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Newbie, Where to start?


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#1 hariharan swaminathan

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:53 PM

Hello All,

I have just registered & am glad to be here.

Okay, basically i have masters in computers and i was working IT full time till last month. I quit my job(at this recession), because am so serious about cinematography. But i haven't started it yet. Yup, so far i have been learning photography since i wanted the good start & strong basic on what is what.

I took a course from NYIP of masters in prof photography and am about to complete it. I have mastered in 360 virtual tours and have taken photography as best as i could.

My main goal is to become a DP. But where to start & how to start? I have access to different digital cameras in a local production company and they have a nice continous lighting studio setup. But it's all DIGITAL and cinematography is film. But i dont have access to film. So if i learn digital and other techniques how it will help for my cinematography? and what are the things to learn?

Please get me started in the right way. But right now am not in a situation to take up any course which requires payment. I am a good self learner and i can definetly DO IT. because i have a great passion about it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Hoping to have a very long term communication with you all.

thambi
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#2 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 09:35 PM

There are many threads on this forum that contain various tips and techniques to help you. It's sortof hard to just know where to start. I would say you start by getting a camera and doing some shooting. When you encounter a more specific problem while shooting, then you can come on here and ask.
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#3 hariharan swaminathan

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 11:23 PM

There are many threads on this forum that contain various tips and techniques to help you. It's sortof hard to just know where to start. I would say you start by getting a camera and doing some shooting. When you encounter a more specific problem while shooting, then you can come on here and ask.


hi

thanks for the advise. i will definetly do that. but getting a camera? what kind of camera you want me to use? and can i do things in digital? because i am from san antonio texas and i dont find any company doing film production. so nobody into film. so if i do things in digital how much the difference are going to be? i heard the whole cine industry is trying to move into digital.. but is it possible and are there ways to achieve the best result? pls guide me on this... and may be tomorrow i will write what kind of digital cameras this company has and which one would be best to use... thanks!
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#4 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 12:47 AM

hi

thanks for the advise. i will definetly do that. but getting a camera? what kind of camera you want me to use? and can i do things in digital? because i am from san antonio texas and i dont find any company doing film production. so nobody into film. so if i do things in digital how much the difference are going to be? i heard the whole cine industry is trying to move into digital.. but is it possible and are there ways to achieve the best result? pls guide me on this... and may be tomorrow i will write what kind of digital cameras this company has and which one would be best to use... thanks!


I'm probably not he best person to ask about digital shooting because I don't do it. I believe film is still very much alive and is in fact superior to digital, at least in terms of visual quality. This is a subjective statement and I admit that I'm bias. I will say you must be careful on this forum talking about film as though it is dying or dead because we have a large amount of film lovers here. The majority of the "industry" that's moving into digital at this point is in the low/no budget realm.

In light of this, it is up to you as to what path you take. If you choose to shoot on film, you must determine the gauge of the film but regardless, there are many people who can help you pick out a camera within your budget range. If you shoot on digital, you must determine your price range and select from that. I'm sure many people on this forum could help you in that area too, although I wouldn't be knowledgable in this department...I did own a Canon XL2 once upon a time and it was pretty good for digital...it just didn't look good enough for films which is what I wanted it for.

Good luck to you and let me know if you decide to shoot on Super 8/16mm to start as that is my field of expertise. For the other formats, others would know much better than I on the subject.
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#5 Michael Most

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 01:02 AM

My main goal is to become a DP. But where to start & how to start? I have access to different digital cameras in a local production company and they have a nice continous lighting studio setup. But it's all DIGITAL and cinematography is film.


No, it isn't.

Cinematography is the art of creating images in motion in order to tell a story. Sometimes the story is true (as in a documentary) and sometimes it is fiction (as in a narrative script), but there is always a story to be told. The tools of cinematography include light, shadow, framing, and point of view, all shot with a camera. Notice I said a camera - not film. Film is just a recording medium. So is videotape. So are digital files. The point is, it doesn't matter. The art of telling a story visually is what cinematography is all about. What you record it on is simply what you record it on. The fact that "Slumdog Millionaire" - which was shot on both digital and film mediums - won both the ASC Award and the Academy Award for best cinematography - should be all the proof you need of the truth of that statement.
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#6 hariharan swaminathan

