In 'Tree of Life,' the cinematography records a small story, a celebration of the courage of everyday life. But it does it so up close and so effortlessly that it has the effect of elevating the intimacy of the story to a grand scale.
Even great actors shine brighter in the right atmosphere.
Reality in movies is the reality of the story you're telling, so it may not match the reality as we know it, but the reason there's art is that it tries to bring some kind of understanding of all the suffering and joys and pain that we go through. Storytelling brings some value to it.
You tend to compose things more in the middle of frame in 3-D than you would in a conventional frame. You can really see composition in 2-D but in 3-D your composition is much more complex. Everything has to be artificially enhanced. But you do gain something else with 3-D: you have a sense of space and heightened reality.
The Chinese are brought up to believe that you should be silent in class. The teacher speaks, and you just listen and absorb what they say.
Most people think of cinematographers as choosing subjects of an epic nature to show off what they do - big, sweeping images of war or pageantry.
The great photographers of life - like Diane Arbus and Walker Evans and Robert Frank - all must have had some special quality: a personality of nurturing and non-judgment that frees the subjects to reveal their most intimate reality. It really is what makes a great photographer, every bit as much as understanding composition and lighting.