Jump to content


Photo

Graphic Design and Film Production?


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Tory Hoffman

Tory Hoffman

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Student

Posted 24 December 2009 - 08:07 PM

I am a senior in high school and am getting ready to go to college next year. I want to be a graphic designer, so I picked a school where I could major in graphic design (BFA) and also play soccer. I found out after I committed that the school I picked (MN State Moorhead, if it matters at all) also offered a film production major, which is something I've always been interested in.

So my question, I guess, would be what kind of majors do cinematographers go into? I know that Film Production paired with Photography would probably be the best, but graphic design is something that I am also passionate about and I would feel bad giving it up (I don't want to give it up) since I've worked so hard for it already. Are there cinematographers who do what I'm going to do? Or, what kinds of jobs do you think I'm setting myself up for?
  • 0

#2 Alex Zustra

Alex Zustra
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Ohio, USA

Posted 26 December 2009 - 02:02 AM

I am a senior in high school and am getting ready to go to college next year. I want to be a graphic designer, so I picked a school where I could major in graphic design (BFA) and also play soccer. I found out after I committed that the school I picked (MN State Moorhead, if it matters at all) also offered a film production major, which is something I've always been interested in.

So my question, I guess, would be what kind of majors do cinematographers go into? I know that Film Production paired with Photography would probably be the best, but graphic design is something that I am also passionate about and I would feel bad giving it up (I don't want to give it up) since I've worked so hard for it already. Are there cinematographers who do what I'm going to do? Or, what kinds of jobs do you think I'm setting myself up for?


In my small amount of experience and knowledge, I really don't think a college degree matters much in this field. You'll learn more in an hour on set than a semester at school. I got excited when I found out that someone from my school was a successful cinematographer, only to find out he got his MFA in painting. Don't take this as discouragement. Higher education is great and will hopefully shape the way you think and look at the world for the better. It's a great, albeit expensive, decision, I just hope it pays off for us all.
  • 0

#3 James Steven Beverly

James Steven Beverly
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4199 posts
  • Director
  • El Paso, Texas

Posted 26 December 2009 - 05:28 AM

My niece is majoring in graphic design so she can become a film production designer. Might I suggest a dual major with any electives going to photography classes. ALL visual arts help to develop an eye for finding your frame, so nothing is wasted by taking these classes. I PERSONALLY would....and do, eat, drink and breath everything film. Look for visual style in everything from magazine ads to abstract art. Read every book you can lay your hands on. Watch every documentary, interview and behind the scenes on film and film makers you can find. Watch as many movies as you can in as many different genres and styles as you can. Get on the net and learn. (Good start coming here)

Get ahold of a Super 8 (Nizo, Beaulieu) or a better choice, 16mm camera (Bolex REX, Arri, CP, Eclair NPR or ACL, Beaulieu, Filmo, Krasnogorsk-3, Kinor 16 or B&H 240) or maybe even a 35mm Konvas or Eyemo, (both can be had for under a grand which puts them in the range of a good Bolex REX or Beaulieu 16mm) or if you have a little more cash an Arri 2. Pick up some short ends from Reel Good o (for S8mm you can only get standard cassettes) and start shooting as often as you can afford to. (for 35mm plan on about 5 to 15 cents a foot for the stock, 10 cents for processing and 6 cents a foot for transfer to mini DV so for 100 feet, you're looking are 31 bucks plus shipping for about a minute's worth of footage on 35mm which would mean 5 minutes of film a month or 2 should be doable even on a poor student's income)

http://www.b-indepen...arsshortend.htm
http://www.filmsourc...who_we_are.html
http://www.raw-stock.com/
http://www.movielab.com/

also shoot video as the techniques are somewhat different and it's good to stay abreast of modern technology.

Initially, shoot hand held or get a cheap tripod, (If it's a S8 or light 16mm that takes 100 ft daylight loads, you can get away with a consumer tripod, although wooden pro 16mm tripods with heads come up on ebay for under a hundred bucks all the time). Shoot during the day, using white poster board, Styrofoam sheets, foamcore and aluminum foil taped to cardboard or shiny silver car window shades as reflectors, then later on get a few lights and stands with a few sheets of basic gel (CTO, CTB ND, Diffusion) keeping it simple and small enough to fit into your trunk. You can use a wheel chair or shopping cart as a dolly, a collapsed tripod locked down as a steady cam, a piece of ply with a hole drilled in it and a bolt stuck through as a shaky cam.

