“Laura Beth is a great worker of light and the different phases it can go through,” are the words cinematographer Laura Beth Love is told from a good friend and director every time she works with him.
Laura Beth Love is a Cinematographer that always goes above and beyond her job responsibilities. Her experiences include producer, co-writer, editor, and co-director amongst other positions. If she’s not assisting others on set, she’s probably making a Vlog of her work or a behind the scenes video. Check out the numerous videos on her YouTube page http://lblove.com/youtube-channel The videos give a firsthand look at her current and past films, including many by Asylum and Traplight Media.
“Laura Beth Love is amazing! A true artist and a great person,” Jared Cohn.
Gabriel Campisi has nothing but praise for her, “Laura Beth, is sincerely amazing. Seriously. We get along great on and off the set. She’s super talented. She uses the camera and lights like a paint canvas, and makes magic. I love her to death.” He adds, “Beth is amazing for so many reasons: she’s an adept at her craft, and an artist with her creative mind. She’s also the easiest person to work with and discuss the shots at hand. Her genuine smile and good nature always make for an exciting production.”
Five Quick Questions with Laura Beth Love
You’re incredibly passionate about cinematography, can you tell us how you got into the field and was it always your interest?
LAURA BETH: Yes I am! Really, I’m passionate about storytelling. I started as a writer and a painter. Actually, it was a random video assignment in a high school creative writing class that got me thinking about filmmaking. I had always loved film, but hadn’t considered it as a career until that homework assignment. My teacher referred me to a local filmmaker, (in Charlotte, NC) and I soon found myself on the set of “The Rage: Carrie 2” as a PA. I fell in love with being on set! I felt like these were “my people.” haha. I changed course to pursuing film school, landed at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and never looked back.
Still, I initially came to all of this as a writer and director… Yet, in film school, it made more sense to focus on cinematography. Ultimately, directing and cinematography are like 80% the same thing. Only that last tiny 20% separates the DP and the Director with technical details that only a DP need know, and actor nuance that only a Director need know… Otherwise, it’s all the same storytelling, leadership, creativity, and wielding the tools of the trade.
I have worked with some very talented directors and actors over the years, it’s one of the things I love most about this career. You are constantly learning from each other, cultivating new skills, evolving.
In addition to all your work in the industry you find time to teach filmmaking students. Can you tell us about that?
LAURA BETH: Both of my parents work in arts education, so as child my primary example of how to “be” around others was in the context of sharing information. My mother taught piano in our home, so I literally listened to her instruction all day long when I was at home. It has always been natural for me to train or share advice on the job, and in 2008 when I stumbled into a job as a cinematography lab instructor at the LA Film School, that was a comfortable fit as well. I eventually ended up running the cinematography department for a couple of years, which prompted me to spend a lot of time examining my own filmmaking instincts and practices, and figuring out how to best share that
information. However, as I said before, my heart belongs on set. I quit teaching full-time in 2012 to allow myself to be on set “full time.” But, the teaching keeps finding a way back in. I have a few unofficial mentees, and I’m always happy to answer email or facebook questions about cinematography.
In fact, questions from former students prompted me to start my you tube channel “LBLOVECinematography” so that I could answer some of their questions in a video that could be shared with others! My youtube channel is a slowly growing resource for indie filmmakers, with tutorial videos and behind the scenes videos. I’ve also begun writing “how to” and tutorial-type articles for my production blog:
I also occasionally guest teach. This Spring, I’m heading to Bulgaria as a cinematographer and mentor to a group of students shooting a feature film, as part of the new “Making the Movie” educational experience at NuBoyana Studios. It’s just something I enjoy. I love filmmaking, as well as exploring and sharing the theory that shapes our craft.
In addition to all your films, can you share about your work outside of films?
LAURA BETH: Right now my biggest focus outside of filmmaking is health and fitness. Years ago, I realized that “fit filmmakers” were sort of a rarity…despite the physically demanding nature of our work. I had definitely fallen victim to the unhealthy filmmaker side effects brought on by the “craft services” table, odd hours, lack of sleep, and “no time to exercise” syndrome.
