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I want to learn everything I can about cinematography and cameras


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#1 Jensen Yancey

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 06:59 PM

I've recently started making movies and found out that I absolutely love doing it, the writing and directing (to a certain extent) comes fairly naturally but I REALLY want to start being able to film them myself (up till now I've just used friends who knew what they were doing as directors of photography). The problem is, I don't know the first thing about cameras and while I know a decent amount about cinematography from all the movies I've seen, I have a hard time actually putting that into practice, I also know squat about cameras (I know that the red button makes it record and HD is a good thing). Is there a good website or book that can help me develop professional looking films? Also, by far my worst aspect is lighting, I don't have a single clue how to set it up so its not obvious that there are just a bunch of work lights shining on the actors. I know that there are a good number of videos on youtube that show you how to get different effects in movies, is there one channel in particular that would be best for me to watch? thanks!
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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 07:24 PM

I've recently started making movies and found out that I absolutely love doing it, the writing and directing (to a certain extent) comes fairly naturally but I REALLY want to start being able to film them myself (up till now I've just used friends who knew what they were doing as directors of photography). The problem is, I don't know the first thing about cameras and while I know a decent amount about cinematography from all the movies I've seen, I have a hard time actually putting that into practice, I also know squat about cameras (I know that the red button makes it record and HD is a good thing). Is there a good website or book that can help me develop professional looking films? Also, by far my worst aspect is lighting, I don't have a single clue how to set it up so its not obvious that there are just a bunch of work lights shining on the actors. I know that there are a good number of videos on youtube that show you how to get different effects in movies, is there one channel in particular that would be best for me to watch? thanks!


Since your name is Jensen, I'll respond. Click on the "Recommended Books & DVD's."
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#3 Jensen Yancey

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 10:33 PM

I noticed that, but there are quite a few and I was hoping I could get some more specific suggestions, or (preferably) some helpful websites or youtube channels.
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#4 Brian Rose

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 10:33 PM

I haven't had the chance to do this myself, but it occurred to me that a movie equipment rental house would be a great place to learn about a lot of different stuff. Maybe there's one in your area that'd let you hang around for a few hours a day (sweeping floors, answering phones) in exchange for getting to learn about some of the gear? Not to mention you get to meet the clients coming in and out, and could get some good tips on chances to PA. That's another good way to see how it all works.

I love books too. My undergrad had NO film program, so I pretty much taught myself to shoot 16mm using a few old how-to books from the library. I had one checked out for a solid two years. Sadly I can't remember the title, and it was so old you'd probably have trouble finding a copy anyways. But David Mullen (a frequent forum contributor) cowrote a superb book "Cinematography," which is now in its third edition. I swear by it.

BR
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 01:18 AM

I've recently started making movies and found out that I absolutely love doing it, the writing and directing (to a certain extent) comes fairly naturally but I REALLY want to start being able to film them myself (up till now I've just used friends who knew what they were doing as directors of photography). The problem is, I don't know the first thing about cameras and while I know a decent amount about cinematography from all the movies I've seen, I have a hard time actually putting that into practice, I also know squat about cameras (I know that the red button makes it record and HD is a good thing). Is there a good website or book that can help me develop professional looking films? Also, by far my worst aspect is lighting, I don't have a single clue how to set it up so its not obvious that there are just a bunch of work lights shining on the actors. I know that there are a good number of videos on youtube that show you how to get different effects in movies, is there one channel in particular that would be best for me to watch? thanks!


That's kinda like asking how do I become a doctor........right this minute. Dude, read, study, practice, learn from experts, watch videos, ask questions, try things, apprentice, in other words learn and don't just learn about video, learn about film, learn about projection, learn about business, learn about animation, learn about sound, learn about processing, learn about makeup, costuming, gripwork, production design, music, art, dance, special effects, film history, live, eat, drink and breath film, know everything there is to know and when you think you know everything, you can start to really learn, because you'll find you don't know anything at all and you'll be learning every day for the rest of your life. THAT'S what makes this business so exciting. B)
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 01:36 AM

Film=Religion. As mentioned it takes a long time to learn things. Read books, practice practice practice, and things will start to make sense. Don't get to wrapped up in learning technology; but instead try thinking about how something should feel and how to translate that visually. Watch films over and over and over again and try to dissect why they are shooting it the way they are shooting it.
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#7 David Rakoczy

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 07:12 AM

I would be remiss if I did not offer this:

FILM LIGHTING
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#8 Jensen Yancey

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 03:02 PM

first off, sorry I posted the topic in this forum, I didnt realize there was a newbie forum. Second, I found a book I really like that I'm reading through on getting various shots, but it doesnt have anything on lighting, is there a good website where I can just learn the basics of lighting?
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#9 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 12:38 AM

first off, sorry I posted the topic in this forum, I didnt realize there was a newbie forum. Second, I found a book I really like that I'm reading through on getting various shots, but it doesnt have anything on lighting, is there a good website where I can just learn the basics of lighting?


Kodak has a virtual lighting tutorial at their website:

http://motion.kodak....lighting360.htm

The BASICS in a nutshell is basic light set up-3 point lighting The light in front-Key (main Light), the light in back-Back (separates subject from background), Light from the side Fill (softens shadows created by the key) 3 lights, three points. The lights are colored with translucent plastic called gels that has a Kevin rating for color temperature (look up those terms) The basic lighting instruments (the theatrical term for lights that I can't seem to shake) are Fresnels which have a lens of stepped glass designed to focus light, these are adjustable, PARs which are essentially open face Fresnels with no lens, Ellipsoidals which a spot lights which means they are designed to create a strong focused beam of light, Kinos which are a bank of daylight balanced portable florescent usually 2 or 4 tubes on a portable backing the make up the light and soft lights which are lights that are defused or reflected to give an even, soft spread of light over a larger area. Light is controlled with Barn doors with are adjustable shutters mounted on the lamp faces, Flags and scrims which are steel frames covered with black light absorbing cloth or fine net. These are usually mounted on C stands which are stands with an adjustable arm and locking knuckles into which the flags and scrims are inserted. NOW you can do a lot with just this but if you want to learn more, I suggest you check out the Lighting section of this forum and ask questions on anything you can't find on the net of in books. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 19 November 2009 - 12:41 AM.

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#10 Serge Teulon

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 06:44 AM

All of the above is great advice.

When I was a trainee camera I phoned Arri (UK) and asked if I could go there and spend time with all their different cameras. They were very helpful and said yes. After the 1st visit I got on with the guys down there and they said that I was always welcome to come back.
Which I did.
From that experience I learn to load, blindfolded, and how put the cameras together. The latter has regretfully, completely gone.

Lighting has only come through experience, watching films and reading lots and lots.
I've found that there is no formula to lighting. Which is really interesting.
Its all about how it makes you feel, coupled with textures and colours of surroundings.
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Willys Widgets

Technodolly

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies