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Monday, 23 June 2014 17:43

David Boyd, ASC Takes on Directing

Written by  Thea Green
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The eye of a cinematographer and their experience behind the lens can often lead them to directing.

Such was the case with David Boyd, ASC, who discussed going from shooting to directing television in a recent Parallax View blog on the ASC website. Since he got his start directing seven years ago on Friday Night Lights, he’s added credits for The Walking Dead and Men of a Certain Age, to name a few.

Boyd mentioned that in terms of process, both roles for him come down to storytelling. “I find myself doing the same mental exercise I do when I’m directing the photography: I think about the story that has to be told and what these actors have to do. How can I best capture their performances? I think about creating an atmosphere and a vibe and putting lights up that tell the story in the most appropriate way. I don’t see any line between shooting and directing; it’s filmmaking.”

Directing allows Boyd to take on smaller time commitments and more projects rather then signing up for an entire season. To a degree, he was already directing on set, so he decided to take the leap. “I felt like I was [directing], anyway, so why not get paid for it and take the three-week rhythm instead of the eight-month rhythm? In the space of eight months, I can direct 11 or 12 projects, a dozen little journeys, and I really appreciate that. That feels pretty great. I still get to see many of my friends on the camera, electric and grip teams. It’s a lot of fun.”

David’s gift for cinematography often helps him to make strong visual choices as a director. “Another benefit of the Red/Super 16-lens approach is that it degrades the digital image, which is too good-looking in the first place,” he said. “It takes it to another realm and makes it more like film, I think. A cinematographer can record in 4K or 5K and plan to degrade the image in post, but we are often not around when those choices are being made later, or someone else has the final say. I prefer to create the look I want, something that looks a little bit more like cinema, from the get go.”

Just because David has become a masterful director doesn’t mean that he’s done shooting. “I don’t feel I’ve said goodbye to camera work at all,” he said. “I’m still the same person in my heart, but interest has taken me down the directing road, and it’s not slowing down any.” (ASC)

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