You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cinematography game changer

'Avatar' raises the question of what constitutes lensing

When “Avatar” d.p. Mauro Fiore was nominated by both the Academy and the American Society of Cinematographers, it not only raised a few eyebrows — after all, 70% of the film was created digitally without his contribution — but brought into sharp focus the big question now looming over such awards: How does one effectively and fairly judge cinematography in a rapidly evolving digital world, where a d.p.’s live-action contributions might only serve as a template for teams of visual effects artists?

ASC president Michael Goi is quick to note this issue, “which applies not just to cinematography but to the whole visual end of the industry,” didn’t start with “Avatar.” “The reality is that cinematography has always evolved and changed with advancing technology and tools.”

Curtis Clark, chairman of ASC’s Technical Committee, reports that the digital world has evolved far faster “and had a deeper impact” than anyone expected. “To put it in context, when our committee was launched in 2003, we did a survey of films using the digital intermediate (DI) process, and we estimated maybe 15% were using it. Today, maybe over 90% are using DI,” he says. “And the rapid evolution of digital cameras is even more striking; now we have 3D thrown into the mix.”

Regardless, Clark says the role of the cinematographer, while in transition, is more vital than ever to a production, “to give an overall cohesive look to a project.”

Adds Goi: “This is a really good time to look at the technology and the awards and assess what constitutes qualifications for a particular award. But that’s an important discussion that should happen after this awards season.”

More Film

  • Abbas Kiarostami

    APSA to Honor Late Abbas Kiarostami, Newcomer Ilgar Najaf

    When “Avatar” d.p. Mauro Fiore was nominated by both the Academy and the American Society of Cinematographers, it not only raised a few eyebrows — after all, 70% of the film was created digitally without his contribution — but brought into sharp focus the big question now looming over such awards: How does one effectively […]

  • village rockstars TIFF

    Village Rockstars,' ‘Summer 1993’ win Mumbai Film Festival

    When “Avatar” d.p. Mauro Fiore was nominated by both the Academy and the American Society of Cinematographers, it not only raised a few eyebrows — after all, 70% of the film was created digitally without his contribution — but brought into sharp focus the big question now looming over such awards: How does one effectively […]

  • Vivien Leigh

    Vivien Leigh Biopic in Works From 'Feud: Bette and Joan' Writers (EXCLUSIVE)

    When “Avatar” d.p. Mauro Fiore was nominated by both the Academy and the American Society of Cinematographers, it not only raised a few eyebrows — after all, 70% of the film was created digitally without his contribution — but brought into sharp focus the big question now looming over such awards: How does one effectively […]

  • Bill Nighy

    Film News Roundup: Bill Nighy, Jack Lowden to Star in Comedy 'Made in Italy'

    When “Avatar” d.p. Mauro Fiore was nominated by both the Academy and the American Society of Cinematographers, it not only raised a few eyebrows — after all, 70% of the film was created digitally without his contribution — but brought into sharp focus the big question now looming over such awards: How does one effectively […]

  • Busan: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing

    Busan: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing Motherhood and Filmmaking

    When “Avatar” d.p. Mauro Fiore was nominated by both the Academy and the American Society of Cinematographers, it not only raised a few eyebrows — after all, 70% of the film was created digitally without his contribution — but brought into sharp focus the big question now looming over such awards: How does one effectively […]

  • VidAngel logo

    VidAngel Declares Bankruptcy to Put Copyright Fight on Hold

    When “Avatar” d.p. Mauro Fiore was nominated by both the Academy and the American Society of Cinematographers, it not only raised a few eyebrows — after all, 70% of the film was created digitally without his contribution — but brought into sharp focus the big question now looming over such awards: How does one effectively […]

  • Morgan Freeman Colin Powell

    Morgan Freeman to Play Colin Powell in Biopic

    When “Avatar” d.p. Mauro Fiore was nominated by both the Academy and the American Society of Cinematographers, it not only raised a few eyebrows — after all, 70% of the film was created digitally without his contribution — but brought into sharp focus the big question now looming over such awards: How does one effectively […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content