Although most people credit the Director with the responsibility of nearly everything that occurs on a film set, few know that there is a position called a Cinematographer whose job it is to light the scene as well as to choose how to shoot it. Although it might not be the most glamorous or well known position, a Cinematographer is one of the most key people who help to craft a film, and are often closely associated with the Director in terms of the style and look they are visually going for.
Robert Richardson, the Cinematographer for Quentin Tarantino's latest film, The Hateful Eight, claims that having a great Director who has a very specific vision is typically what elevates a Cinematographer's work. Tarantino, for example, had this crazy idea of shooting The Hateful Eight in 70mm, which is something that hasn't been since the 1960's. To pull off the specific look that Tarantino was desperate for, Richardson had to hunt down the Panavision Ultra lenses that were used in very iconic films of the past, because those lenses were the only ones that could capture the scope Quentin desired. "The lenses, they haven't been used for years. I saw them in a back room [at Panavision] and didn't know what they were, and they were magnificent. They were like nothing I've ever seen."
Although many times a Cinematographer is supposed to listen to the Directors opinions and needs, sometimes their ideas need to be challenged for the overall betterment of the film. This exact situation happened to Cinematographer Alwin Kuchler, who was the DP on the film Steve Jobs, which aired in 2015. While shooting a scene for the film The Claim, Kuchler did not agree with a decision that Director Michael Winterbottom was pushing onto him. "There was one scene where apparently I used too much light — a night exterior. And Michael wanted just to use available light. I said, 'Michael, it's not going to work. You're just going to see a sea of little dots.' 'No, no. It's going to be fine.'"
Although these Cinematographers and Directors usually would like to be on the same page, when they do not agree with each other and challenge each other's work, that is when the best films are made. A Director is far from alone when he creates a film, and his Cinematographer should be his right hand man on set, advising and questioning him at all times.