Magazine article American Cinematographer

Close-Up David Klein, ASC

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Close-Up David Klein, ASC

Article excerpt

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

My father took me to the drive-in to see Blade /fanner when I was 12.1 was blown away. That movie, against a fading skyline, changed everything.

Which cinematographers, past or present, do you most admire?

Conrad Hall, ASC. His lighting was the first I responded to, before I had the language for my experience. Every frame seemed original. He never stopped studying the way our world is lit, and the way it can shift. Everything he shot is a gift.

What sparked your interest in photography?

My dad. He lugged a 35mm SLR and lenses in an aluminum case that, to me, was full of a mystery wanted to solve. He was the first photographer I admired. My grandfather was no slouch as a cinematographer either, but I only found this out decades later when I transferred 9,000 feet of his Kodak negative and reversal from the 1940s, Fifties and Sixties. He also gave me my first Bolex, after high school. They were not professional cameramen, but they put me on my path.

Where did you train and/or study?

I barely trained or studied, but at the Vancouver Film School I met Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier. We made our first three films together, after which the adults at the studios cut me out. I was adrift, but I was forced to shoot everything thrown at me for 10 years, fueled by hunger and a need to gain experience and improve with each project. Those 10 years of fighting mean everything, still.

Who were your early teachers or mentors?

I was thrown into the cinematographer's chair extremely early, so I surrounded myself with savants to cover me. My most memorable hire turned out to be a focus puller named Andy Graham, who's now an operator - I'd told him how green I was, and he appreciated that. It's important to be honest about your experience level. We've been friends and colleagues ever since.

What are some of your key artistic influences?

Filmmakers. As a team, I admire David Fincher and Jeff Cronenweth, ASC. Adam Arkapaw is doing amazing work. Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC; Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC; John Toll, ASC; Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC. The list goes on, but I'm excited by what's unique.

How did you get your first break in the business? …

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