Quentin Tarantino: Shooting Digital Means Never Having to Hire a Cinematographer
Can you imagine yourself making a film like Sin City? I would have thought not. I’m not a fan of digital. And I sound like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth when it comes to Robert [Rodriguez]. When Robert does it, it’s great. That’s where Robert is coming from. He just wants to do everything himself and digital allows him to do that. Why would you hire a cinematographer? If you’re doing a digital movie it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. All you need to do is look to the screen to see if you like it. Gaffer do this, do that… you could be your own cinematographer. No cinematographer should be promoting digital. It makes them as obsolete as a dodo bird. But in the case of Sin City, and probably 300, you know you could never have made those movies on film.
If you ask me, you don’t have to look any farther than Dion Beebe’s work on Miami Vice to see that cinematographers can make compelling, transformative images with digital cameras. That’s a much different film from Sin City and 300 of course. But is QT onto something? Does the advent of digital cinematography (and widespread respect for Robert Rodriguez and his DIY aesthetic) and the on-set high-def monitor bring with it a threat to the traditional role of the cinematographer? Or is Tarantino underselling the role of the director of photography? Maybe he just has a narrower view of what a “digital movie” is.