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Complete Newbie-neep advice & help


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#1 Jack Guthrey

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 12:59 PM

I am a complete newb to shooting video. I have a Canon Optura 20 MiniDV camera and unlimited access to an Optura Xi, Davis and Sanford tripod w/ a fluid head also, I am fairly expierienced with Premiere. I really need help on knowing what all I need to do and buy to furthur my cinematography hopes and dreams. I am currently a senior in Highschool and looking to go to FSU's Film School. All help and advice is appreciated.
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#2 Mike Lary

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 02:25 PM

I am a complete newb to shooting video. I have a Canon Optura 20 MiniDV camera and unlimited access to an Optura Xi, Davis and Sanford tripod w/ a fluid head also, I am fairly expierienced with Premiere. I really need help on knowing what all I need to do and buy to furthur my cinematography hopes and dreams. I am currently a senior in Highschool and looking to go to FSU's Film School. All help and advice is appreciated.

Your question is too vague. If you're looking for advice on cinematography books, search the forums. If you have specific questions, ask. No one's going to give you a numbered list of all the things you need to do to achieve your dreams (whatever they are). When you figure out what questions you're asking, put something in the title that lets people know the topic. 'Needs help' is a given - that's what forums are for.
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#3 Jack Guthrey

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 02:28 PM

well, let me put it this way, I have no clue where to start. What am asking is this (sorry if I was unclear) What is the first step? Do I need to buy books or just experiement?
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#4 Mike Lary

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 02:55 PM

Do I need to buy books or just experiement?

Both. Search the forums for book recommendations. Read until you get bored, then experiment. When you get frustrated because your experiments aren't working the way you'd like, go back to the books and try to figure out why. If you can't find the answer to your question, post it in the appropriate forum. Good luck.
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#5 Robert Hughes

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 11:22 PM

Just go out and shoot. You've got more gear than you need right now. Film your pet fetching a stick, your friends yakking, a girl blowing bubbles, total strangers on the street, under bright daylight, in the shade, at night under a sodium streetlight, indoors by a window, in silhouette, with a stocking pulled over the lens, candlelit, with car headlights, flashlights, bicycle flashers, anything at all.

Then look at what you've done, and try to see what makes each image work, or not work. Do you see anything that excites you, bores you senseless, recalls a dream, or makes you want to punch out the cameraman?

There's no substitute for personal experience. When you're ready, there are whole libraries of technical books to take you farther on.
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#6 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 06:32 AM

$0.02 from a fellow newbie:

1. Spend a full day (at least) searching the archives of this site and check in daily.
2. Same with www.cinematography.net
3. By now you should have a better idea of which books to buy. Buy as many as you can.
4. Embrace still photography and the basics of exposure and lighting (even if you shoot video).
5. Visit Kodak's website for info about film, exposure, etc.
6. Gather knowledge. Organize. Apply.
7. Shoot.

Depends on how far you want to take your career. A professional (and professionally paid) cinematographer tends to have the technical stuff down to a science, and that's usually when true creativity shines through.
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#7 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 08:40 AM

Get some friends together, they don't necessarily have to be interested in filmmaking, write a short script, comedy or something, start imagining how the film will look and then make some storyboards. Go out and shoot it! Edit it yourself, do as much yourself as you can. That will give you an idea of how everything works. But don't stress yourself out, otherwise you will burn your enthusiasm down.

Review the outcome, see what you could improve, what you've learnt, what worked what didn't e.t.c.

And then start the same process again except for with a new script. And take what you've learnt from the previous film and apply it in the new film.

Books are helpful because they will help your technical knowledge and theory, getting out there and shooting a film will give you practical knowledge, which no book can teach.

So, try and balance reading books and making films. These forums are fantastic because you are speaking to professionals who have been there and done it themselves.

