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Advice for a 14 year old Cinematographer


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#1 Blake Z Larson

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 06:06 AM

My name is Blake Larson and I am a 14 year old cinematographer. I've always had a love for film production and when I was 13 I really began to gain an appreciation for cinematography. I soon realized that Cinematography was what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. Lighting and Composition became my obsession and pretty soon I could not walk into a room without analyzing the light and how it would play on people's faces and the environment. I always keep a notebook filled with random lighting diagrams and doodles of shots and compositions to try. I try and do as much cinematography as I can for practice, whether its just filming a quick nature film or actually working on a short or commercial. I really want to be a feature film/tv cinematographer when I'm just a little bit older ;) but I was just wondering from the members of this community, if anyone had any advice on cinematography in general, about how to get involved with a real films or how to get the "big break" into the cinematography scene.

Thanks,
Blake Larson
http://bzlproductions.com/
Film Reel:

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 10:17 AM

In the industry, it's mostly about experience (your resume), the quality of your work (your reel), and your contacts (who you know.) You have time to build up all three. At this point, just keep shooting, for yourself, for your friends, for anyone. And keep up your studies.

The reel is great for someone your age -- as you shoot more, you'll be able to replace some of the less interesting shots. I'd find more opportunities to light interior scenes, hopefully in places other than white-walled rooms.
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#3 Blake Z Larson

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:15 PM

In the industry, it's mostly about experience (your resume), the quality of your work (your reel), and your contacts (who you know.) You have time to build up all three. At this point, just keep shooting, for yourself, for your friends, for anyone. And keep up your studies.

The reel is great for someone your age -- as you shoot more, you'll be able to replace some of the less interesting shots. I'd find more opportunities to light interior scenes, hopefully in places other than white-walled rooms.


Thank you so much! I'm actually quite starstruck right now. I love your work and and have been watching "Smash" pretty much because of your cinematography. Thanks for taking the time to give me the advice and I'm defiantly going to try and do a film this summer with heavy interior work, so I can get better at lighting those types of scenes.

Thanks again,

Blake
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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:40 PM

Blake took a peek at your reel. It's looking great!
I like the opening shot, is it infra-red? What was it shot on?

I think the most important thing you will need is the skill of dealing with people.
You seem to be doing well with this having written such a polite, posting with your reel here but that really is the most important thing. People will tell you in life that it's about having skills, or talent, or ability in some way, and those things all can help in the right situation but at the end of the day it will be about how you manage to interact with other people to whatever extent you can. The world is not a meritocracy, it's just an idea people like to believe in. You will see this as you go through life, brilliant people in high positions, and also complete idiots in high positions. The key is to try and always stay positive and to treat everyone you can well.

My other advice is to do lots of stuff. Doing stuff leads to more stuff. Not doing stuff leads to nothing. Try to do stuff. Doing stuff is actually easier when you are younger if you have the opportunity as you seem to, so do as much as you can. Keep working on that reel, thats where you can use your skills and talents to wow people.

Try and grab each opportunity that comes your way.

A quote from Woody Allen. "90% of success is turning up". This is also very true. Remember it! :)

It may sound like the things I'm saying are not much of anything, but actually these are some of the most important things. Everything that David says is also good advice, especially the white walls thing. ;)

love

Freya
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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:56 PM

That's a great reel, especially for someone your age. I can tell you that you have a good sense of composition (something that a lot of people don't grasp these days.) As David said, more interior work would be good for you.

Since you are still getting experience, my biggest piece of advice for you would be to shoot something ON FILM if you haven't already (everything in the reel looked like HD video.) It's a completely different discipline and you should have that kind of knowledge as you approach different projects.

Good luck! :)
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#6 Blake Z Larson

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 08:46 PM

Blake took a peek at your reel. It's looking great!
I like the opening shot, is it infra-red? What was it shot on?


The opening shot was done on my usual camera, the Canon m400 (http://usa.canon.com...s/vixia_hf_m400), of which most of the reel is shot on. For the particular shot, I recorded from about 9 in the morning to 10 in the morning with just light diffusion on the lens. After, I sped the image up in post, then de-saturated it and kept the contrast pretty close to how it was shot originally.

Thanks so much for your comments,

Blake
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#7 Ole Henrik Bach

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 02:34 PM

Pretty rad reel you got there. What I would recommend is to invest in a DSLR camera, so you can learn more about shutter, EI/ASA/ISO and aperture. These silly camcorders and their auto exposure and whatnot doesn't give you as much "creative space".
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#8 Rex Orwell

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:04 PM

http://www.linkedin.com
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#9 Blake Z Larson

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 11:54 AM

Pretty rad reel you got there. What I would recommend is to invest in a DSLR camera, so you can learn more about shutter, EI/ASA/ISO and aperture. These silly camcorders and their auto exposure and whatnot doesn't give you as much "creative space".


I try and shoot my camera like "digital 16mm" as much as I can. I always use manual apeture and shutter and I have rated my camera's ASA at 200. I occasionally shoot DSLRs but I think my next camera is probably going to be an 8mm or film camera of some sort.

Thanks for your advice,

Blake
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#10 Phil Thompson

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 07:43 AM

Get an Arri-3. Wish I'd done that at 14.
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#11 Tom Jensen

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 08:06 AM

My name is Blake Larson and I am a 14 year old cinematographer.


I hate you only because your real is better than mine. I am available as an operator, however. David gave you some pretty sage advice. I would only add to that, watch as many films as you can and look at the lighting, camera movement, framing, length of shots, scene pacing. Take as many lighting workshops as you can. And shoot anything that comes along. I don't normally recommend that people start out as DP's but you are young enough where you might be able to skip climbing the ladder. As you get older you may end up taking operating jobs with bigger DP's but I don't think that would hurt your DP career. Your reel is better than a lot I have seen on this forum. Keep up the good work and continued success. Personally, I think that if you purchased a good digital camera, you would get more work and more opportunity to shoot. Learn to shoot film as the opportunity presents itself.
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