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Old and need to study


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#1 Colm Whelan

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 04:07 PM

I'm almost 40 and have been shooting different formats now for about 20 years. during that time its mostly been television and mostly video. over the past couple of years I've been shooting more drama but always on HD. As a result my technical knowledge of film cameras, stocks and technical specifications is extrememly limited. I find a lot of the conversations utterly baffling. So I am wondering is there somewhere you can study this even on a part time basis? In other words I can shoot and light and people like what I do enough to want to hire me. But I feel utterly at sea when it comes to the bigger formats like 35mm and I feel I will hit a wall soon
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 04:46 PM

For filmstock information, kodak and fuji both provide a lot of good information. As for camera, lens and other questions, this is a great place to ask questions. You'll probably get better, more complete answers here than from many books..
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#3 David Rakoczy

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 05:52 PM

Being in the mid 40's, I can assure you... near 40 is not old! ^_^

May I suggest FILM LIGHTING by Malkiewicz.
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#4 Mike Lary

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 06:21 PM

The ASC Manual is a great technical resource for film cameras, listing their specifications and providing loading diagrams. It also contains a slew of charts and formulas that you can reference in study and in the field. The chapters are short, so if you're studying in your spare time it's pretty accommodating. It can be a bit dense or brief here and there, but I've found that any lingering questions I've had have been answered here in detail by David Mullen or other generous forum members.

As far as film stocks are concerned, Kodak has a DVD that they send out on request (I think it's free) that shows footage shot on all of the their current stocks with different processing. That might be a good place to start if you want to see first hand what different emulsions and processes offer.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 06:34 PM

I sort of feel the opposite -- it's all the emerging digital technology issues, with their constant change -- that I find challenging to keep up with. Film photography / cinematography has the advantage of being a 100-year plus technology that is fairly stable. I mean, the basics can be learned by reading a 1960's textbook, the fundamentals of color negative technology, lenses, and movie cameras haven't really changed, which is nice.
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:21 PM

As far as film stocks are concerned, Kodak has a DVD that they send out on request (I think it's free) that shows footage shot on all of the their current stocks with different processing. That might be a good place to start if you want to see first hand what different emulsions and processes offer.


Fuji does the same thing. Theirs are free as well. The DVDs give a pretty good idea of the kind of contrast and color rendition of the stocks. Other things like sharpness and grain are still mysteries until you see a better test.
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#7 Colm Whelan

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 07:28 AM

Fuji does the same thing. Theirs are free as well. The DVDs give a pretty good idea of the kind of contrast and color rendition of the stocks. Other things like sharpness and grain are still mysteries until you see a better test.



thanks for the feedback guys. David it is very interesting to hear your comments on shooting tape. its funny with a lifetime spent in video and now shooting drama on HD I find that side of things second nature. camera menus and specifications are something I just keep current with. and prime lenses I have become accustomed to over the last couple of years. so I guess with a film background you would feel as comfortable in a discussion on film and emulsions and processing etc. I'm reading every book I can but unfortunately in Ireland our film industry is so small that actually getting onto a set to observe and learn is proving impossible. I'm thinking of ploughing some of my own money into setting up a shoot for a day to get a 35 mm camera and film stock out and just go through the process
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#8 David Rakoczy

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 09:15 AM

Do it in S16 and learn the same things...
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#9 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 10:26 AM

The fundamentals of shooting film can be learned pretty well with some books and a stills camera. Buy a 35mm manual still camera and some negative film, and see if there are photography stores near you to develop your film. I don't think you need to actually rent a whole setup just to learn it.
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#10 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 11:24 AM

Hi Jack,

I came here with the same intentions and about the same background as yourself. I too would not advise doing a 35 mm dry run. I'm sure you would learn from it, but it would be very costly.

Here are a few books that I found very helpful:

Independent Filmaking (Lenny Lipton).
although outdated in a lot of ways, It was helpful.

Cinematography by Kris Malkiewicz and M. David Mullen (who ever that guy is :) )

Film Lighting by Kris Malkiewicz as David mentioned.

Kodak also has a Student Handbook CD ROM series.
some of which are titled "What is Cinematography" "Lighting for Film" and some others. I would check with the Kodak Rep in your area (or the closest one you can find.)

I also find myself analyzing movies more these days. Mainly observing the light.

AND this forum has been extremely valuable, extremely! In my experience, because of the cost of film, one thing it demands as opposed to video, is much more planning, understanding of the medium and methodical organization.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Tom
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#11 Colm Whelan

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 01:27 PM

Hi Jack,

I came here with the same intentions and about the same background as yourself. I too would not advise doing a 35 mm dry run. I'm sure you would learn from it, but it would be very costly.

Here are a few books that I found very helpful:

Independent Filmaking (Lenny Lipton).
although outdated in a lot of ways, It was helpful.

Cinematography by Kris Malkiewicz and M. David Mullen (who ever that guy is :) )

Film Lighting by Kris Malkiewicz as David mentioned.

Kodak also has a Student Handbook CD ROM series.
some of which are titled "What is Cinematography" "Lighting for Film" and some others. I would check with the Kodak Rep in your area (or the closest one you can find.)

