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Can the knowledge of digtal is enough to learn 35mm??


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#1 Mukesh Chander

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 06:01 AM

Hello everyone.. I am a B.Sc. Electronic Media graduate from India. In my course i just learnt about dgital cameras. I cant afford for a film school for further specialising in cinematography where they teach in 35mm. My doubt is can i learn 35mm without going to a film school and just by assisting a 35mm film cameraman and working in HD? I want to be a very good cinematographer but i cant afford for a film school. And since i am finished only my under graduation i am feeling a little bit insecure for not doing masters or a film school degree. Please tell me wat can i do? I am worrying a lot about my future..
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 06:09 AM

Working on shoots is always a good education and one which you get paid for! The most important part of cinematography is lighting, which also happens to be independent of the format, so either film or video shoots will be very educational if done under a good cinematographer.

Even though 35mm motion picture is expensive, you can learn about exposure, push and pull development, different stocks and lenses by shooting 35mm stills.
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#3 Bruce Greene

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 03:35 PM

Hello everyone.. I am a B.Sc. Electronic Media graduate from India. In my course i just learnt about dgital cameras. I cant afford for a film school for further specialising in cinematography where they teach in 35mm. My doubt is can i learn 35mm without going to a film school and just by assisting a 35mm film cameraman and working in HD? I want to be a very good cinematographer but i cant afford for a film school. And since i am finished only my under graduation i am feeling a little bit insecure for not doing masters or a film school degree. Please tell me wat can i do? I am worrying a lot about my future..


Mukesh,

All you need to do is to load up an old 35mm (manual, not autoexposure/focus) still camera with color film. You should also have a handheld light meter, ( I would strongly suggest a spot meter), and a photographic grey card to learn to set exposures.

After you've got the camera and light meter, go to the library/web/bookstore to learn about the "zone system" for setting exposure. The zone system gets complicated when shooting b&w negative and altering the development of the film, but for color film, the development is usually standardized so you can just concentrate on how much light exposure produces x amount of density on the film.

Actually, you might want to start with shooting slide film (color reversal) so that the lab has no influence over your exposures as you learn the technique. You might even want to contact a local old time still photographer to give you some lessons or at least an introduction to shooting on film.

Though you may have to spend a little money for this education, it's much less expensive than film school!

-bruce

One last thing, a test that I've done to learn how to expose a particular film:

Set up a white towel on a wall and light it with one light from the side to make it easy to see the texture. Keep the light far enough away to be able to light a portion of the towel evenly. Photograph only this portion.
Measure the exposure using your spot meter and the ISO setting on the film box. This exposure (should / might) be middle grey on the film.
Set the camera to expose the towel 4 stops darker than the light meter exposure and shoot consecutive frames increasing the exposure by 1/2 stop until you've exposed the towel at 4 stops lighter than the light meter suggested exposure.

Take careful notes!

Develop the film (I would suggest starting with slide film) and spread the developed film on a light table in the order that you shot it. You will have before you a progression of black to white frames. Use a loupe (powerful magnifying glass) to check the amount of detail and brightness/darkness in each frame. The darkest and lightest frames will have no detail at all. Place your notes of the exposures opposite each frame. For the frame that was exposed at the reading from the light meter, label it "0" (It should be midtone gray, like the photographic grey card you bought). Each frame darker will be "-1/2", "-1", "-1 1/2" etc. Each frame lighter will be "+1/2", "+1", "+1 1/2" ..."+4".

Now, load up a fresh roll of film and go shoot some photos, exposing using the spot meter. Start by reading a part of the scene that you want to appear as white in the final image. Take the reading from the light meter and increase the exposure by the amount you've learned from your test will result in a white tone, with just a slight amount of detail. (might be "+2 1/2 stops") Read other tones in the scene and try to predict how bright they will look on the developed slide using your towel frames as a guide.

When you've mastered this, I'll send you a diploma certifying you as a film exposure master!
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 02:36 PM

Hello everyone.. I am a B.Sc. Electronic Media graduate from India. In my course i just learnt about dgital cameras. I cant afford for a film school for further specialising in cinematography where they teach in 35mm. My doubt is can i learn 35mm without going to a film school and just by assisting a 35mm film cameraman and working in HD? I want to be a very good cinematographer but i cant afford for a film school. And since i am finished only my under graduation i am feeling a little bit insecure for not doing masters or a film school degree. Please tell me wat can i do? I am worrying a lot about my future..

For most of what you need to learn about flim making, digital is the better tool, because the "try it and see what happens" cycle is immediate rather than over night. For the parts that are specific to photochemical shooting, the best route is to work your way up, starting as a second AC or loader. In that position, you'll be able to get some short ends for free. Load them for a still camera, do some shooting, and you can learn a lot about specific stocks.



-- J.S.
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#5 ricardo tuma

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 12:16 AM

Asking your question no, you have to learn more. There are a lot of technical matters that you will have to learn but if you can see depth, shadows, an enviroment and two characters and they see real, you are on the right track.

R T
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