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Camera House : Better Pictures 6
Pieter de Vries was just a child when his father brought home a Yashika 35mm camera and introduced the filmmaking bug into the family. It must have struck a major chord with the youngster, as Pieter recalls that when he was in primary school art class, he would always draw landscapes that included a tiny man standing in the corner. “He was standing behind a camera on a tripod looking at the scene. I guess that personwasme–soIhadagoodidea about my career path early on.” De Vries first job in the film industry was working in the darkroom at the AV Department at ANU in Canberra. Not long after, he began a job as an assistant in news and current affairs for the ABC which provided invaluable on the job training. Soon de Vries was shooting everything from docos to op-ed pieces, where he discovered the person behind the camera had the power to really shape how a story was told. “ Wherever you point your camcorder, you are placing a rectangular frame around a particular part of the scene,” says de Vries. “You have the choice to record some parts of the scene and to exclude unwanted parts. “Choose to include an object or person in the frame and it becomes important to your audience. Leave it out, and for your viewers, it will never exist. You become totally responsible for what will be on the screen. The edit begins before the card or tape even leaves the camcorder.” De Vries believes this early grounding in news-making put him in a “good place” to be competent and confident in filmmaking. “The ability to quickly evaluate a scene then to work creatively at a high technical standard – this is what news filming gives you.” He believes anyone wanting to enter this increasingly competitive industry should be prepared to work hard and “in any capacity” whether it be in film, documentary or commercial work. “Express to everyone you can that you are keen to do more. If you are asked to do something, do it and then a bit more. Get asked back for the next production and start to form a small network of colleagues and friends who are in various stages of Lights! Camera! Action! One of Australia’s most experienced cameramen, Pieter de Vries, reveals the secrets of great filmmaking. Feature shoot to thriLL 12 012_Bpics6_cinema_v2.indd 12 29/08/11 3:19 PM
Better Pictures 7