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How can I be a professional camera lady?


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#1 Jennifer Fairbanks

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 02:39 PM

How can i be a professional camera lady? I have some experience from making a film with friends, it was intended to be a professional film - it is being edited at the moment so I dont know how good it is yet :) I am 16 and wondering whether I need qualifications for filming, If yes - then what? Also, is filming good fun? ta xxx
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 03:59 PM

How can i be a professional camera lady? I have some experience from making a film with friends, it was intended to be a professional film - it is being edited at the moment so I dont know how good it is yet :) I am 16 and wondering whether I need qualifications for filming, If yes - then what? Also, is filming good fun? ta xxx


Question one: In general, everyone who works professionally in the film industry gets there the same way, with lots of hard work, enthusiasm, and perseverence. You have to REALLY want to do this.

Unfortunately, for women, it takes a little more than it does for men. There is nothing to say that women can't be just as qualified and skilled as men at being excellent cinematographers, but there seems to be some kind of unspoken bias against women at that level in this industry. This isn't to say that it can't be done, but anticipate more obstacles than really should be there.

As far as qualifications, you need to understand proper framing. Study everyday television and movies and watch how they frame up actors and action. Watch how the camera moves and understand how they achieved the effect....and why they did what they did. Study the lighting in every shot you see. Learn how to emulate what you see even on a small scale. You also need to learn how a movie set works and who you "command" and who you listen to.

Is filming fun? The only way to answer that is to find out for yourself. For some, it is just a paycheck. For others, it is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Only you can answer that. :)
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#3 Julian Seeto

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 11:29 PM

i guess its pretty much like anything these days- takes time to get to the top... gotta start off at the bottom and work your way up i guess. i personally am 17.. and i just bought an XL2 a few weeks ago, still lots to learn.
im shooting my hsc major work this week aswell. but yeah, good luck with it!

julz
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#4 grahamstanly

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 01:01 AM

hey I am 16 also and basically my goal for the last 3 years has been to get a job in the industry. What I have been doing to acheive this goal for the last 3 years I have been in film classes every year in my highschool, and next year I am going to be in 2 film classes at the same time. haha more film than acidemics. I do this because it gives me experience with multiple jobs, and different cameras and professional equipment. after a year of learning in your film class start entering film fests nothing looks better to a film school than winning film festivals so far 3 of the movies I have directed won in film fests in my area. I want to go to a film school so this gives me a chance to develope a reel to show them of some of my work, and a refferance of winning film festivals.

So my advice take a ton of classes at your school, and at community centers or film camps, and develope a montage of your work.

then enter film festivals, you can win some cools stuff, and get some good feedback from pros.

good luck
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#5 Jeff DiMambro

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 02:07 AM

Always shoot as much as possible and, as said by grahamcracker, take classes if you can.

Research the production community in your area and try to make a few contacts even if they are cold calls. Nobody will turn you down if you offer to help out for free.

Try to get gigs on set as a production assitant. Work as close as possible to the camera department untill you develop skills like loading, report writing and slating. From there you'll have already met the people that will hire you as a camera assistant. Although this is the traditional route of climing the ranks of the camera department what you're really trying to achieve is a greater understanding of cinematography. On each film you'll learn new things from DP's, AC's, gaffers and grips that you'll eventually use on your own shoots. Whether it's observing someone setting a light or asking a question about exposure during lunch, the things you can learn and experience on an actual set are invaluable.

Keep filming your own stuff while working at a lower levels on other productions. The things you'll learn there and at film school will supplement what you've already figured out on your own.
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 05:51 AM

Filmmaking is a bit like a tumultous relationship with a really gorgeous, funny, intelligent, but dysfunctional bad girl/boy. It's insane amounts of fun, but can be very stressful and unpleasant. But even when it's unpleasant, it's always interesting - never dull.
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#7 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 06:21 AM

How can i be a professional camera lady? I have some experience from making a film with friends, it was intended to be a professional film - it is being edited at the moment so I dont know how good it is yet :) I am 16 and wondering whether I need qualifications for filming, If yes - then what? Also, is filming good fun? ta xxx



I just watched a a film called "November" with Courtney Cox and James LeGros that was shot with an
inexpensive Panasonic MiniDV camera yet it looks great and the cinematographer is a woman,
Nancy Schreiber ASC. I would suggest you get a subscription to "American Cinematographer"
magazine and also perhaps write to cinematographers, particularly women, whom you admire and
ask them how they did it.

If you want to know if it's fun, listen to a DVD commentary track that includes a cinematographer,
such as the one on "November" and see if that interests you.
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#8 joefunk

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 12:53 AM

You can be a camera lady just the same as a camera man, experience. Your very young and it'll take alot of time before people will trust you with a decent size budget, however to gain experience whilst at school why not start out in Audio Visual industry as a casual trainee tech as i did. Its a good insight into how things work and anyone who is not working in Film due to lack of jobs, as there is here in melbourne australia at the moment, are all working in AV. Meeting other people with the same desires helps also.

Good luck!
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#9 Dominic Case

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 11:20 PM

How can i be a professional camera lady?

Not sure about the UK, but here in Australia the term is cameraperson whether you are a man or a woman. No need to distinguish which you are. Most of the specific terms avoid the gender in language issue -cinematographer, Director of Photography, loader, camera assistant, etc.
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 12:24 AM

How can i be a professional camera lady? fun? ta xxx

Shoot one heck of a lot of film and/or tape. An inexpensive miniDV will help you to develop your sense of composition without having to own a bank first. Shoot your folks, your friends, your dogs and/or cats, kids in the park, anything that will occupy a frame and move. With time you'll develop that magic ability to look through a viewfinder and have a pretty good idea of how something's going to look on a screen, perhaps you already have that!

Study great paintings and try to figure out how the artist used light in them, then grab a friend or two and try recreating the scene for real.

When you've acquired a sufficient level of skill and think your films are starting to look pretty good, create a reel, post it somewhere, and ask others for their opinions. It might sting a bit at first if some bad reviews come in but with time you'll learn to recognize constructive criticism and grow from it.

I have two daughters, one a marine biologist who pretty much wanted to do that since high school.

The other got straight-A's all the way through high school with strong skills in math and science. In her third year at the College of William and Mary at Williamsburg, Virginia as an Anthropology major, she realized that she really like graphic arts best of all having always enjoyed drawing. She's done architectural rendering at a summer job for several years which she had a great time doing. So she changed her major to Art in her third year of college and graduated this spring with a double major in Anthropology and Art. She took a summer intern job at W&M in the Publications Office after graduation and has done so well that they offered her a full time job for rest of the year.

My point is that both of them have chosen career fields that make their hearts dance. If film makes your heart dance, go for it.
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Aerial Filmworks

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Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

CineTape

CineLab

Technodolly