Cinematography is the art of visual storytelling.  It shows the viewer something she would not see when observing the scene with her own eyes.  The chosen photographic frame allows the viewer to discover a specific detail or shows the viewer a certain relationship that is important to the story.  Within the frame, cinematography shows the viewer where to look, and creates emphasis or lack thereof.  It may put glow in an actor’s eye, or may create silhouette.  Light may dance across the frame or lack of light may create murky shadow.  Lens, camera angle, distance, and movement may enhance or diminish spacial relationships and indicate point of view, power, or isolation.  Creating such visuals, that have the power to enhance the narrative and express appropriate emotions, is undoubtedly an important task.  Here’s how I will work with you to accomplish it:

COMMUNICATION

I will always be making the same film as you, the director.  I will discuss with you the story, the emotions you want to convey, and the visual style to which you are drawn.

 

 

COLLABORATION

I will brainstorm with you until we are in sync visually.  I will enjoy a discussion of photographic ideas.  If you have already done extensive visualization and storyboarding, I will adopt your chosen frames and work to enhance them.  If you have not visualized your film, I will make shot suggestions and we will visualize the project together.

 

 

PREPARATION

I will memorize or create shot lists or storyboards well ahead of time.  I will make lighting plots prior to shooting.  I will meet with the grip, electric, and assistant camera department heads to discuss each setup prior to filming.  The preparation will result in on set efficiency, which in turn will ensure all your setups are completed, and that you have more time and more takes with your actors to get the performances you need.  The efficient production will stay on schedule - and in turn, stay on, or even under budget.

AN ARTISTIC EYE

I will bring artistry to every frame in your film since every frame in your film matters.  Light, shadow, composition, and camera movement (or lack thereof) will enhance every frame, and every frame we photograph will support your vision and story.

 

TECHNICAL EXPERTISE

I have been working with cameras since 1996, and have photographed narratives and documentaries on film, tape, and digital.  I’ve designed countless lighting schemes as a gaffer.  I spent four years studying production and cinematography at Northwestern University.  I have worked every position within my department.  I will bring the technical knowledge I have acquired through these experiences to your production.

 

RESOURCEFULNESS

All films have different budgets and schedules.  I will be aware of our constraints and will plan setups and order equipment accordingly.  I will hire the most skilled and professional crews that our budget allows and will always provide you with excellent footage.

 

PROFESSIONALISM

I will operate as a professional throughout all phases of production.  On set, the safety of our cast and crew will always be a top priority.

FLEXIBILITY

Despite preparation, inevitably new and better ideas come about on set.  I am always flexible toward ideas that will improve the film.

 

 

ENTHUSIAM

I love the art of cinematography and the collaborative process of filmmaking.  My enthusiasm will be apparent throughout all phases of production.

c: 323/819.7218     |     e: michaelhelenek@hotmail.com      |      LA / NYC