"Lighting Cameraman" - Camera or Cinematographer section?

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What is the latest official decision from IMDB about whether a "lighting cameraman" on-screen credit should go in Cinematographer or Camera Department section?

My understanding is that "lighting cameraman", despite the use of the words "lighting" and "cameraman" is actually a Cinematographer credit, used as a synonym for "Director of Photography", especially in British films and older TV programmes. This is supported by http://www.startintv.com/jobs/lighting-cameraman-director-of-photography.php "The Lighting Cameraman or D.O.P." and reference to prior experience as a camera operator (ie progressing from that to LC/DoP).

Web pages created by LC/DoP crew also support this: http://simoncoxcameraman.co.uk/ "Simon Cox, Director of Photography / Lighting Cameraman",  https://mattjackson.tv/services/dop-and-cameraman/ "Matt works as a DOP Lighting Cameraman", https://www.antleake.com/ "Ant Leake: DoP / Lighting Cameraman" - all these show that the industry regards the two jobs as interchangable.

I ask because deletions from camera department and addition to cinematographer (in the same submission, with explanation "this is a cinematographer credit") are still being rejected, ignored or converted.

What do other people think? Which department should "lighting cameraman" go in, if there is no "DoP" credit and if there is already a "camera operator" type credit on-screen?

The current situation in IMDB is mess: there are people with credits both in Cin and Cam departments, both with "lighting camerman" as an attribute. Such credits need all to go in one department or the other, to be consistent.
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Martin

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Posted 7 months ago

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MAthePA

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There are a lot of questions and problems to think about and solve out... 
Bu this one seems to be not a question but a rule to follow:

Only the person credited as the MAIN cinematographer or director of photography should be submitted here. Usually one person holds this role. Additional or second unit cinematographers, camera operators and other cinematography related roles should be submitted to the Camera Department section. Please list the role in the attribute field exactly as it appears on screen.
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Martin

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I'd seen that explanation and it raised as many questions as it answered ;-)

What does it imply if there is no other Cinematographer/DoP credit in the on-screen credits? Does it mean the Lighting Cameraman is judged to be a Cinematographer if there is also a Camera Operator (and maybe camera assistant, 2nd Unit DoP, lighting director etc) credit on-screen?

My understanding is that DoP and LC roles usually involve designing the lighting of a scene, designing any in-shot camera movement, choosing camera location and shot composition etc, which the the camera operator, lighting technicians, and the grips follow. I wonder if that merits being in the Cinematographer section, irrespective of the job title that is used.

The problem with "lighting cameraman" is the people get derailed by those words "lighting" and "cameraman" - DoP is probably a better and less confusing term.
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MAthePA

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You just trying to make a movie database maintainers faced against the problem that should be addressed to producers. When the on-screen credits include no main cinematographer (DoP), it's a question how they succeeded to produce the film involving no key duties, but a database needs no such chaos and is not going to make substitutions relying on assumptions.

This is how it looks to me generally, but I'd really appreciate if some additional efforts serve a progressive way of data structuring. But if we go the way of trendsetter, this must include all sections, not only those questioned here...
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Martin

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You say "When the on-screen credits include no main cinematographer (DoP), it's a question how they succeeded to produce the film involving no key duties..." but I think it's more that the job title of the person carrying out those key duties happens to be described on-screen as "lighting cameraman" rather than "cinematographer" or "director of photography". It's a question of naming rather than lack of carrying out duties.
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MAthePA

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It may seem to you and me, or others, that it was just a question of naming when the credits were combined into titles sequence. But we do not know. OK?

When a person did all the work concerning cinematography, such person is normally named in titles as "Cinematographer" or "Director of Photography". If only a part of work, such parts are explained by attributes, e.g. "lighting". One person may have more than one credit for cinematography work, that may include the main one and the additional ones also... What's so wrong in this way how things exist? If this is the right way, please re-read my previous post.
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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I would wait for an IMDb Employee response on this.
Curious? What title are you referring to?
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Eboy

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Kubrick used this approach with some of his movies and all those credits are listed under ”Cinematographer”. Douglas Milsome in ”Full Metal Jacket”, Larry Smith in ”Eyes Wide Shut” and John Alcott in ”A Clockwork Orange”. These are of course well known films by the famous director (who probably felt that he was ”in charge” of everything in the end).


( John Alcott was also credited as ”Photographed by”. )


I agree that for IMDb it's more of a question of naming rather than what duties the person might have. In many productions the same person is lighting and operating the camera (especially with the smaller ones).


I once added one documentary by the (now) famous cinematographer, who was the only person operating the camera and lighting (a fact). He was credited as a ”cameraman” and that credit was moved (by the IMDb) to the Camera Department. So the lesson of that one was that it’s best not to overthink these. This person clearly was a ”cinematographer” for the documentary, but it’s the actual credit that matters. Many older productions (British, especially) used these ”lighting cameraman” and ”cameraman” type of credits, even when DoP or Cinematographer would’ve been a ”better” choice (at least now).
(Edited)
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MAthePA

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When there is an evidence that a person being credited as "Lighting Cameraman" should also be included as uncredited "Director of Photography", it is really a good compromise to put the "Lighting Cameraman" into ”Cinematographer” section.
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Eboy

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I believe IMDb uses the ”there are always exceptions” rule and takes some liberties with certain titles. Like Kubrick, for example. With others, the ”lighting cameraman” goes to Camera Department. Not fully sure, though, but perhaps we get some feedback from the staff.


