The cinematographers who influenced me…

The best cinematographers are German, or were Dutch and worked in the new German cinema of the 70s.

As a freelance film director for hire, I think I’ve been influenced by cinematographers almost as much as I have been influenced by directors.

Certainly two cameraman had a very big impact on my visual style – these guys both started their careers in the new German cinema of the 70s and 80s and both guys finished their careers working in or around Hollywood.

Both guys have passed on now, but their work is still celebrated.  They are Robby Muller and Michael Ballhause.

Muller, to me, had a style so cinematic it taught me to see – his German films with Wim Wenders are famous for their imagery. But later in his career, his work with directors like Alex Cox, William Freidkin and Jim Jarmusch showed he could fit into American films, and see America like no other cameraman.

Ballhause started his career with Fassbinder in Germany, working fast, on low budgets with strong visual ideas, but he ended his career in the USA, and added amazing cinematic style and imagery to the worlds of Martin Scorsese – certainly Ballhause’s work on Goodfellas, and The Color of Money showcase some of the most stylistic camerawork from that era in American films.  

When I took on the camera work in my own low budget film debut as director Markham , the work of Ballhause and Muller was always on my mind.

Below are two videos celebrating these maestros…

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire, UK Script editor  and UK script consultant for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award-winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. His UK script coverage service, Script reading service and script development service are highly sought after.

You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb.

His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller Markham was released in 2020. You can find out more about Matthew’s work as a director here.

You can contact Matthew directly to purchase his ebook The UK Soap Opera Script Writers Handbook.

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