Subscribe Online  

Reports&
surveys

The Art Of The DP Back to Reports & survey Listing

Martin Hawkins
Outnumbered, Holby City, Derek, Life’s Too Short, Extras, Phoneshop



It’s difficult to say what skills you need to be a DP. Obviously you have to know how to light and operate a camera but I guess being able to adapt is up there. Things change all the time and being able to go with it and keep to the schedule will win you lots of brownie points. If patience was a skill then you need that too.

I don’t think anyone has ever told me how to light a set. I’m told that I light fast and I’m happy with that. No director likes waiting for a shot to be set up and lit. They’re most happy when the camera is turning over and that’s the way it should be. So the more time I can give the director with the actors on set, the more takes they will be able to do – and quite often the ‘one for the hell of it’ take (because you have the time) is the one they’ll love.

I’ve been very lucky and worked on some superb productions throughout my career, but I guess Extras and Outnumbered are two that stand out. Extras because it was the first show Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant wrote and directed after The Office. There were a number of different camera and lighting styles in each episode along with some amazing Hollywood stars.

Outnumbered I chose because of working with the three children and the whole concept from the writer/directors Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin about how we approach shooting the series. We would never rehearse a scene, never give the children marks to hit and never stop filming until the kids had stopped talking.

Picture Perfect
I love grading. It’s the icing on the cake and I’m very passionate about it. It’s the moment where all your hard work on the shoot is realised on the screen. I have a great relationship with two fantastic graders and apart from loving what they can do, they are both fun to spend days in a dark room with. The more a person knows you, the more he or she will know what you like and don’t like. This then speeds up the grade and you’ll have more time to finesse.

Handheld Shooting
Over the last few years I seem to have shot more and more productions with the camera handheld on my shoulder. (Outnumbered, Life’s Too Short, Derek, PhoneShop). It’s interesting that some were shot that way to give it the look of a ‘fly on the wall documentary’ where the camera can happily crash zoom in or whip pan to grab moments. Other productions were covered just as if the camera was on a tripod except that it’s on my shoulder. Although it’s not great for my back, I do like that style, and I do think it is a style. Steady handheld camerawork can add another dimension to a scene.

More Chapters

 
Televisual Media UK Ltd 23 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JP
©2009 - 2017 Televisual. All rights reserved
Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use | Disclaimer