The ASC Celebrates Centennial With Reflection

(L to R) Bill Bennett, Sam Nicholson, David Stump

The American Society of Cinematographers is celebrating its centennial year. On Jan. 8 the organization marked its 100-year anniversary at its Clubhouse in Hollywood with an evening of celebration and remembrance. It is continuing that celebration with today’s presentation “ASC 100th Anniversary: Full Circle—Past, Present and Future of Cinematography.”

At that event in January, ASC President Kees van Oostrum noted that the American Society of Cinematographers was founded by 15 members, including some of the best-known cinematographers of all time but also others less remembered.

“Their common quest was similar. They wanted the role of the ‘cameraman’ in an emerging industry to be known and respected as a creative force first and as a technician second,” said van Oostrum.

At NAB Show the panelists will include three ASC members: Bill Bennett, Sam Nicholson and David Stump. The panel will discuss how the ASC is particularly relevant today as a source of information, inspiration and networking for today’s emerging global community of cinematographers.

“The rapidly increasing level of technological advances and options facing the cinematographer today are more challenging than ever,” said Nicholson. “And cinematic tech promises to increase exponentially in the years to come.”

New innovations include all aspects of image capture, lighting and post processing. Nicholson said directors of photography can turn to the ASC for an objective analysis and real-world advice from experienced, dedicated professionals. The ASC teaches international classes (the ASC Master Classes) and collaborates with every other professional group of cinematographers in the world, said Nicholson.

“From an historical context, cinematography is a relatively new art when compared to painting and sculpture and music,” he said. “As such, it is going through a technical renaissance, which is quickly branching into multiple cinematic genres such as ‘dramatic,’ ‘mobile,’ ‘high speed,’ ‘macro,’ ‘volumetric,’ ‘virtual’ and even ‘computational’ cinematography, and these areas will be discussed.”

The ASC discussion will also examine how the industry can best preserve its historical foundation and the creative aesthetic of the world’s best cinematographers, while embracing the array of new cinematic tools available today, in an effort to “future-proof” the cinematography of tomorrow.

The ASC is using its centennial year to note important milestones along the way and stress the organization’s declared purpose: to advance the art of cinematography through artistry and technological progress, and to cement a closer relationship among cinematographers to exchange ideas, discuss techniques and promote cinema as an art form.

The ASC is an education, cultural and professional organization. Membership is by invitation only, extended to directors of photography who have demonstrated outstanding ability with distinguished credits in the industry and good personal character.