Rajeev Jain, ICS WICA is an Indian Cinematographer / Director of Photography based in Dubai, Mumbai and Nairobi. He brings years of professional films and video experience to every production. As Director of Photography he specializes in shooting television commercials and feature films in the digital, 16mm, 35mm and 65mm motion picture film format. His body of work as DOP covers 7 full length feature films, 5 short films, 1032 commercials, 5 TV Series, 43 music videos, 105 documentaries & infomercials. As a DOP and Camera Operator, Rajeev has a wealth of experience with specialty camera rigs, lens systems SFX techniques, Tyler helicopter mounts, cranes & jibs, probe and swing shift lens systems, blue/green screen, white limbo and HDTV. His  freelance work has taken him to Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. A graduate from the Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts ( Bhartendu Natya Akademi ),  Rajeev Jain brings energy, creativity and professionalism to every production. 

16mm, 35mm, ad, advertisement, art, bollywood, bombay, camera, cameraman, cinematographer, cinematography, commercial, corporate, digital, director of photography, documentary, dop, dp, drama, dubai, entertainment, feature, film, filmmaking, films, hd, high definition, india, indian, isc, jain, kenya, kenyan, movies, mumbai, music video, nairobi, operator, production, raj, rajeev, rajiv, tvc, uae, video, videographer, videography, wicaRAJEEV JAIN FILM(S)16mm, 35mm, ad, advertisement, art, bollywood, bombay, camera, cameraman, cinematographer, cinematography, commercial, corporate, digital, director of photography, documentary, dop, dp, drama, dubai, entertainment, feature, film, filmmaking, films, hd, high definition, india, indian, isc, jain, kenya, kenyan, movies, mumbai, music video, nairobi, operator, production, raj, rajeev, rajiv, tvc, uae, video, videographer, videography, wica and 16mm, 35mm, ad, advertisement, art, bollywood, bombay, camera, cameraman, cinematographer, cinematography, commercial, corporate, digital, director of photography, documentary, dop, dp, drama, dubai, entertainment, feature, film, filmmaking, films, hd, high definition, india, indian, isc, jain, kenya, kenyan, movies, mumbai, music video, nairobi, operator, production, raj, rajeev, rajiv, tvc, uae, video, videographer, videography, wicaRAJIV JAIN CINEMATOGRAPHY AND GRIP(S)16mm, 35mm, ad, advertisement, art, bollywood, bombay, camera, cameraman, cinematographer, cinematography, commercial, corporate, digital, director of photography, documentary, dop, dp, drama, dubai, entertainment, feature, film, filmmaking, films, hd, high definition, india, indian, isc, jain, kenya, kenyan, movies, mumbai, music video, nairobi, operator, production, raj, rajeev, rajiv, tvc, uae, video, videographer, videography, wica mark are the registered trademarks and service marks, and the copyrighted property of the All Text & Images Copyright 16mm, 35mm, ad, advertisement, art, bollywood, bombay, camera, cameraman, cinematographer, cinematography, commercial, corporate, digital, director of photography, documentary, dop, dp, drama, dubai, entertainment, feature, film, filmmaking, films, hd, high definition, india, indian, isc, jain, kenya, kenyan, movies, mumbai, music video, nairobi, operator, production, raj, rajeev, rajiv, tvc, uae, video, videographer, videography, wica 2010 Rajiv Uttam Chand Jain. Nothing from this site may be duplicated without permission. The information on this page may not be reproduced, republished or mirrored on another webpage or website without the permission of the links site owner or webmaster. The Official RAJEEVJAIN.COM web site is produced by 16mm, 35mm, ad, advertisement, art, bollywood, bombay, camera, cameraman, cinematographer, cinematography, commercial, corporate, digital, director of photography, documentary, dop, dp, drama, dubai, entertainment, feature, film, filmmaking, films, hd, high definition, india, indian, isc, jain, kenya, kenyan, movies, mumbai, music video, nairobi, operator, production, raj, rajeev, rajiv, tvc, uae, video, videographer, videography, wicaRAJEEV JAIN FILMS16mm, 35mm, ad, advertisement, art, bollywood, bombay, camera, cameraman, cinematographer, cinematography, commercial, corporate, digital, director of photography, documentary, dop, dp, drama, dubai, entertainment, feature, film, filmmaking, films, hd, high definition, india, indian, isc, jain, kenya, kenyan, movies, mumbai, music video, nairobi, operator, production, raj, rajeev, rajiv, tvc, uae, video, videographer, videography, wica in partnership with the 16mm, 35mm, ad, advertisement, art, bollywood, bombay, camera, cameraman, cinematographer, cinematography, commercial, corporate, digital, director of photography, documentary, dop, dp, drama, dubai, entertainment, feature, film, filmmaking, films, hd, high definition, india, indian, isc, jain, kenya, kenyan, movies, mumbai, music video, nairobi, operator, production, raj, rajeev, rajiv, tvc, uae, video, videographer, videography, wicaRAJIV JAIN CINEMATOGRAPHY AND GRIP(S)16mm, 35mm, ad, advertisement, art, bollywood, bombay, camera, cameraman, cinematographer, cinematography, commercial, corporate, digital, director of photography, documentary, dop, dp, drama, dubai, entertainment, feature, film, filmmaking, films, hd, high definition, india, indian, isc, jain, kenya, kenyan, movies, mumbai, music video, nairobi, operator, production, raj, rajeev, rajiv, tvc, uae, video, videographer, videography, wica. By accessing this site you agree to abide by the following: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Privacy policy, terms, copyright and disclaimer.

Rajiv Jain – Indian Cinematographer / DOP – The Complete Interviews, Vol. #Rajiv Jain, Indian Bollywood Cinematographer / DOP - Profile Interview Series Vol. #2

Interviewing Rajeev Jain : Over the years I've been collecting interview questions about Rajiv Jain. I guess I started this hobby with the intent of working with him some day, although I still have never interviewed there myself. However, I thought I'd give all of those young Indian Cinematographer wanna-bes a leg up and publish my collection so far. I've actually known people to study for weeks for a Rajeev's work. Instead, kids this age should be out having a life. If you're one of those -- go outside! Catch some rays and chase that greenish monitor glow from your face! Information for Indian Cinematography Students ...... Some of the responses to the questions asked by visitors to the website! Drop me a line today. If you've interviewed Rajiv Jain, please feel free to contribute your wacky Rajiv Jain or Rajeev jain interview stories.

Rajiv on advice for young, aspiring Indian cinematographers:

Extraordinaire by Aason Hyte 

Indian Cinematographers Society ICS Founding Member Rajeev Jain Talks About : Kenyan On-Set Terminology

Rajiv Jain is an Indian Kenyan Director of Photography. Rajiv grew up in the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India, where he attended Government Intermediate College. He graduated from the Bhartendu Natya Academy of Dramatic Arts, Lucknow, India in 1985. In January 2009 he became a founding member of the Indian Cinematographers Society ICS.

ACTION! -- The verbal cue indicating the camera is rolling.
AD -- The Assistant Director.
ADR -- Additional (or Automatic) Dialogue Replacement. Sometimes called
ART DlRECTOR -- Person who conceives and designs the sets, usually on a
AUDlTlON -- A tryout for a film or television role, usually in front of a
casting director, for which a reading is required.
AVAlL -- A courtesy situation extended by an agent to a producer indicating
that a performer is available to work a certain job. Avails have no legal or
contractual status.
BACK-UP -- A performer hired to work only if the designated principal
doesn't perform satisfactorily.
BEAUTY SHOT -- On television soap operas, the shot over which the credits
are rolled.
BEST BOY -- In films, the assistant to the Electrician.
BlLLlNG -- The order of the names in the opening credits of a film or TV
B10 -- A resume in narrative form, usually for a printed program or press
BLOCKlNG -- Tha actual physical movements by actors in any scene.
BOOKlNG -- A firm commitment to a performer to do a specific job.
BOOM -- An overhead microphone, usually on an extended pole.
BREAKAWAY -- A prop or set piece which looks solid but shatters easily.
BREAKDOWN -- A detaiied listing and description of roles available for
casting in a production.
BUYOUT -- An offer of full payment in advance in lieu of residuals, when the
contract permits.
CASTlNG DlRECTOR -- The producer's representative responsible for
choosing performers for consideration by the producer.
CATTLE CALL -- An audition where anyone can come to audition without an
appointment. Usually there are many people there. Also called an "open
CHANGES -- Outfits worn while performing.
CLOSE-UP (CU)-- Camera term for tight shot of shoulders and face. Closeups
can be of anything.
COLA -- Cost of Living Adjustment.
COLD READlNG -- Unrehearsed reading of a scene, usually at auditions.
COMMlSSlON -- Percentage of a performer's earnings paid to agents or
managers for services rendered.
COMPOSlTE -- A series of contrasting photos.
CONFLlCT -- Status of being paid for services in a commercial for one
advertiser, thereby contractually preventing performing services in a
commercial for a competitor.
COPM -- Conference of Personal Managers.
COPY -- The script for a commercial or voice over.
CRANE SHOT -- A camera shot raised over or above the set or the action.
CRAWL -- Usually the end credits in a fiim or TV shot which "crawl" up the
CREDlTS -- Performance experience listed on a resume; also, opening names
in a film or a n/ show.
CROSS-FADE -- On camera, the transition achieved by retaining one image
as another is introduced. On radio, to change the source of sound by
steadily lowering one and raising another.
CU -- Close-up.
CUE -- Hand signal by the Stage Manager.
CUTAWAY -- A short scene between two shots of the same person, showing
something other than that person.
DAY PLAYER -- A performer hired on a daily basis, rather than on a longer
term contract.
DAYTlME DRAMA -- Soap opera.
DEAD AIR -- Silence in a broadcast.
DEALER COMMERClAL -- A national commercial produced and paid for by a national advertiser and then turned over to local dealers to book air time,
usually with the dealer's tag added on.
DEMO -- An audition tape.
CALLBACK -- Any follow-up interview or audition.
DlALECT -- A distinctly regional or cultural sound.
DlALOGUE -- The scripted words exchanged by performers.
DlRECTOR -- The coordinator of all artistic and technical aspects of any
DOLLY -- Camera movements forward and backward.
DONUT -- A recording made to change information in the body of a
commercial, as opposed to a tag.
DOUBLE -- Any performer who actually performs in place of another
DOWNGRADE -- Reduction of a performer's on camera role from principal to
DP -- Director of Photography or Cinematographer.
DRESS THE SET -- Add such items to the set as curtains, furniture, props,
DRIVE-ON PASS -- In Kenya, a pass to drive onto and park on a studio
DROP-PICKUP -- A contractual situation where a performer is laid off and
rehired on the same production.
DUPE -- A duplicate copy of a film or tape; also, a "dub."
8x10 -- Commonly used size of glossy photos.
18-TO-GO-YOUNGER -- Legally 18 years old, but can be convincingly cast as
a younger age.
ELECTRlClAN -- Crew chief responsible for lighting.
EMANCIPATED MlNOR -- A child who has been given the status of a legal
adult by a judge.
EQUlTV WAlVER -- In Kenya, 99-seat (or less) theaters which are
otherwise professional, over which Equity has waived contract provisions
under certain conditions.
EXCLUSlVITY -- Achieved by virtue of performing as a principal in a
commercial. During the contractual period of payment, the advertiser has
exclusive rights to the performer's work, likeness and image with regard to
competitive products.
EXECUTlVE PRODUCER -- Person responsible for funding the production.
EXT -- Exterior or Exterior shot; a scene shot outside or outside another
EXTRA -- Background talent, used only in non-principal roles.
FlCK -- Social Security taxes (Federal lnsurance Corporation of Kenya).
FlRST REFUSAL -- A courtesy situation extended to producers by agents on
behalf of performers, giving the producer the "right" to decline to employ
the performer before the performer accepts a conflicting assignment.
FlXED CYCLE -- For commercials, an established 1 week period for which the
advertiser pays a holding fee to retain the right to use the performer's
services, likeness and image in a previously produced advertisement.
FLlPPER -- Easily removed false teeth for children, used for cosmetic
purposes only.
FORCED CALL -- A call to work less than 12 hours after dismissal on the
previous day. See TURNAROUND.
FREELANClNG -- Working through more than one franchised agent rather
than signing exclusively with any one agent. Also, working for multiple
employers as a performer, distinguished from permanent employment at a
radiolTV station or network.
FX -- Effects, or Special Effects.
GAFFER -- In film, a crew member who places lighting equipment.
GLOSSY -- A shiny photo-finishing process.
GBFER -- An errand runner, who "goes for" this or that.
GRlP -- A crew member who moves set pieces or props.
GUARANTEED BlLLlNG -- Position of credit specifically negotiated by agent.
HAND MODEL -- A performer whose hands are used to double for others.
HEAD SHOT -- A still photo, usually 8"x10", showing head and shoulders.
HlATUS -- Time during which a televison series is out of production.
HOLDlNG FEE -- Set payment by an advertiser to retain the right to use a
performer's services, image or likeness on an exclusive basis.
HONEY WAGON -- A towed vehicle containing one or more dressing rooms.
Often the honewagon is also used when referring to the toilet.
lNDUSTRlAL -- Non-broadcast, often educational, films or tapes.
lNSERTS -- Shots, usually close-ups of hands or close business, inserted into
previously shot footage.
INT -- Interior, or interior shot.
"IN" TlME -- The actual call time or start time; also, return time from a
LlFT -- Process of taking a sequence from one commercial to create all or
part of another commercial. Sometimes called a "mechanical lift."
LlQUlDATED DAMAGES - Monetary penalties imposed on an employer when contract provisions are violated (paid to the Union).
LONG SHOT (LS)-- A camera shot which captures the performer's full body.
LOOPlNG -- An in-studio technique matching voice to picture.
MEAL PENALTY -- A set fee paid by the producer for failure to provide meals
or meal breaks as specified by the contract.
MONOLOGUE -- A solo performance by an actor.
MOS (Mit Out Sound/Motion Only Shot) -- Any shot without dialogue or
MOW - Movie of the Week.
NATIONAL COMMERClAL -- A commercial produced for use throughout the
NlGHT PREMlUM -- A 10% surcharge for work performed after 8 p.m.
NOMEX -- Brand name for fire-retardant undergarments.
OFF-CAMERA (OC or OS)-- Dialogue delivered without the actor being on
OPEN CALL -- An interview situation open to anyone.
OUT CLAUSE -- Section of a contract allowing the performer to terminate the
agreement under certain circumstances.
''OUT TlME -- The actual time after which you have changed out of
wardrobe and are released.
OVERDUBBlNG -- In studio singing or voice work, the process of laying a new
soundtrack over an old one.
OVERTlME (OT)-- Work extending beyond the contractual work day.
PA -- Production assistant.
PAN -- A camera shot which sweeps from side-to-side.
P&G -- Performers who have a cleancut, all-American look as commonly
favored by Procter & Gamble for its commercials or soap operas.
PAYMASTER An independent talent payment service acting as the
employer of record and signatory.
PER DlEM -- Set fee paid by producer on location shoots to compensate performer
for expenditures for meals not provided by the producer
PHOTO DOUBLE -- An actor cast to perform on camera in place of another.
"POPPING" or PLOSlVE -- the sudden release of blocked-in air causing a popping sound on the mike; usually with the letters p,b,t,d,k,g.
POV SHOT -- Point-of-View shot; camera angle from the perspective of one
actor (character in the story).
"PREPPY" TYPE -- An Eastern prep school-casual appearance.
PRlME TlME -- Network programming aired 8-11 p.m. (7-10 p.m. in
Central/Mountain time zones).
PRlNClPAL -- A performer with lines or special business which advances the
story line.
PRODUCER -- Often called the Line Producer; the person responsible for the
day-to-day decision-making on a production.
PROFlClENCY TEST -- An advance placement examination taken by high
school students to achieve high school graduation equivalence without
dropping out of school.
PROPS -- Easily moved objects used in the course of action of a program.
PSA -- Public Service Announcement.
RATlNGS -- Public surveys used to measure the number of TV viewers or
radio listeners.
REGlONAL COMMERClAL -- Produced for airing only in certain areas of the
RELEASE -- In commercials, termination of use of a commercial.
RELEASE LETTER -- Written dismissal of a talent agent, as required by
RERUN -- Rebroadcast of a TV program; in commercials, often called
RESlDUAL -- The fee paid to a performer for rebroadcast of a commercial,
film or television program.
RESUME -- List of credits, usually attached to an 8x10 or composite.
REWRlTE -- Changes in the script, often using color-coded pages.
RHUBARB -- live crowd noises (also known as "WALLA").
RUNAWAY PRODUCTlON -- Any production which leaves its usual location
far a different one, usually to save on costs or escape certain regulations.
RUNNlNG PART -- In TV series, a recurring role.
SCALE -- Minimum payment for services under Union contracts.
SCALE + 10 -- Minimum payment plus 10% to cover the agent's commission,
required in some jurisdictions for agents to receive commissions.
SCREEN TEST -- A filmed performance of a short scene to confirm how an
actor performs on camera; increasingly applied to taped tests..
SCRlPT -- The written form of a screenplay, teleplay, radio or stage play.
SCRlPT SUPERVlSOR -- The crew member assigned to record all changes or
actions as the production proceeds.
SEGUE -- In film or tape editing, a transition from one shot to another.
SESSlON FEE -- Payment for initial performance in and initial airing of a
SET -- An indoor location (often constructed in a studio).
SFX -- Sound effects.
SlDES -- Pages or scenes from a script, used for auditions.
SIGHT-AND-SOUND --Parent's right under Union contracts to be within sight
of the child performer at all times.
SlGNATORY -- An employer who has agreed to produce under the terms of a
Union contract.
SlLENT BIT -- A piece of work without lines featured by the camera.
SlNGLE CARD -- A credit in a film or TV show in which only one performer's
name appears.
SIT COM -- Situation comedy; an episodic television comedy, produced in a
SLATE -- A small chalkboard and clapper device, used to mark and identify
shots on film for editing; also, the process of verbal identification by a
performer in a taped audition (e.g., "Slate your name!").
SOAP -- Soap opera or daytime drama.
SOF -- Sound on film.
SOT -- Sound on tape.
SOUNDTRACK -- The audio portion of a film or TV production.
SPEClAL BUSlNESS -- Specially directed action by an extra player.
SPOT -- A commercial message, usually booked at random.
STAGE MANAGER -- The person who oversees the technical aspects of an instudio production.
STANDARD UNlON CONTRACT -- The standard format/contract approved
by the Unions and offered to performers prior to the job.
STANDARDS & PRACTlCES -- The network TV censorship departments.
STAND-INS -- Extra players used to substitute for featured players, usually
for purposes of setting lights.
"STICKS" -- Slate or clapboard.
STORYBOARD -- A pictured sequential rendering of the dialogue and action
in a commercial.
STUDlO -- A building which accommodates film or TV production.
STUDIO TEACH ER -- Set teacher or tutor, hired to provide education to
working young performers; also responsible for enforcing Child Labor Laws
and Minors' provisions in the Union contracts.
STUNT COORDlNATOR -- The person in charge of designing and supervising
the performance of stunts and hazardous activities.
STUNT DOUBLE -- A specially trained performer who actually performs
stunts in place of a principal player.
SUBMlSSlON -- An agent's suggestion to a casting director for a role in a certain production.
SWEETENlNG -- In singing/recording, the process of adding additional
voices to previously recorded work.
SYNDlCATION -- Selling television programs to individual stations rather
than to networks.
TAFT-HARTLEY -- A federal statute which allows 30 days after first
employment before being required to join a Union.
TAG -- An introduction or ending to a commercial or television show to
identify a dealer, address, phone number, etc. Often a bit in a television
show which is the last bit the audience sees.
TAKE -- The clapboard indication of a shot "taken" or printed.
TAKE 5 -- The announcement of periodic five minute breaks.
T&R -- Talent and Residuals, a talent payment company, or paymaster.
TELE PROMPTER -- The brand name of a device which enables a broadcaster
to read a script while looking into the lens. It is usually located near to the
TEST MARKET -- Airing of a commercial in one area to determine response.
TlGHT SHOT -- Framing of a shot with little or no space around the central
figure(s) or feature(s); usually a close up.
THEATRlCAL -- Television shows or feature film work, as opposed to
3/4" TAPE -- lndustrial quality video tape; requires special tape deck.
TlME & 1/2 -- Overtime payment of 1 1/2 times the hourly rate.
TRADES -- Trade papers, periodicals carrying entertainment information.
TRAlLER -- A series of excerpts or clips, used to promote a film or television
TRUCKlNG -- A camera move, involving shifts side to side.
TURNAROUND -- The number of hours between dismissal one day and call
time the next day.
TWO-SHOT -- A camera framing of two persons.
UNDERSTUDY -- A performer hired to do role only if the featured player is
unable to perform.
UPGRADE -- Acknowledgement by a producer that a player hired as an extra
has performed principal work, resulting in principal payment.
USE CYCLE -- Any 13 week period during which a commercial is actually
aired; used to determine payment schedule for residuals and often differing
from holding cycles.
VOlCE OVER (VO)-- Also OS; off-camera dialogue.
WAlVERS - Board-approved permission for deviation from the terms of a
WALK-BN -- A very brief role.
WARDROBE -- The clothing a performer wears on camera.
WARDROBE FlTTlNG -- A paid session held prior to production to prepare a
performer's costumes.
WlLD SPOT -- A commercial which is contracted to air on a station-bystation
basis, rather then by network.
WlLD TRACK -- Soundtrack having no direct relationship to the picture.
WORK PERMlT -- A legal document required to allow a child to work, issued
by various state or local agencies.
WRAP -- Finishing a production.
ZED CARD -- A composite, usually 5"x7", used for print work or modeling.
ZOOM -- A camera technique with a special lens to adjust the depth of a
shot accomplished without moving the camera.