A few years ago, it became a personal goal for me to get a grip on my own diet and fitness needs, and about a year ago I started blogging about my journey. Honestly, I was frustrated because I couldn’t find a fitness voice that gave the kind of brutal, but practical, inspiration that I was seeking, specifically for women. So, I decided I’d just have to be my own voice. ha. Now, I’ve got this wonderful documentation of my journey that helps to motivate me and keep me accountable.
And, I can’t tell you how much BETTER I feel on set, now that I’m in better health. I love camera operating. I’m a dancer, and the choreography of the camera and actors is so important to me, and it always has been. But, WOW, I have so much more flexibility as a camera operator now, because I’m stronger, more agile, and nimble. I have more physical and mental energy all day because I’m eating better… My recovery time between shows is MUCH shorter. It’s truly amazing, and so important, because I’m in this for the long haul. We have to take care of ourselves if we want to be “carnies” for life!
Recently you’ve wrapped up working on Mega Shark vs. Kolossus, what can you share about working on the film and what to expect?
LAURA BETH: Wow. I’m so pleased that I got to join the Mega Shark franchise! haha. It was INSANE! This movie is completely off-the-wall, full of the crazy, extreme, mega-moments the fans have come to expect. Although, I think this one might be a little darker than the previous Megas…Chris (director) and I had a blast shooting it. We were shooting during a heatwave last fall, so my clearest memory is shooting inside a metal warehouse in 110 degree heat, with giant vats of boiling water next to me (dry ice machines) and the camera getting so hot that I had to wear a glove in order to operate it. (of course this room was supposed to be a cryo-chamber. lol) We were always chasing this wonderful mix of genuine action-drama and, like, almost scooby-doo-super-villain antics.
There are so many interweaving story lines, that we assigned colors to each storyline to help keep a visual reference for which story you are focusing on at a given moment. Most of all, it was a fun shoot, with all kinds of adventure… I actually put together a little behind-the-scenes video while we were shooting the movie, and it’s on my you tube channel! I’ve also got more tech specs (camera and lighting info) listed on my website under “portfolios”, if you are interested! I can’t wait to see it all put together this July!
You do a lot of multitasking on various projects, including cinematography, writing, producing, editing, amongst other jobs. With all that experience, do you want to or see yourself directing or making your own full feature?
LAURA BETH: You’re right! I like wearing multiple hats; I actually really embrace the ability to wear multiple hats as a fundamental asset in everyone on my set. I think it’s just a basic part of the filmmaking in this age. That doesn’t mean I expect everyone to DO mutliple jobs, but I value their ability to UNDERSTAND multiple jobs.
Producing was a natural evolution when I first started as a DP. I knew where to rent gear, what kind of insurance was needed, where to get deals… it just became a thing that I co-produced almost everything I shot in the beginning. I eventually began to fully produce short projects, promos, music videos, and eventually, a feature. I like being able to take care of my crew, and whether I’m DP, producer, or Director, I like to influence a safe, efficient, and organized set.
As for directing vs DP, like I said before, I so narrowly differentiate between the two. I think that’s part of my value to the director, that I can understand his/her concerns. And, likewise, a good director is going to be able to understand the concerns of his/her DP. Once I chose cinematography in film school, I really “put a pin” in directing and focused on my cinematography career. However, I’ve continued to direct and co-direct countless projects over the past ten years. I have also worked with some very talented directors and actors over the years… it’s one of the things I love most about this career. You are constantly learning from each other, cultivating new skills, and evolving.
So… I guess all of that is to say “yes” I am looking forward to formally directing a couple features in the coming year or two! I’m also eager to continue producing, as well. Perhaps I’ll occasionally wear three hats? We shall see…
THANK YOU LAURA BETH!!!
For more information about Laura Beth, be sure to check out her website that is jammed packed with production information, pics, videos, and a link to her YouTube page. A special thank you to Chris Ray, Jared Cohn, and Gabriel Campisi for their kind comments about Laura Beth.