Overview

Duration: 10 months, Weekday 

Very simply the invention of the movie camera in the late 19th century started the miracle called Cinema. From extremely basic hand-cranked devices to the extremely sophisticated film and HD cameras of today—the history of cinematography is synonymous with the history of Cinema itself.

The persons looking through the viewfinder, controlling aperture, focus, shutter angle and lighting are the magicians called Cinematographers.

As Sven Nyquist, a world-renowned cinematographer puts it "The art of cinematography is nothing but the art of painting with light". But artistry apart, Cinematography is also a highly technical field. A good Cinematographer needs to know the physics of optics, the chemistry of laboratory processing, the electronics of video cameras and the mathematics of exposure.

If ever there was a profession that married science and art, it is the profession of Cinematography. It is the Cinematographers who become the "eye" of the Director, transposing his/her vision into unforgettable images that leave an indelible impression on our minds.

The students at DA Film School, are not only given hands-on practical training in film and digital cameras along with extensive lensing and lighting practical’s, but are also given a rigorous input in the aesthetics of image making.

We prepare our students to be able to perform in all kinds of shooting conditions, be it the studio floor, the exterior space or a combination of interior and exterior lighting conditions. We also train them to work as part of a collaborative team and be able to communicate with the Director and understand his or her requirements fully.

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 16 mm and 35 mm 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 nifty 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, multi-cam setups, they are also given inputs into high end cam-eras 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 (D1) and color grading technology with the popularity of 2k projection and high end color processing, an exposure to the complete workflow of Cinematography is a must.

"Lighting is so complex that it's hard to quantify. It's like playing piano. I like to equate cinema to music. I'm performing a musical composition when lighting a scene” - Conrad Hall

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 steady cam 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.

P5. Final Project:

In the final project, cinematography students collaborate with direction course students form units and shoot a film up to 10 minutesDA 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 DA Film School editing studios and the entire sound post-production is also done in the DA Film School audio workstations.

The students can take the completed films as their show reel along with the earlier practical projects.

Career

Television, video, and motion picture camera operators produce images that tell a story, inform, entertain an audience, or record an event. Making of commercial quality movies and video programs requires technical expertise and creativity. Producing successful wages requires choosing and presenting Interesting material, selecting appropriate equipment and applying a good eye and a steady hand to assure smooth natural movement of the camera. Technical expertise, a "good eye", imagination and creativity are essential. Cinematographers need good eyesight artistic ability, and hand-eye coordination. They should be patient, accurate, and detail-oriented. They also should have good communication skills, and, if needed, the ability to hold a camera by hand for extended periods. Employment of Cinematographers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations in the near future. Rapid expansion of the entertainment market especially motion picture production and distribution, will spur growth for camera operators. In addition, computer and Internet services provide new outlets for interactive productions. Cinematographers will be needed to film made-for-the internet broad-casts such as music videos, digital movies, sports, and general information or entertainment programming.

Mostly starting as apprentices to well-established cameramen, the rise to the top need not necessarily is slow and steady for aspiring cinematographers. All it takes is one independent job to be noticed and the sky is then the limit. Remunerations are modest for apprentices but leap in quantum measures as one's artistry and uniqueness is recognized. Cameramen are highest paid technicians in any film unit. A career in cinematography is a career of adventure, excitement good remuneration and extreme job satisfaction.

Note: - Course Curriculum & Courseware subject to change.

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