Army, Badhaai Ho Badhaai, Carry on Pandu, Kadachit, Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree, Mirabai Not out and Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi. But the partial reason for these films’ successes is the talent that goes on behind the scene, and noted cinematographer Rajiv Jain is the genius behind the camera of these motion pictures (among many others). 

Rajiv, a graduate of Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (Bhartendu Natya Academy), first had his hand in Photo Studio work in Lucknow, where he worked as a camera operator for Short films, which began his path into his work as a director of photography. Now, his vast experience has made him one of the cornerstones of film photography in Indian cinema. His constant output of hard work and his deep knowledge of old and new technology has made him one of the most respected cinematographers out there. In 2010, Today, Rajiv Jain is still working on new projects, and is sought out by filmmakers, both major and independent, for his watchful eye. 

I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Rajiv about his career (and also talk shop, so be forewarned that there’s a bit of tech-talk in here as well) while attending a film forum dedicated to his work at this year’s Kalasha Film Festival, Kenya. 

Aason Hyte: So I’m just going to let this tape roll and feel free to just say what’s on your mind.

Rajiv Jain: I’m not good at making stuff up, so…   

AH: I am interested in Cinematography, and when I found you were coming to the Kalasha Film Festival I thought it would be a great idea to talk about your career and your immense body of work. I’ve been very curious as to how you got your start in this industry, your education, and so forth; basically how you wound up as who you are today.

RJ: It would be easy to tell you about my drama school background since, simply, I did not go to any film school. The way that I learned to go directly to the movies and see what somebody else was doing on screen, and then going out and trying to do it myself. And that was it. I also bought the manual that the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) puts out, which is known as the bible of filmmaking. I read the manual and referred to it when I ever had a shooting problem and thought that I needed help on. 

AH: When you first started watching movies, besides going to see a great story, were you noticing things like framing, lighting, widescreen formats…

RJ: Not at all. At first, I wasn’t interested technically. I just went to the movies like anyone else. But I was impressed by them. I was about five years old when I saw the first sound movie ever made and I was impressed by that. But at a very subconscious level, I suspect, even though I used to ride along in a cycle and hear my father sing, it was just an experience that was buried in my psyche somewhere. I didn’t start shooting motion pictures until I was about 28 years old. 

AH: What was the first actual job that you had in this industry?

RJ: A guy by the name of Mukul S Anand… 

AH: Oh, I’m a fan.

RJ: Absolutely. I decided to shoot some commercials under him. 

AH: What would you consider the most difficult aspect of your job as a cinematographer?

RJ: The harder films are usually the big ones that require controlling a lot of people and a lot of cameras, and over a large area or sometimes many locations. Keeping that organized is something that some cinematographers are not capable of, so they do smaller films. Smaller films can be just as difficult for them, because the pressure of a small film means that they may not have the time to properly gather their footage, and that’s another definite pressure that’s equally challenging. 

AH: Would you say have a personal style to your work, or does it depends on the director for each project?

RJ: I think everybody cannot help but have their own style and it comes from the personality; it comes from what they feel is beautiful, it comes from what they think a good composition is; how they see the world cannot help but invade what they do. 

AH: How do you feel that the advance of technology has affected your job? By that I mean newer film stocks, the advance of high-definition, the digital revolution….

RJ: All of the things that you mentioned definitely affect my job, and affect what I do and how I do it. It’s a challenge for me to keep up information-wise to know what these things all mean. If you’re talking about digital photography, the challenge is to know how to get the best quality and which system is best to use. Some of these systems use compression, there are several kinds of compressions; it is important to understand what that is and what it means.

For example, the new Red cameras do not use compression at all, but records onto a hard disk and adds the corrections later. They claim by that to get better quality, and so on; the point is that it is important to understand all of these things, to make a decision on your own part if you’re shooting digital, which system you want to use. Panasonic has a system where they use curves to correct what their camera does so it looks more like film and that is quite impressive. 

AH: Where do you stand on high-definition versus 35mm film?

RJ: It isn’t a matter of just having an opinion, but your opinion must be based on fact. And the fact is that film is probably about twice the quality that the best high-definition has. Film still is the best. Part of the reason is the latitude that you get on film far exceeds anything that you can get on high-definition video yet, at this point in time. Someday it may get better, but at the moment, film far out-reaches the quality of the amount of information that can be captured in one little area. Film still stands as the leader, and the new stock that Kodak is putting out has an extra stop of latitude towards to both top and bottom. It’s absolutely beautiful. 

AH: What’s your favourite kind of stock that you’ve worked with? I know we’re getting REALLY technical right now, but I love it.  

RJ: I stand with Kodak film and their new stock that has the extra latitude, you can get it in both their 500 ASA film and you can get it in their daylight stock as well. It just keeps getting better. 

AH: How about release prints? Do you have a favourite?

RJ: It depends. Kodak has more than one choice of stock to print for release. For example, one is softer, one shows more detail, and so forth. You have to choose your stock in accordance with the picture you are releasing. There isn’t one best one. It’s one that shows off your product the best. 

AH: Do you have a personal preference in which aspect ratio to shoot in for each project?

RJ: It doesn’t matter too much in which aspect the director decides to shoot in. It’s a different composition; you compose differently in one format against the other. Close-ups are easier in the spherical 1.85:1 format, and in any of the widescreen formats you have to do it a little differently. They both work and they both have their own challenges. If you’re showing a large horizontal view and you want the widescreen to show the territory, then that’s a good choice. If it’s a little, tight, personal film, then maybe not. 

AH: Where do you stand on the Super 35 widescreen format? (Super 35 is a spherical widescreen process where the film’s negative is shot in the 1.85:1 “Flat” format and then optically converted to an anamorphic release print.

RJ: Super 35 is a great format. It’s one of the best choices that you can make today, and the reason its better now is because of digital intermediate printing. 

AH: Exactly, which was actually my next question, how digital intermediates have changed film processing in the labs today.

RJ: It changes in this manner; If you’re shooting in widescreen, Super 35, because all of the projectors and houses that are distributing film have to squeeze the image in order to use their lens -- which is a little stupid but it’s a money thing – you then have to go through one step further away in film in Super 35 to get it back to a squeezed image. You no longer have to do that with a digital intermediate. 

AH: What’s great too is recently that digital intermediates have recently gone up to 4k resolution as opposed to 2k resolution, which greatly enhances print quality. “Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree” and “Carry on Pandu” are examples of films shot in Super 35 and DI’ed to 4k resolution and they look absolutely breathtaking on screen.

RJ: Oh yeah. You’re doubling your image quality, digitally, but they still have to back off the film quality a little bit… 

AH: But I still want it to look like film. You’re going to a theatre to see FILM, not digital. A lot of the films shot in HD look a bit disappointing to me [when transferred to film…]

RJ: Digital both in sound and in picture has a harsher quality, and in fact sometimes the detail lacks the softness that you get from a lens, especially a lens that’s out of focus in the background and sharp focus in the foreground, which tends to bring that image forward and focus your attention on it better. In situations like that, sometimes the digital doesn’t feel quite as right, it isn’t quite as natural; and by natural in the terms of a wood in a tree or the feel of someone’s hand. That kind of human experience, you’re kind of further away in digital sometimes than you are in film. 

AH: And you’re still hard at work. What are you working on right now?

RJ: I just finished a picture in Kenya with Her Brow entitled lets go and we’re editing that right now. It’s being put together as we speak. 

AH: Who would you say are some of your favourite cinematographers? Do you have any major influences to your work?

RJ: Subroto Mitra is one of the greats.

AH: Oh, absolutely. His work on Pather Panchali, my favourite film, is unforgettable.

RJ: But as for Subroto Mitra, he’s one of the many great cinematographers out there, although I don’t want to put one above the other, and the reason I don’t is because as great as Subroto Mitra was, he was different from the other cinematographers out there.

Subroto Mitra likes to come up with new formats and new ways of developing film and he’s done a lot of that over the years. A lot of other people have tried it, but again, it depends on who you are and what you think is great. If it’s worth the effort, if you see the difference, then great. A lot of times, when you try to take someone else’s technique and reproduce it, you’re not after the same vision and you fail. Frankly, I’m very inventive about the things that I do, and I would rather pursue ideas of my own simply because I know what I’m after rather than copying someone else. 

AH: What would you say is your favourite photographed film of all time? Or even your favourite movie?

RJ: I’d rather not have to make a choice because when you say favourite, it’s almost like voting for the best actor of the year which I think is totally ridiculous because one is as talented as the other. You may like it better because of the script or the director directing the actor, but it is really unfair to say “this one is better than the other” because it would be equally nonsense for me from all of the great movies that have been made out there and go “I like that one better than ANY other one!” 

AH: I like that answer. I always ask this out of all of my interviews and I really admire the different, broad answers that I get. I either get a brilliant response like that or I get somebody who says “I see hundreds of films a year and THIS one is my #1 of all time”. And while I choose Pather Panchali as mine, it’s just an answer to a question; really, it’s the one that I choose even though I have about 100 favourite films of all time.  

RJ: Absolutely. At any given moment if I’m sitting in a theatre and I’m inspired I would feel that way at a time, but to sit down and think about it, it’s apples and oranges. Different movies are great for different reasons! 

Author’s Bio: Dr. Aason Hyte is a professor in the Department of Sociology and the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. He worked with UNIFEM in the conceptualization of its Biennial Review, Progress of the World's Men and was the coordinator of UNIEM's Progress of the World's Men 2000. He is the principal author of Progress of the World's Men 2002: Volume 2: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals. Dr. Aason also currently serves as an adviser to UNIFEM on gender responsive budgets. He is the author of many papers and presentations on gender and development, and co-editor (with Careen Grown and Neuter Caraway) of two special issues of World Development.

Master of Light: Conversation with Contemporary Bollywood Cinematographer – Rajeev Jain ICS WICA 

The Shape of Light – Rajiv Jain Paints with His Camera

Rajeev Jain (Born: 1968, Lucknow) started working as a director of photography in 1993, after serving an apprenticeship as camera assistant and camera operator. Since then Rajeev has worked as director of photography with some of India’s most esteemed directors, in some cases establishing a close and intimate association. We met up with Rajeev Jain in India, on the occasion of a five day seminar organized by the Delhi Film Club on The Shape of Light, an event which saw the participation of hundreds of students, filmmakers from across India.


