Dutch and Double
Meet The New Wave / Sam Care
Dutch and Double
Meet The New Wave / Sam Care
Filmography (so far):
Chasing Cotton Clouds (2011), In Our Name (2010) Misfits 2 – 2nd Unit (2010), Changing Faces (2007).
When did you discover you wanted to be a cinematographer?
Cinema has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. My earliest memory is being taken to the cinema when I was two to watch Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. I decided I wanted to be a DP at university, aged 18, and have never looked back.
Where did you train?
I did a BA (Hons) degree at The University Of Westminster in Film & TV Production. I worked in the lighting department for two years, then completed my training at The National Film & TV School.
What are you favourite films?
The films of Stanley Kubrick and Paul Thomas Anderson had the greatest influence on me. Kubrick's films showed me that filmmaking was an art form, and I was always amazed how diverse his films were. Also films like The Godfather (1972, DP Gordon Willis), Fargo (1996, DP Roger Deakins BSC ASC), The Mission (1986, DP Chris Menges BSC ASC) The Third Man (1949, DP Robert Krasker) and The Graduate (1967, DP Robert Surtees ASC), influenced me in terms of their use of precise visual language.
What’s the best advice you were ever given?
From my NFTS tutors Brian Tufano and Stuart Harris, to always stay true to the story and be very conscious of what your doing visually in relation to the narrative. Roger Deakins also told me to keep my lighting simple and use as few sources as possible.
Who are industry heroes?
Roger Deakins, Chris Menges, Seamus McGarvey and Emmanuel Lubeski – for their naturalism and narrative integrity.Conrad L. Hall – I'm always amazed, and I hope that I can shoot something that beautiful one day.Rodrigo Prieto – his work with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has also been hugely influential stylistically to my own work.
Have you won any awards?
My short films have won numerous awards in festivals worldwide. I’ve shot three projects in last two years that have been BAFTA nominated, the last of which was the Misfits Series 2 online campaign and the short film Connect (2010). My last feature In Our Name was nominated for two BIFA awards.
What’s you proudest moment?
It happened recently, when BAFTA invited me out to Los Angeles as one of 42 Brits To Watch and one of only two cinematographers selected to represent the best of emerging UK film-making talent. I was introduced to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as meeting a host of Hollywood stars and heroes of mine, including Quentin Tarantino.
Tell us your best and worst moments on set?
The best moments are always when you experience an amazing performance happening right in front of you and feel privileged to have been given the job of capturing it. The worst feeling actually happens off set, shortly after you finish a longer project and you miss the people involved and want to get back together and shoot something again.
Tell us your most hilarious faux pas?
Once at film school, my camera assistant told me about a way of manipulating the digital camera settings to create a flatter, lower contrast image, to capture more detail for the grade. We did some tests and it seemed logical, so I decided to shoot it that way, knowing I could grade it back to the way I wanted. What I didn't understand at that point was that the way the rushes would be viewed for weeks would influence the way people perceive your work, the way something is cut and finally graded. This taught me to always try and achieve the look I wanted in camera.
"The films of Stanley Kubrick and Paul Thomas Anderson had the greatest influence on me. Kubrick's films showed me that filmmaking was an art form, and I was always amazed how diverse his films were."
- Sam Care
Away from work, what are your greatest passions?
Travelling, stills photography, tennis and football.
What one piece of kit could you not live without?
My sun predicting software (and my light meter too!).
What’s weirdest place you’ve ever shot in?
In the enormous oil drums underneath Tate Modern. We were the last crew to film in there before they were renovated, and it was an incredible visual experience.
Tell us your hidden talent/party trick?
I speak fluent Dutch, as I grew up there. People always love it when I speak English with a Dutch accent – makes them laugh.
In the entire history of filmmaking, which film would you love to have shot?
Days Of Heaven by Terrence Malick, shot by Nestor Almendros.
What are your current top albums?
No More Idols by Chase & Status and The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.
What’s your greatest extravagance?
Buying lenses for my stills camera.
What’s the best thing about being a DP?
Getting to see the world and being a part of telling stories, which so many people see and connect with emotionally.
What’s the worst thing about being a DP?
I haven’t discovered it yet, but I have many years to go.
Give us three adjectives that best describe you and your approach to cinematography?
Poetic. Natural. Instinctive
If you weren’t a DP, what job would you be doing now?
Probably a colourist or a photography teacher.
What are your aspirations for the future?
To keep telling meaningful stories around the world and challenging myself photographically in all media. I’ve always had the dream of shooting a film on every continent in the world. Two down, five to go!