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 01:18 AM

hello michael

thanks for writing back. actually i love film, because i have seen a great quality of the film. and i certainly agree it is superior than digital. but it is very expensive right? right now the company where i go they have a super 8/16mm camera. but i heard the film costs $100 and nobody here develop that film but dallas and it's more expensive. and above all it can shoot only 3 minute videos. tell me, how can i be affordable of doing that since i just start to learn?

and i also agree film/digital medium is jsut to record the action. the real matter involves in the composition & light and the angle of view we see the subject to express the motion. to be very frank i dont have an idea how to start with. could you please give me exercises? :) i can do that so i can know the progress of learning. what i meant as exercise here is to learn what... the output which i will produce will be my own unique way... (mood, ambience and dramatic effect)

by the way what kind of softwares do they use to do the post processing. am planning to learn after effects. will that be helpful? i know tis' a different area, since i have a computer background i hope that wil be easy for me to learn thigns. and i want to learn that too. thanks!
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#7 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 01:35 AM

The fact that "Slumdog Millionaire" - which was shot on both digital and film mediums - won both the ASC Award and the Academy Award for best cinematography - should be all the proof you need of the truth of that statement.


Michael, you are quickly becoming the most opinionated person on this forum ;)

Actually, awards aren't proof of anything...they are the subjective opinions of individuals...granted these might be skilled individuals, but it's still just an opinion. Is the fact that Chicago beat out LOTR:The Two Towers at the 2003 Academy Awards proof that it's really a superior film? Comeon man, that's a bit weak.
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#8 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 10:44 AM

Matt, he's pointing out that both digital and film are viable medium on which to make a movie. Please don't take every opportunity to start a flaming x vs. y argument.

Thambi, while it would be wonderful for you to learn to shoot on film (and I would try to save a little money so that you can do so) digital cameras are going to allow you the greatest flexibility as far as learning the craft. Tape is cheap and you can shoot a lot which means you will learn a lot. Most of the skills you need will be the same for both film or video. There are some exceptions and the more you learn the more you will understand what those exceptions are.

For starters, I would get a video camera and a few lights and try to make a person look good. Read about various lighting setups and practice the methods you encounter. Become familiar with your depth of field. If you need to move the camera, think about how you are going to do that.

As was said, when you have more specific questions, you will get more advice.


Good Luck!
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#9 David Rakoczy

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 12:22 PM

Thambi,

Per the rules of this forum, please go to My Controls and change your screen name to your real first and last name.

The Members thank you in advance.

I recommend this: FILM LIGHTING
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#10 hariharan swaminathan

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 03:48 PM

Matt, he's pointing out that both digital and film are viable medium on which to make a movie. Please don't take every opportunity to start a flaming x vs. y argument.

Thambi, while it would be wonderful for you to learn to shoot on film (and I would try to save a little money so that you can do so) digital cameras are going to allow you the greatest flexibility as far as learning the craft. Tape is cheap and you can shoot a lot which means you will learn a lot. Most of the skills you need will be the same for both film or video. There are some exceptions and the more you learn the more you will understand what those exceptions are.

For starters, I would get a video camera and a few lights and try to make a person look good. Read about various lighting setups and practice the methods you encounter. Become familiar with your depth of field. If you need to move the camera, think about how you are going to do that.

As was said, when you have more specific questions, you will get more advice.


Good Luck!


Hi,
thanks for the advise. i understand and i will definetly work hard to learn all ins and outs. when i started learning photography i thought it will be easy, but as you said, when i started learning more and more it had no stop sign and i found out more things. also it's very very hard for me to shoot on film since its' expensive. above that i cannot develop it here but dallas which is 5 hours drive.

i haven't started lighting yet.. i use one of my 580 ex ii speedlight for my photography and i achieve whatever i want with just one light. but filming is continous lighting and that's not good for photography unless its' a day light. next peron suggested me the film lighting book. will buy that and read for sure... thanks for the suggestion of the book.

i have access to sony ex1 camera. i hope it's a good one. but if you all dont mind... now am confused what to shoot... what to video tape?

i have very strong computer knowledge. i have also started learning the final cut in the other side. am sure it wont be tough for me to learn editing as well. will it help for me? for real film what movie editing program they use? final cut, after effects, adobe premiere? or any combination? could you pls share that?
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#11 hariharan swaminathan

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 03:49 PM

Thambi,

Per the rules of this forum, please go to My Controls and change your screen name to your real first and last name.

