Entertainment News

Cinematographers are losing control of images in digital filmmaking era, says Janusz Kaminski

The award-winning Polish cinematographer also spoke of the use of computer graphics and post-production alteration at a conference in Las Vegas.

Oscar-winning Polish cinematographer Janusz Kaminski cautioned that directors of photography are losing control over the images they shoot as motion pictures increasingly depend on digital techniques and tools, said The Hollywood Reporter.

Speaking at a National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas on Monday, Kaminski said films now have “too many cooks in the kitchen” and the “ownership of the image” is disappearing. Kaminski has collaborated with Steven Spielberg for three decades, mostly recently on his science-fiction adventure Ready Player One (2018). “So far the results are good, if you have a good chef, like Steven [Spielberg]. But the moment the director is not involved, [the cinematographer loses] control of the image,” Kaminski said.

Based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name, Ready Player One is set in the year 2045, when people immerse themselves in the virtual reality software OASIS to escape the hopelessness of the real world. Kaminski said that although Ready Player One is an “amazing movie” that he’s proud of, his “contribution was 40%”, because the virtual world of the OASIS has been created with computer graphics. “To some degree, it’s not movie-making for me,” he said. “I’m making movies with [actual] lights, sets ... I consulted with ILM artists for [the digital parts of] Ready Player One.”

He lamented that cinematography as an artistic practice is getting diluted with digital production and post-production. “Cinematography is the art of light and shadows, visual metaphors and nuance,” Kaminski said. “That is disappearing. It will evolve and come back. But right now [there are not enough young directors of production] using cinematography to express themselves.”

Kaminski has won the Academy Award for his cinematography in Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.


The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.