Dan.
(Student film maker)
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#8 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 09:00 AM

"""So, try and balance reading books and making films"""

Exactly. That's pretty much it in a nutshell.
And post your work as you progress.
You'll get constructive feedback.
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#9 Michael Collier

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 02:36 PM

If your already good with premiere (and if you have or could get after effects, you would be better off for color gradding) I would recomend you focus on the other aspects of your shot.

Lighting is key. The best 35mm camera will look like poo if you dont properly light it, but even a cheap DV cam will look decent with great lighting. (im sure especially on these boards people will back me on that one) Get a couple of open face tungsten and maybe a small kinoflo if you can afford them. I recomend getting at least 2 lowell omnis and 2 lowell totas. Get several different kinds of bulbs for them. If you can only have 4 insturments in your kit, at least you can set a light anywhere from 100w to 1000w.

make sure you get the barn doors for the omnis, as controling the light is just as important as having enough light. Buy a pack of gells to go with the kit. A few daylight corrections, a few nutral densitys, a few defusers and a few different color gells would be enough to give you several options. Go out and buy large peices of stiff foamcore board. Its relatively cheap and makes for very soft, pleasing light if you bounce a light off of it. They aslo work as a flag to create negative fill or control light spill, and work good outdoors as a bounce card.

after you get the lighting right you will need good sound. as a shotgun I recomend the senhiezer ME-66, possibly one of the best sounding senhiezer's ever. Better than the ME-88 that replaced it when the 66 was discontinued. since its out of production they will be hard to find, but you can find them for cheap on ebay sometimes. expect to pay 200-400 bucks. you may need an XLR addapter (about 150-200) if your camera only has 3.5mm audio in.

a cheaper solution is wired lav mics. they are small and can be hidden under hats or cloths and since they are so close you get perfect sound. the only downside is they are wired so if your actor ventures more than the wires 20' range, you will have a problem. also hiding the wire gets tricky, but for 20 bucks its a good deal. you can get 2 and a splitter so you can plug them both into a stereo audio in jack and record dialoge between two people really well. if the wire becomes a problem you can purchase a wireless lav, but those will run between 150-500 and up.

next time you make a movie take your time. you wont have the resources or manpower of a large budget movie, but you have what they envy....time and lots of it. dont shoot a scene until you have the look perfect. dont shoot if the audio is off. a polished movie will show your attention to detail and will hide equipment/budget shortcommings. clerks had its problems, but it was a damn good movie right?

hope that helps. I was in your shoes not to long ago and if you stick with it and focus on developing your talent you will go farther than the person who is looking for the quick in to the industry.
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#10 Jack Guthrey

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 07:42 PM

I already have access to Lowell Tota, Omni, and prolight along with barndoors for each an umbrella and stands along with some filters (Not sure what kind, they mimic sunlight). The hardest part I really have is getting people to be patient while I am trying to perfect everything. Most people just do not understand
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#11 Michael Collier

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 08:20 PM

On a well organized set, everyone should know what to do with their time if they arent being used. Try and pull some of the crew together to help running the lights and setting the picture. For the actors if you have a buddy who you trust I would have them go over the lines with the actors and give them tips, that way you dont have to deal with 10 takes that dont work at all. If people are getting antsy give them something to do. If there still isnt anything to do just be upfront about it. tell your cast and crew that you are interested in making the best movie possible and that art takes time (try telling that to a bean counter) If they are interested in being in a good movie they will understand. For the vain actors and actresses tell them you need time to set the perfect light to flatter their allready radious apperence. a little flattery should buy some time.

bottom line if you can still make your day and take the proper amount of time to set lights, take all the time you can get. dont let anyone or anything rush you into a mistake (unless rushing would mean the difference between getting it and not getting it.)

also go into each shoot with a very clear idea of what you want the lighting to look like. this will minimize ajustments and indesicion once you get on set. i forget who said it, maybe it was kubrick, who said by the time I get on set, I have seen the movie already in my head
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

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Opal

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Metropolis Post