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#1 Tiffany Lynne

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 05:48 PM

Hello,
My name is Tiffany Watson & I'm a 16 year old grade 11 student in Ontario.
I'm an amatuer photographer,
& recently started getting into Cinematography.
I've asked advice from two Cinematographers so far,
one that's Local in my city, &,the cinematographer for the movie ' Juno'
they both gave me the same advice, to just study,study,study & become a movie buff.
and all the stuff.
but Im finding I'm having a difficult time understanding all the cinematography lingo, and all that goes into it ,
its actually quite overwhelming.
So far i've read the 5 C's of cinematography , and a few other books.
& I also own / watched Hollywood Camera Works
If you could suggest any books , movies , ect
or even what video camera's i should look into purchasing for just starting out,
it would be greatly appriciated :)
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 06:27 PM

I dunno if I'd recommend getting a video camera, as they get outdated pretty quickly. If anything, maybe a nice used SLR still camera, so you can start to play with film, get an idea of exposures and the like and DoF. From there, maybe move on to a used DVX or something like that, ya know?
As for the vocabulary, it takes awhile to learn it and it's also ever changing. Definitally keep on reading. Also look into the Filmmakers Handbook, Master of Light, of course get an ASC Cinematography Manual (best $100 you'll EVER spend). and grab a copy of American Cinematographer whenever you can. Oh, also Kodak offers for free their InCamera magazine. Get a subscription. It's of course a bit slanted towards film and kodak, but hey; it's a free magazine and it has some good articles. This month's issue came with a 52/7219 demo DVD which I found very nice.
All of the books on here are also very useful :
http://ascmag.com/st...ome.php?cat=311


and just keep asking questions on this forum. I wish I had known about it sooner!
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 09:04 PM

You've got mail. :)
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#4 Tiffany Lynne

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 09:14 PM

I dunno if I'd recommend getting a video camera, as they get outdated pretty quickly. If anything, maybe a nice used SLR still camera, so you can start to play with film, get an idea of exposures and the like and DoF. From there, maybe move on to a used DVX or something like that, ya know?
As for the vocabulary, it takes awhile to learn it and it's also ever changing. Definitally keep on reading. Also look into the Filmmakers Handbook, Master of Light, of course get an ASC Cinematography Manual (best $100 you'll EVER spend). and grab a copy of American Cinematographer whenever you can. Oh, also Kodak offers for free their InCamera magazine. Get a subscription. It's of course a bit slanted towards film and kodak, but hey; it's a free magazine and it has some good articles. This month's issue came with a 52/7219 demo DVD which I found very nice.
All of the books on here are also very useful :
http://ascmag.com/st...ome.php?cat=311


and just keep asking questions on this forum. I wish I had known about it sooner!



Thanks so much! i'll definitly look into everything you just recommended :)!
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#5 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 09:57 PM

Adrian offered some sound advice so follow carefully. One thing I will add is to be Patient. It will all take time, and at 16 you have a lot of time, thats on your side. These forums are a great recourse, as is the CML cinematography Mailing List and also nothing beats on older completely manual still camera as Adrian suggested. Also,

Also, practice lighting. My girlfriend knows to disappear when she sees me pull out a few lights because this means I've got to try something and make her the guinea pig. Practice, Practice Practice! This will be more useful to you in the long run, Books are great for reference and learning some basics, Also Check out RonDexter.com and read. He has mountains of info.

Before buying a Digital Camera, I'd buy a Light Meter and learn to use it to judge exposure.

Another good read is Reflections, which is a compilation of Lighting set ups with Diagrams and written word to help you understand.

You will be overwhelmed, but that says to me that you have an extremely deep desire for this. Keep that up.

Allen
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#6 Mike Williamson

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:18 PM

I'd suggest two information sources that have been very helpful for me, the first one is American Cinematographer magazine. If you don't know exactly what kind of lights/cranes/etc. they're talking about, don't worry. See if you can match up descriptions with the equipment in the behind the scenes photos, eventually you'll start to absorb the lingo and the ideas.

The other great resource are the "In Production" postings on this forum, especially anything that David Mullen posts but there are other talented DP's posting there as well. They deal with a lot of the real world problems that come up on set and some of the specific technical details of lighting setups that are useful when you're starting out.

I also liked the books "New Cinematographers", "Masters of Light", the Cinematography book by Ettedgui, "Film Lighting", "Painting With Light", "The Set Lighting Technician's Handbook", the ASC manual... you end up reading a lot once you get into it, at least I did.
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#7 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 04:54 AM

Hey Tiffany,

Don't worry - it takes a long time to get used to all of the new vocabulary that is part of film and cinematography. I started reading these forums about a year ago (after studying for 4 years) and still don't understand what some of the posts are about a lot of the time. Just keep reading and you'll be amazed at how much you pick up. Start reading the more basic posts and if there are words or concepts you don't understand, look them up. Soon you'll be moving onto more difficult concepts and understanding them without realising it.

I also find it difficult to learn completely by reading books, so the best thing you can do is go out and test things to relate them to your own experiences. Start with simple things like framing, which you can also do with a still camera, and move on to exposure, depth of field, etc. I can send you the list of "10 shot" cinematography exercises I was given when I started studying if you're interested.

Pick scenes from movies and really break them down to see what has been done. Pause on a frame and look at what direction the light is coming from, whether it's hard or soft, which direction the actors are looking, etc. Then pause on the next shot and see how that relates to the previous one. Then go a step further and try to recreate images with the equipment you have. If you don't have a video camera and lights, use a still camera and a window. If you do buy a camera though, make sure you get one with manual settings, and NEVER switch it to auto. It will be more difficult at first, but it will be worth it in the long run.

