A film teacher was asked by a student how to judge a film, whether it is good or bad. The teacher said that if the dialogue was easily heard and you could see the actors and the action clearly, that is, not blurred or too dark or bright, then the film could be judged objectively as “good.” He also said that the story and the quality of acting, and the “look” of the film couldn’t be judged objectively because those elements of a film could only be judged subjectively, by people’s different opinions.
Gurdeep Singh is a cinematographer with many years of solid camera experience. He takes his work very seriously and believes that each and every film should be shot with the idea of obtaining the absolute best look that fits and enhances the story perfectly. He sees that his job is to collaborate with the director in order to manifest the director’s vision on the screen. He feels that anyone can shoot a motion picture and get objectively good results, especially since cameras and camera technology improves yearly.
That is, the scenes are in focus, and you can see the actors’ faces clearly. If that’s all they intend to do, however, then there is nothing wrong with that, but they will never move up in the world of artistically driven cinematography which can make movies “great,” not just acceptable.
Great cinematographers like Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane), Freddie Young (Lawrence of Arabia), Kazuo Miyagawa (Rashoman), Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now), Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049), among many others, approach cinematography as an art form, just like Gurdeep Singh does. Besides being artists, these cinematographers are technical experts when it comes to setting the right visual tone with the use of dramatic lighting and the proper camera lenses.
The scene they are currently shooting is the only thing they are thinking about in that moment. They have to sweep everything else from their minds and focus on capturing the emotional content of the actors. Nothing is more important to Gurdeep and other cinematographers of his ilk than the silent witness of the camera capturing the totality of the scene and all of its nuances in front of them. Gurdeep never envisioned becoming a filmmaker or having any involvement in the world of cinema. As a child, he was extremely shy and always avoided cameras. However, during his undergraduate years, he was introduced to the world of theater and had the opportunity to witness some truly remarkable actors in action. That awakening was ten years ago, and it was then that he began to consider filmmaking as a powerful medium for expressing one’s thoughts.