I like to say that lighting is about taking the light away. I often like to use the shadows more than the light.

— Vilmos Zsigmond

The most pleasurable Vilmos Zsigmond quotes that are free to learn and impress others

There is something missing in a lot of digital filmmaking, something I call "poetic reality." That's something you see played out in film noir, where the technique establishes the mood.

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I think that the audience should not be able to tell if it is real or not real - it should be an enhanced version of reality, or an artistic view of reality, that captures not only what is physically there, but what is not visible - the mood.

15

You can't just stick with what you know, you have to evolve.

13

The best way to know when there's good lighting is when you don't notice it.

11

As the cinematographer is usually more visual than the director is and full cooperation is really the answer and to make a great film, you need a good director and you need a good cinematographer.

11

I'm always looking in the lighting to tell the story in a different way than it actually looks in real life because it's, for me, more contrast sometimes has to mean it's softer than normal.

10

I hope that film is going to stay as an artform and that people won't forget that there are good movies also to be made.

8

I think film is about images. Cinema needs good images. I think that if you don’t have good images, it’s not going to be a good film. I think all films should be really visual.

7

There is something more to "reality" than just the tangible.

There is also mood, and you cannot skip that.

6

It's all about special effects and explosions now.

It leaves me just cold when I walk out of the theater. There's no heart; there's no soul. Movies used to be about people. It's as though we don't tell stories any more. The studios have to make money, and if you want to make $20 million, you have to spend $200 million.

6

I think that film is still an artform and it doesn't really matter if you're using a digital camera or a film camera.

5

I'm always looking for directors who are very strong, they have great ideas, but on the other hand, that need help. It means they rely mostly on my eyes.

4

About Vilmos Zsigmond

Quotes 71 sayings
Profession Cinematographer
Birthday June 16, 1930

Kubrick was one of those directors who actually did practically everything in his movies. He actually directed, photographed, wrote, lit, edited - everything. A few people can be like that.

3

I am actually retired - yes, I am retired.

But I like to work. So I'm retired until someone calls me up to work.

3

There is a difference between creating something and just capturing something.

And when we were using film, it was not that fast, and it was expensive, so there was incentive to make sure the shot was exactly right before we rolled. With digital, it's fast and its cheap, and it's easy to bypass the rest.

3

I like to work with talented people, I must say that.

That's my weakness. I really like to work with good directors. That doesn't mean I don't like to work with starting up young directors, that's fun also.

3

Mexican cinematographers Gabriel Figueroa and Emilio Fernandez were students of both Sergei Eisenstein and Toland. Their exteriors and lighting were gorgeous. And the films Ingmar Bergman did with Sven Nykvist were exceptional.

2

These days that wouldn't happen - waiting for the light to be exactly right.

Because it takes time and time is money. And with these big productions with expensive actors, you just don't have the time to get every shot exactly right.

2

When we came to America, the movies here needed a "new wave.

" European films looked totally different than American movies, which were these lush, glossy pictures with this elaborate production design.

1

I think too many film students in America are losing the artistry and not learning lighting the right way.

1

For me, movies should be visual. If you want dialogue, you should read a book.

0

What I would suggest to the young people is to not forget this and don't try to get assimilated into today's Hollywood style of movies because I don't think it's going to last long.

0

A good [film] director is talented, imaginative, and does his homework.

0

I think all cinematographers, at least most of them, would love to do everything on location because you cannot cheat on location. It's there, it's part of the story usually. You have to deal with the elements. You have the sunshine, you have rain, you have fog - it really makes you work harder to try to match things during the day to make it look like it was shot within five minutes, movie time.

0

I like the film camera better because the film is still one hundred times better than any digital image at the moment. So, there are certain movies that you can't really do digitally.

0

I don't like to be in front of the camera - my place is behind the camera.

0

I shot a lot of commercials and sometimes I enjoy the commercial shooting and sometimes I really hate it, but in thirty seconds or one minute, you can make some remarkable work shooting in one or two or three days.

0

I love Woody Allen. He's very clever, always thinking, and he's great with actors. He lets actors do what they want to do and occasionally he'll give them a specific kind of direction.

0

There are many, many different kinds of movies and directors and styles.

I don't mind that a movie looks like a movie.

0

There are, of course, many, many, many good cinematographers and unfortunately they don't work as much as many of those people who do those crazy, stupid movies.

0

I love to make movies about young people - young scientists that are inventing things and all the writing they did was very funny and very true.

0

There are a lot of directors out there that don't like to deal with actors, I think. Many of them have said something like, in the future they will actually manipulate the actors on their computers. But don't believe all this.

0

I really like to work with people who know a lot, but they also give me space so I can add something to the movie.

0

You make a film for a million dollars and then it costs $10 million to sell it.

That's the problem at the moment with independent filmmaking: You can make it cheap and then there's no money to market it.

0

As an actor, Sean [Penn] is brilliant.

And he's really an excellent director, as well. We got along really well.

0

I don't think there is any advantage to digital unless it's in a case like Slumdog Millionaire, where you have to get a shot and a big bulky film camera is out of the question.

0

Spielberg was very young and starting up when we did Sugarland Express and I loved that, but the main thing was that I really loved his talent.

0

The studios are never going to make $200 million a picture with those types of movies. It's not familiar to them, and it's not a model that can necessarily be sustained. Now, if they go back to making movies about people ... well, I hope they do that.

0

If you do not bother to take the time to compose and to light properly, then you end up with something almost less than reality. You end up without the soul, the heart, the art of the moment.

0

Technology has a great deal to do with it.

The Panaflex camera was a big breakthrough when it came along; it changed everything, because now you could shoot from the perspective of a person riding in the backseat of a car.

0

I look at a picture like Scarecrow and think, 'Jesus, how could they have let us make that?' I mean, if you used technology that old nowadays, it would look like old Hollywood.

0

I love the Dutch impressionists - Vermeer, Rembrandt.

What they were able to do with light was astonishing. As for photographers, I think mostly of the Hungarians: Robert Capa, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Jozsef Pesci. In fact, I have one of his photographs hanging in my house.

0

Each story has a different approach for me and I try to work with lighting that will tell you visually the story better than if it was shot in available light.

0

I should mention Vittorio Storaro, who was Bernardo Bertolucci's cinematographer. You watch those films and they are exceptional.

0

Some movies are what I would call murky.

Just because it's murky doesn't make it artistic. It makes it hard to see.

0

Telling the story with only a few shots, I love that style.

It makes you feel like you're part of the action, part of the story. It reminds me of the theater, where one act is basically like one long shot. It almost makes you forget that you're seeing a movie.

0

I don't know the American photographers as well, but I admit I love Ansel Adams.

His landscapes are so crisp.

0

When I first came to America there still was Look Magazine and LIFE Magazine, and the photography in those magazines was amazing to look at. They had the best portraits, and their news photography.

0

If you use hand-held techniques just to make the film stylish I think it's wrong.

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