If at all possible, go on set for films that are shooting in your area, and watch what is happening. Rather than just accepting what the cinematographer is doing, ask yourself "How would I cover this scene?" "Where would I put the camera / lights?" Even if they are an experienced cinematographer, there is never one way to do something. You may decide that their choice is "right" for the scene, but questioning rather than accepting will help you to learn a lot more quickly.

Basically there's no one way to become a cinematographer, but the more you involve yourself in images and absorb all you can, the better you will become. You probably won't even realise it until other people are asking you questions you once had no idea about, and you discover that you know how to answer them.

Good luck!
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 12:47 PM

Also, be very observant! Notice how light changes in a room, in a location, and through the day. Notice how at one time a place can look Solemn, or happy. How does hot look? Stuff like that.

As for experimentation. . .when my g/f fails (or is away), i like to play with potatoes and desk lamps for small scale stuff, or, for something larger, see if you can get a manniquen Styrofoam head. Get a few, paint them different skin-tones and you have a whole lab which won't complain later on about how hot the light is, or that you're blinding them.
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#9 Tiffany Lynne

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 02:16 PM

Wow I really appreciate everyones input / advice :)
it's helping alot !
thank you all so much !
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#10 David Calson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:16 PM

Hey Tiffany,

Don't worry - it takes a long time to get used to all of the new vocabulary that is part of film and cinematography. I started reading these forums about a year ago (after studying for 4 years) and still don't understand what some of the posts are about a lot of the time. Just keep reading and you'll be amazed at how much you pick up. Start reading the more basic posts and if there are words or concepts you don't understand, look them up. Soon you'll be moving onto more difficult concepts and understanding them without realising it.

I also find it difficult to learn completely by reading books, so the best thing you can do is go out and test things to relate them to your own experiences. Start with simple things like framing, which you can also do with a still camera, and move on to exposure, depth of field, etc. I can send you the list of "10 shot" cinematography exercises I was given when I started studying if you're interested.

Pick scenes from movies and really break them down to see what has been done. Pause on a frame and look at what direction the light is coming from, whether it's hard or soft, which direction the actors are looking, etc. Then pause on the next shot and see how that relates to the previous one. Then go a step further and try to recreate images with the equipment you have. If you don't have a video camera and lights, use a still camera and a window. If you do buy a camera though, make sure you get one with manual settings, and NEVER switch it to auto. It will be more difficult at first, but it will be worth it in the long run.

If at all possible, go on set for films that are shooting in your area, and watch what is happening. Rather than just accepting what the cinematographer is doing, ask yourself "How would I cover this scene?" "Where would I put the camera / lights?" Even if they are an experienced cinematographer, there is never one way to do something. You may decide that their choice is "right" for the scene, but questioning rather than accepting will help you to learn a lot more quickly.

Basically there's no one way to become a cinematographer, but the more you involve yourself in images and absorb all you can, the better you will become. You probably won't even realise it until other people are asking you questions you once had no idea about, and you discover that you know how to answer them.

Good luck!


I'd be interested in the '10 shot' list if you don't mind.
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#11 Mark August SOC

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 06:42 PM

Tiffany,

Our industry will always have the fundamentals (photography) so learn that first and you will start to understand. High Definition (HD) is changing so fast so look at the below link. Then download the PDF file ?Digital Fact Book? it?s free and great to learn from, just thank the men and women from Quantel. Keep focus on your dreams and you will find it!

Check out: www.quantel.com

Good Luck and keep the questions coming.

Mark August, S.O.C.
Panavision Hollywood


Hello,
My name is Tiffany Watson & I'm a 16 year old grade 11 student in Ontario.
I'm an amatuer photographer,
& recently started getting into Cinematography.
I've asked advice from two Cinematographers so far,
one that's Local in my city, &,the cinematographer for the movie ' Juno'
they both gave me the same advice, to just study,study,study & become a movie buff.
and all the stuff.
but Im finding I'm having a difficult time understanding all the cinematography lingo, and all that goes into it ,
its actually quite overwhelming.
So far i've read the 5 C's of cinematography , and a few other books.
& I also own / watched Hollywood Camera Works
If you could suggest any books , movies , ect
or even what video camera's i should look into purchasing for just starting out,
it would be greatly appriciated :)


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#12 John Allen

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 12:14 PM

Maybe somebody's already said this, but the book called "Cinematography" by M. David Mullins ASC is a great book. I've probably read it 5 or 6 times. It has just about everything you need in it.
Also, like the others you talked to, watch a ton of movies that have great cinematography in them. Maybe even watch them without sound and just take notes on the different lighting techniques. Below are some suggestions on movies with great cinematography. Good luck. :)

Rebbecca (1940; B&W)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962; Color)
Shawshank Redemption (1994; Color)
Doctor Zhivago (1965; Color)
Apocalypse Now (1979; Color)
Raging Bull (1980; B&W)
The Last Emperor (1987; Color)
Empire of the Sun (1987; Color)
Schindler's List (1993; B&W)
The Godfather (Color)
The Pianist (2002; Color)
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005; Color)
Batman Begins (2005; Color)
Pan's Labyrinth (2006; Color)
The Prestige (2006; Color)
There Will Be Blood (2007; Color)
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Metropolis Post

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

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The Slider

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

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