Advice for aspiring cinematographers

Lazlo

New member
I am a high school student that is very interested in cinematography, but I am having trouble coming to grips with everything that accompanies the interest: cameras, lights, tri-pods, dollies. Its hard to uphold a passion that you can't afford. Anyways, any advice you have: do's, or dont's, please let me know.
 

MarkG

New member
If you're trying to learn cinematography on the cheap you can do a lot with an old 35mm still camera that gives you manual exposure control (doesn't need to be an expensive and complex one, a pure manual model will do) and a basic set of lights. I know some people have shot movies using the 500W exterior lights that a lot of people put on their houses (cost a few bucks from a hardware store, but are tricky to use with no barn doors to control the light), and polystyrene ceiling tiles should make usable reflectors.
 
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mrblue1022

Guest
The Basics

The Basics

As a cinematographer, you don't need to own lights or a dolly. Those are gripping and gaffing gear. You have to know what to do with them when they are on set, but forget trying to own them. A lot of DPs I have worked with usually end up renting cameras as well.

My best suggestion to you would be to buy an 8mm camera. You can find them cheap on ebay. Don't worry about getting one that has sound either, you don't need it. So you get your 8mm camera, buy some cheap film, then go to your local library and check out every book you can find on cinematography. Read the books, learn the techniques and then go out and practice what you've learned. You will soon find yourself learning how to compose shots, shoot for the emotion, and capture the essence of the story. Everything I learned about a shooting I learned with my grandfather's 8mm camera.

You might also want to find a local filmmaking group in your area and hook up with other filmmakers. Volunteer to work on the camera crews of films being shot in your area. You will learn tons just by watching other filmmakers work.

Rob
 

MarkG

New member
The downside of super-8 is that it's hard to find anything other than the normal 40ASA Kodak film cartridges these days. I know there's a place in London that produces and processes its own cartridges with other film stocks, but I'm not sure how easy they are to get in the rest of the world.
 
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mrblue1022

Guest
Finding 8mm film

Finding 8mm film

While 8mm film is not available everywhere, it is easy to find thanks to the Internet. Sellers on ebay often times put up 8mm film, although you usually are taking a chance on the quality that you get. Several sites on the Interenet resell 8mm stock. Also, Kodak still makes several different versions of its Super8 stock.

Rob
 
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Digigenic

Guest
:lol:
Did someone say counterproductive?

Look at the great lengths one would have to go just to acquire and develop 8mm film :!: It's ridiculous :!: GO DIGITAL :!: Everything will be at your fingertips. At least with mini DV tape you don't have to trust an anonymous online dealer from Bangladesh, and 20 different faceless mail carriers for delivery and developing. Hell, the cost of all that mayhem could end up equaling the total cost of 2 camcorders and 100 RE-RECORDABLE DV tapes.

I do agree with Mark’s suggestion of starting off with still photography.
Many cinematographers and even directors started out with a passion in photography, it's a good stepping-stone.
 

FullSaileee

New member
Re: Cinematography

Re: Cinematography

Hello Lazlo,
I see you are interested in learning cinematography, I think the advice given on the forum is great, but before you buy anything you need to built a concept and understand what cinematography is. Number one advice anyone can give you about cinematography is cinematography requires a lot of patience and practice. To get an understanding of cinematography I recommend reading a book called CINEMATOGRAPHY BY: BLAIN BROWN, the book does a great job from simple concepts of what cinematography is all the way to advance techniques like different types of transfers/process of film; besides some typos I think this book is great for beginners to novice.

If you need any specific help with a certain look/topic I will be glad to help. :D
 

Lazlo

New member
I am very interested in still photography, and use an old minolta srt201, and go out quite frequently. As for the super8, Im not sure... I am familiar with developing b+w stills, but I would have to get a projector, as well as special developing equipment if I wanted to develop myself. And sending it out is very expensive from what I have heard. Digital is expensive too... sigh... Thanks for all your help though. I will check into that book. :D
 
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