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#1 Benjamin L

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 11:10 AM

So, I am planning on going to film school for cinematography, still not sure where.
I don't really understand whether the professional industry is going to be using film or digital, or why it really matters. I don't understand what the main differences are. Since I never really used film in my life I don't really know how it works, or how it is used in the professional film industry.

Will I have to use film in the professional industry/ is it likely to come up? Also, do they teach how to use film at most film schools?

Oh and one more thing; Is it best to go to a film school in California? Does it really matter?





Thank you,



-Ben
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#2 Brad Webb

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 05:41 PM

Some schools still have film cameras, some don't. My advice is to go to a film school that has 35mm and 16mm film courses. Shooting on film will make you a better cinematographer. It will make you a better decision maker when it comes to shooting because you have plan everything out before hand with film. Shooting on film will help you learn more than shooting digital. Everything that digital cameras do are based on what film does.

It doesn't really matter which film school you go to, as long as it's a good one. New York, Chicago, and Florida also have some pretty good film schools.
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#3 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 05:45 PM

I agree with Brad, get some kind of experience shooting film even if you'll end up shooting more digital in the long run. You will plan better, as Brad mentioned, and you will acquire knowledge that you may not get a lot of chance to pick up elsewhere. If you want to be max competitive in this industry, I would think you'd want to be well versed in both.
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#4 Benjamin L

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 04:20 PM

Thank you guys. :)


Also,

I know that most colleges have film in their art department. This doesn't mean they expect you to be qualified in the other apects of the arts as well, does it? I like to think of myself as artistic, but when it comes to drawing/painting, depicting things to paper, I'm terrible.

Just wondering,

-Ben
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#5 sam morgan moore

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 12:57 AM

A thought from the other end.

My profession is stills photographer, Im learning 'motion' at the moment

I learned stills on film, you never saw your results 'on set' the learning process was very very slow

One had to be conservative with lighting, and motion blur

Now I see digital youngsters progress SO FAST

because the review is instant and the costs negligable

OK film has the edge for the next 3 years on ultimate quality but as a learning tool digital just rocks

Look how film just dropped from commercial stills photography - the same will happen for all but the most extreme budgets IMO

While a school that has film is no bad thing I think that experience and skill will come with hours shot, do the maths and buy a 7d to learn and get those hours

I have concerns that expensive rigs keep too much control in the hands of the tutors - I learned at college by getting out with a camera (and some great direction and critiques from the tutors)

Additionally you might actually NEED digital skills and an understanding of handling some of their horrors (evil highlights etc) to cut it in the commercial world

Just because one can shoot digital in a sloppy lazy and unplanned manner it does not need to be that way

S
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#6 Mei Lewis

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 11:39 PM

What Sam said!
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 06:39 AM

Learn film and shoot film. Digital will make you lazier, honestly, It doesn't have to, but knowing "Oh I can dump the cards, or change tape," etc is a world different that knowing "i have to order more film have it shipped and then get it developed and scanned." Film will make you really plan out what you're doing, you'll spend less time shooting but more time just making sure it's right! You'll lean how to light a room and most importantly how your light meter readings will translate onto the neg which is very important for all those times when you're looking at a location without having a camera (e.g scouting, or while setting up the lighting etc). I learned more in one day with a bolex than in a whole year with a DV camera.
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#8 Arun Gopalan

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 09:01 AM

I am a film student and really like the way our film school works. We have the best of both worlds- film and digital. For camera operations one could try out with digital cameras like the Red, Viper, etc. Even small cameras like the HDV, etc work fine. And when it comes to lighting and focus practicals, start with Super 16mm and then gradually move onto 35mm. We here shoot a couple of projects on digital, then Super16mm and the final diploma film on 35mm. And this at the end of the course makes us well versed with all cameras and formats- digital and film!! I personally feel, both digital and film at schools are damn important.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 12:11 PM

School is for learning, and making mistakes, not for creating high-end images, and almost everything you need to learn about shooting film (as a cinematographer) can be learned with a 16mm camera. Learning digital is also a must these days -- even if film will be around after graduation, the early cinematographer in the professional world will probably mostly be shooting digital.

But honestly, school should be about learning the fundamentals of image creation, not so much the details of a particular camera technology that will change year-by-year anyway.

I learned mostly by shooting Super-8 reversal, which doesn't look like 35mm color negative in terms of depth of field or dynamic range, but I learned composition and lighting that way, and those skills are transferable to any format.

The only argument I can make for going to a well-equipped school is that if they are willing to spend that much on equipment, they are also probably willing to spend enough to get a good facility. Because ultimately it's the teachers that matter.
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#10 John Sprung

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 08:22 PM

In the early stages of learning, digital/video has the huge advantage that the try it and see what you get cycle happens immediately rather than over night. That's the cost effective way to learn things like how to get the actors looking the right direction. Then move on to film....




-- J.S.
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#11 Steve McBride

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:36 PM

I'm in a brand new program at the New York Film Academy that is just cinematography and I personally love it. The first semester is all 16mm (reversal and negative) as well as HD (HPX) then the second is S16mm, RED, and 35mm.

When learning the cameras, you have three camera classes where the instructor goes over everything about the cameras from how to load to how to change lenses. But other than these camera classes the rest of the classes are all about the artistic side of cinematography. A camera is just a way to record images, but if you can't create those images it doesn't really matter how you record them.

I personally think that composition and lighting is much more important than what camera you use. Sure, if I got offered to shoot a film on the RED or another on a GL2 at the same time I'd probably go for the RED, but you need to know how to create images to help a movie progress and create themes of lighting or composition that evolve throughout a storyline.
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