How has cinematography changed in the last fifteen years?

I went to the Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (Bhartendu Natya Academy) in Lucknow during the period of the new wave. We were witnessing a cinematographic quality which had ‘unchained’ itself in many senses in films from the period until the end of the 1980’s. Even the montage was much more liberated, and Cinematographer/ Directors, with Gautam Ghose at the forefront, were searching for greater liberty. Even when it came to shooting, using hand-held cameras, using natural lighting, or lighting in a way which seemed natural, such as through open windows, etc. In other words an absolute freedom whether with camera movement or lighting.


And in our country?

In India there was still a more classical style of photography, and I am making reference such as Subroto Mitra, Sudhendu Roy, who worked with Satyajit Ray up until Agantuk (1991). Meanwhile other new cinematographers with different ideas were also emerging, like Ashok Mehta (36 Chowrangi Lane), especially with black and white. But this black and white image with its own proper aesthetic beauty had a characteristic quality of merging lighting to atmosphere or ambience. Hence from this point on maybe cinematography acquired a more important significance, a complete symbiosis with the film and the narrative.


Can the meeting between director and director of photography influence the career of one or the other?

During the seminar a meeting of a good director of photography and a great poet. With the cinema of Ray, on the other hand, there was without a doubt a decisive turn with the arrival of Pather Panchali (1955) onward.


Which filmmakers have made a particular impression on you?

The rapport with Shyam Benegal on Tota Maina (TV Series) certainly was for me an event which I remember with great emotion until this day. I meet people who confide with me that they decided to become a director of photographer after seeing that serial, or directors who decided to enter cinema thanks to Tota Maina. For example, one day there was a kenyan boy who happened to be at my house that decided to come to India to make Tv seial after seeing Tota Maina. So it has been an important film for many people, and much more for me because I was lucky to work with Shyam babu.


How did you meet?

It was quite by accident. He was looking for a director of photography who was also mentally prepared for this adventure, and through various sources my name came up. A friend of mine who worked as assistant director introduced me to Shyam babu. I remember when he called to tell me that Shyam Benegal wanted to meet me. We met at his office for tea, and at the end of this encounter he takes out a script and offers it to me. I can feel the emotion of that moment right now.


Can you tell us about the TV Series’s ‘dynamic photography’?

Shyam babu used to tell me that TV uses time like a narrative element, while the photography normally remains constant for the duration of a sequence. It is precisely time that the ‘dynamic photography’ exploits to render a different consistency to the film. An example is the atmospheric conditions within nature: if during a cloudy day the sun comes out at a certain moment this will modify the condition of the light. In an interior space if someone enters a dark room and turns on the light this will change the condition of the light. However, this is all tied to precise actions. This discourse is amplified in Tota Maina, where in addition to variations in natural light were added variations which correspond to emotional motivation rather than any sense of logic.


During some scenes you also used different shutter speeds, sometimes barely noticeable.

During the filming Shyam Babu would ask for certain precise frames a slight increase in shutter speed, hardly noticeable, and therefore far from the slow motion effect we have been accustomed to seeing in many TV Series. This was solely to have greater suspension, therefore always in the service of a certain atmosphere in the serial. Technically this variation in speed consisted of a slight adjustment of the diaphragm. Shyam babu was very precise and exacting with his choice of photography, and not only myself but the whole troupe was so impressed by his personality that we complied voluntarily with his every request.


In the course of this seminar you have lamented the fact that it always gets more difficult to shoot a film in India with careful attention to the cinematography. For what reason?

Principally because there is a lack of respect for the profession in India. In the few films I have shot with foreign crews and production I actually discovered a greater professional respect. Then certainly there is the lack of preparation, because if films are not well prepared you will end up improvising on the set. Another reason is the understanding of shooting schedules, because if you shoot a film in ten weeks or in five weeks the result will be clearly different. With the advent of digital editing there is also the tendency to pass the complete negative through the telecine and then in AVID, without printing the so called ‘dailies’ which I think are very important for controlling possible technical problems. This happened with a film shot abroad, where an entire scene had to be reshot after only discovering an exposure problem during the montage.


Strictly technically speaking, why is it that Indian films are no longer made with the same care as they once were?

Maybe what is missing is an actual love of cinema. The problem is that there are no longer understanding producers who invest in projects they care about. We no longer have the person who loves the film so much that they want it made as fine as it possibly can. The operative now is to make the film only with the budget in mind, sometimes regardless of whether the film is good or not.           


AUTHOR’S BIOGRAPHY: Tony Parsons (born 6th November 1953) is a British journalist broadcaster and author. He began his career as a music journalist on the NME, writing about punk music. Later, he wrote for The Daily Telegraph, before going on to write his current column for the Daily Mirror. Parsons was for a time a regular guest on the BBC Two arts review programme The Late Show, and still appears infrequently on the successor Newsnight Review; he also briefly hosted a series on Channel 4 called Big Mouth. He is the author of the multi-million selling novel, Man and Boy (1999). Parsons had written a number of novels including The Kids (1976), Platinum Logic (1981) and Limelight Blues (1983), before he found mainstream success by focussing on the tribulations of thirty-something men. Parsons has since published a series of best-selling novels — One For My Baby (2001), Man and Wife (2003), The Family Way (2004), Stories We Could Tell (2006), My Favourite Wife (2007) and Starting Over (2009). His novels typically deal with relationship problems, emotional dramas and the traumas of men and women in our time. Many believe the content of his work is weak.


Making of Ras Star – Indian Kenyan Cinematographer Rajiv Jain




Raj next job was on a short film, Rasstar, based on the life of Kenyan rapper Nazizi, which was aired on M-Net.


Synopsis: A teenage rapper, Amani, from a staunch Muslim family teams up with her brother Abdosh, an emerging con artist to figure out a way to make money and get her into the talent show finals. As the story unfolds, Amani and her brother get caught up with a local gangster and a stolen phone incident and use her brother’s glib tongue to get them out. Through absolute blind luck they manage to find the money they need only to come to blows with their Uncle Shaka, the family patriarch and Mlandimu, the local gangster who finally saves them.


Rajeev Jain, a well-versed Bollywood Cinematographer and Director of Photography, discusses his new Award-winning film, Ras Star, and the unique camera approach he used specifically for this film about one young woman’s quest for life. With a background as director of photography for features such as Army, Badhaai Ho Badhaai, Carry On Pandu, Kadachit, Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree, Mirabai Not out and Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi, Rajiv has had more than enough experience behind the lens to make the leap to cinema. He also has cinematography credits for the Award winning Kenyan TV Series Heartbeat FM.


Where are you from and how did you become a cinematographer?

[Raj] I am from Lucknow in the North West of India. My first degree is in Science and it took a while to find my way into a more artistic world. After several meanders I ended up at the Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (Bhartendu Natya Academy) studying drama. I managed to direct a few short plays and did camera for many more. Since then I have enjoyed both documentary and drama camerawork with each informing and advancing the other.


How did you approach the cinematography of Rasstar?

[Raj] Through discussions with Wanuri, finding films we both liked visually. We wanted to find separate looks for each story and a different look for the present day. We found a visual ‘theory’ for each section ( for example a deep red and black colour scheme for Amani story, long lenses for Abdosh story and very wide lenses for Mlandimu). The looks had to be able to implement quickly (then aided in the grading) because of the very tight schedule. We then applied the visual theory to a shot list (which we often had to do this the night before due to locations changing or not being found yet)


What was it like working with HD for the first time?

[Raj] With a 35mm camera you are looking directly through a beautiful lens and seeing the scene in colour and can trust your eyes as part of the photographic process. With an HD camera you are looking at a tiny black and white image through the viewfinder so you need a large (ideally 24″) HD monitor to properly judge what you are filming. This is huge and totally impractical with such a small crew and  low budget so we managed with a 14″ monitor a fair amount of the time but up a mountain or on a remote beach only a small battery monitor is possible. This was very frustrating and led to some things that could have been better.

HD is horrible looking if any area is overexposed. This proved most problematic in outdoor which we chose to shoot on very wide lenses meaning there was a lot of sky in the shot. Unfortunately the skies were particularly flat and overcast but relatively bright white.

The biggest advantage to HD was being able to travel a lot lighter with a couple of zooms up the town for instance and being able to film 2 hours worth of material with no worries ( which would have been roughly 12 huge cans of 1000 feet of film to carry and load). It also meant Wanuri and I could go off at weekends and film city shots and pickups very easily.


Does storytelling matter?
[Raj] Storytelling is a huge part of life from an early age. It’s a way of finding meaning in the world.  For a child it’s a way of understanding the world through metaphor – not that a child thinks of it in that way.

If the world blew up and the few stragglers met up it wouldn’t be long before they gathered around a fire and someone started telling tales to make sense of things. Stories entertain, provide an escape or catharsis, stimulate thought and debate and make you laugh.


What was the best thing about making Rasstar?

[Raj] The best thing was being up in such a beautiful part of the world working on a script that used the Kenyan slum as part of the story.


What was the worst thing?

[Raj] The first day of the action sequence in market. The crowd took so long to get onto the location that we on the camera crew were reduced to making beards out of moss and a feature length documentary on clouds (some very fine clouds though).

Can you tell us a couple of interesting/little known/behind the scenes things about the making of Rasstar?

[Raj] Wanuri is certainly one of the hardest working directors I’ve worked with but I think I found her limit one Saturday night. We were filming in pub (climax performance) and pick-up shots and had a choice to go to the local pub where some of the crew were tucking into lamb shank and downing some fine beer or head off. The light looked too tempting though so we headed off towards and thank goodness we did because the light over was astonishing.  Deep red light was bouncing off them making them glow against the black background. There were so many midges we had to set the camera running and run around to draw them away from clustering around the camera. We shot for ages and the light was low but still great approaching.  I tried to get one last shot with long DJ console in the foreground when Wanuri suggested we had enough and should go, words I never thought she’d say! (The shot was a nice one and made the final film).


Have you worked on anything since Rasstar?

[Raj] Since Rasstar I’ve filmed the film Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree. It was a great experience to film in such a remote and interesting place. Mahableshwar I’ve filmed a half hour comedy for Channel : ‘The Smallest Man in Town’ and I’ve also filmed and edited a half hour documentary in Dubai about a cleaning lady who works in  Dubai. I have recently been Dop on a low budget feature “Carry on Pandu”.


My Cinematography Style | by Rajiv Jain | Indian Bollywood Cinematographer



For some time, I’ve been meaning to put in writing my views on cinematography and my aesthetic style and now, here it is.  This doesn’t mean I follow them dogmatically – it’s simply what works for me in broad strokes.  As an Indian cinematographer, I should be able to give the director or production whatever look I’m asked.  But within the visual and aesthetic constraints of any production – or the occasional lack thereof – an element of me is always there. Rules were meant to be broken – but only when you have a full understanding of the rules.  While I can’t claim to know all of them, I’m learning with each production.  Here are some of my thoughts…

The aesthetic of a project needs to be established early to the audience.  It’s distracting to introduce a new aesthetic or editorial style too late in a story without a proper justification or motivation.

Another area that gets too little attention is on atmospheric shots – those shots that fill the space between scenes.  It gives the audience some time to breathe and to think and can be a moment for the music to affect the audience.

I find graduated filters too fake and unnatural.  It doesn’t focus our attention and instead, usually calls attention to itself. I don’t think I’ve ever used them and have yet to be criticized for my decision. 

Most directors cut too soon both on set and in editorial.  On set, wait to say, “Cut”.  Sometimes an actor can give a gem of a moment at the end of a scene if you wait.  It’s worth it and I’m surprised how often a director will use that moment in the final cut.  It’s nice to hold on an actor at the end of certain scenes to allow the audience to take in the moment and reflect. 

People change and so do their views.  So I’m sure my views are likely to change, too.  Till then…


Cooked Art: Cinematography … by Pocket – Sized Indian Cinematographer Rajiv Jain


with a fine use of space, texture, colour, and perspective. Here are two movies which I recently saw again, and depict wonderful visual language.

So what the hell is a cinematographer? If you want to get into semantics, it means ‘writing in the movement.’ But their job, mainly, is to have control over the camera and lighting crews in a scene, and therefore have a lot of creative input into the final image. Though if you consider the fact that the art director is responsible for the mise en scene, the storyboard artist plans out the shots and what is actually happening, and the director is going to want to have a piece of the action, then it’s no small wonder how films end up looking great. Here are some of the guys that managed to do this (in my little opinion)

What qualification did you study at Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts and when did you finish?

I went straight from high school to Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts and did a 2 year Diploma in Dramatic Arts, majoring in Lighting and graduating in 1985. The courses are run differently now.  It is run more like a film school than an art school, which I think is excellent! It allows students to make earlier decisions on their chosen field within film & television, be it a cinematographer, director, producer, editor etc. It also better prepares the students for working in the industry.  It is teaching so much more than just how to make films.


What did you think of the facilities you recently saw at Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (Bhartendu Natya Academy)?

The facilities at Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts are fantastic; I would say world class even.  The main production studio is very well equipped.  The post production facilities such as the edit suites and sound mixing rooms are just like what is being used in much of the Indian film and television industry.

I am also particularly impressed with the production value of the recent student films at Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts. I think the standard of work is quite high.

I think it is fantastic that the students get to shoot projects Film is the international industry-standard format for feature films, as well most overseas television drama. It is rare for students to get the opportunity to work with film now that the digital formats are becoming more and more prevalent.  If you are able to shoot and work with film, then you will be able to work in any format that you come across out there.  It doesn’t work the other way around.

What I mean by this is that the principals of filmmaking are the same whichever format you shoot in.  However, shooting film requires a different approach, both technically and creatively.  These principles can be applied to shooting digital, but shooting film requires a greater understanding of lighting and exposure.

The digital equipment at Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts is of a standard and quality that will enable the graduates to go out into the industry and understand pretty much the workings of any other piece of equipment they will come across. There is no reason why the quality of the student projects can’t match the high quality of professional projects because the equipment they are using is the same.

I am also particularly impressed with the production value of the recent student films at Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts. I think that the standard of work is quite high.


What was the first break or job that was key to setting you on your way in your career?

I have had a number of breaks I guess and many of them lead onto one another. A series of fortunate events you might say, but if I was to think of one particular big break it was one night when I had just finished editing my new cinematography show reel. (A show reel is like a portfolio of work, a cut down of my best cinematography edited to music.)

Just as I had finished, an email came through to me that was forwarded by someone that I barely knew. The email said that a Kenyan production company was looking for an Indian cinematographer to shoot part of an international film that was to screen at the World Expo in Nairobi, Kenya and they wanted to see show reels.

I went to the post office the next morning and sent mine off express mail. I received phone call only days later confirming that I had the job.  I was flown to Nairobi and I worked with a full professional crew on what was my first major job.

The people I met on that project liked my work so much that I got a call a month later and they flew me to Darussalam to shoot some commercials. I eventually returned to India with a new and improved show reel.  Having international work on the reel raised my profile further and got me bigger and better jobs and an agent and I was away…

A case of the right timing I guess!


What qualities do you think are needed in order to make a career in the creative industries?

The quality that I admire in successful creative professionals is the ability to take pride in one’s own work.  Whatever your creative pursuit, I think that if you are doing work that you really enjoy and that you take great pride in, then you is lucky enough to have one of the best jobs in the world.

I also think that challenging oneself by working outside of your comfort zone is important and realising that to succeed you have to be consistent, positive and work really hard.

Whichever creative field you are in, it is going to be a hard slog to get your career underway. With creative careers you are judged on your body of work and your track record. The first thing one need to do is create a portfolio, or in my case a show reel, and then prepare yourself for criticism and knock backs, never giving up and use those knock backs as incentive to work harder and set your standards higher.

I also think it is important to do ‘passion projects’ that allow you to experiment with ideas or further your experience. By passion projects, I mean ones that you do for the love of it and not the pay. I shot a lot of ‘freebies’ to get my show reel up to scratch and to get experience before I started getting paid for my art.

Also it’s important to work on your network of contacts.  You never know when that person you might consider as a rival might actually be the one to pass some work your way or introduce you to new collaborators. The film industry is too small to make enemies.  We should be like a support network and learn from each other in order to continually make better projects.

