room.’ But today everyone can look at the monitor.”
But that convenience, he says, while speeding things up and making the process more efficient, does not in any way minimize the cinematographer’s role. “Our contributions remain just as important.”