Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters

Article excerpt

History Is a Hit

Bravo to Robert Birchard on his phenomenal contribution - "The Youngest Art is 90 Years Old." He gave us a rare glimpse of the motion picture industry's history that was both informative and very much entertaining. I certainly hope he's around to tell of the industry's first 100 years in 1996.

As a young filmmaker, my hat is off to you for this fine piece of work.

-Dann Cuellar

San Antonio

Learning Experience

As a student of cinematography I find myself in awe of such great cinematographers as Gordon Willis, Nestor Almendros and Vilmos Zsigmond. To me these men are among the best in the business.

If only individuals such as these could help. Help, in the way of implementing programs for serious students such as myself. During the summer if it was possible, to establish a program where students had the opportunity to work among the professionals and get paid at minimum wage to learn as well as work at whatever had to be done.

For those who cannot afford the learning experience of a film school this would be the next best thing.

-James M. Dooney

Durham Calif.

Out of Sorts?

I am quite repulsed at the article, "Lights, Camera, Emulsions for Out of Africa" (February 1986), which showcases David Watkin. I find it hard to believe that this embarrassment to British cinematographers was chosen for this noble project - especially considering Sydney Pollack's outstanding choice of cinematographers in the past.

This epic film that had so much photographic potential turned out to be the greatest disappointment in cinematography this past year. I thought to myself, 'all right, I'll mourn for three months, then I'll get over it - which I did, until the February issue of American Cinemawgrapher came out.

In this article, Watkin speaks of the magical Agfa high speed film stock that supposedly offers an extra "octave" to the cinematographer, and Agfa quoting Watkin in their advertisements about the film stock that is "almost impossible to overexpose." Almost impossible, that is, until Watkin got his hands on it, and did the impossible: he overexposed it.

In Out of Africa, there are shots of Meryl Streep walking in the shade, outside of which is a grotesquely burned-out background.

Watkin's obnoxious vanity about the whole thing, and especially his denunciation of Kodak 5294 as "much more grainy," is hard to bear. …

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