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After shooting my first official video, I feel like giving up


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#1 John1

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:10 PM

I really need help and advice from people who are elders in cinematography. I am a college student in my early 20s. Cinematography has been my passion for long and I know it is in me. My passion for it has kept me awake all night and day, searching for information here and there all over the internet reading any and all cinematography books that comes my way, training myself, learning about cameras and how they work, learning of all the basic rules of cinematography, watching videos on youtube. In total I will have read more than a 1000pages of books on cinematography and I dnt seem to ever get tired. I just feel more hungry for cinematography knowledge. My main point of interest is I want to direct and shoot music videos but in the course of reading and research, I discovered cinematography was wider than I think. Please pardon me for the long story. I have read many books and they are so self explanatory that I feel they are as simple as they are written. I have short some short videos with basic consumer cameras howver, I got my first official video job not quite long and it was a commercial like a presentaion. I decided I wanted us to use whitescreen and we did. I was even lucky to be provided with a canon 7D free of charge but when it was time to practicalise everything I have learned over the months, everything changed. First it was whitebalance. I have read so much about white balance that I know that if you want to get the best white balance, u need to switch off the auto white balance and go manual. However was I settin the white balance, I seem to notice no difference(I don't know if its my eyes that is not sharp not to notice any diffrnce. Any valie I set the white balance to seem to looks fine and ok to me, which I know shouldn't be. I jst selected 3500 since I was using three red head light. Next, when it came to lightin as well, this wasted overe 3hours of my time as I kept adjusting the light. There was this shadow that kept drawing itself on the backgrounnd. When I adjsut the light and eliminate one shadow, another shadow comes up from the light I used to wipe off the first shadow. I have read so much about lighting that I felt I was a failure. I have watched instructional videos, I have reasearched am read more about photography than I have read my normal school books. But when it was time to practicalise, everything changed. The confidence I had in myself vanished instantly. I shot the video shabilly and after editing and everything, I watched the video and felt ashamed of my self. I used canon 7D and the result was almost like using a consumer camera to shoot. I really need your advice. My passion for cinematography grows everyday but when I shot the video, I Started doubting myself. Please advice me. Did this happen to you when you started as a cinematographer. What can I do. What will help. How long before I become a pro. Or is it that I have not studied enough. I feel disappointed in myself.
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#2 Travis Gray

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:16 PM

a) you're going to get dinged on not having your real name up there

b ) keep working at it.

 

Figure out what issues you were having (say, white balance) and read more about how to fix it. Learn what lights have certain color temperatures associated with them. Learn what those look like to the naked eye and you can start identifying the differences. I shoot mainly two white balances, 3200 and 5600. I know what lights are each and then if I have mixed lights, gel what I need to correct to the color I want.

 

As far as shadows and lighting... learn what affects shadow quality. It was a hard shadow? Learn what makes hard shadows. Need it softer? Learn what makes for a softer shadow and adjust accordingly.

 

It'll come. You just need to keep doing. Read up, and then practice, practice, practice, practice.

 

 

How long before you become a pro though? Depends on how you define it. I've gotten paid for gigs before when I wouldn't consider myself a pro, but, I got paid for it, so, that's part of a definition of professional.

Don't look at it as being a pro, look to be proud of your work.

 

Mainly, identify what problems you had on set, and then work to correct those. Always learn from that last shoot. Because there will be many more.


Edited by Travis Gray, 23 January 2014 - 01:17 PM.

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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:39 PM

I haven't ever been on a film where things didn't go wrong or not work out as planned. The primary difference I think is that now a days I'm much quicker at finding solutions. But one cannot expect to know how to do something from just the abstraction of reading. Books work either in very general or in very specific terms-- neither of which will be what you're hitting on exactly.

Keep shooting, keep learning, and try not to make the same mistake twice ;).

