Features and Columns · Movies

A Beginner’s Guide to the Cinematography of Bill Pope

We have a [Bill] Pope!
Bill Pope Cinematography
By  · Published on August 21st, 2023

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores the cinematography style of director of photography Bill Pope.

If you’ve waded deep enough into the wild, whacky, and often trivia-filled world of film appreciation, you’ve probably heard of Bill Pope. And if you’re a filthy casual (please teach us how to be normal again!) I can still guarantee that you’ve seen the iconic cinematographer’s credits on the big screen.

Born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, it is impossible to read Pope’s credits without letting forth a full-throated “hell yeah.” After cranking out an impressive handful of music videos (including, but not limited to Metallica‘s “One”), Pope started his career in feature film by shooting Sam Raimi’s kinetic, darkly pulpy Darkman. His credits should have you nodding your head so hard you have to contact your chiropractor: Army of DarknessFire in the SkyClueless, Bound, The Matrix, Spider-Man 2, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Alita; Battle Angel (how’d that neck doing?).

He’s worked with some of the biggest names in Western Cinema and crafted some of the most iconic images of the 20th Century. So while knowing his name is fine-and-dandy, getting a better sense of how he works both artistically and in terms of gear preferences, is a must for any self-respecting film fan.

Luckily, the video essay below has packed all that knowledge into a brisk 15 minutes. Sit back, enjoy, and strongly consider throwing on Darkman if you haven’t already had the pleasure.

Watch “Cinematography Style: Bill Pope”

Who made this?

This video essay on the cinematography of Bill Pope is by In Depth Cine, a YouTube account dedicated to providing its audience with practical rundowns and explainers on some of the more technical aspects of movie-making. Gray Kotzé, a documentary DP based in South Africa, is the man behind the channel. You can check out Kotzé’s portfolio on their website here. And you can check out In Depth Cine on YouTube here.

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Based in the Pacific North West, Meg enjoys long scrambles on cliff faces and cozying up with a good piece of 1960s eurotrash. As a senior contributor at FSR, Meg's objective is to spread the good word about the best of sleaze, genre, and practical effects.