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As a beginning student cinematographer where do I begin?


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#1 Elias Luna

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 09:20 PM

Well first off I'd like to introduce myself, my name is Elias and I'm an avid lover of film (like all of you!) and I like to pretend I'm a filmmaker in the making (hopefully one day I'll actually be one) Anyway this is my first post so I guess I want to ask a question that'll get me off on the right foot in order to become the DP I want to be. I discovered my love for cinematographer quite recently, maybe a couple months ago and because so I'm actually studying cinematography at NYU. Before I ask my question I must say.. I'm feeling quite overwhelmed by the vast amount of technical things one must know...from lighting to cameras to film stock, it's quite a lot. Searching through this forum I've come across topics where I can barely understand what is being said simply because of the language and technical references being used. So, my question is where the hell do I begin to even comprehend all the aspects of cinematography? To become as technically savvy as most you kind folks. Don't get me wrong I'm not totally in the dark, I know a decent amount but not anywhere near the perfection I want. Simple things like color temperature or (light temperature?) stump me, but it's mainly the super technical language that I want to decode and understand. I'll cut this short because I have so many questions that would make this post unreasonably lengthy. Thanks and I look forward to being a member of cinematography.com
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:11 PM

Technical things have definitions you can look up. Forget 'em. Look em up later. Develop your eye! Look at art, look at life, look at photographs, figure out how you see the world. Figure out what "sad" looks like to you, or "happy," or any of the other English words and ideas you'll need to translate as a DP from the page (producer/director ect) into images and motion.
When you hit into technical terms you don't get, look 'em up, and if that doesn't work, ask away here ;)
Someone once asked me, a director, where I "learned to light," or something to that effect, and I said "the subway." because I just look at people's faces and how the light moving back and forth across them changes the way they "feel," to me... though truthfully, I do more of that at coffee shops, but the anecdote stands me thinks.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:41 PM

I was a voracious reader of filmmaking books, including amateur stuff and still photography, it's all applicable. While I was doing that, I was shooting all the time (in Super-8) -- any basic color film or video camera is going to quickly teach you what color temperature does, it's pretty obvious when your camera is set to daylight that tungsten lamps are going to go orange, and when you switch to tungsten (the lightbulb symbol) the daylight windows are going to go blue-ish.

I also learned by reading back issues of "American Cinematographer" magazine, going all the way back to the 1920's, and I re-read the 1970's issues several times over.

There's no shortcut: you read, go to art museums, watch movies, and shoot stuff, and repeat over and over again for the rest of your life. That's it!
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#4 Elias Luna

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 11:55 AM

Thanks so much for replying fellas! So, when it comes to color temperature what is exactly is it measuring? Is it simply for white balance? I feel like color temperature shouldn't be so hard to learn lol. I just don't know what it corresponds to..
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:00 PM

Ok, so here's the idea, a "black body radiator," heated to this temperature emits this color of light. In terms of film, we work with 3200K and 5600K. The basic idea is that one is orangeish (3200K) and the color of tungsten fixtures and one is blueish (5600K) and the color of "sunlight." That's the basics of it. We use it for setting our white balances.
Also look into :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mired
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 03:04 PM

Also:

http://en.wikipedia....lor_Temperature
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Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Glidecam