The Members thank you in advance.

I recommend this: FILM LIGHTING



will change my name... but thambi is my real name too. am known as thambi to everyone... so that's not fake. and thanks for the suggestion of the film lighting book.
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#12 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 04:37 PM

Matt, he's pointing out that both digital and film are viable medium on which to make a movie. Please don't take every opportunity to start a flaming x vs. y argument.


I wasn't aware I was. I just was saying that awards aren't "proof" of things. Awards are a subjective bestowment of achievement. Whether it's film or digital, this is true. I don't see the big deal about awards anyhow. Many awarded movies don't have commercial success which is ultimately what I would think you'd want to have if you want to continue making films.

I mentioned to thambi that if he wants to shoot digital, he should. I admitted I'm no authority in the digital realm but that others here were. I don't see how I could have been anymore respectful than I was. Flaming arguments are not my purpose and I seldom start them even if I partake of them from time to time.
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#13 Michael Most

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 04:53 PM

I wasn't aware I was. I just was saying that awards aren't "proof" of things. Awards are a subjective bestowment of achievement. Whether it's film or digital, this is true. I don't see the big deal about awards anyhow. Many awarded movies don't have commercial success which is ultimately what I would think you'd want to have if you want to continue making films.


I was pointing out that awards for "Cinematography", issued by two respected organizations, were given to a project that was shot on different mediums, thus reinforcing my definition of the term "Cinematography" as being the art of creating moving pictures and not the act of doing that on one particular medium, in this case, film. I wasn't making any comments about the relevancy of awards, and my guess is that everyone here other than you found that pretty obvious.

I don't know what you have against me, or why, but I really wish you'd stop applying your own prejudices and interpretations to every single word I write.
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#14 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 08:21 PM

I don't know what you have against me, or why, but I really wish you'd stop applying your own prejudices and interpretations to every single word I write.

I don't have anything against you Michael. It seems from looking over other threads that you seem to have something against me, Karl, and Keith at the very least. I am aware that any medium can produce "cinematography," but I don't think you can speak for how obvious something is to other people. That is a logical fallacy called appeal to popularity. You attempt to alienate my viewpoint on the grounds that other people disagree which may or may not be true, but on it's own merit, it isn't really an argument.

I will bow out of this thread because it seems you are the only person on it that is deemed qualified to discuss cinematography.
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#15 hariharan swaminathan

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 11:40 PM

With all due respect, please keep your argument healthy and sharing information. I know none of you are against each other, but sometimes words give different meanings when you read it in a different way. I am not good in english nor i dont know much about cinematography. But i know onething, treat everyone right, and take only good things from whatever have been told. that way nobody is in trouble...

Please keep giving me advise and let's talk cinematography :)
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#16 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 01:15 AM

Thambi, you need to comply with forum rules and change your display name to your first and last name. Another member already told you about this.
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#17 WaiHoong

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 03:03 AM

Hi Thambi,

I'm glad that we are( not only both us) in the same interest...however you sound like you need a lot of practical..i loved bodybuilding last time but now cinematography...well, i realize many pros from ASC are not in the field of film , some even have studied engineering and medicine if i have not mistaken (watched from documentary)

I'm a self-learner too... i learn from Wiki most of all...ask people..until i have found this website, a superb forums and i have learnt a lot here...watch reels from Youtube... trying to shoot from my prosumer camcorder...and you know this book? Sight, sound and motion by Zettl Herbert...

it's a great book! Get it...

and of course APPLICATION from what you have read INTO YOUR WORK...

I'm not a pro...i'm just student from a cheap coll..haha

Have fun in Cinegraphy!!
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#18 WaiHoong

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 03:13 AM

In addition, i agree with Matthew and Michael Most

Film is still very much alive compared to digital and i believe it will last...it is the matter about the quality...video- look or film- look..if you observe closely..film does has some kind of "feeling"..i don't know how to explain that...you gotta feel it...
for video in digital especially HD ....it has its power as well..

For Mike's opinion, experiment with whatever he has written in his space...

Cinegraphy!!!!
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