Jump to content


Photo

What to do, what to doooo!

This too could be you.

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 jose santos

jose santos
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:48 AM

Yes. Apologies. I understand this is GD, not 'noobs'.

 

But this strikes me as the best place for this query.

 

I'm 50. Been making a living with a camera for 25 years. News.

 

My body's trashed and the business is, with a few notable exceptions, in contraction.

 

Which means it's reinvention time.

 

I like camerawork or I wouldn't have stuck with it for 25 years.

 

Now I'm contemplating my next steps, and think I would enjoy, and do well, by upping my

skill set substantially into the DP realm. 

 

The way my mind works, I have to be very hands on. I need to assemble the camera.

Set it up. Finesse the glass. The rig. The media. Light. Shoot. Review. Fix what I got wrong. Push through workflow. Cut. Deliver. Train my hands, train my eye, find the gotchas, find the fixes.

 

I'd like to find an academic and/or workshop-based program where I can do that, with top-shelf gear both film but mainly digital. With smart, world-wise instructors who can help me connect, and connect the dots.

 

So. In a perfect world, anywhere in the world, money is no object, where would you go, would you go at all or do...?

 

(I've been to Rockport a couple times, Kodak gave me their cinematography workshop. It's been ages

Oh and I speak Spanish)


  • 0

#2 James Steven Beverly

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

Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:40 PM

Well, if you want to learn everything there is to know about the camera, I would get a job in a rental house and soak up everything you can about the camera. I personally would not worry about that as much but rather use my time to learn all you can about lighting, lenses and camera movement. Also, framing, deciding how best to give the director what he wants, what lens, what focal lengths or go with a zoom and if so, which one, cool or warm and where to set the camera for the most effective background and foreground as well as where to place your subject within the frame to make the strongest statement for the circumstance.

 

Lighting is the PREMIERE job of a Director of Photography. It is a technical task that must be done with the artistry of the director's vision. What lights do you need, pars, kinos, fresnels, nooks, maxies. and on and on, what gels, where do you put the lights, the flags, what do you set the veriacs at, how do you create a comprehensive lighting scheme that helps complement the emotion aspect of any given scene but also works as a whole while at the same time can be set up within the given schedule.

 

There is also the question of learning film stocks, which are going to be the best choice for a given project. Then there's the question of when to manipulate the film, when to push the processing, when to pull, when to skip bleach, ect. All this also applies to electronic acquisition, digital which is the standard. Those images will be manipulated in a computer but the decisions are basically the same.  The camera you choose, if you're given a choice, makes a difference as does the format. This is probably even more important in a digital format. Then, more often than not, the film is scanned and manipulated digitally. 

 

THEN, there is the human factor, who do you hire or request for the lighting/camera department, can you keep them motivated and doing their best work, how do you handle problems and mistakes, when to you push and when do you back off. How are you going to deal with a difficult actor or director or producer, how do you broach a disagreement with a director over technical or artistic decision. The cinematographer is second in command under the director. He/she has a tremendous amount of responsibility and it is a very tough job with a lot of pressure that goes along with it. A good DOP is worth his weight in platinum so a smart director treats them with the respect they deserve. If you choose to pursue that career, you have much to learn. You probably know a lot know with 25 years experience, but if you what to move to DOP, you'll need to learn more. I would suggest you start by working as a DOP on low/no budget pictures and TV shows, work for free on some stuff to build your reel and look for opportunities for better work,  At first you'll be working as a cameraman to pay the bills some times and a DOP for ridiculously low pay or no pay some of the time to build you resume' Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth.


  • 0

#3 Paul Salmons

Paul Salmons
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:26 PM

I have been a DP for about 5 years now. I skipped the whole AC thing as people recommend doing (as I am not very good at pulling focus) although I still did it just to get on set early in my career. I still do a small amount of gaffing just to help pay the bills and stay working.

 

As James said it really isn't all about knowing every camera, My ac does that for me. Find a good ac, treat them very well, get them as much work as you can and you won't have to press a button on a camera ever again! Keeping up to date with the new tech is important, what the limitations and what format the cameras shoot and such is very important, knowing how to dial in kelvin in camera is not. For me knowing how to make a camera do what I want through shutter, iso, aperture and white balance applies to all cameras! My ac will figure out the rest and enjoys me not micro managing his job.

 

Again, for me it's all about light and camera movement and framing. More so light and here's why, most directors don't understand light. They all usually have at least a small idea about framing and movement, when it comes to lighting they generally just tell me a mood they want or how the scene should feel. So to me it's very important to create that. I usually find my job is more of a translator, I have to decode what the director says to me then put that into words my gaffer understands. Having a good crew is extremely important! You need to mesh! Understand the set is to big for you to do everything, so learning how to manage and speak to people and handle stress is paramount for me.

 

I think something else that is very important is a decent level of understanding how to edit. You can avoid shotgun coverage and get what you need while still having time for that big jib set up because you where able to convince the director that he doesn't need an ots and a cu on each actor for the three line scene.


  • 0

#4 James Steven Beverly

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

Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:38 PM

You can avoid shotgun coverage and get what you need while still having time for that big jib set up because you where able to convince the director that he doesn't need an ots and a cu on each actor for the three line scene.

Halleluiah Brother!!


  • 0

#5 Simon Wyss

Simon Wyss
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1415 posts
  • Other
  • Basel, Switzerland

Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:30 AM

José, one thing I can image very well is you’d start a mechanic camera rental business. Your expertise can be a gold mine. Your hands would go before young eyes. Offer inexperienced filmers what they need for an economic shoot. I mean, there are Mitchell, Arriflex, and whatnot on sale today, it isn’t so hard to equip oneself with tripod, camera, and lenses.

 

Once you have gear rented out you will be free to go lighting. A 50-year old is most probably taken for serious when he declares he has changed his direction for light after many years of camera. I’m 51 and a mechanical engineer and machinist now after many years of cinema and laboratory.

 

¿Dónde está mi estuche?


  • 0


Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Visual Products

CineLab

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape