Corey Donaldson

Corey Donaldson is a cinematographer based in Brisbane, Australia. He has recently DOP'ed for the television show "We Were Tomorrow" and feature film "Dunamis".

 

Q. Before you joined the military, did you ever consider a career as a director or DP?

A. Not at all. I always liked the idea of photography and art, but it was never something I considered I would pursue as a profession – it was more of a pastime than a career prospect. When I was a kid, I really wanted to find an adventure I could continue forever – the military seemed like the sort of place I’d find that adventure. Five years of being in the military and a further two years working as a private contractor in various environments meant that I had the opportunity to experience a lot of extraordinary things – both good and bad. I had this enormous collection of memories and thoughts but with no platform through which to share them. I decided to reinvest in my interest of visual storytelling, but this time it rapidly turned into a career.

 

Q. Where would you like to see yourself in the next few years? (Eg. working on high budget feature films/commercials, etc.?)

A. Directing feature films is definitely my priority, but I don’t want to discount commercials. They are very different arts, and I’m still learning about which one I resonate with more. I might end up completely hating feature film directing (probably not).

 

Q. What is your current favourite cinema camera, and why?

A. I really love what the Arri Alexa series is capable of producing. The picture, colours, and range of the Alexa sensor are absolutely incredible. If I had to choose one, that’s it, but ultimately it comes down to what best serves the picture (and the requirements of the DP, if I’m directing). For instance, on the last few projects I’ve been pushing for a lot of varying frame rates, which – on a budget – is much more achievable with RED camera systems.

 

Q. What has been your biggest investment so far working as a freelance director and DP?

A. My team. Finding the right people to surround myself with everyday is by far the most important investment I’ve made. I see a lot of directors go solo and try to do everything on their own – which is totally cool. But for me, the process of creativity is a beautiful collaborative effort. I really love being able to work with other people and conceptualise ideas together.

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Q. What is your current favourite cinema camera, and why?

A. I really love what the Arri Alexa series is capable of producing. The picture, colours, and range of the Alexa sensor are absolutely incredible. If I had to choose one, that’s it, but ultimately it comes down to what best serves the picture (and the requirements of the DP, if I’m directing). For instance, on the last few projects I’ve been pushing for a lot of varying frame rates, which – on a budget – is much more achievable with RED camera systems.

 

Q. What has been your biggest investment so far working as a freelance director and DP?

A. My team. Finding the right people to surround myself with everyday is by far the most important investment I’ve made. I see a lot of directors go solo and try to do everything on their own – which is totally cool. But for me, the process of creativity is a beautiful collaborative effort. I really love being able to work with other people and conceptualise ideas together.

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Q. Noticeably, Erik Sanders MV “Stunt” and Leng Hock’s MV “Same”, both share similar characteristics in regards to their lighting design. More heavily noticed in the later, a favour for bright neon red and blue lights resemble the work of Joshua Reis, as seen in a handful of his music videos and other work – e.g. Justin Biebers “What Do You Mean?” MV. Was there any influence or inspiration by Reis and his work?

AJoshua Reis is a great cinematographer. I’m a massive fan and subconsciously I’ve more than likely picked up a lot of elements from his work. “Stunt” and “Same” were both quite dark concepts, and I tend to use neon style lighting to represent unfavourable environments and thoughts. Flashy neon lights and dank backdrops personally remind me of some of the not so great areas of the world – so I’ve added them to my visual language to convey dark undertones.

Read Joshua Reis' interview here

 

Q. Do you prefer shooting short films, music videos or commercials?

A. I don’t really have a preference – as long as there is the opportunity for a significant narrative element, I’m content with any medium.

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Q. Have you got any big projects planned for the near future?

A. I’ve just wrapped principal photography on season one of the new television series, “We Were Tomorrow”. The DP of the original feature length version, Terry King, asked me to shoot main unit for the television series in his absence, which was an incredible opportunity. Over the next few months I’ll be working on some more personally driven projects that I’ve been putting off for far too long. There’s also a bunch of exciting music videos on the way.