One problem (from the credit/IMDb point of view, at least) is that there are ”cinematographers” in a 2-minute news story, and 3-hour Avengers film that costs 200million$. As funny as this type of comparison might seem, both light the subject/scene and the former is most likely also operating the camera. It’s a similar thing with ”directors”. It’s just the word/attribute/occupation. You can ”direct” 2-minute short film about your cat, ot 3-hour Avengers film. Credit wise, I mean.
(Edited)
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Will, Official Rep

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Hi all,

The case can be argued either way and it depends on the title in question, however historically it does seem like the term was used more to reference a director of photography/cinematographer, rather than a camera department credit. If there is one person credited as lighting cameraman and no-one else credited as director of photography/cinematographer then it seems reasonable to add them to the cinematographer section, as opposed to the camera department.

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Will
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MAthePA

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Thank you.
It would be great to have such explanations in the official guidelines, and for other depts also.
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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I agree MtP
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Martin

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Thanks for giving verdict, Will. Are you speaking on behalf of IMDB? I'm not sure what your standing of "Official Rep" means.

As MAthePA says, we need this written down somewhere as official policy: "if there is no other Cinematographer or Director of Photography credited, a Lighting Cameraman should be deemed to be a member of the Cinematographer, not Camera/Electrical, department, especially if there is also someone else credited as camera operator". And for that policy then to be used by the IMDB list processing staff.

Now all we need is to make this happen, so that a submission of Fred Bloggs in the Cinematographer section with an attribute of "lighting cameraman" doesn't get changed into a submission of Fred Bloggs in the Camera/Electrical department.

If that is official IMDB policy; if it's only your opinion, then it's a different story...






Consider this submission that I made:

190424-205157-013000 - for title "All for Love" (1982) {Mona (#1.2)}

  • Cinematographers - Add
    • Name: Morgan, Ken (I)
      Attribute: (lighting cameraman)

(I also made a lot of other additions and corrections in other sections in the same submission.)

The fact that confirmation email lists it in the section where I put it shows that it is not being changed by form validation but after the submission has been received, maybe by human intervention.

The "Track Contribution" says

Declined
Camera DepartmentAddition
Morgan, Ken (I)(lighting cameraman)
ReasonNot specified

Your contribution has been declined.We did not capture a specific reason during processing.

Notice that I submitted it as Cinematographer but the error message gives the impression that by the time an error is reported, it has mutated into Camera/Electrical.

and "Your contribution has been declined.We did not capture a specific reason during processing." isn't exactly very helpful ;-)


The effect of my submission was to add Ken Morgan to the Cam/Elect department with attribute Lighting Cameraman.




So I submitted a correction for that episode and also one other that had the same problem.


190425-075031-606000

  • Morgan, Ken (I)
    • Camera and Electrical Department member Credits - Delete
      • Title: "All for Love" (1982) {Mona (#1.2)}
        Occupation: lighting cameraman

      • Title: "All for Love" (1982) {L'Elegance (#1.3)}
        Occupation: lighting cameraman

    • Cinematographer Credits - Add
      • Title: "All for Love" (1982) {Mona (#1.2)}
        Attribute: (lighting cameraman)

      • Title: "All for Love" (1982) {L'Elegance (#1.3)}
        Attribute: (lighting cameraman)


The status of all four changes is "Approved", so there is no message to say that anything has been rejected or moved from one department to the other.

I gave a reason for the deletions: "this is a cinematographer credit" on the grounds that in the past, that is how IMDB wanted it to be, hence the fact that a lot of historical submissions have the LC in the Cinematographer section - including one for "All for Love" (1982) {A Dedicated Man (#1.1)} that someone else submitted at some stage in the past.





One question about "Track Contribution": does "approved" mean that the change should be visible on the site, or does it mean that the change is guaranteed to go through, but may take further time before it is visible?




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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Will is an Employee of IMDb.
What he says is the official position of IMDb on the matter.
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Martin

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Fine. That clinches it, then. There seems to a bug, either in the computer system or as human error or misunderstanding, which is changing Cinematographer (occupation=Lighting Cameraman) into Camera (occupation=Lighting Cameraman), despite the official IMDB policy.

I'm not too bothered about the specific example that I cited, but I wanted to sort out whether it was a systematic problem.

And indeed to find out what IMDB policy was, ie whether it agreed with industry-standard use of the job title, as shown by lighting cameramen's own LinkedIn-type publicity web pages.
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Will, Official Rep

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Hi all,

You are correct, this is an internal problem with our reclassification of job roles. We've made a tweak now which should stop this from happening and I've fixed the credits on that submission reference, I've also opened a ticket to update the cinematographer and camera department guides with this policy.

Regards,
Will
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MAthePA

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Will, thank you.

The same approach for similar problems, e.g.:
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/problem-with-howard-hughes-i-page
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/attribute-additional-voices
is greatly expected.

Additionally, I hope for the day when IMDb using a universal set of professional attributes based on synonymity links, so contributors could input/choose the on-screen values that would result in transformed end value having the useful meaning.