Tom Watts


Director Of Photography

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Art and Design Foundation at Falmouth University
Media Practice BA at The University of the West of England


  • Creative Lighting: My passion in Cinematography is lighting, I’m trained in photography lighting which has influenced the way I shoot motion. When the project has demanded, I have developed new lighting techniques to keep my work cutting edge, make difficult challenges manageable and push what is possible in the medium of video. 
  • Collaboration: The best work happens when creatives are on the same page and can freely communicate and express themselves. I love the process of sitting down with a Director and throwing ideas and references around and finding common ground to build creative foundations on. As a DoP I bring a Director’s vision to life through my own eyes, so for me this spirit of open collaboration is key.
  • Working harmoniously with production to achieve best possible results within any given budget: I’m experienced as a Producer and so understand the intricacies of pre and post production and the importance of collaboration throughout all departments. I always design the shooting and lighting style to maximise production value within any constraints there may be.
  • Creative problem solving and adaptability:  Something unexpected will always happen on set so it’s important to be prepared to be adaptable so that any shoot isn’t disrupted by unknown elements. 
  • Leadership: As a DoP I am a head of department. Depending on the shoot I might have one or up to ten crew working under me in the camera department as well as the Lighting and Grip crew also answering to me. The key to good leadership is good communication and an open environment. In film your work is only as good as your crew and I think my work speaks very highly of the crew I have led.


Does binary count?…no?


I’ve been hugely inspired by the Baroque and Renaissance periods in art. Specifically the way in which Baroque artists light their subjects and capture a sense of depth and texture in their work. Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Rubens are the main culprits of this inspiration. Renaissance artists are still some of the greatest visual storytellers we can reference, one of the core components of Renaissance art is that, in one frame you have an entire story being told. The stories in their work are told through lighting, composition, leading lines and a deep understanding of how to lead the eye through a narrative. This is everything Cinematography aims to achieve. Show, don’t tell. Titian is a personal favourite from this period..

Other than the Baroque and Renaissance periods I take inspiration from everywhere. Pop culture, music, modern art, unusual life experiences and moments in time, it all plays a part.  

Career High

Walking down the red carpet at Leicester Square to watch a film that I was Director of Photography of.

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