Smaller 16mm and the Konvas can use still camera filters which are real cheap, and s8 and 16mm portable projectors and editing equipment are plentiful and cheap so if you get a little extra cash, you could have the footage printed or shoot reversal, edit on film instead of on a computer and project it right there in your dorm room. Then bring over a coed from the drama department, tell her you're a film maker, show her your movie and tell her you want her to star in your next picture!! (just be sure she's not dating a football player) :rolleyes:

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 26 December 2009 - 05:30 AM.

  • 0

#4 Mike Lary

Mike Lary
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 472 posts
  • Other

Posted 26 December 2009 - 06:11 AM

You need to study design. That's your passion and filmmaking is a secondary interest. You can make money with a design degree. The chances of making money from a film degree are almost zero. Double majoring might be the way to go, but if the film program is weak you might just want to minor in film if you can still get access to the equipment. Also, if you're playing soccer I doubt you'll be able to juggle two majors or commit to working long hours on student films. But here's my take, anyways.

I studied multimedia design at RISD before pursuing a degree in film at another design school. I went through the design foundations ringer twice (once at each school) and some of those classes directly correlated to film, specifically 2D, 3D, and color theory (though my color theory teachers knew very little about the additive system, let alone process-independent color spaces). Design fundamentals are a crucial element of photography. Being forced to create compositions ranging from minimalistic to highly complex in production classes will help you to work quickly and creatively behind the camera. You'll also be able to storyboard more effectively. Once you get past the design foundations, however, not much correlates to film.

Photography as a major would be a waste of time for a filmmaker. Only the basics apply, and you can learn that from self-guided research, study, and many many hours of camera exercises with a fully manual film camera (like the Canon AE-1 that you can pick up for a few hundred bucks with a lens). The major utilizes tools unavailable to filmmakers such as low shutter speeds, a wide range of alternative chemical processes, and strobe lighting. Put aside the cost of an intro class and you can buy a camera, lots of film, and a handful of good books on the subject. Then shoot a lot, implementing what you've learned. If you want to study cinematography, you should have an intermediate understanding of photography before you get into film production classes.

There are threads on this site arguing the film school vs. real-world experience debate as well as the G&E vs camera department debate. You might want to read some of those, but really there is no easy answer to the question "which path should I take". The film industry has been around more than twice as long as film schools have been, so the big guys of years past were all self taught, and many today still learn through the industry. As far as learning more in an hour on a film set than in a semester at film school, that's a huge exaggeration. Everyone knows how to fetch coffee and put fresh bags in the trash cans before they get on a film set, though learning how to use a walkie-talkie might be new to some...
  • 0

#5 Alex Zustra

Alex Zustra
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Ohio, USA

Posted 26 December 2009 - 09:04 PM

As far as learning more in an hour on a film set than in a semester at film school, that's a huge exaggeration. Everyone knows how to fetch coffee and put fresh bags in the trash cans before they get on a film set, though learning how to use a walkie-talkie might be new to some...


I should have specified, that comment was in reference to student shoots. In that context, I really don't feel like the statement is that hyperbolic. I felt really jipped by my production classes after I got involved in shoots.
  • 0

#6 Mike Lary

Mike Lary
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 472 posts
  • Other

Posted 27 December 2009 - 12:35 AM

I should have specified, that comment was in reference to student shoots. In that context, I really don't feel like the statement is that hyperbolic. I felt really jipped by my production classes after I got involved in shoots.


The value of student shoots has a lot to do with the crew. If you're working with people who are well prepared and study far beyond the curriculum (which everyone should be doing), you can learn a lot about the creative process and put what you've learned in a real world context. If you're with the wrong crew, it's a complete waste of time.
  • 0

#7 Mihai Bodea

Mihai Bodea
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • brasov

Posted 29 December 2009 - 05:18 PM

hello.
I have a BA in graphic art and another in Cinematography. studying film as an "artist" brought me in troubles because everybody expected some kind of an arty approach to what I was doing; nobody accepted the simple fact that I wanted to study first.
I don't think that fine arts and film really have common ground: the means of expression are very different and the public has very different expectations.
it is very useful to study both as your eye will "see" better but for the rest you should not expect more. the content, materials and the process of making are different worlds; film has no materiality and implies the time dimension, as fine arts are all matter and can be watched as long as you can stand.
I gave up graphic art as I would not do it as a hobby.
  • 0


rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Opal

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

CineLab