Magazine article American Cinematographer

Asc Close-Up

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Asc Close-Up

Article excerpt

Richard P. Crudo, ASC

When you were a child, what film made the strongest impression on you?

At age 6, I saw a revival of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, shot by Franz Planer, ASC. What stays with me to this day is its sense of spectacle. It's a great piece of pure entertainment that still holds up.

Which cinematographers, past or present do you most admire?

There are so many. Among the old timers, I admire John Alton and ASC members Joe MacDonald, Ray Rennahan, John Seitz and Gregg Toland. I don't want to leave anyone out, but in the modem era I've enjoyed the work of ASC members Roger Deakins, Caleb Oeschanel, William Fraker, WaIIy Pfister, Owen Roizman and John Toll. When I was coming up as an assistant cameraman, I had the great good fortune to work frequently with Gordon Willis, ASC, and I admire what he did - and the way he did it-immensely.

What sparked your interest in photography?

Like most of us, I always fooled around with still cameras as a kid. First and foremost, though, I was a jock. By the time I was in college-when I realized the Yankees weren't going to need me - photography had taken on a new meaning. As I began to study, the notion of creating moments in time became more and more appealing, and that appeal has only grown over the years.

Where did you train and/or study?

I was extremely fortunate to receive the best film-school education possible: I came up through the ranks in New York City as an assistant cameraman. In addition to working with Gordon Willis, I was blessed to serve on the crews of some of the best people around, including [ASC members] Michael Chapman, Laszlo Kovacs, Robert Richardson, John Seale, Vlttorio Storaro, Vllmos Zsigmond, and many others. Early on, I took some film classes at Columbia University and eventually earned a master's degree. But that practical, hands-on experience is what really counted.

Who were your early teachers or mentors?

I never had a mentor in the traditional sense, but I was absolutely tenacious in trying to leam from the cinematographers I worked for as an AC. I still have hundreds of pages of notes and diagrams I scribbled while standing next to the camera, and it's amazing how relevant they've remained. Others were also generous with their knowledge: New York commercial cameramen Greg Andracke, John Beymer and Jamie Jacobson, to name a few. I learned from some assistants, too: Michael Green, Doug Hart, Jim Hovey, Jay Levy, Bruce McCallum, Bob Paone. …

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