I also find myself analyzing movies more these days. Mainly observing the light.

AND this forum has been extremely valuable, extremely! In my experience, because of the cost of film, one thing it demands as opposed to video, is much more planning, understanding of the medium and methodical organization.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Tom



thanks my desire to get out a camera and film a scene was because despite the expense I have always felt much more confident once I can actually get hands on with a set up. thanks for the book references. I have em all so I must be going the right way. I guess my insecurites are based on the fact that bigger jobs are coming my way and I have to step out of the security of tape. I am having to deal with bigger crews that are schooled in film and I just dont speak the same language. And when a producer or director ask me what cameras or film stocks I like I lose any authority I thought I had by not being able to come up with the answers. and that is just down to lack of exposure (pardon the pun) to the bigger formats and set ups. some of the discussions on here are amazing but then I read one that feels to me like its written in a language I have never heard and I lose heart. I guess there is no quick fix and its about reading and learning and trying to keep going forward doing what I feel is right in whatever situation I'm in.
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#12 Bob Hayes

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 01:28 PM

Get a 35mm still camera and take a course in still photography. You will love it. You will find out that you already know 95% of what you were trying to learn. The best part is it may re-inspire you to keep seeing the world as new and exciting.
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#13 Colm Whelan

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:58 PM

Get a 35mm still camera and take a course in still photography. You will love it. You will find out that you already know 95% of what you were trying to learn. The best part is it may re-inspire you to keep seeing the world as new and exciting.

thanks Bob,

I am on that particular road already. I guess my real problem is that I am being asked to do projects that ideally I wanna shoot on film. I know I can light and shoot and have some nice stuff on HD with primes. but I'm being asked to DP and if I step into that film world in a Dp role I wanna know everything about the process from pre to post so I feel I am in control. Maybe I should just concentrate on lighting and looking thru a lens
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#14 Daniel Porto

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 05:58 PM

I'm almost 40 and have been shooting different formats now for about 20 years. during that time its mostly been television and mostly video. over the past couple of years I've been shooting more drama but always on HD. As a result my technical knowledge of film cameras, stocks and technical specifications is extrememly limited. I find a lot of the conversations utterly baffling. So I am wondering is there somewhere you can study this even on a part time basis? In other words I can shoot and light and people like what I do enough to want to hire me. But I feel utterly at sea when it comes to the bigger formats like 35mm and I feel I will hit a wall soon


Just go down to local rental house and ask if you could help out. Thats what I did at the Panavision where I live and it has been the best thing I have done so far. Not only have I learnt how to load all 35mm magazines, load and clean the gate, set up and prep nearly all Arri Cameras, but I have also meet a lot of people in the industry. (I was even taught by the one of the operators from the new Wolverine movie, Tov Beling!) Sure sometimes I will be cleaning filters and lenses but I consider that the tuition fees for a course that is better then any film school.
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#15 David Rakoczy

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 06:02 PM

I know I can light and shoot and have some nice stuff on HD with primes. but I'm being asked to DP and if I step into that film world in a Dp role I wanna know everything about the process from pre to post so I feel I am in control. Maybe I should just concentrate on lighting and looking thru a lens


To deliver what you pre-visualize you must know and understand each and every step your Image will take from acquisition to delivery.

Concentrating on just lenses and lighting will not be enough.. after all, what are you lighting for???. What is your acquisition process?? What is your post process? Are you in control from beginning to delivery?
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#16 Colm Whelan

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 06:29 PM

To deliver what you pre-visualize you must know and understand each and every step your Image will take from acquisition to delivery.

Concentrating on just lens and lighting will not be enough.. after all, what are you lighting for???. What is your acquisition process?? What is your post process? Are you in control from beginning to delivery?



I agree. and thats why I am trying to gain as much knowledge as I can about an area that I believe I have an amount of talent for but not the technical information
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#17 Colm Whelan

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 06:34 PM

Just go down to local rental house and ask if you could help out. Thats what I did at the Panavision where I live and it has been the best thing I have done so far. Not only have I learnt how to load all 35mm magazines, load and clean the gate, set up and prep nearly all Arri Cameras, but I have also meet a lot of people in the industry. (I was even taught by the one of the operators from the new Wolverine movie, Tov Beling!) Sure sometimes I will be cleaning filters and lenses but I consider that the tuition fees for a course that is better then any film school.

I really wish it was that simple. unfortunately ireland is very very limited regarding rental houses and they are not generally in a teaching mood
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#18 David Rakoczy

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 07:12 PM

The books mention in this thread will answer most, if not all, of your questions.

These will help you dramatically even when shooting Digi.. HD or otherwise...

..and while you are at it... enjoy your young age!
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#19 Colm Whelan

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 08:40 PM

The books mention in this thread will answer most, if not all, of your questions.

These will help you dramatically even when shooting Digi.. HD or otherwise...

..and while you are at it... enjoy your young age!

thanks. will do

Edited by Jack Whelan, 18 January 2009 - 08:42 PM.

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#20 Colm Whelan

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 08:41 PM

and thanks everyone for your help

Edited by Jack Whelan, 18 January 2009 - 08:44 PM.

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

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The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam