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Photgrapher to Cinematographer


Peter Grant
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I live in NYC and have an extensive commercial/fine art photography background and lighting experience and wanted to see how my eye and skills can be applied behind the moving camera.

 

Is there a place where I can find out about assisting established camera or DP people in the industry? Woud you recommend workshops like in Maine (MPW)

 

Any advice would be great.

 

William

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I was a still photographer for 8 years then turned to cinematography. The first thing I did was talk to some people at a camera rental house, picking their brains, and about a month later I was on a plane to the Maine Workshops. The Workshops were a great experience, they have you engaged for 16 hours a day, kind of like the hours on a typical film set. Definitely a good place to decide if you're into it or not, and you can do it in a week.

 

Having a photographic foundation is great, with the understanding of film exposure, composition, lighting, etc. But now you're now going from telling a story in one frozen image to telling it in sequences of moving images with sound. The transition from stills to motion will be easier for commercials and music videos. I bet the other members here will agree that narrative filmmaking is a little more complex...

 

Also, you have to learn new vocabulary, especially when communicating with your director and your crew. The solitary craft becomes a collaborative craft...have fun with it!

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Maine's workshop is one of the best in the country.

 

But institutes like AFI, USC also have got some great cinematography programs though they are expensive.

 

Checking out European film schools wouldn't hurt coz some of the best cinematographers working in Hollywood hail from Europe.

 

All the best on your endeavours

 

 

Brad

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I was a still photographer for 8 years then turned to cinematography. The first thing I did was talk to some people at a camera rental house, picking their brains, and about a month later I was on a plane to the Maine Workshops. The Workshops were a great experience, they have you engaged for 16 hours a day, kind of like the hours on a typical film set. Definitely a good place to decide if you're into it or not, and you can do it in a week.

 

Having a photographic foundation is great, with the understanding of film exposure, composition, lighting, etc. But now you're now going from telling a story in one frozen image to telling it in sequences of moving images with sound. The transition from stills to motion will be easier for commercials and music videos. I bet the other members here will agree that narrative filmmaking is a little more complex...

 

Also, you have to learn new vocabulary, especially when communicating with your director and your crew. The solitary craft becomes a collaborative craft...have fun with it!

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  • 7 months later...

I'm a 2nd year student of photography, and am looking to follow a similar direction in education. I really am interested in becoming well educated on camera work, lighting and linear/non-linear editing.. but really don't have the care to work as a director, writer, actor etc.. Are there any specific film schools in Canada that hone in on these specific subjects? Or is it just par for the course to get your hands dirty in all aspects of film making before specializing?

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I'm a 2nd year student of photography, and am looking to follow a similar direction in education. I really am interested in becoming well educated on camera work, lighting and linear/non-linear editing.. but really don't have the care to work as a director, writer, actor etc.. Are there any specific film schools in Canada that hone in on these specific subjects? Or is it just par for the course to get your hands dirty in all aspects of film making before specializing?

 

 

stick with completing the photography education and then try working on a few independent sets -- try getting AC positions or if you can't jump on a set as PA and talk to the camera crew when you get the chance. Cinematography is all about photography but with motion. once you honed the skills in photography now learn the new tools (cameras and equipment) in cinematography.

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Thanks Natalie, I thought about your reply, and some of what you recommended may already be a possibility.

 

My photography course is near complete, and I will be completing 'on the job training' with two photographers, the first Andrew Law in Montreal, then hoping to work with a unit photographer that does set and stills photography in the maritimes. I'm hoping that at some point along the way, I'll be able to develop a couple contacts in the industry and try to get work around sets, and like you say, talk to the camera men as much as possible.

 

There is also an independent media arts program that I can join here that provides access to professional equipment with a few minor courses and if you can get your name in credits of at least a small budget independent project.. I'm guessing will at least give me a start with lingo and equipment familiarity.

 

My photography is pretty much geared toward film inspired stills & editorial work at the moment, and I'm really feeling the need to branch into other mediums. I'm currently working on getting through the books 'Matters of Light & Depth', and John Alton's 'Painting with Light', and am checking out the Hollywood Camera Work dvd set.

 

Any further recommendations, or advice you can provide would be great.

 

Thanks,

Kris

Edited by krisbfunk
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  • 8 months later...
Maine's workshop is one of the best in the country.

 

But institutes like AFI, USC also have got some great cinematography programs though they are expensive.

 

Checking out European film schools wouldn't hurt coz some of the best cinematographers working in Hollywood hail from Europe.

 

All the best on your endeavours

 

 

Brad

Just out of curiosity, you don't by any chance know the names of any of the european schools. Britain in particuler.

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In the real business, will people want a DP who has a solid photography background or someone who has a lot of experiences on set (ie. AC, Gaffer, Grip, etc.)? I think I'm a pretty good photographer. But at a school where everyone emphasizes experiences so much, people just don't trust in me because I don't have enough experiences on set. :huh:

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