Course Structure

INSTRUCTION MODULE:

Basic Still Photography

Cinematography derives most of its technical and artistic skill from the knowledge of still photography.It is through still photography that students understand basic ideas like framing, exposure, shutter speeds, depth of field and lensing.By learning to use the still camera well, students actually create for themselves a solid foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge, which they can build upon as they go on to movie cameras.

History - Cinema and Cameras

Students are introduced to the art of Cinematography with its history and shown films in various genres.This encourages open discussion and also an exchange of ideas between the faculty and the class. Cinematography and its skills in the absence of present day technological advancements is a good way to learn how many optical effects were achieved through simple means without sophisticated gadgetry.

Visual Eye

The Cinematographer is the 'visual eye' of the Director and hence it is indeed essential that both are on the same page. The course stresses on this aspect and conducts workshops to help cinematographers co-relate with the director's vision. The Cinematographer needs to understand the mood and context of the screenplay which should eventually transpose itself into a unique visual style. It is the Cinematographer's job to create a visual narration that communicates eloquently.

Lensing

Lensing is directly connected to the emotional response of spectators. It is the lens that decides the image magnification, the depth of field, the area of coverage and the plane of focus.It is also the lens that helps us capture the subtle variations of light and textures. Students discover the artistic fundamentals of shot taking and are taught how lensing is the most crucial aspect of mise-en-scene as well as shot break down.

Lighting

Lighting is different for diverse mediums and hence there are different lighting techniques for still photography, film and television. The parameters along with techniques of each are explained in detail.Students are taught to set up the shoots themselves and work on the textures of light. Students are given inputs in both indoor and outdoor lighting to enable them to respond to any kind of challenge in their professional life.

Shooting on Film Cameras

In this module students are taught how to use and operate all the latest cameras Canon C-100, Canon C-300, Canon C-500, Arri Alexa, Arri Amaira, Red Dragon and Red Epic Cameras. Getting used to operations like panning, tilting, tracking and zooming along with familiarization with magazine changes, film loading and using variable film speeds and shutter angles form the sum and substance of this module.

Videography

When the image is acquired electronically, instead of the usual optical process then it is called videography. Students are taught the nitty gritty of how video signals are generated, amplified and recorded. They are also brought into contact with information about the various formats and resolutions in which video exists today.Apart from inputs in DV CAM, multicam setups, they are also given inputs into high end cameras like Red and various other HD cameras capable of 2k (film) resolution and the knowledge of 2k film transfer.

Shooting for Chroma

Whenever it is found necessary to create a composite shot using two or more separate shots, the techniques of keying, matting and frame blending are used. Students are taught how to light up green/blue screens meant for chroma key effects and also give in inputs about matting and blending techniques.

Digital Intermediate and Colour Grading

Students are given inputs as well as taken on study tours to make them cognizant of the latest Digital Intermediate (DI) and colour grading technology with the popularity of 2k projection and high end colour processing, an exposure to the complete workflow of Cinematography is a must.

Projects:

P1: Lensing, Framing and Composition

Knowledge of still photography finds its use by extension, in the motion picture camera. Students are taught concepts like perspective depth of field, depth of focus and lens speed by physically showing the changes in an image by changing the prime lenses or by changing the focal distance in a high-resolution zoom lens. Connected to the idea of lensing is the aesthetics of framing and composition. Appropriate aesthetic inputs are given to show the direct relationship between lensing, frame composition and emotions

P2: Camera and Gear options

Students are given hands on training to enhance their skills in camera operations like focus pulling, panning, tilting, fluid head movement, using track trolleys, cranes, jibs and steadicam harnesses.

P3 Camera Movements and Continuity

Having learnt the basics of framing and composition the students then move on to learning about continuity and camera movement. In a series of exercises in increasing order of complexity starting with two characters in movement to four characters in movement across multiple zones in a single space, the students learn the basics of handling space and movement. Attention is paid to the requirement of maintaining directional continuity as well as the devices by which such continuity can be broken.

P4 Mise-en-Scene

Cinematographers need to know Mise-en-Scene as much as Directors. The ability of a cinematographer is to design a shot not only to give information functionally but also to do it in a way that creates 'meaning'. The students are taught the use of props, character movement, camera movement, composition and lighting - All combining to create a cinematically meaningful shot. The exercises are again graded in increasing order of complexity starting with two characters and ending with four.

Final Project:

In the final project, cinematography students collaborate with direction course students form units and shoot a film upto 10 minutes on Canon 5D camera format. As a final culmination of their learning at Digital Academy-The Film School, Cinematography students in this project are tested for their ability to find the correct visual rendition of a narrative and also on technical matters like consistency of lighting, consistency of tonality, focus pulling and exposure. The students are encouraged to shoot in exterior, interior and mixed conditions.

The final project films are edited in the Digital Academy editing studios and the entire sound post-production is also done in the Digital Academy Audio workstations.

The completed films can be taken by the students as their showreel along with the earlier practical projects.

The Digital Academy student benefit:

- No previous knowledge needed.

- Study of various Film and HD cameras.

- Exposure to multi camera set-up, lighting and shooting.

- Lighting and camera operations for motion picture and television.

- A fine balance of theory and practicals.

- Additional shooting sessions on floors.

- All shooting facilities in-house.

- Shooting on Digital Cameras like Canon 5D, Canon C-100, Canon C-300, Canon C-500, Arri Alexa, Arri Amaira, Red Epic and Red Dragon cameras.

- Students take the self composed, shot and processed film as their demo reel which they shoot in association with the Direction students.

In short, a cinematography student from Digital Academy is ready to be absorbed as a certified Cinematographer in any entertainment stream.

Note:- Curriculum subject to change