Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A TV Cinematographer

This is why I love the web: where else would people like me have access to an interview with George Spiro Dibie, a veteran director of photography for television? and not just any interview, but a long, long, long interview with lots of technical stuff about shooting a series. If you like to know about why Barney Miller looked different from other videotaped shows, or what kind of film was used for Buffalo Bill, then you'll enjoy this interview as much as I did.

Dibie also seems to share my shameful affection for Growing Pains:

Like you said, there isn’t a lot of recognition from the industry, so you find satisfaction in your own feelings about your work. You have a different script to shoot every week with no time to rehearse, maybe a couple of days to prepare each episode, almost always with a different director. There are also times when writer-producers seek you out, and actresses and actors insist that you shoot their shows. One of my most memorable sitcoms was the Halloween episode of Growing Pains. It was a one-hour episode, and we had four days to shoot it. We had to create moods and looks that touched on all of the emotions in that one show. The camerawork was an important part of the story-telling. We had an important interior scene mainly motivated by a fireplace with some night light coming through a window. There was a black and white sequence and one where colors were very important. We had interior and exterior scenes, and one where a Steadicam was important. If someone said to me, Dibie give me an hour that represents your best work, I’d probably pick that show.

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