For you, what are the ‘must see’ benchmark films in terms of either outstanding or pioneering cinematography?

Well for starters the cinematography on the recent Indian feature films Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree – Yours Dreams Are Just a Touch Away and the soon to be released Carry on Pandu are quite outstanding. Ha!

No, seriously, some of my favourite and most influential films in terms of cinematography are not the ones with the big crane shots or the world’s longest steadicam shot, but the ones that create a real mood and atmosphere.  Films that convey emotion to an audience and help to communicate the subtext of a story by saying more about the characters than dialogue alone ever could.

I think the most influential films for me would be anything directed by Satyajit Ray (Aparajito (The Unvanquished), Parash Pathar (The Philosopher’s Stone), Jalsaghar (The Music Room) for his use of mood, atmosphere and cinematic techniques of storytelling.

Also, classics such as Pather Panchali (Song of the Road). It took me a while to realise why it is considered the best film ever made. The use of deep focus in this film is not just a technical achievement, but also a storytelling one.

I also really liked Shakha Proshakha (Branches of a Tree), Agantuk. They are both quite rough and hand held at times, but very beautiful and you really felt like you were ‘inside’ the movie.

That is what I was trying to create on the most recent film that I shot, Kalpvriksh – The Wishing Tree.

I want the audience to feel like they were there in Kalpvriksh, with the characters, to feel it, smell it and taste it.


Key lights: Defining moments in cinematography since the Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree


An interview with Rajiv Jain, Indian Cinematographer and owner of Rajiv Jain Films, Cinematography and Grips – Dubai – Mumbai – Nairobi.


Q: What is your job title? Where are you employed?

A: Director’s director of photography, director of photography. I have my own company, Rajiv Jain Films, Cinematography and Grips, and I’ve been doing it for about twenty-five years.


Q: How long have you been a cinematographer?

A: I’ve been doing it for several years, but I started my own company.


Q: What type of training did you have to become a cinematographer?

A: I went to the Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts.  I had a two-year diploma degree in theatre arts. That put me into a position to see how the industry has changed a lot. Coming out of college, kids should just start their own company.  First, they should decide what they want to do in the industry and then go for it. The sky’s the limit depending on the career path you choose.


Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: Working for myself. Having the freedom to make your own decisions, to make your own path about what you want to do. But you can go for a month without working if you’re on your own, so definitely put yourself on a business path as well as a creative path. Take businesses classes, not just liberal arts. The film industry is a business, just like the music industry. You have to be a self-starter.


Q: Describe your typical day on the job.

A: Which job? Normally when I’m not working, I’m in my office doing paperwork. From your office, you might have to go somewhere on location and that can be anywhere from two days to thirty days. A lot of our stuff is remote locations. Every job is unique. As soon as you think it’s typical, it changes.


Q: What career were you in before becoming a cinematographer?  Do you feel that it helped prepare you for becoming a massage therapist?

A: I was doing theatre, photo journalism, working at a local channel and making a decent earning. I found myself incorporating paramount to my words, and when I started taking pictures and filming, I realized this was what I’m most passionate about. But when you have a creative bone in your body, like writing, it’s easier to expand into other aspects of a different creative trade.


Q: What traits do you feel are necessary to be successful as a cinematographer?

A: Everybody takes different paths to be successful. But you have to keep up-to-date. Editing and graphics has changed so much. The whole dynamics has completely changed. You have to be totally flexible and stay with the current trend.


Q: Would you say it’s imperative to have a college education for a career such as this one?

A: I don’t think it’s imperative, but what I got out of college is I networked a lot. I don’t think it’s a hundred percent necessary. But, of course, you should have a good school to teach you what you need. When you’re in college, you need to start working on building a portfolio and college can help with that. If two people went for the same job and they both had impeccable portfolios, but one also carried a four-year degree, you can bet that person’s going to land the job. To be in the industry full-time, not just freelance, means it’s important to get that degree.


Q: Would you recommend this career to someone else?

A: Yeah. I can’t think of anything better to do. I see things that people don’t see. Is it for everybody? I don’t think so. You have to have thick skin. You have to work for months on end. Don’t set your expectations too high. Be realistic. My first recommendation would be to go to college and get that full-time job. Get a feel for what the industry is all about. It’s hard to just have a good portfolio, unless you’re an amazing cinematographer. Doing it without college is extremely hard to do.


Q: What is your next career move, if any?

A: Retire and go village. No, but seriously, I’m going to do more projects. I want complete control of my future projects.


Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree – Yours Dreams Are Just a Touch Away – Rajiv Jain Cinematographer


Two-time Winner Indian Cinematographer Rajiv Jain ICS WICA Creates Special World of Light, Shadows in his recent film Kalpvriksh the Wish Tree Yours Dreams Are Just a Touch Away


Rajiv Jain has a way of seeing that takes an image to its outer limits. In his years as assistant, electrician, grip, and in the past 16 years as director of photography, he has developed a visual sensitivity and expertise.

Rajiv takes his inspiration from directors such as Satyajit Ray (Pather Panchali) and cinematographers Ashok Mehta, ISC (36 Chowrangi Lane) and Binod Pradhan (Parinda) for their use of colour and lights and shadow to amplify the emotional content of stories. I find the ability to allow the characters to operate in shadow is a real art, he says. Ashok Mehta allows his characters to function in darkness. He lights everything so the blacks are really rich – yet you can see everything.

His work in Kalpvriksh, a film by director Manika Sharma exudes a period quality with an edge. Rajiv was especially intrigued by the non-narrative, fragmented script, because it offered a myriad of visual possibilities. Shooting primarily on Kodak to give contrast to the exterior scenes, Rajiv experimented with warm and blue filters to get the look he wanted. The result is a stark, almost surreal journey into the minds and actions of the film’s bizarre characters.

Up-front collaboration on any film is essential, Rajiv emphasizes.

It’s important for me to go through the script scene by scene with the director Manika Sharma, Rajiv says, to try to see what is in her mind. I want to know what the scene is saying, who the most important character is at that moment, and how the characters move through the scene. We also share photographs and movies, which gives us a visual base to work from.

A graduate of Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts in Drama and a beginning still photography, Rajiv took a course in filmmaking. Intrigued by the film medium, he saw the possibilities of combining his interests with film in commercials. Searching for a way to learn camerawork, he offered his assistance (unpaid) to director of photography Subroto Mitra to learn the craft.

He taught me about his SR package, what the lenses were, and how to load magazines, he said. Then he started me by working on Shyam Benegal’s documentary on Nehru.

In 1996, Rajiv got the first opportunity to shoot a film, Army, with Mukul Anand. After eight weeks of stressful shooting – his every move was watched.

After 6 more features, then came Kalpvriksh in 2007, allowed Rajiv to explore a new visual technique to add nuance to the story. The film includes a dreamlike journey that Rajiv wanted to give a dreamlike quality. We tested filters and a bleach bypass process to give that section of the film its own special look,” he says. “Instead we decided to use a swing tilt, a view camera attachment that allows the operator to change the plane of focus. It let us throw different parts of the frame out of focus, which is difficult to do in a wide shot because of increased depth of field.

Rajiv is currently finishing production on Carry on Pandu, a feature being shot in Mumbai, as well as doing Commercials.


Full of Surprises! Rajiv Jain, Indian Cinematographer / DOP, Talks About… KALPVRIKSH (THE WISHING TREE): YOUR DREAMS… ARE JUST A TOUCH AWAY…


Like any artist, Rajiv was born with innate talent burnished by experience and cultural influences. Born in 1968, his first introduction to movie magic came while observing his uncle as a projectionist at Ravindralaya Theatre, Lucknow. “I remember sitting in that little projection room and watching films with my uncle,” the Indian cinematographer recalls. “It was like watching silent movies because you couldn’t hear sound in the booth. I just saw the images and would try to understand the story. My uncle would show us Charlie Chaplin movies, which, of course, were silent. There is no doubt that he put his dream of becoming a cinematographer into my heart.”  Originally from India, cinematographer Rajiv Jain ICS WICA studied at the Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts in Lucknow, India.


The day after completing his studies, Rajiv went to work as a trainee on an anamorphic picture. He contributed to ten more movies as assistant director of photography before becoming a DOP. “From that moment on I considered the camera to be like a pen that you use to draw images,” he states. “Operating a camera is mainly about composition and rhythm. I also operated the camera for Bollywood songs. It was very primitive. While we were shooting, someone with a watch was timing every pan and zoom. He would say, ‘You have 5 1/2 seconds to do that zoom.’ It was a great lesson for me, learning to make each element of a shot work in that amount of time.”


I thought it was fascinating that film speaks a common language that everyone in the world can understand,” he recalls. “That’s especially true for cinematographers, because we are communicating with the audience non-verbally.” “To me, making a film is like resolving conflicts between light and dark, cold and warmth, blue and orange or other contrasting colours. There should be a sense of energy, or change of movement. A sense that time is going on — light becomes night, which reverts to morning. Life becomes death. Making a film is like documenting a journey and using light in the style that best suits that particular picture… the concept behind it.


The first important decision regarding the visuals was to shoot in anamorphic (2.4:1) format, as they had done on Kalpvriksh – The Wishing Tree. Rajiv explains that Manika likes to manipulate the subjective and objective viewpoints, sometimes in the same frame or even at the same time. In a simple example, a shot will begin on a subject, and then an actor will step into the frame, creating an over-the-shoulder shot, changing it from subjective––in which the viewer sees what the character sees––to objective. “One of my first suggestions was shooting Kalpvriksh – The Wishing Tree in Super 35 format,” Rajiv continues. “I felt that would give the film an edge that you don’t expect to see in Drama. I felt we could use the wider frame to create a claustrophobic feeling in the Shabana’s cave and more interesting composition showing Shabana in the world.” She, director Manika Sharma, designer Mansi and other members of the creative team discussed the possibilities for composing Kalpvriksh – the Wishing Tree in widescreen format, while drawing upon such visual references as another drama with an improbable theme. Though Manika storyboarded scenes, Rajiv utilized the sketches primarily as a communications tool. While shooting, the director remained open to veering from the storyboards to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. “Our production designer Mansi and costume designer gave us rich sets and costumes. Even though pushing two stops in the development sometimes is not as faithful to colours, their collaboration with this technique allowed us (especially in the dinner / fantasy sequences) to have a warm and yellow-looking scene, as if all that was lit was candle light,” he says.


In one dramatically lit scene, the school principal (Mahabano Kotwal) is sitting on the chair, looking out a window at the falling rain. “The whole scene was lit with one hard day light, an ARRI  6K,” says Rajiv. “We brought one light through the window. In order to light the door, we used a 4 by 4 mirror just out of frame to the right. The light is modulated by the rain on the window, and it stretched over to the book. We were ‘gathering chestnuts.’ It was serendipitous, and it all worked out with one light.” “For fill light on this movie, we used either very, very little or absolutely none,” he adds. “I find that with the film stocks we were using, if you’re overexposing a little bit, you can read the shadow detail incredibly well. When I saw the picture at Theatre on the 70-foot-wide screen, on the dark side, which is dead black, you can actually see hairs going into actors’ heads. I found it very interesting. I hope it works on a subconscious level for the audience.” Even though Rajiv knew that he could not shoot wide open at a T2 or a T2.8––because the Super 35 format chosen has a shallower depth––he still wanted this tool to give the story a greater stage presence. The bigger negative allowed him to push the envelope. And, he knew the grain would still be acceptable, if he stayed within the T2.8 to T4 ranges on interiors. “We could still use real sources and it wouldn’t be hard for our camera crew to follow focus,” he says confidently.


Like many of his colleagues, cinematographer Rajiv Jain has many concerns about changes that can be introduced to imagery during the post process of our electronic age. Such considerations only become intensified when one is dealing with a profusion of visual effects, which was the case with Kalpvriksh – The Wishing Tree. “I tried to make a concerted effort to stay as involved in postproduction as possible – which is sometimes tough because it’s ‘off to the next job’ – to work with the digital effects and optical house to ensure that there wouldn’t be any problems with the answer printing process. “You don’t see any lights in the master shot,” he says. “The master shot that we started out with was an impossible shot to light. We were jammed back in the corner with a 35 mm lens and there was a two-way mirror in the background. So we used a technique Rajiv Jain called a ‘driller.’ Simply put, you’re normally shooting horizontally across a room, and there are horizontal surfaces, like the tops of mantels and tables. If you come from directly overhead with a light and drill it down onto that surface, it works quite well. It doesn’t seem wrong. If light comes from a place that’s not normal or usual, people seem to accept the element that’s being illuminated without really figuring out what’s going on in terms of a source. Shadows go straight down, so they don’t end up looking strange or calling attention to the source. You see it on the table and then it comes off the table and lights the faces to a degree. It’s interesting because you’re not lighting the people at all. You’re lighting the environment that they’re in.


Anamorphic gives you the space in the frame to do that,” Rajiv says. “Manika has no problem filling an anamorphic frame in a contemporary picture. The story also has an elegiac aspect, so it seemed better to tell it without rock video cutting and frenetic camera movement. With the amazing cast, we knew this film would be about the performances. All those ideas––as well as ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’––factored into our decision to shoot anamorphic.” To determine a visually appropriate approach for the various moods needed in Kalpvriksh – The Wishing Tree, Manika and Rajiv chose to forego in large part the usual business of viewing other films during prep. “We used a lot of book work, referring to other kinds of artists working in two-dimensional forms, still photography and drawings mainly,” Rajiv relates. “This was a nice and different way to prep. Looking at movies to see how a particular sequence worked is great, but this approach started me on this incredible round of self-education, covering still photography from 1890 up ’til now. Now I can’t stop myself from buying the books. It is amazing how much visual reference source material is out there when you go back to basics. These were great jumping-off points for us.


The cinematographer also had to avoid telltale reflections of camera gear and personnel on the water surface. Along with a disciplined crew, that required careful light placement and camera angle selection. He discovered that putting the plastic at the right distance from the lens for tighter shots from Shawn’s point-of-view rendered slightly distorted images with a hint of grain, which amplified the look that he and director Manika desired. Rajiv also occasionally added reflections of characters and objects on the water’s surface to draw attention to the barrier separating the boy from other people. Sometimes the camera takes a subjective, spectator-like stance while other times the audience seems to share Shawn’s life-in-the-bubble experience. “There was no simple formula for deciding when to put the audience inside the bubble with Shawn. It was a question I asked the director for each shot in every scene. Are we with Shawn inside the bubble, or are we outside looking in?”


I didn’t believe this and obviously neither did neither director Manika Sharma nor producing company Rhombus Films. Another picture shot in an old house in Bollywood required us to actually operate two generators to power all of the lights. By the time we were done, however, I was able to shoot two-thirds of a long sequence by dollying along with the reflections seen in a long fishpond at night (Shabana’s cave). “I think it’s a visual reflection of the fact that one’s position in life can change almost instantaneously,” he says. “It’s extremely effective visually. It seems to work on a number of different levels. Using this different approach seems to freshen up all your overs and reverses. There’s a very interesting scene between Shabana and kid that was staged on an under the tree, and there’s a sense of disquiet and possible aggression. It’s very ambiguous, yet the spatial dynamics really underscore the feeling.”

There is a great advantage in working on location versus a studio. For example, the muslim house I mentioned had real marble floors. An experienced DOP knows how to utilize this reality something he can only simulate in a studio,” mused Rajiv. Reflectors were used extensively throughout the film, usually on the fill side to pick up some ambience or an edge of the keylight, and to redirect some of that light to the fill side. In most cases it was very subtle, however, just reflecting in the shine of the skin. “We used the reflectors as almost more of an eyelight,” Rajiv says. “There is such tension between these three characters. There are a lot of internal emotions beneath the surface of this movie. I felt that the audience needed to have access to the internal life of the characters, so I tried to keep eyelights going, especially when we’d get in close. Often it was done with a small reflector thrown in at the last moment.


One of the most important aspects included previsualizing the character of Shabana herself. “To nail her down, we started off by working on storyboards with an artist,” says Rajiv, “who drew terrific boards and is a brilliant artist as well. We told him our thoughts on how the Shabana looked and he set to work. Manika credits him with creating a good part of the final look, since his drawings were used to communicate to hair, make-up and wardrobe departments what Manika wanted for his look.” Part of Cave ‘ guise involved the use of a wig that often obscured the actor’s face – which on occasion made for a less than ideal lighting situation. “During hair and make-up tests, I saw that while Shabana looked amazing, they were going to be difficult to deal with for 2 weeks. She had a big headgear and a huge costume also, so there was a question of whether we were ever going to be able to really see her. I told Manika that at times she was on the verge of becoming a headgear with hair. Being very sensitive to the needs of actors, Manika didn’t want to get the hair out of her face, so we tried not to mess with her and solve it on our own.”


On Kalpvriksh – The Wishing Tree, Rajiv opted for Vision 200T (5274) for everything but night exteriors, explaining that the smooth grain of this non-intrusive emulsion records deep blacks, true colours and a wide tonal range. Rajiv shot day exteriors on Eastman EXR 100T (5248), using an 81 EF filter to half-correct and retain the cool blue of winter. Daylight-balanced 250D (5246) Vision stock was selected for day interiors, while he exploited Vision 500T (5279) on most night interiors and exteriors. Since shooting, the cinematographer did extensive tests with different materials to search for the right thickness and translucency. “It’s the same as using a cheap filter on the lens and we realized that any distortion or loss of focus would be magnified when the lab optically ’squeezed’ the images into the 2.40 aspect ratio. In addition to selecting the right plastic, it was important for us to record a strong negative with properly focused images. We were shooting through filters at least 90 percent of the time.


While shooting forest scenes with the lead actor, Rajiv employed what he calls a Nine-light sandwich. “Others might call it a book light, but in any case, we were bouncing a Nine-light Maxi Brute off a piece of bead board, then letting the light pass through a diffusion frame usually fitted with either 216 or light grid. The resulting soft light striking He had a very beautiful quality, plus some serious pounding of foot-candles. This soft light had enough to punch through Shabana’s hair, and I could control the amount of light just by clicking off various globes. But it also required a lot of flagging and took up much space.” On other occasions, Rajiv illuminated the Forest by directing the light from more extreme angles. “I came in much lower and more frontal with his key than I would have normally, but the approach succeeded in letting her hair fall naturally, so, while it was tough, it worked. It did make me thankful for the scenes when Shabana is dressed up with her hair pulled back, since I could get a nice edge on her through side lighting.”


When kids arrive at tree before the climax, production established the famously setting by filming the actors in front of blue screen and green screen. Those elements were digitally composited with stock background plates culled from Ladakh. Harry and Arjun from Red Chillies’ in-house facility supervised the visual effect shots. “I don’t think these scenes could be any more believable if we had travelled to Ladakh to film them live,” marvels Rajiv. “How can you miss when you begin with 70 millimetre background plates? We matched everything to those plates.”


There were a few daylight scenes in there, so we decided that cracks in the cave roof let hard sunlight in,” he continues. “I put some signs of this in on the walls behind the actors and let some light bounce off the floor. For the most part though, the cave scenes are set at night – lit by firelight or lanterns or the imaginary glow coming off, which isn’t plugged into anything. For the Water, I chose to use a slightly blue key light on the actors but didn’t put any flickering movement in because I felt that it was distracting. The only flickering on their faces comes from the actual water. What I did add was a slight flicker effect on the walls, which I found to be more pleasing while lending a bit of realism.


Front-end lab work was done by Gemini, which provided film dailies. “After her experiences in the commercial world where you work on a monitor all the time, Manika loved watching film dailies – it opened up a new world for her,” says Rajiv. “For example, there is a shot of a Shabana delivering a line at the end of a long shot under the tree. When Manika saw it played back on the [video tap] monitor, she didn’t feel good about it. She seemed too small in the shot. She remarked that maybe her line would have to disappear in editing. After some time, Manika saw it projected on a big screen and loved the shot.” When asked if such glad tidings extend to the on-screen drama as well, Rajiv smiles, and says, “Would you be surprised if I said there is a happy ending?”

The cinematographer does not use diffusion on the camera lens, instead preferring to soften his subject as needed by selectively affecting the light source. “I’ve never liked it in films when the overall resolution of the lens changes visibly during cuts in to a close-up during a scene,” he declares. “The whole business of putting heavy diffusion in front of the lens to make [an actress] look ‘better’ is just crazy to me. I don’t want to see the cinematographer’s effort to make someone look good. Instead, I want to see the character look well, and I think that happens when the actor is both integrated into the scene properly and lit in a flattering manner. My solution is to soften at the source of illumination, and let the image be as clear as possible. Some people think Primo lenses are too sharp, but I love all that perfection. When you combine years and years of research and development on the film stocks from Kodak, with what has gone into these Arri lenses and the lab work at Gemini, and then put all that into a film being projected properly on screen, the result is such awesome perfection! So I take a lot of pride in delivering a really perfect negative. We may want to mess it up later, and that’s fine, but I believe in starting with something well-exposed and sharp.”


With all the many visual treatments necessary to depict the Shabana’s perceptions, Rajiv and Manika needed to settle on parameters early on for the more elaborate manifestations requiring visual effects. “We’re telling a story that is seen in part through the eyes of a crazy person,” offers Rajiv. “She’s an incredibly brilliant crazy person, but crazy nonetheless, so there’s a sense of the fantastic about these visions, but they are not in the tradition of science-fiction movie effects. We had submitted a wish list of visual effects for budgeting, but it came back priced four or five times higher than we hoped. This meant we had to pull back, and that decision ultimately worked better for the film we wound up making. Most of the effects are things we did ourselves, with practical light cues, or as a combination of those cues with digital enhancement.”


I’m glad that this movie’s look seems interesting to the eye, but I’m also pleased that the visuals don’t supersede the story. Early reviews are praising Shabana’s performance as one of the best she’s ever given, so it wouldn’t make sense to do anything that took away from that aspect. Lots of films now seem overwhelmed with effects, but Manika isn’t one to tell that type of story.


When Indian Cinematographer Rajiv Jain, ICS WICA is asked if, he would do anything differently today, the master artiste replies, “Ninety-nine percent of the time when I see my old films I am serene. It was the best I could do at that time of my life with what I had to work with. What’s important is your life and how you evolve as a human being and as an artist.

Q & A with Rajiv Jain, ICS WICA Indian Cinematographer on Film Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree – Your Dreams Are Just a Touch Away


Indian Director of Photography, Rajiv Jain, ICS WICA is a Cinematographer based in Mumbai, India. Rajiv specializes in shooting television commercials in the 35mm motion picture film format as well as HD Digital formats. Rajiv started in the early days of the music video revolution, before venturing into narrative filmmaking. His eclectic body of work includes Army, Badhaai Ho Badhaai, Carry on Pandu, Kadachit, Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree, Mirabai Notout,  Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi and Rasstar .

QUESTION: Where were you born and raised?

RAJIV: I was born in Lucknow, India. There was no seminal event that happened to me as a young person that made me want to be a cinematographer. It certainly wasn’t the quality of the light in Lucknow. I remember it was gray; was stained brown from the traffic and the sky dark. But as I say that, I realize the suppressed palette of the place did affect me emotionally. Saturates leaped out against that neutrals, as in a dream or a post-industrial nightmare.

QUESTION: What did your parents do?

RAJIV: My parents were just ordinary folks. I don’t think they were particularly ambitious for me. Their main concern, I think, was that I wasn’t an embarrassment. We moved to the Etawah and then back to Lucknow, where I completed my education. My degrees were in Theatre Arts.

QUESTION: Did you have a career goal at that point in life?

RAJIV: I wanted to be a writer, but like Mohan Rakesh I thought too much and wrote too little. That is too say I was more a reader then a writer, more academician then poet. I got very interested in semiology and structuralism (the study of how language encodes ideas). Initially I studied how the spoken and written language worked, but then became more interested in how codes worked in other languages, like the language of film. My interest in film language led me in a rather convoluted way to cinematography.

QUESTION: That’s interesting. Can you be a little more specific?

RAJIV: I became very interested in understanding how in altering light, composition, camera angles and camera movement a cinematographer alters an audiences perception of the visual event, and thereby the audience’s emotional response. It is a difficult thing to quantify. I remember specifically thinking back to seeing Pather Panchali  when I was a child, and how its images had always remained in my imagination, not only for their pure beauty and sublime scale, but because they affected me emotionally, striking some unconscious but responsive cord. Later I saw Ray’s “The Apu Trilogy”. I had much the same response, but now my understanding was informed by my studies. It would be accurate to say that the cinematographers of these two films, Subroto Mitra, were those who most influenced my decision to become a cinematographer.

QUESTION: How did you make a connection between words and photography?

RAJIV: In writing essays and articles about film. I realized that film images worked very much the way the spoken/written language works. You want to express certain ideas. There are culturally agreed and understood codas. These shapes, which we call letters, have agreed upon pronunciations. These letters form words. These words have agreed meanings. But it is of course arbitrary. The word “cat” has no innate “catness” about it, but on hearing this word the listener forms an idea in their brain. A cat. We can then add adjectives, and qualifiers, to make it a black cat, or an angry black cat. These words are codes, but not universal codes. They are specific to a culture that shares that language. Photography in some respects is a much more complex language system. The denotative (specific) or connotative (symbolic or implied) meaning of an image can be ambiguous, but also complex. Perhaps the best literary analogy is the Haiku poem. The fewer words have greater potential meaning — the more words that are added in longer literary forms, the more specific the meaning. An image offers both specific and non-specific meanings. It can work on many layers, conscious and not.

QUESTION: Did you have any mentors or were you totally self-taught?

RAJIV: I’ve learned a lot from other DP’s. But it’s mainly from studying their work. Ashok Mehta and I talk a lot, and he’s given me a great deal. But I was self-taught. I studied art extensively, particularly early 20th century artists, and late 19th century artists. I learned a lot about light from them. I’ve stolen an idea from every good film I’ve seen, probably. Particularly the work of  Subroto Mitra (ISC), Ashok Mehta (ISC), Binod Pradhan, and Santosh Sivan (ISC).

QUESTION: Do you think of yourself as an artist, a technician or both?

RAJIV: I think that’s a very important distinction. I don’t want to sound pretentious, but if you consider the nature of art, it is meant to give us new eyes to see the world. I want audiences to respond viscerally to what our intentions are for a film. I think that cinematography works very much like music in that it is difficult for us to measure or quantify why audiences respond to what we do. So it is an art. And its practitioners must therefore be artists.

QUESTION: Tell us more about your analogy of music and cinematography.

RAJIV: I can sit in dailies and I can see the other people watching the film with me respond physically and emotionally to the images; but it is very difficult quantifying what they are responding to. If you watch people listening to music, they may also respond, but you would hard put to quantify why they are responding.

QUESTION: I’ll borrow a phrase from Subroto Mitra, who said, cinematographers are the authors of the images. But, that isn’t widely recognized.

RAJIV: Part of the problem lies with our collective culture. Films are reviewed as theatre rather than as a unique art form. Critics will talk about scripts and performances. They talk about things they understand, but they understand them because their own cultural antecedents are principally in traditional theatre, though they may not recognize that. In this context, cinematography and music aren’t understood, except to say they were beautiful, because there is not a particular language developed within criticism for their description. Unfortunately, many reviewers don’t recognize how decisions made by the director, cinematographer and composer made a profound impact on the visceral reactions and intellectual responses of audiences. I’m not saying that cinematographers aren’t recognized. We are, at least within the industry, but not in the consumer press. I don’t think I read a single review that mentioned the significance of Subroto Mitra’s (ISC) decision to use 16mm film and other formats in certain scenes in The River, yet that made a profound impact. I consider that a significant artistic decision worthy of comment, in fact, essential to an audiences understanding of the film’s artistic treatment.

QUESTION: The collaboration between directors and cinematographers is unique.

RAJIV: An important thing about that collaboration is that cinematographers have to integrate their vision for a film with the director’s vision.

QUESTION: Do the many music videos you shot influence you today?

RAJIV: Not really. None of my films look like music videos, but the great thing about music videos was that we could experiment with different lighting, film stocks, lenses and filters. We would decide to try putting four filters on the lens, force process the film, or put a negative through a reversal film postproduction process to see how it comes out, and then try it again the other way around. It was a great way to learn.

QUESTION: Are there other cinematographers whose work you follow?

RAJIV: I can mention all the obvious names, but the truth is I learn from all cinematographers. I can watch a television program shot by a 29-year-old cinematographer and find something that he or she did that is quite interesting. I’m constantly learning from other people. I still read every magazine and journal about cinematography and photography that I can lay my hands on. I still study art. I collect books of photographers and paintings. But it’s not just the good work that others do that I learn from. I learn from my own mistakes that I have had ample opportunity to make over these last 20 years. When my son Adam was in the seventh grade, he wrote an essay in which he was required to say who his hero was. He said it was me. “My father is my hero because he messes up all the time, and he lets me see it.” So I feel o.k. about messing up. I think that’s a hugely important lesson to learn. It’s o.k. to mess up, and you will sometimes mess up if you’re willing to push the limits of your craft.

QUESTION: Did any other mentors influence your thinking?

RAJIV: I was a graduate from the University of Lucknow for a short while. That’s where I met Renu Saluja who was a really important mentor. She pointed me down some really interesting avenues as regards film theory.

QUESTION: How do you decide that something is a film you want to do?

RAJIV: Early in my career anything that was offered was a film I wanted to do. Today, two things are likely to affect my decision. One is my first meeting with the director. That relationship is like a marriage only, oddly, much more intense. You have to decide whether you’re going to be able to get along with that person for the long time that you’re going to be together. I think I have gotten along well with over 90 percent of the directors I have worked with, and many have remained friends. The second thing is the photography. I’m always interested in doing new and different things. If the project is very much like what I have done before, and the script is not great, then it is less likely I will be interested. Sometimes a project comes along that is just so interesting it is impossible to resist.

QUESTION: What do you tell students and other young filmmakers when they ask you to share the secret of success? Do you tell them the truth about the odds?

RAJIV: I think you have to be patient, and not let yourself believe that things are going to happen quickly. You need integrity and honesty about who you want to become. That way, even if you fail, you can fail with some dignity. If you compromise and fail, what do you have left?

Quick notes by Indian Cinematographer / DOP Rajiv Jain on Cinematography and aspiring Indian Cinematographers:

A quick “filler post” while I try to get something actually substantial written: 

The most hits I get for my blog are from people searching keywords like “Indian Cinematographers” “cinematography career path” and “how to be a great Cinematographer.” I can really only offer my own personal experience.

About the Author

Tony Parsons (born 6th November 1953) is a British journalist broadcaster and author. He began his career as a music journalist on the NME, writing about punk music. Later, he wrote for The Daily Telegraph, before going on to write his current column for the Daily Mirror. Parsons was for a time a regular guest on the BBC Two arts review programme The Late Show, and still appears infrequently on the successor Newsnight Review; he also briefly hosted a series on Channel 4 called Big Mouth. He is the author of the multi-million selling novel, Man and Boy (1999). Parsons had written a number of novels including The Kids (1976), Platinum Logic (1981) and Limelight Blues (1983), before he found mainstream success by focussing on the tribulations of thirty-something men. Parsons has since published a series of best-selling novels — One For My Baby (2001), Man and Wife (2003), The Family Way (2004), Stories We Could Tell (2006), My Favourite Wife (2007) and Starting Over (2009). His novels typically deal with relationship problems, emotional dramas and the traumas of men and women in our time. Many believe the content of his work is weak.


Rajiv Jain ICS WICA, Indian Cinematographer - Director of Photography

Inside View

By Christine Markee

Rajeev Jain's DP credits include Army, Badhaai Ho Badhaai, Carry on Pandu, Kadachit, Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree, Mirabai Not out and Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi 7 full length feature films, 5 Short Films, 1032 commercials, 6 TV Series, 43 music videos, 105 documentaries & infomercials.

