The movie industry is evolving and so are its practitioners. In recent times, great movies inspired by creative directors have crafted what is referred to as the new nollywood.
In this piece, SAMUEL ABULUDE looks at how better picture quality has impacted
The Nigerian movie industry has without doubt evolved over the years. With new technology and ideas in movie making, Film makers and men behind the camera have been part of the process. The film industry that was pioneered by different personalities like Hubert Ogunde, Ola Balogun and others have become an enterprise and the second employer of labour after agriculture. Thanks to the passion and focus of the great brains that wanted to tell the Nigerian story through films.
‘Living In Bondage’ produced by Kenneth Nnebue became the reference point in production of home videos. Since the 90s when the era of home video industry came, different people got opportunities to learn film making and actor and actresses were made. Like a child that needed to grow the industry witnessed so many ups and downs, bad picture quality, poor role interpretations and inadequate equipment to get the best out of a production. The resolve to match passion with skill became the prerogative. Now in 2015, Nollywood has no place to go but up with different stakeholders buoyed by the need to steady the ship and build a robust industry. Movies nowadays have higher budget productions with skilled men. In the last decade, great movies from Nollywood have been showcased and the world has awoken to the Nollywood effect. Movies like Amazing Grace shot on celluloid cameras, Sitanda, and the recent Head Gone, FIFTY, Silence, Road To Yesterday and so many others are reflecting the testament that there has been an improvement in recent times not just in picture quality but in the way stories are told. According to the director of photography DOP of Road To Yesterday, Idowu Adedapo, 50 percent of cinematographers and DOPs who trained abroad that travelled back home to work and this has enriched the industry. He added that the movie producers before normally don’t spend millions on equipment alone because the need was no there and quality was compromised. For Wale Adebayo, a reputable cinematographer and DOP, training makes the difference. Agreeing with Idowu Adebayo, he said the world of the DOP demands that you know the story that you are interpreting with cameras. The usage of cameras has also evolved with new technology. “Yeomatic Super 16 was used before, we have 35mm, back then, it is dockable with the recorder at your back pocket. From them we go to Betacam and all that. Now times have changed. A cross section of fil makers and DOPs speak on their experience and why the improvement in picture quality?
The era we are in the movie industry, you need to go to school and get more knowledge. It is imperative that Cinematographers and Directors of photograpy know the story you are about to shoot, the texture of the scenery and the various kind of cameras needed to bring the story to light. If you cannot understand the story then you won’t able to give the director what he wants. DOP is the only one sees the heart of the director through visuals. It is now left for the cameras to interpret it through visuals. I’ve a name and reputation in the industry and I want to keep it, if the producer cannot provide what I need to get the job done, then I won’t take it. I started as a Production Assistant in 1998 and in 2006, I became a director of photography having enrolled in Nigeria Film Institute based in Jos in 2008. I shot Sitanda directed by Izu Ojukwu, White Water, Cindy Notes, Distance Between, Shut In, Alero Symphony. I was also part of the project of the movie, October 1st using Steady Camera to work with the director, Yinka Edwards. Nollywood is evolving and those that don’t know what they are doing are finding their way out. A lot of people are going to school to improve their skills and the industry is better for it.
The industry is getting better. I started as a Soundtrack and learnt the ropes and now, I’m a movie director. There are no two ways about it. you’ve got to spend money to get a great movie. I was part of the skilled personnel that travelled to New York Film School to learn new tricks in movie making and I was stunned by developments in the art. Project Alert under the Nollywood grant for capacity building provided the platform. The movie industry must get its technicians trained and re-trained. Movie producers must understand what it takes to assemble ac crack team for a project. Yabatech Film Academy YFA is about to kick off and Nollywood stands to gain as it is a practical oriented institute with state-of-the-art equipment. Cinematography, movie directing, production and editing as well as Acting to Screen are courses being provided. Nollywood is bound to get bigger and with digital migration and need for content, new hands are needed to handle projects.
I’m more into music videos. I have done songs like Why Me from D’Banj. I shot Soul E Baba dey ya, I shot Tu face and another artiste. That was ten years back. The first movie I shot was MISFT. The next one is Head Gone by Baba Dee and Sound Sultan. What I want to say about Nollywood is that Nigerians should stop criticizing. They should stop rubbishing our products. We are trying. We are coming up. Back then nobody wants to spend like 1 million or 2 million naira just on equipment. But now, people want to spend on equipment alone outside acting. I think the problem back then was everyone wants to have their production done in three days and they want it out. Now you have some producers that they don’t care how many months it takes, all I want is good products. That is why you are seeing good products now. And producers and other executive producers are joining because excellence attracts. I used Red Dragon, good-lenses which is red lenses for Road To Yesterday. That is what I used.
Having spent twenty years as a film maker and seen the industry grow, I am of the view that practitioners need to keep learning and network with other climes that are doing it better. Nollywood is going to get bigger but we must measure our progress with well-defined aims and visions. Government involvement is needed to regulate the industry and provide an enabling environment for us to thrive.
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