Raoul Coutard – Sets and cinematography (55/179)


And at the same time when you’re making a film, there are more or less between 300 and 800 shots, there can be less or much more than that. For example in ‘The confession’, there are 1400 I think or something like that. Those shots are – not in Godard’s films – but in films in general, they are shots that aren’t filmed in order, because we’re still finishing the sets, so we can film the end before the beginning. At the end of the film, there needs to be a sort of coherence just like if it had been filmed in order. Meaning that when you determine which type of cinematography you’re going to be doing, there obviously comes a time when you need to decide, before you start filming, how you picture the film’s cinematography. Meaning all that depending on the sets. Because when we go to research locations, in general assistants usually have two or three sets for every… They present different sorts of sets for every scene. The film director chooses the one he would like to use. But he doesn’t necessarily choose it according to how easy it’ll be to do the lighting, it’s chosen according to criteria which are not necessarily seen or unseen, I mean but are… The emotion that he gets from the set is what dictates his decision, and they aren’t necessarily easy to light. So I mean when you see all those sets, thinking that it might even be possible that a few of them slip through your fingers, because sometimes they say- No we can’t get the set anymore, we’re using another one. But at the same time it’s important to note that cinematography; you shouldn’t start thinking- This set is great, there’s room, I’ll be able to do this sort of cinematography. Because it’s at risk of being in complete imbalance with the cinematography done on another, more difficult, set. So there’s this sort of continuity between the light and the image conception, which needs to be done a little earlier, in order to determine what will happen. All that’s very important. I didn’t learn it all straight away, I found out a little later. With Jean-Luc, for ‘Breathless’ it wasn’t an issue because everything was filmed in order, And when we couldn’t film, we couldn’t film. So we would stop.

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