7.8/10
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20 user 27 critic

Visions of Light (1992)

Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself (as Ernest Dickerson)
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Himself
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Himself
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Himself
Lisa Rinzler ...
Herself
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Himself (as Conrad Hall)
William A. Fraker ...
Himself
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Himself
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Himself (as Nestor Almendros)
Charles Rosher Jr. ...
Himself (as Charles D. Rosher)
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Himself
Stephen H. Burum ...
Himself
Harry L. Wolf ...
Himself (as Harry Wolf)
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Himself (as Charles B. Lang)
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Himself
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Storyline

Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to Do the Right Thing. Themes: the DP tells people where to look; changes in movies (the arrival of sound, color, and wide screens) required creative responses from DPs; and, these artisans constantly invent new equipment and try new things, with wonderful results. The narration takes us through the identifiable studio styles of the 30s, the emergence of noir, the New York look, and the impact of Europeans. Citizen Kane, The Conformist, and Gordon Willis get special attention. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

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Release Date:

24 February 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

$799,856 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Todd McCarthy had hoped to include an interview with the legendary cinematographer, John Alton, whose work is highlighted in the film, but could not locate him. Alton had quit the movie business after working on Elmer Gantry (1960), and for many years, even close friends didn't know his whereabouts, or if he was still alive. In 1992, McCarthy was shocked to receive a phone call from the now 91-year-old Alton, who had heard about Visions of Light (1992), and wanted to attend the premiere. Alton insisted that there was nothing mysterious in his disappearance, that he and his wife had simply decided to give up the movie business and travel a bit. They had lived in France, Germany, and Argentina, and had a great time. Alton died in 1996 at the age of 95. See more »

Quotes

Vittorio Storaro: I understood at that moment that cinema really has no nationality.
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Connections

Features T-Men (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

The Aquarium
from "Carnival of the Animals"
Music by Camille Saint-Saëns
Played during the film's introduction.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The importance of Cinematography
9 April 2007 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Taking a stand for cinema's populist underdog, Visions of light reinstates the basic elements of importance in film in an age where the artistic merit is credited the director and the actors. Or maybe it merely tells an audience what every filmmaker knows so well; that the art of film would be nothing without light and the craft of capturing and animating it. Since the origin of film-making, cinematography has maintained its reputation of being a craft, long after the role of the director was given creative control. And with such a responsibility in management of physical and optical parameters, the creative expression of the director of photography is purely based on experiment through immense control. From Charles Lang being instructed to "put his shadows wherever he wanted, but not on the actors face" to David Lynch and Frederick Elmes discussing "how dark is dark", the art of cinematography is just as much about being an illusionist as just a mediator between production and aspection. In commentary to his "sketching of things in the dark" to the point of monochromism, John Alton summed up the spirit of cinematography in reminding us that it is not as much about the lights you turn on as the one's you don't.


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