LFA MASTERCLASS: Ben Davis, DOP of ‘Captain Marvel’ & ‘Three Billboards...’

22 April 2020, 15:00-16:00

Ben Davis (‘Captain Marvel’, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’) is used to filling our screens with captivating moments and explosive action and his online Masterclass was no different. 

Our BA (Hons) Filmmaking, Filmmaking and Screenwriting Diploma students watched attentively as Davis explained via Zoom his journey to become a world-renowned director of photography, and the skills he has gained so far across 24 films during his 15-year career. One key point Davis made was his comparison of still images to film, and what an inspiration photography plays. 


"There isn’t a film I make that doesn’t reference stills photography. The only difference between us and a photographer, is that we shoot 24 photos a second."  


Davis’ resume is broad in style, from projects such Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, to Disney’s live action remake of ‘Dumbo’ and the Oscar-winning ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. Ben explained his thought process behind shooting the latter: 


“With the style of Three Billboards I wanted the audience to sit and watch and listen. The shots we planned  were designed to be minimal, I didn’t want to take away from the story and the genius dialogue with fancy gimmicks and extraordinary camerawork.” 


Davis also detailed the technical process of shooting; from his start shooting on film to the transition to digital. Ben is a lover of traditional film and “was at 1st scared of the digital image, so I was always trying to break it up.”  


He advised students to not "be tempted off the set. As DoP, you need to keep yourself close to the camera, to be on set, to react to the actors. If you want to work in a dark room, become an editor."

This is part of our series of online Masterclasses, with a lineup of prominent filmmakers including Tracey Seaward (‘The Two Popes’), Corin Hardy (‘Gangs of London’), John Strickland (‘Line of Duty’) and Dick Pope (‘Mr. Turner’). This series is exclusive to our BA (Hons) Filmmaking, Filmmaking and Screenwriting Diploma students.