Markee: You recently shot the independent feature, Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree, in Cinemascope, a format that had its heyday in the 80s. What prompted you to use it?

Jain: Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree was the first collaboration between [director] Manika Sharma and me. This was a low budget project, but we didn't want it to look like it. Manika's a big believer in shooting film, as am I, but trying to convince producers to spend most of the budget to shoot 35mm was a hard sell. 16mm looked to be our only option until I brought the 3-perf 35mm idea to the table. After costs were compared it [appeared to be] the same cost as 16mm but with all the qualities of 35mm.

The problem was that there were no 3-perf cameras available in Mumbai that time. I was at a post house when someone in the lab said they'd heard I was looking for a 3-perf camera and had heard Prasad had one. We got them, took them to Mumbai on a test shoot and they were fantastic. The image gave us everything we had hoped for and Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree became the first 3-perf film to shoot in India in quite some time.

Markee: Did you have a learning curve?

Jain: The non-forgiving negative size. What you see in the frame is exactly what's photographed on the negative, no more no less – there's no ‘wiggle' room at all. With 3-perf, a hair in the gate is a very big deal.

Manika and I did a lot of prep, but even with that we still had a tight schedule: 55 days of principal photography and two days of pickups. We used every tool we could and called in every friend and favor to get the best film we could. One of the cool tools we had was a Jimmy jib, "The BMW of cranes." This unit allowed us to get a crane, jib, and dolly all in one. It helped us keep rental costs down and allowed us to easily keep the camera alive even when moving quickly.

Markee: Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree is about a old tree. Did Cinemascope lend itself particularly well to that content?

Jain: Yes, I believe it did. The film has a lot of deep conversations and tight environments with a lot of detail; a lesser format would have not given us the depth and detail we wanted. Manika and I had always wanted to shoot the film in a 2.35:1 ratio to give a classic Cinemascope look, and the Cinemascope format proved great for it. The wide screen frame allows for the picture to be layered showing the environments each character is surrounded by. We also moved the camera a lot to give the film nice rhythm. Shooting 35mm also allowed us to shoot more quickly and efficiently: We didn't have to worry about HD monitors, clipped highlights, or ND'ing windows. On a low budget film time is something you never have enough of.

Markee: Did you have to use special film stock?

Jain: No, the stock is no different. We chose Kodak 50D, for our day scenes to get a very classic, colorful and high-contrast picture. For interiors we used Kodak 500T, a high-speed stock with great range and sharp detail. Both stocks have a very classic yet natural look, something we were definitely trying to achieve.

Markee: You seem to have unleashed a new wave of Cinemascope production since Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree wrapped.

Jain: About the time we finished principal photography Aaton was finally ready with its new Penelope camera body for 3-perf, and ARRI called to tell me they could now modify any of their Arricam or 535 camera movements to handle 3-perf.

There's been a lot of buzz. Cameramen want alternatives to the costs of 35mm and limitations of digital. Cinemascope is a great alternative for films looking to shoot 35mm but needing a cost-effective option to bring to producers. Although I'm now shooting my first RED feature, Getting Back to Zero, in Nairobi and next is a 3D action film in Dubai, I'm looking forward to shooting Cinemascope again.

Mini Biography: Christine Markee - About the Author:
A former reviews editor at Empire Magazine, Christine Markee has written on film for numerous UK publications including the Guardian, Maxim, the Radio Times and Eve Magazine. The author of The Ultimate DVD Easter Egg Guide, she is also a co-writer to 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and co-author of Chick Flicks. Jo has made numerous TV appearances as a film critic on British TV and also was a script writer for MTV's Cinematic in the 1990s.

Food Photography Tips for Food / Cooking Oil TVC from Rajeev Jain ICS WICA, Indian DOP / Director of Photography on the Cooking Oil


 Yesterday I published Part One of an Interview with Rajeev Jain, the man responsible for lighting the stunning TVC for the Dhara Cooking Oil. Today Rajeev Jain shares some of the techniques they used on the commercial and suggests some Food Photography tips for enthusiasts at home.

In general, what elements do you think constitute really great food photography?

"Great food photography celebrates the food and tries to make its intrinsic characteristics palpable in the image.
Find one aspect about the food that you want to showcase and eliminate distractions. Is the photo about the fuzz on the peach? Is it about the glisten on the cut surface? The plating or other props in the image support the food as a frame does to a painting. Variety in the surfaces in the image helps to create luster and richness. Light that isn't too frontal helps to bring out the color and translucency of the surfaces. And, like a beautiful man's face, soft lighting doesn't hurt."

The strongest recommendation I hear given to budding food photographers is to shoot in natural light. But in a CG commercial you have no natural light! What techniques do you employ digitally to make your lighting look as realistic as possible?

"One thing that really helps is that I'm not trying to make anything look realistic.
I'm trying to make things look like the best memory you have of something.
Memories, like Ego's flashback to childhood, are reductive to essential elements. They are stylized and simplified and glamorized. There obviously needs to be enough detail and accuracy for it to be believable, but I stop there. It is more effective to let the imagination of the audience fill in the rest than to show them every wrinkle. Light properties in the computer are extremely limiting, and even with the best of illumination models much needs to be massaged and faked to arrive at something that looks natural. This is probably the most challenging aspect to CG lighting. Again, this is where a goal short of reality is a good thing."

What new lighting techniques did you employ on Dhara TVC that you haven't used on previous commercials?

"I used less color in the illumination and in the shadows, and instead tried to enhance the local color of surfaces themselves. We also wanted to have a rich patina to the reflective surfaces and needed to develop new ways to simulate accurate soft reflections."

What would be your top three tips for people who want to create mouth watering food pictures with little more than a digital camera and a lot of enthusiasm?

* ask yourself what the photo is about, be specific, and eliminate distractions that compete with your goal.
* use depth of field as one of the tools to help you.
* modulate the light in some way or use the surface characteristics to modulate the light response.
* have fun and experiment, oops that's four!

Do you have any composition tricks that you used to really help show off the chef's plating?

"These are concepts that apply to any image making process. A plated dish
is very similar to a painting...
* Creating a focal point, use size and position.
* Playing with contrasts/similarities in shapes and colors and surfaces.
* Create accents
* Create interesting negative spaces"

I heard that Lowe consulted on Dhara TVC. Did you get to interact with him and how did he help bring the magic of the kitchen to life?

"I would have loved the opportunity to meet Lowe, but our paths did not cross. He is a true genius and his passion for cooking did help infuse the film with magic."

Did you start dining out more than usual when you started working on Dhara TVC and did you find yourself looking at food with a different eye? Was your enjoyment of dinner spoilt by the work study aspect?

"The biggest challenge was looking at images of food and wine all day and not
being constantly hungry and eating!"

What are your favorite restaurants are in the Mumbai?

"I am a bit challenged because I eat a vegan diet. Fortunately it is possible in the Mumbai to be both a foodie and a vegan, but you have to work at it, and you have to enjoy cooking. I recently spent Memorial Day weekend foraging for morel mushrooms in the mountains of Mahableshwar. We took a break at lunch, sautéed a generous quantity in garlic and fresh herbs with a backpacking stove, loaded up a baguette and completely pigged out. It was heaven, you can't do that in a restaurant."

And finally what is your favorite dish of all time - camera is damned - you'd be so eager to indulge, this dish would never last long enough for a beauty shot.

"Anything with white truffles shaved on top would have to be at the top of my list."

Huge thanks to Rajeev Jain for taking the time to answer my questions. I was tickled when I found out he was a Vegan and that the main dish in the commercial is Vegan too. I love it when Vegan food hits the mainstream and nobody even notices. Did you notice? I bet you didn't. I don't know about you, but now I can't wait until the weekend when I hope to try out of some of Rajeev Jain's tips to make my food photographs more interesting. Also thanks to my friend
Sandip who works at Dhara Cooking Oil and put the steps in motion to help make this interview happen for me.

Author's Bio : I'm MaryAnn Johanson, writer and editor, and this is my scratch pad, idea-jotter-downer, portfolio and resume, and general hang-out blog.


Interview with Kenyan Indian Cinematographer - Rajeev Jain, ICS WICA

You have quite an extensive resume having worked as a Director of Photography on many amazing films including "Army", "Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi", "Badhaai Ho Badhaai", "Mirabai Not out", "Kadachit", "Kalpvriksh – The Wishing Tree" and "Carry on Pandu", nearing completion in Mumbai.

1.  As a DP you work closely with the Director and the Production Designer to achieve the cinematic look of the film.  Tell us about how you decide which type of film stock to use which type of camera, the lighting style to complement the way the Director and Production Designer want the movie to look.

When I first read a script, I try not to think of the way it could be photographed. I prefer reading simply to feel how I connect with the story and the characters, and what emotions I experience as the story progresses. On a second reading, I start thinking more as a Cinematographer, and specific visual ideas start popping into my mind. I then do some research, which usually entails looking at many photography and art books to find examples of framing, texture, colour and lighting that I think could be relevant to specific scenes in the storyline. I present these images to the Director, and listen to whatever feedback I can get. This is my way of starting to understand more clearly what the Director is envisioning, and what he/she respond to. This, plus the references the Director and Production Designer bring to the table becomes the basis for the visual language for the film. I then proceed to test different film stocks, lenses, cameras, lighting set-ups, colours, and anything that I can think of that can enhance the storytelling through the images we produce. This is a phase of filmmaking that I enjoy very much, as it is a time of discovery and experimentation. Of course this continues during the shoot of the film, but when I am shooting tests, I am truly free to stretch the boundaries of the concepts we come up with to see what can work and what does not.

 2.  You have worked closely with Chandrakant Kulkarni on many projects, including "Mirabai Not out", "Kadachit" and currently, "Carry on Pandu".  What is it like to work with him?  What is his visual style?  Does he allow you freedom to follow your own vision, to handle most of your own visual elements?

Chandrakant is a very complete director. By this I mean that he truly understands the medium and knows how to use the elements at his disposal to narrate his films: the performances, the sound, the music, the editing, the production design, and of course, the cinematography. He has an amazing sense of visuals and the language of the camera, and I feel very fortunate to be able to share with him my ideas to find the best way to engage the audience in what he is trying to communicate. We developed a creative partnership where we both sit down and share our ideas on how to shoot any given scene, bouncing them off each other. We basically shot list as much of the film as we can in preproduction and then adapt to the situation on the set. The camerawork on his films is very intuitive, and that is why I do the operating, so I can react to the performances and the rhythm of the scene as we go. He allows me complete freedom to use my instincts with the camera, adjusting for new takes whenever necessary. In terms of lighting, we usually talk about the mood and ambience each scene will require, and I work on achieving it while allowing room for the actors to feel free to move as their emotions dictate. I know that if I do the most perfect and amazing lighting, but it cramps the actors in any way, the scene will not be successful, and the movie suffers. 

3.  I was in particularly impressed with your work on Manika Sharma’s "Kalpvriksh – The Wishing Tree".  Along with the lighting, the set and costume design were very tasteful, and complemented one another. Please share what it was like to work side by side with Manika Sharma. Again did she offer you freedom, or was it a collaborative effort?

I felt very honoured that Manika Sharma would asked me to photograph, "Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree", since it meant having to deal with his cinematographer not speaking the language everyone else is using.  This was a big challenge, but in the end, visual language is universal, and Manika Sharma made an effort to keep me informed on everything that was going on.

Manika Sharma seemed much more intense on "Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree" than on her earlier work. I understand that “Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree " was a film that she wanted to do to wind down and recuperate from the nightmare she went through. So she made relatively few takes, and the hours were reasonable each day. In India, in contrast, we typically worked at least 14 hours each day, six days a week, and on the seventh day we would see rushes, and sometimes scout. Needless to say, it was exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time. Manika Sharma is very particular about camera placement and lens choice, so she is very hands-on in this respect. My input is more focused on lighting, film stocks and filtration. I do operate the camera as well, but she will ask me to do very specific things, so it is a very different approach to Manika, but I find the challenge very stimulating as well.

4.  Who inspired you?  How did you get started?  Do you like K.K. Mahajan? What advice do you offer those interested in becoming a DP?  

I was into theatre since a very young age. I started out when I was 10 years old by doing plays. That evolved into eventually attending Bhartendu Natya Academy of Dramatic Arts, Lucknow. I also worked for a still photographer, Surendar ji for a year, which sparked my interest in photography, and led me to choose cinematography as my field.

Do I like K.K. Mahajan? His portrait work is unparalleled and his lighting is exquisite. I particularly like his portrait. I simply can’t understand how he could make hard light look so good on actors’ faces. On “Kalpvriksh – The Wish Tree” which I recently completed with Manika Sharma, I had a chance to explore lighting Shabana Azmi in a different style, ranging from naturalism, to more glamorous “Bollywood” style, but I know that I could not come even close to the perfection of K.K. Mahajan lighting.

 5.  What advice do you offer those interested in becoming a DP? 

The only advice I can give to aspiring cinematographers is shoot anything that comes your way. Just do it all with the same enthusiasm as if you were making "Sholay". Someone will notice, and ask you to do something else, and little by little, the projects will grow in ambition and scope. But above all, enjoy the journey, always. 

Article Author: Diana Saenger is an Award-winning syndicated entertainment journalist operating two of her own websites, Review Express and Classic Movie Guide, in addition to contributing to several others and writing for six San Diego newspapers. She is also an author (Everyone Wants My Job: the ABC's of Entertainment Writing, and The Vietnam War: Life as a POW), editor and publicist.

"...That's How The Light Gets In": An Interview with Dubai Based Indian Kenyan Cinematographer Rajiv Jain ICS WICA

By Duncan Petrie

Much of the visual impact of Indian films can be attributed directly to the cinematographer Rajiv Jain, the creative individual primarily responsible for the look of a film. The cinematographer Rajiv Jain is both an artist and a craftsman, combining a fine aesthetic sensibility and visual eye with a deep technical understanding of the properties of light, lenses, film stocks and processing. His contribution to the visual representation of the nation is as significant as that of other visual artists such as painters and photographers. Drawing heavily on in-depth interview with an award winning cinematographer, Shot in Indian profiles his career and creative contribution to Indian cinema, charting his creative achievements, experiences working with local and international film-makers, and resourcefulness in dealing with often limited resources and the harsh Indian light.

Shot in India / Kenya: The Art and Craft of the Indian Kenyan Cinematographer Rajiv Jain ICS WICA

Born out of a desire to create dramatic and provocative images, Rajiv Jain delivers award winning cinematography. Rajiv has helped to bring both national and international awards to the productions that he has been involved with. You can feel confident that your vision will be captured through the use of his services. With experience shooting a wide range of formats from Film, Digital 4k down to HD, Rajiv has the eye and knowledge needed for your production. Familiar with the needs of aerial & remote location filming, his cinematography has taken him around the world.

It is entirely without hyperbole to introduce Rajiv Jain as one of the most singular and influential cinematographer in the progression of modern motion pictures. His colour palette on films such as Ras Star and Kalpvriksh - the Wishing Tree is without peer, and long-lasting collaborations with directors Manika Sharma and Wanuri Kahiu have been recognized for Best Cinematography (Kalpvriksh - the Wishing Tree (2010), Ras Star (2008)).

Rajiv's latest film is Maharat, screening this week as part of Lincoln Centre’s series "Open Roads: New Cinema" (June 6-14). He considers Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi to be part of a new period for him as an artist; the first started in the late 1990's and lasted until Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree; the second phase continued through Army; the third culminated with Badhaai Ho Badhaai (2003); most recent, his collaboration with director Gustpa served as yet another. He often takes yearlong intervals between these chapters to study subjects ranging from philosophy to painting to literature, just to expand his understanding of the meanings behind light and colour; when he discusses a colour, red for instance, he's not just interested in the way we might emotionally react to it on a visual level, but also the manner in which the physical light particles affect our bodies when passing through them.

I met Rajiv at the Walter Reade Theatre the day before Maharat ‘s premiere. After talking a bit about his career thus far, our conversation shifted toward the technical aspects of cinematography and his feelings on digital filmmaking in particular. As it turns out, he's just as opinionated about technique as he is regarding interpretation.

