Meeting the Cinematographer of The Water Horse

Today we had a one and a half hour talk with Oliver Stapleton! This was a real pleasure as he’s worked with huge names such as David Bowie and The Rolling Stones in the 80s, Oliver has progressed to become one of the most renowned cinematographers – his credits include director of photography on The Cider House Rules, The Proposal, Buffalo Soldiers and many others. He now also co-runs the Master’s Degree in Cinematography at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in London. 

I was truly amazed by the work he has produced and the story of how he became to be who he is now! The fact that he started when he was 28 left me shocked! I was honered I got to speak to him especially as he criticised my FMP work as well! Although it was partly negative, I don’t mind as much as it’s from a professional and honest feedback is what I want. He said that some of the ‘hits’ in the end fight scene for my FMP “weren’t believable” and that I could “cut some bits out”. This made me feel sad as I thought he didn’t like it even though he said “the amount of footage you’ve filmed in a day is impressive. I could understand what he was saying though and I have taken that into account and removed some of the orginal shots that didn’t look as polished as the others. This shot in particular where Jack’s character goes to kick me in the head.

This shot was filmed on the day of filming but I took it out when editing because as you can see above (in the practice fight) I encountered the same problem where it doesn’t look “believable”.

Anywag back onto the Oliver Stapleton! This is the film poster for the water horse. I love the colours they’ve used and would love to make a film like that in the future if I ever got the opportunity. This is because I’ve always been a fan of films that use CGI well enough that you believe it. It’s always something that will impress me as it leaves me asking the question “how did they do that!?”.

I remember seeing the film ‘The Water Horse’ when it came out in cinemas. I was only 7 but I enjoyed it very much. I haven’t seen it since though, so seeing the behind the scenes and how it was made really inspired me. I would have never guessed how much of it was actually CGI and edited on a blue screen.


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