Nominees for Best Cinematography 2017

Ask the average American to name a top movie director and they will probably not have much trouble naming quite a few such as Spielberg, Hitchcock, John Ford, Clint Eastwood, Joel and Ethan Cohen, Scorsese, Peter Jackson et al. However, ask most people about great cinematographers and their work and you will probably hear crickets. That is because the average person does not recognize how important the relationship between a director and his/her cinematographer is. The Oscar’s board of governors does recognize these professionals who are instrumental in conveying a director’s message to his/her audience. They have announced the nominees for best cinematography for 2017. (The actual ceremony will be held on March 5th.) Here is a list of the unsung heroes of the visual performing art who use light and color to create memorable moments for audiences around the world.
• Blade Runner 2049 (Roger Deakins): Deakins is a legend among his peers. This year marks his fourteenth Academy Award nomination for best cinematography. He was previously nominated for Unbroken (1994), True Grit (2010), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), et al. The movie is a follow up to the 1982 cult (2)
• Darkest Hour (Bruno Delbonnel): This movie marks the fifth nomination Delbonnel has received for best cinematography. Darkest Hour tells the story of Churchill’s strategy of trying to contain Hitler in the run-up to WWII.
• Dunkirk (Hoyte van Hoytema): This epic WWII movie has received numerous nominations including best directing, film editing, best picture, etc. Dunkirk is a first time effort for Hoytema.
• Mudbound (Rachel Morrison): This movie about race relations in the south following WWII is Morrison’s first Academy Award nomination.
• The Shape of Water (Dan Laustsen): Laustsen graduated from the Danish National Film School in 1979, and is a member of the Danish Society of Cinematographers. His past films include John Wick: Chapter 2, Darkness Falls, Brotherhood of the Wolf, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, et al.
Even though these men and women will probably not become household names after this year’s ceremony, that doesn’t mean that they should not be honored for their contribution to the arts. At Ratpac Dimmer where we have sell the wireless dimmers that make entertainment lighting venues more vibrant, we do recognize these artists and technicians. Our dimmer rental also allows our customers to make their contribution to the world of entertainment lighting.

How to Prepare to be a Cinematographer

While it is often said that experience is the best teacher, education is also important when preparing to enter the field of cinematography. In fact, a bachelor’s degree is usually a prerequisite for entering this highly specialized field. Thus, aspiring cinematographers can best be prepared by thoughtfully adding both education and practical experience to their palate.


Formal Education


There are several kinds of degrees that are available to people entering the field of cinematography. Those degrees include: a Cinematography Certificate, an Associate of Arts in Motion Pictures, and a Bachelor of Science in Digital Cinematography. These degree programs teach a plethora of skills ranging from directing to sound design to screen writing etc. Here are other areas that aid in growing a student’s knowledge of this field.

  • Camera operation and videography: Cinematographers are part technician and part artist. They must know a great deal about the technical operation of different kinds of cameras, lenses, lighting and accessories. Fortunately, as this field grows there are many degree programs and courses offered in colleges and universities all around the world that support the development of aspiring cinematographers.
  • Color science: Just as musicians use different tones and scales in order to create musical pieces, cinematographers use color to relay their artistic vision to the public.
  • Watch movies: Every film class will have as part of its curriculum recommended movies that students should watch. Watching various movies from different cinematographers will help students understand why cameras move the way they do and why certain scenes are shot the way they are.

Practical Experience


  • Make your own short films: Creating your own independent project will help you gain actual experience telling a story using film. It will teach you storyboarding, camera work, etc.
  • Get on a set: Greatness comes from humble beginnings. Apply for jobs such as production assistant, camera operator, lighting technician, craft service personnel in order to get some experience actually being on a film set. Take notes and soak in everything that is going on around you.
  • Take pictures and short movies: Take every opportunity to utilize what you know by taking pictures and making movies with whatever equipment you have. Doing this will teach you framing, composition, exposure, texture, etc.

Ultimately, hard work and dedication do pay off. Cinematographers make a lasting effect on the public by utilizing education and experience they have acquired over a lifetime. Through our dimmer rentals and wireless dimmers we impact how film makers, stage directors and other professionals use light to

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convey their stories.