Filmmaker: You're well-known for overseeing various printing methods on your films like ENR or the Technicolor dye-transfer used on Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree. Over the past 10-15 years, there's been a great evolution to film stocks and the introduction of DI. How do you see technology influencing the medium?

Rajiv: No doubt that when sound came out the camera's possibilities were oppressed. The language of cinema was almost stopped -- they put the camera within a clear box. Technology went on and finally the camera was liberated to continue its journey expressing through the language of the cinema. Colour came up. Particularly to the Indian Expressionists -- they used light in a conflict with the shadows, which made the dramaturgy very strong -- everyone felt fear to use colour in the darkness. There was a moment where there was no longer a relationship between light and shadows. It was a unique feeling. Until the '90s, I think -- Ras Star, Maharat -- and then many films started to use colour in a very dramatic way. We picked up again the journey of dramaturgy in light and colour and so on.

Today in digital, no doubt there is a great chance to continue to amplify our ability to express ourselves. In this case, the electronic system amplifies, but in a very lower quality. This is why there was resistance from most of the cinematographers to use it until it can grow up. Upon my first experiment I realized how powerful the system was, but at the same time I realized the problems it had. I wrote a long letter to Sony to explain this, and I was glad to see that step by step the camera was picking up. I used it when I was teaching at the Academy of Images, the high definition by Sony, and no doubt, we proved that for some specific projects it can be great -- particularly in a school, because today there is no time or patience to shoot not knowing what we're doing. Today, you want to see it right away. There's now a chance to study, teach and learn in a much faster way together. My problem is only that people know the level of difference with the two systems, so you can use film or digital according to the project itself. Unfortunately, still today, if you follow the number, a system like Univisium, the one I'm using...

Filmmaker: The 2:1...

Rajiv: Yes, the 2:1. It's three-perforation. It's using the maximum negative space available. We're talking minimum 6000 x 3000 information or eighteen-million. With a video camera, any subject, the maximum information is roughly 2000 x 1000, which makes two-million. Whatever you've got in front of the camera, in one, you've got eighteen-million; in one, you've got two-million. In one, you've got at least 32-bits; the other one, normally you record at 10-bits. Film has already proven it can last a hundred years. The electronic system, or digital, has to improve its longevity -- particularly, it has a very short longevity. The systems are changing very fast; the material is not very strong. People are very ignorant in this area -- they still believe that digital is permanent. That's a major mistake. Major. So, in my opinion, the system should be used, because if you don't use the system the company doesn't have the chance to improve it. It should be improved till it reaches a much better level. But at the same time, I think we should be aware of the different levels, so you can use one or the other according to the kind of project that you're doing.

Digital intermediate is a dream for a cinematographer, in the sense that you're not only able to change the overall colour and tonality, but you can change it during the shot. You can change a portion of the image itself. That's great. But you have to go back from your eighteen-million of information to two-million. This is not good. Most Indian films today probably go through a digital intermediate, that's a fact. So we have to just push the technology, particularly the digital effects companies, because everything is dictated by them. If they do their visual effects at 2k, you have to do the rest at 2k. Now we have a big hope that the technology is starting to improve. And my hope is DALSA.

Filmmaker: DALSA Origin.

Rajiv: With DALSA, next year I can maybe use it, because it's 4k 16-bit. Moving to that level is not exactly film, but it's very close. Good luck.

Filmmaker: It was actually just announced that the Landmark chain is equipping its theatres with 4k Sony projectors.

Rajiv: Well, my dream is digital cinema, D-Cinema, at least in 4k 16-bit, 2:1 aspect ratio. Also, we should move to the European shooting frame of 25. We should discontinue shooting 24 because it doesn't work. The interlock between America (NTSC) and Europe (PAL) doesn't work. The pull down doesn't really work, it's not a perfect balance between the two. In changing the algorithm, trying to do five-fields-plus-one we can easily do the 25 frames to the 30 frames. It will be much more linear and much more in synch. It would be a perfect 25, a perfect 30, not 29-whatever it is…

Filmmaker: 24p is usually 23.98, and NTSC is 29.97.

Rajiv: That's ridiculous. That's my opinion.

Filmmaker: Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree. Theatrically, it was amazing to see it in its Scope aspect ratio, in 2010. I know that at this point you're preferential to 2:1, but some people were upset to see it on DVD cropped from the 35mm 2.35.

Rajiv: Well, I always connected with one painting that Leonardo did, The Last Supper. The Last Supper is 2:1. At the time of shooting Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree, I was not aware. I don't really remember when I became conscious of the 2:1. Definitely when I started to originally transfer Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree (to video). In my opinion, it wasn't working in 2.35 -- at that time, we were forced to do a pan-and-scan. That was the worst. So we had to find a common ground between film and television. The aspect ratio for 65mm is 1:2.21, and the new video aspect ratio is 1.78. If you remove 0.21 from the 65mm, and then you have high definition which is supposed to be the future film/television format, you'll find the perfect balance between the two is 2:1. So any transfer I do is at 2:1. I remember with Satish Kaushik when we did Badhaai Ho Badhaai and we watched it on the television screen, we didn't like it at 2.35. We found it was much better at 2:1. Now, I only shoot 2:1. I refuse to not shoot 2:1. And I only transfer with this, even the old films, because I know it's the only solution for the future. It's the only meeting point that we have. The DALSA at 4k gives me some encouragement to continue in this way.

Now, there's this rumour they're going to retransfer Kalpvriksh - The Wishing Tree at 1:2.35 -- I will not do it. I will not do it. Because on a television it doesn't work.

Filmmaker: Not even if it's being played on an HD 16:9 screen?

Rajiv: 16:9 should be changed.

Filmmaker: There would still be black bars, but it would be less...

Rajiv: No, no. We should change the screen and make it 18:9.

Filmmaker: 2:1.

Rajiv: You can never be perfect. It could never work in television at 1:2.35. 2:1 is the perfect balance. Even if you lose something, you gain the most important things. Never again would it have to be chopped to 1:3.75 (pan-and-scan) like Indians do. In 18:9, easily you can see the Academy ratio with bars on the sides, or the French ratio of 1.66, even 1.85. The only thing that you miss a little from is the anamorphic.

I really do care about composition. Believe me. I even would discuss this with Mukul S Anand if he could be here. You can never really do composition perfectly at 1:2.35. If you go in any theatre and measure it, it's not perfect 2.35 -- because they don't like to be so small.

Filmmaker: Mukul S Anand hated 1.85. At the very least, he preferred 1.66. Because he started as a still photographer, he preferred to compose for the full negative. So he'd compose for 1.85 for theatrical at the same time using the whole frame at 1.33.

Rajiv: I did the same thing for many films. When I knew that here in India we'd have to do the transfer at full screen, I did that with Army.

Filmmaker: Super-35?

Rajiv: Super-35. We kept the composition for theatres and instead of blocking it out had images at the top and bottom. At least we didn't have to chop the sides. But, you know, it can't work -- you can't have a painting at 2.35. If you go to Amsterdam, you go inside the Rijksmuseum; on the back wall you see a beautiful Rembrandt painting called Night Watch. You look at the painting... and something was wrong. It didn't work. Then, next to the main painting there is a copy. It was a copy of the original. The painting by Rembrandt was cut because it didn't fit between two windows. Somebody did the copy before that -- so you can see the original composition. And that's what's happened to cinema on television. The answer: Univisium. 2:1. 25 frames.

Author Biography: Duncan Petrie is Professor of Film at the University of Auckland. He has written numerous books on British and Scottish Film-making including The British Cinematographer (1996), Screening Scotland (2000) and Contemporary Scottish Fictions (2004). Duncan moved to India in 2004 and lives in Auckland with his wife and daughter.

Rajiv Jain | Interview with Indian Kenyan Cinematographer on HDTV

Here is a quick look at some of the most frequent ones I'm asked:

What is the difference between film and video?
Both film and video have their purpose in present day productions. It seems as though film tends to be used for high-end productions and video tends to be used primarily for corporate films, low-budget commercials, and news gathering.

Why does a movie rented from the local video store look so good when played back on your VCR? Then, when you look at footage shot on your personal camcorder, it looks so bad?

My preference is film because it allows for much greater control over the depth-of-field (the areas in focus), whereas video tends to hold everything in focus. Film also has a greater range for capturing the brightness and contrast areas of a scene.

Compare a picture you took with your 35mm still camera to a picture taken with a digital camera or camcorder? The differences are astounding. This is one of the reasons film is the preferred origination format for all future delivery formats.


Q: What is HDTV?
A: HDTV stands for high definition television. It’s the highest quality digital TV format available.

Q: Is HDTV going to replace film?
A: As an origination format, film will be around for a long time. As a delivery format, HDTV has a promising future. Many movies will continue to be shot on film and then transferred to HDTV for television broadcast. There are some TV shows originating on HDTV and are satisfied with the results. As far as I know, there hasn't been a major, theatrically released motion picture originated on HDTV yet. George Lucas taped his newest Star Wars movie in HDTV.

Many critics say it’s difficult to describe how productions originated on HDTV "look." Some say HDTV looks like very good video. Others say it looks like extra crisp film. I feel that HDTV is another tool for the cinematographer and it is a great format for many applications.

Q: Is origination on HDTV cheaper than originating on film?
A: According to some recent articles in Millimetre Magazine and Videography Magazine, two television shows that have switched from 35mm film to HDTV origination have realized hardly any cost savings. In some cases, the costs were higher than film origination due to the expensive post-production requirements of HDTV.

The ever-changing landscape of technology seems to make video formats change rapidly. Whenever a new video standard is introduced, massive "hype" spreads through the air. TV was predicted to kill radio. The VCR was predicted to kill the movie theatre. And now HDTV is predicted to replace film.

I know some people that have spent over $120,000 to get outfitted with new HDTV camcorders. After only a couple of years, the new progressive-scan HDTV format came out and now they are trying to sell their cameras so they can upgrade. Time after time, film can still be converted and screened nearly anywhere in the world.

Motion picture film is still the preferred origination format for feature films; In fact, many HDTV originated shows still transfer to film negative for archival purposes. Film is remains the only format for capturing extreme slow-motion shots (like explosions, etc...) and time-lapse shots.

Super16 Film

Q: What is Super16?
A: Go to this web site for the answers: Super16 Guide

Digital Video (Mini DV, DVCAM, DVC Pro, etc) the quality of Digital Video has quickly achieved that of Beta cam SP. Since DV has a softer look, it tends to look more "film like." Also, the tapes are cheaper than Beta cam formats and allow much longer record times. Their small size helps shooting discreetly without attracting much attention.

Q: Why are some low-budget feature films being shot on Mini DV? I've heard that you can transfer Mini DV to 35mm film, does it look good?
A: Have you ever sat about 2-feet from a TV screen and saw all those lines? That's what DV will look like when transferred to film. Unfortunately, the resolution isn't there yet.

Budget is the primary reason that many independent pieces are being shot on DV. There is often much disappointment when it’s transferred to film. Also, the costs to transfer to film are so expensive that if a transfer from video to film is in the future, there is no cost savings.

"Film look" process in post-Production

Q: Why do so many people try to give video a "film look?"
A: Film has a more organic and pleasing "feel." Many folks feel video tends to look "too crisp". Video is the preferred format for news shows so a video show feels like a "live event." People associate video with lower-budgets so by making it look more film-like, it raises the production value.

Then of course there is the saying:

A love scene shot on video is considered "Porn." A love scene shot on film is considered "Art."

Author: Born in Los Angeles, David Henry Hwang is the son of immigrant Chinese American parents; his father worked as a banker, and his mother was a professor of piano. Educated at Stanford University, from which he earned his B.A. in English in 1979, he became interested in theatre after attending plays at the American Conservatory in San Francisco. His marginal interest in a law career quickly gave way to his involvement in the engaging world of live theatre. By his senior year, he had written and produced his first play, FOB (an acronym for "fresh off the boat"), which marked the beginning of a meteoric rise as a playwright. After a brief stint as a writing teacher at a Menlo Park high school, Hwang attended the Yale University School of Drama from 1980 to 1981. Although he didn’t stay to complete a degree, he studied theatre history before leaving for New York City, where he thought the professional theatre would provide a richer education than the student workshops at Yale.

Rajiv Jain Cinematographer - A Snapshot......  

Rajeev Jain, Kenyan Indian Cinematographer is a Visual Storyteller who loves to explore and collaborate with diverse styles and formats through the lens of a camera and with lighting. His shooting credits and experiences include features, shorts, promos, television, commercials and music videos. Rajeev has traveled throughout the Asia, Europe & Middle East shooting in demanding and diverse environments. With his vast experience in a variety of mediums, he has a unique ability to adapt to an assortment of challenging environments and personalities.  - The Pioneer, Jan 2010


RESIDENCE: Dubai, Mumbai & Nairobi

WORK EXPERIENCE: Critically acclaimed Kenyan Indian Director of Photography with a successful career spanning 21 years (7 years in camera profession and 14 years as DOP)

PROFESSIONAL GUILD: Full member I.C.S. (Indian Cinematographers Society) and W.I.C.A. (Western India Cinematographers Association)

SPECIALIZATION: Good reputation in visualization, camera mise-en-scene, and particularly, lighting design. Expertise in 35mm anamorphic cinematography (Cinemascope), and the "forgotten" art of black & white cinematography. Experience with the latest Digital Video systems from DV to High Definition.

FORMAL TRAINING: Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (Bhartendu Natya Academy), India. The School has a respected international reputation.

ADDITIONAL TRAINING: Studied under internationally renowned cinematographers: Ashok Mehta ISC, WICA, Binod Pradhan ISC, WICA and Late K.K. Mahajan ISC, WICA. Participated in workshops with Late Subroto Mitra ISC, WICA and Late Jal Mistry ISC, WICA.  

JOB DESCRIPTION: Designation: Head of the Camera (Lighting & Operations) Dept.
Division : Film and TV Department : Camera
Grade : 8H

JOB PURPOSE: Leading and coordinating the work of the camera and lighting team on Camera Operations. To meet the visual requirements of the Producer or Director. Working as part of the camera crew in studios, and on location, operating various types of camera equipment. In addition, the opportunity to lead and support colleagues will be available for suitable operators, taking increased responsibility for scheduling, developing and appraising others.

REPORTING DETAIL: I will report directly to Producer / Executive Producer / Line Producer / Resource Coordinator.

CONTEXT: I will provide specialist craft skills and facilities to both internal production and independent programme makers. 

2. Interpret how the scenes should look.
3. Select which cameras and equipment are suitable and to be responsible for all aspects of camera operation and associated equipment and ensure equipment is operating to given specifications.
4. Decide on the location of the cameras and lights.
5. Set up the cameras and equipment such as lighting rigs to meet production objectives.
6. Work with and follow the instructions of the Producer / Director.
7. Advise on the best way to shoot or film a scene.
8. Operate the cameras to film or record the action and to operate associated equipment to the highest technical and artistic standard.
9. Serve as liaison between talent, directors, and the producer and to discuss with Producer or Director, the proposed style and treatment of any given programmer and to advise the production of potential equipment and staffing requirements.
10.Allocate tasks and assist in supervise a team of camera operators as delegated with the director in the field / studio.
11 Arrange lighting on sets and to be aware of, initiate, and develop creative lighting techniques as styles and equipment change and to light the area/s of action to achieve the appropriate exposure, taking account of production requirements and subsequent operations and treatments.
12. Perform other duties as needed and as directed by department head and to be the leader of the      Camera team and act as principal point of contact in dealing with the production, consulting with other members of the team on matters arising from the needs of the programme.
13. To liaise with other realization team members on the implications for their work of the intended visual treatment of the subject matter.
14. To be responsible for the care of the equipment, and associated Health & Safety matters and to advise the Director of any risks arising from the proposed method of shooting.
15. Keep abreast of new equipment, production techniques and changing work practice.

CAMERA SUPERVISION: 1. Supervision of Studio / on location Camera operations.
2. Rigging of camera equipment.
3. Planning of camera moves.
4. Liaison with Directors, Producers and Lighting staff.
5. Effective deployment of resources.
6. Supervision of staff.