 

Also yes, you need to use your real name here. It should be changable under your settings in the upper right hand corner of the page 


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#4 John1

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:46 PM

Thanks for the advice, I will take them to heart.
I need more advice from everybody, it will be highly appreciated.

As regards my name, I have tried to change it but I can't find where to change it on my profile. Can Admin change it for me
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#5 Zac Fettig

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 01:46 PM

A camera is just a tool or an instrument. Buying a really good guitar doesn't mean it'll produce better music than a cheapo one. Heck, some people even shoot on

 

Much like being a good guitar player, the secret is practice. Theory is abstract until you've done it a lot. It makes way more sense later than it does now.

 

Auto white balance can be fine, as long as you have a target to set it by.

 

And always view it like you can still learn more. No one ever knows everything. Every mistake is also a learning experience. EVERYONE makes mistakes. Last shoot I did, we did a crazy complicated dolly shot, and I never noticed the Director was standing in the frame. At least not until the film came back from the lab. We were able to cut around it, but I did have a sheepish moment. I won't make that mistake again.

 

"Oh, look here, breach hull, all die. Even had it underlined." - Crow T. Robot


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#6 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 04:16 PM

The first roll of Super 8 film I shot was completely ruined because I had the f-scale reversed.  ;)  Give it time and keep shooting.  Mistakes are the beginning of knowledge.


Edited by Bill DiPietra, 23 January 2014 - 04:17 PM.

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#7 Mark Dunn

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 05:36 AM

It sounds as if when you finally got the kit the stakes were a bit too high.

Wind down a bit. Get yourself a cheap second- hand DSLR that shoots video and practice. You can study light and shadow with an anglepoise lamp and a mannequin head, or even a football at a pinch.

A teacher wouldn't hurt either.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 24 January 2014 - 05:37 AM.

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#8 Darrell Ayer

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:34 PM

My first advice is breathe.  It sounds like the pressure got to you first thing.  If you know it, you know it.  Also keep shooting. You know it in theory, now it's time to know it in practice.  Everyone screws up everything at least once, it's not the end of the world.

Good Luck.


Edited by Darrell Ayer, 26 January 2014 - 04:35 PM.

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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:38 PM

Practice.

 

I'll give the same advice that I gave to a friend of mine last year: this is simple, but not easy. All you have to do is go and shoot two hundred short films. By that point you'll know what you're doing.

 

But doing that ain't easy.

 

P


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#10 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 08:11 PM

There are countless lighting tutorials on youtube.  Where you can watch people light and see the results of what they're doing.  It's kind of amazing these days to fail at anything since almost all of the knowledge you need to do just about anything is on youtube in some kind of tutorial.  The better ones might require a subscription but I'd start there.  Cause watching someone do it whether online or in person is just way easier to grasp than reading it in a book.

 

The only thing that can't be taught is style.  Why you make the lighting choices you make and why you choose this lens or that, camera placement etc.  Those are decisions that a director may at some point leave up to you and thats where you'll have to make artistic choices.  But the nut and bolts of the craft should be second nature before you get to that point.


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#11 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:04 PM

Experience is a briefcase full of mistakes, and you're at an age where you're supposed to make them. Back when everyone did their first films on 16mm Bolex camera, a good quarter of the class would load the film backwards. I shot a mostly beautiful short film that is almost unwatchable due to the sound cables going into the wrong inputs. To paraphrase Norman Mailer, you have to get all the bad work out of the way before you can move on to doing the good work. That said, you have a camera, and looking through the viewfinder is the best way to see if your ideas are working or not. If you look at something and it looks wrong, change it. Answer the bell. The ease with which a professional fixes problems, or avoids them, only comes with practice and hard, often mortifying experience.

 

More practically, the DP is in charge of the camera, electric and grip Depts. Spend a little time in each.


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#12 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:26 PM

You'll be learning for the rest of your life! That's the beauty of this. Make the mistakes now! Practice, practice, practice. You'll get there.

G
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