Category Archives: EDUCATION
Sorry for not writing any sooner, been busy, lots happening in my life! I will update you folks with some major news pretty soon, hopefully. In any case I am always experimenting, testing, story boarding, creating, learning and sharing experiences. Cinematography is a never-ending story, a master art and you will never master it all. So intriguing.
I believe that lenses are important in any production, but definitely lighting has the edge. It sets a mood, it creates your cinematography, better still it’s the eternal fight between the shadows and the light that rules the world out…. as the Chinese would say, by drawing a Tao logo. So lenses are no more than boys’ toys? No, they are not. They are meaningful, but do not get too crazy about them, try to focus more on directing or DP-ing… lenses are just tools.
In this post I would like to spend a few words on how cinematography was a gift to me, in the same way DSLR film making has been.
I guess I was born in a very judgmental family. Back in the days my mum and dad used to chat a lot about how things should have been done, how they would have done stuff, how this or that was entirely wrong and so on. Call it fate or Karma, but in the end I ended up being a super critic for a long part of my life. Just because I did not realize I was critic, to me it was just being “normal”. Apart from the fact that it’s hard to draw a line, and say what can be considered normal and what can’t, I guess it’s just how you feel about your world.
Doing some group therapy, getting a partner and having a baby…. well, that changed my life. Even more doing what most might call “spiritual” work, rather I would rather call it just food for your soul. The path ahead of me it’s rather long, mostly you will never end walking, again that is just “normal” now.
It safe to agree that taking pictures and film making differ but the term “motion picture” is somehow strongly related to photography.
In other terms, we could say that making films is taking pictures with a motion camera. This art is also known as Cinematography.
What difference is there between the term “cinematographer” and “director of photography” often abbreviated in DP or DoP ? To many, both terms seem quite interchangeable. Some insist that a cinematographer is a DP sitting behind the camera, but this is far from being universally accepted.
Color correcting your footage is pretty much unavoidable, these days every movie or music video clip you watch has been post processed and color corrected.
This is an art in itself and that is why it requires skills, training and a dedicated professional.
Fact is that on smaller productions, budgets are quite tight, and you end up doing it yourself… much like it happens for other traditionally separated roles, such as a director of photography, a camera operator or an editor. In the end, it’s all good. First you have to learn it all to understand and then truly appreciate the work of others you might team up with.
Color processing is part of the post processing work that needs to be done on the footage you shot, which may include other tasks like re-lighting or re-framing a particular shot, or VFX work.
There are some tools of the trade that come into rescue and one of the most well-known is Red Giant’s Magic Bullet. Mostly, it works with presets, and it’s a one-stop process. Super easy to use and with visually catching results.
You have certainly noticed that I mostly write about the GH2. I used to own the 5DmkII, it was the first DSLR I shot video with. It has indeed been the first love for many and still truly is. But since the coming of the hack for the panny it was sudden divorce for me.
I still love the colors you get out of the Canon, there is a certain richness and overall dynamic range you simply cannot get out of the GH2. I feel that the whole color pattern has a grey, duller base throughout the gamma, with a green bias.
You have to work hard around this in post to make it look great, but it’ s doable. I have an upcoming post dedicated to color correction and I will discuss this matter in greater depth soon. The way your final work looks it’s too much of an important subject to be done with a few lines.
While there is no doubt the above sticks as a con, 0n the pro side
– the panny it’ s true 1080p as opposed to the lower resolution of the Canon, that claims to be full HD but looks like HD ready (720p)
– magic lantern it’s a very nice addition, but even in its latest incarnation cannot deliver as much as Vitaliy Kiselev and all his community have so far achieved with Ptools and the patches
– it’ s got a swiveling screen in place of a non sens fixed lcd
– it’ s way cheaper
Lighting, lenses and camera. They all affect how your footage is going to look like and how you will perform as a director of photography or a cinematographer. Well, that is beside the real personal skills you have. They matter and they come indeed into the game. That is to say you can be a master in your job but if you relate badly to people you work with it’s all going down the pan in the end. I guess this is true for any job you do but let’s remember that film-making is a collaborative job for starters and you have to relate well with your fellows.