I have listed the vast differences of the
Japanese and American filming system from
the Camera Department/DP's point of view.
Generally in TV commercials, the camera department consists of the chief and the 2nd Assistant Camera. Incidentally when the 2nd Assistant would be required to push the dolly and pull focus simultaneously, the Chief Assistant Camera would take on his or her preference of one's choice of whether to push the dolly or pull the focus.
This is one example of the ambiguity or flexibility of role assignment which is quite commonly accepted in the Japanese filming industry.
Since the Japanese TV Commercial have a strong graphical preference to the look of the spot, the film itself has less and minimal camera moves compared to the western spots. When and only if camera dolly moves are incorporated, as a strong element to assist on the concept of the spot or as a part of the look, the production will gear it's attention to hiring a special effects dolly operator which will then alleviate the work load of the 2nd Assistant Camera.
In feature film, since the 3rd Assistant Camera is normally hired, the clash of work load is alleviated between the Chief Assistant Camera and 3rd Assistant Camera.
As simply seen, the role of one American DP is divided into|
a collaborative work of the Japanese Cameraman,
the Chief Assistant Camera & the Lighting Director here in Japan.
When all 3 are in sync it saves a lot of pre-light and restaging time
however I am sure that any American DP will have
the pros and cons to our system.
WHO IS THEN THE "DIRECTOR OF CAMERA AND PHOTOGRAPHY"?
Unfortunately very few Japanese Cameraman are capable of
and are provided the environment to perform the American DP style.
I guess I'm one of the very few, obstinately trying to performing
the American style in hope to provide a new breeze to the
"forever traditional Japanese Motion Picture Industry".
But also sometimes to notice that
I may be jeoparadizing many Lighting Director's job.
In Japan there is no union similar to the American Local xxx.
But my wishes are that any and every changes are for the "better"