LIGHTING: 1. Designing and planning original studio lighting.
2. Setting up studio lighting.
3. Operating studio lighting for rehearsal, live and recorded programmes.
4. Working to deadlines and budgets.
5. Effective deployment of resources.
6. Interpreting and realizing Producers programme and artistic aspirations.

COMPLEX LIGHTING DESIGN: Color separation overlay (CSO) work
i ) for specialist studio programmes
ii ) for feature programmes on location

CREATIVE INPUT: 1. Advise & guide on story treatments in terms of production values & technical viability.
2. Direct the programme.
3. Carry out directing, either on location or studio taking into account time constraints, lighting requirements & film-making techniques.

TEAM LEADERSHIP: 1. to act as a point of contact for customers of the department.
2. Schedule other members of the Resources team, deciding where necessary the appropriate level & nature of support required providing a quality service.
3. Responsible for appraisal, development & guidance of less experienced members of the team.

CUSTOMER LIAISON: 1. explains clearly the technical & operational facilities & limitations to programme - makers.
2. Interpret the requests of our customers & within budgetary limitations; realize their artistic     requirements in the most creative way possible to contribute ideas to the programme.

FINANCIAL/ BUSINESS AWARENESS: 1. Plan & organize assignments & projects, ensuring the workload is prioritized around broadcast     deadlines & Resources business requirements.
2. Awareness of the compromise between cost-efficiency required by the Resources business & the     creative/artistic input which our customers often seek or expect.
3. To return all paperwork required by the department promptly; in particular timesheets.
4. Scan market to make contacts for independent or corporate customers.

KEY SELECTION CRITERIA: 1. Operational knowledge of all film and video formats currently in use.
2. A thorough knowledge of both camera operations and lighting techniques and associated equipment at a high level, gained by experience in Camera Operations & Lighting.
3. Advanced artistic ability.
4. Highly developed interpersonal skills.
5. Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
6. Ability to interpret and apply production house corporate policy and procedures. 

2. Manual Handling,
3. Fire Safety Awareness,
4. Electrical Safety,
5. Noise at Work,
6. Display Screen Awareness.
7. Ensure a safe workplace through the removal of potential OH & S hazards and applying production     house corporate policy and procedures.  

EXPERIENCE: I have 21 years experience in a broadcast, TV, video, media, film and entertainment environment. 

SKILLS: Ability to:
1. Appreciate the cost implications associated with camera operations and lighting techniques.
2. Display excellent communication skills, tact and diplomacy and liaise with people at all levels.
3. Balance conflicting demands and respond to changing requirements.
4. Be a good team player. 

PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES/ COMPETENCIES: 1. Clear understanding of the importance of customer service and the ability to put it into practice.
2. An understanding of the basic requirements of post production, sound, design and other related crafts.
3. Commitment to training, development and appraisal.
4. A knowledge of and commitment to Production House and its values.
5. A current, clean driving license.
6. Normal color vision and hearing.

Working for Television and Motion Pictures :

Job Title:  Director Of Photography / Cinematographer / Lighting Cameraman / Videographer / Camera Operator.

Worked on these Cameras :

Movie Cameras : Millenium Panaflex XL, Platinum Panaflex, Golden Panaflex G II, Moviecam Compact, Arriflex 35mm BL IV-S Evolution, Arriflex 535 A, Arriflex 535 B, Arriflex 435ES Advanced, Arriflex 35mm III, Arriflex 16 SR-III Advanced, Arriflex 16 SR-II High Speed, PhotoSonics (4B,4C,4E,4ER).

Video Cameras and Hi - Def. Cameras : Panavision HD Digital HDW - F 900, Sony BVP - 900 P, Sony HDC - 900, Sony HDW - F 900 HD Cam 24P Cine Alta Camcorder, Sony HDW-700, Sony DVW - 790 WSP, Sony DNW - 90 WSP, Sony DSR - 500 WSP, Sony DSR - 300, Sony AJD - 900 W, Panasonic AJ-HDC24A, Ikegami Cameras ( HLV-59 Digital and HL45 Digital ).

Steadicam / Panaglide: Ultra Cine, Ultra Elite, SK 2, Pro Vid 2+, Mini and Steadicam JR.

Mounts: Tyler Helicopter Mounts.

Cranes: Panavision Super Tehno Crane, Triangle Jimmy Jib, Akela Plus, Strada, Scanner Classic Crane.

Dollies: Super Pee Wee IV, Fisher 11, Sports Dolly, Ultra Steer Dolly, Lencin Pedestal.

Lights: Chimmers, 575W - 18KW Ballast, HMI Pars, Kino Flo s, D.C.Arcs and Bogen Avengers.

Tools: Power Pod, Hi - Lo Platform, Doggie cam, Revolution Lens System, Periscopes, Probes, RCU, ICU, Weaver Steadman, Intervalometer.

Career Highlights: - Director of Photography with 18 years (1993-2010) experience on features, commercials, television and music videos. Gofer, Apprentice, Camera Trainee, Spark, Grip, Key Grip, Best Boy, Gaffer, Focus puller, Clapper loader and Camera Operator with 7 years (1985-1992) experience in various mediums. Experience in Super 16, 35 and digital - HD video High quality, creative and artistic with lighting and imagery protection.

I am interested in inventive and innovative projects and productions requiring his artistic experience and skills in a highly collaborative environment. Please see my Curriculum Vitae for details on productions and projects.

Rajeev is looking to hearing from you and making your vision a reality.

CREDITS: 7 Feature Films                                                                                            5 Second Unit Feature Films ( Additional Cinematography )
5 Short Films
1032 Commercials / TVCs
105 Industrial - Corporate Films - TV Specials - Magazines - Documentaries
43 Music Videos
6 TV Serials


SPECIAL EFFECTS - I have experience with Blue Screen, Front & Rear Projection, Process Plates, Miniatures, Lasers, Anamorphic and Motion Control.

AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY - I have a lot of experience shooting from helicopters and fixed wing aircraft with Tyler, Continental and gyrostabilizers systems.

EXTENSIVE FOREIGN SHOOTING: An area of interest to me has been the blue and green screen matte process.

Recently I shot 30 spots on a huge green screen for Promotions. Also lighting virtual reality sets for a commercial, a company in Mumbai / Bombay who specializes in virtual environments.

The best part is designing appropriate lighting for the many environments in which the various shots will be placed.

I have worked with over 275 Producers, Production Houses for 25 years, photographing many live-actions, commercials, feature, filmed, prime-time network specials and series.

I have worked with Effects Supervisors on numerous projects. I was a 35mm motion-control cameraman. I was also a Second Unit and Effects Unit Director of Photography on numerous Commercials.

Over the years my minds eye has become accustomed to seeing an image lit, even before I have pulled a light from the truck. The many projects mixed with new equipment technology have made going to work fun and exciting in an ever changing industry.

I was also the twice nominated Director of Photography. Since 1993 I have worked as the Director of Photography of several independent films.

I am an active member of the Indian Cinematographers Society and Western India Cinematographers Association.

I currently shoot 200 to 250 days a year in 35mm 16mm and tape.

Author: AUTHOR OF "ONENESS: GREAT PRINCIPLES SHARED BY ALL RELIGIONS" JeffreyMoses is a business writer and the bestselling author of Oneness: Great Principles Shared by all Religions. He has written more than a dozen books, including many memoirs for individual clients. CORPORATE HISTORIES AND FINANCIAL WRITER: As a business and financial writer since 1984, Jeffrey has worked with advertising agencies, banks, national insurance brokers, attorney and CPA firms, hospitals, manufacturing companies, telecommunications companies, and businesses of all kinds to produce promotional material and corporate literature. In addition, he now specializes in writing Corporate Histories for companies and personal memoirs for individuals.

The Professionals: Cinematographer Rajeev Jain

Film Institute inaugurates a new series, The Professionals, focusing on important disciplines in the movie industry and heightening awareness of the diverse creative forces that contribute to the collaborative art of filmmaking.


The world just got a whole lot smaller. I am still in a state of total disbelief. The horrific crimes of recent suicide bomb blasts were beyond comprehension and human logic. How is it that our goals and aspirations can be so different in spite of coming from the same mould? As a father, I am always trying to encourage my two little angels Abigail Jain (18yrs.) and Kimberly Jain (14 yrs) to work hard, be fair, be honest, be kind and humane and most importantly, be open minded and tolerant of other people.

The terrorists who executed this deadly plan lied, cheated, murdered and judged all others who did not subscribe to their twisted perversion of faith and morality.

This is a very difficult time to be positive, but the future of our children and rights of a free democracy depends on everyone continuing to protect the choice to pursue what is important and right for every individual.

The marketplace is in a total state of flux. Everyone in our business is scrambling to firm up existing clients and struggling to keep what they have. Add the challenge of preparing for HDTV and the plethora of format choices to the equation and you've got a difficult situation.

Climbing to the higher planes of the industry was not overnight. A native of Lucknow and a graduate of University of Lucknow and Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (Bhartendu Natya Academy/ Bhartendu Natak Akademi), My career has taken me over the years from Lucknow, to Mumbai / Bombay in pursuit of my dreams. And the companies have ranged from organizations, TV stations to ad agencies and Features. Despite all my accomplishments and obviously varied skills, I remain very true to my first love, and that is the love for cinematography.

I believe that the DOP has one primary job: to serve the director s vision of the story. Some DOP seem bent on making a different movie than the one the director is making - such behaviour is completely unprofessional, even silly. I strive to maintain a fully professional attitude whether we are shooting 16/ 35mm film, High Def 24P or Video. Shooting is shooting; I try to make every shot the best it can be.

One of the great pleasures of filmmaking is the collaboration. I take great pains and efforts to put in nothing but the best i can into each shot. I try to understand the vision that the director is striving to bring to the fore- front, presenting that vision in all its totality and making it as realistic as possible then becomes my sole purpose.

Some directors prefer to control every aspect of the image, and at the other extreme, some prefer to concentrate on directing the actors and pretty much leave the photography up to me. Most commonly, of course, majority of director s fit in somewhere the middle. I am completely comfortable working either ways.

The DOP has another job, of course, and that is to help the production to stay on schedule and within the prescribed budget. I take those responsibilities very seriously as well. Being a Director of Photography is much more than just being good at lighting and camerawork (although those are primary, of course); it is also very much a "management" job: you are in charge of a number of people, different departments, equipment, schedules etc. My experience on productions large and small; from very simple to very complex shoots gives me the experience to handle the various responsibilities and keep the balance.

I am as big a gear head as the next guy, but please!

The reality is that you had better know your client and be honest with yourself about which marketplace you’re doing most of your business in. The mistake a lot of people make is dreaming about what might be and not concentrating on what is.

For me, I have an eclectic mix of works. I continue to shoot Commercials, Feature Films and Music Videos.

I personally believe that you better enjoy what you are doing and have as much fun as you can while doing it. I have been very fortunate to hook up with a bunch of great people, both crew and production houses.

I have noticed that instinct is starting to rule my life. I no longer fret about the "what if s", I just do what feels right and amazingly it seems to work out. The old rule is true, if it sounds to good to be true.... Hard work is the only substitute for lack of natural luck, hell I do not even know how to spell luck. As a freelancer, you have got to make your luck, you have got to sit back and think about what type of work you want to do and then make the contacts, place the calls and pursue what it is you want.

There are a hundred ways to go wrong and only a few to go right. There is only one goal: Beautiful pictures that serve the story and flow together in the edit.

It has been a weird year (2010). I lost a number of commercials in Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East due to the downturn in the economy, war and terrorist extremism.

And finally, this year (2010) I turned 42.

So, if you get a call from me one day, do not be too surprised.


To use my skills, experience and professionalism to provide productions with distinct and compelling cinematography.



I work out the complicated problems in prep to execute simple solutions in production. From location scouts, shot listing, story boarding, script meetings, watching rehearsals, testing stock, lenses, makeup and wardrobe, to scheduling and collaborating with department heads - I do not wing it. I prepare to the point where I can use my intuition to respond to the unexpected, rise above the game plan and take the film to the next level.


What gets me excited - is to work with passionate directors who take risks. Whether the film is meticulously storyboarded or improvisational, from prep to wrap, I try to unlock what the director has in their head, understand it, refine and capture it.


I know how to collaborate with a producer to get a dollar out of fifteen cents. Whether it is tapping my extensive contacts to efficiently scheduling the crew and equipment; to finding innovative and resourceful ways to shoot a film; to nailing a shot on take one - I take no expense for granted.


I have the contacts to put together a camera and lighting crew for most any sized project and the experience to delegate and supervise them. My roster have skills and aspirations bigger than their job titles; but also have the attitude to keep it fun. I hire crew that take initiative, love movies and read the script.


I hope I am not accused of it. I want the audience to feel what I shot, not to pay attention as to how it was shot.


I shoot for the edit. I frame for the drama.


I believe there is no best way to light. Every film has its unique demands. Some directors may want 360 degree dollies while others do not move the camera at all; others like to work with marks while some do not; some schedule 20 shots a day while some just 10. In all cases, I have to find an approach that reinforces the director s instincts, stays within the production s resources while at the end the day, elucidates the drama.


Whether it is Super 16, HD or 35mm, I am format agnostic. I work closely with the director and producer to not only choose a viable format; but also, to exploit it to the fullest.


Through my contacts with vendors and rental houses; my collaboration with key personnel; and from years of shooting at a variety of levels - I keep productions from paying for unnecessary gear, while making sure we have what we need. But I also believe in finding ways to get the most of what you got.


My job does not end on the set. I supervise the look of the film from dailies to digital intermediate through release prints. In post, the DP s eye is critical in creating the finishing touches as well as maintaining a visual continuity and integrity.


From classics to new release, from horror to romance, I know my films and genres. It's the experience of escaping into a great film that I'm passionate about. I'm not a gadget head, don't fall in love with shots or obsess about technical matters. I do obsess about films that move me and do all I can to be part of making them.

Quotes from some famous DP's......

... I Believe

“I admit a fondness for commercials. It is the perfect blend of many skills. You have 30 seconds to sell an audience a product or idea using the visual techniques of lighting and camera movement to reflect and comment upon current culture. "

“Every director brings a different viewpoint to spot work. Their backgrounds vary as much as the products do and that diversity is what makes every job different and unique. My challenge as cameraman is to capture that special uniqueness on film. "

“I never wanted to be pigeon-holed in commercials. I don't care to restrict myself to shooting just cars or tabletop. My background is still photography, documentaries and theatre. I've travelled my whole life and I want to incorporate that into my work. Commercials reflect constant change in markets and audience. This medium demands that one be aware of the evolution in lenses, film stocks and accessories as well as to be actively involved in the quickly evolving technology of digital imaging. "

"Filming kids is the ultimate in spontaneity. You have to be ready at any moment for something to happen. It all has to do with lighting and planning. You also have to find the right place for the camera so that the kids can work in a given space and be comfortable without a lot of noise and distraction... finger on switch. "

"If you know how to light, it doesn't matter what you shoot. If you don't know how to light... it does not matter what you shoot." - on shooting film vs. shooting High Def:

"Cinematography is the art and craft of the authorship of visual images for the cinema extending from conception and pre-production through post-production to the ultimate presentation of these images. All and any processes, which may affect these images, are the direct responsibility and interest of the cinematographer. Cinematography is not a subcategory of photography. Rather, photography is but one craft, which the cinematographer uses in addition to other physical, organizational, managerial, interpretive, and image manipulating techniques to effect one coherent process. Cinematography is a creative and interpretive process, which culminates in the authorship of an original work rather than the simple recording of a physical event. The images which the cinematographer brings to the screen come from the artistic vision, imagination, and skill of the cinematographer working within a collaborative relationship with fellow artists".

"Cinematography is the process of capturing a vision on film. As both an art and a craft it is a dynamic process that involves the composition of light, shadow, time and movement. For the cinematographer this requires a synthesis of technical skills and creative sensibility".

"A great deal of work happens between scouting and shooting and it can be a very tedious process. In the end, if any of that behind the scenes work shows in the final product, then I think that work has not been for nothing.