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Zahi Farah

Looking for a 3 to 6 month Cinematography program

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Hey everyone, I've been looking for a solid, hands-on introductory class for a while now and I'm looking for some advice, recommendations, tips, things to look (out) for.

The program should give me a foundation on which I can build for the coming years. I want to learn the tools and craft, not how to use a particular camera.

I've found three solid options so far, and they are:

1- Maine Media Workshops (Maine, USA): 10 week intensive cinematography workshop.
PROS: Asked around and this program is definitely solid with some world class instructors. CONS: Extremely expensive. (16k)

2- Global Institute (LA, USA): The foundational programs.
PROS: World class program and instructors, located in L.A.
CONS: Asked a friend, apparently even the foundational programs are a bit too advanced for someone who's never worked in the camera department. Pretty expensive (expensive at about 10k for a bunch of classes).

3- Afilms (Barcelona, Spain): 3 month Feature Film Cinematography.
PROS: Solid program, but not as good as the other two though significantly cheaper.
CONS: Starts in a year, that's in quite a long time. I feel like doing this in a couple of months.

I don't mind studying anywhere in the world, as long as I can justify it to myself. The class should be technical. I've been curating and improving my eyes for a while now and I'm pretty familiar with filmmaking at many levels, but I want to demystify light (or at least start the process), as I feel it will benefit me greatly as a director. I also feel like shaping light, so being able to DP my own little projects, explore studio photography etc. is something I'm interested in.

I'm not under the illusion that I will become a DP after this workshop, I just want to be able to think like one at a basic level, so I can improve myself in the future.

Director's showreel if anyone's curious.

Thanks in advance.

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I saw your showreel and visually it looks like there is a pretty good amount of knowledge. You've had a separate DoP calling the shots for all of that reel?

What do you know so far?

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I saw your showreel and visually it looks like there is a pretty good amount of knowledge. You've had a separate DoP calling the shots for all of that reel?

What do you know so far?

 

Hey Macks, thanks.

 

I work in collaboration with the DP for sure, we engage in long conversations about a bunch of stuff before shooting anything. To answer your question though, I call and design my own shots.

 

As to 'what I know' in terms of cinematography, technically I'm not that knowledgable.

I've never worked in the camera department. As a director I understand the importance of light but I wouldn't know how to shape it myself. I've got a good grasp on composition and movement however I have little to no hands-on, practical experience with cameras or lights.

 

I'd like to take a cinematography class that would fill that technical gap and at the same time train my eyes. At heart I believe that every director is in some way a cinematographer, a music composer, an editor, a colorist etc. Now I feel that it's time for me to actually get in there and try things out with my own hands. It just seems like the right thing to do at the moment.

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If I had to choose one of those places to live for 3 months I think it would be Barcelona.
Edited by Mark Dunn

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On 3/14/2018 at 12:04 PM, Zahi Farah said:

Hey everyone, I've been looking for a solid, hands-on introductory class for a while now and I'm looking for some advice, recommendations, tips, things to look (out) for.

 

The program should give me a foundation on which I can build for the coming years. I want to learn the tools and craft, not how to use a particular camera.

 

I've found three solid options so far, and they are:

 

1- Maine Media Workshops (Maine, USA): 10 week intensive cinematography workshop.
PROS: Asked around and this program is definitely solid with some world class instructors. CONS: Extremely expensive. (16k)

 

2- Global Institute (LA, USA): The foundational programs.
PROS: World class program and instructors, located in L.A.
CONS: Asked a friend, apparently even the foundational programs are a bit too advanced for someone who's never worked in the camera department. Pretty expensive (expensive at about 10k for a bunch of classes).

 

3- Afilms (Barcelona, Spain): 3 month Feature Film Cinematography.
PROS: Solid program, but not as good as the other two though significantly cheaper.
CONS: Starts in a year, that's in quite a long time. I feel like doing this in a couple of months.

I don't mind studying anywhere in the world, as long as I can justify it to myself. The class should be technical. I've been curating and improving my eyes for a while now and I'm pretty familiar with filmmaking at many levels, but I want to demystify light (or at least start the process), as I feel it will benefit me greatly as a director. I also feel like shaping light, so being able to DP my own little projects, explore studio photography etc. is something I'm interested in.

 

I'm not under the illusion that I will become a DP after this workshop, I just want to be able to think like one at a basic level, so I can improve myself in the future.

 

Director's showreel if anyone's curious.

 

Thanks in advance.

Hey Zahi,

Did you actually take one of those courses? I got really interest in the Maine Media and Afilm ones  and would like to know anyone's thoughts on them.

I'm from Brazil and open to travel to different places so I can learn with the best!

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Hi Zahi! 

Have you taken a look at EFTI in Madrid? 

https://efti.es/master-de-fotografia/master-internacional-en-direccion-de-fotografia-en-cine

Also, the best film school in Spain offers Masters in different subjects and one of them is cinematography, I think that they almost start from scratch in terms of lighting. 

https://escac.com/en/education/course-guide/

Now, there is a course in Kerry, Ireland, from time to time that is taught by Mo Flam and is similar to the Maine Workshop, only it costs €350 / €400!! it runs for a week and is a great great place! 

The Dawn Workshops at the Kerry College

https://www.facebook.com/TheDawnWorkshops/

Have a lovely day!

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8 hours ago, Karen Eggers said:

Hey Zahi,

Did you actually take one of those courses? I got really interest in the Maine Media and Afilm ones  and would like to know anyone's thoughts on them.

I'm from Brazil and open to travel to different places so I can learn with the best!

Hey Karen,

I did end up taking the Global Cinematography courses. As a beginner/aspiring cinematographer I found the workshop to be, on average, solid and helpful. Teaching places emphasis on learning how to see, being specific and having a gameplan when walking onto a set; all of which sounds great to me.

Not all classes are the same, I took every class in both the beginner and advanced programs, which I do not recommend in doing. Pick your classes carefully and make sure there's enough time left in the week for you to take a breather should you decide to enroll. Furthermore, it was my first time in LA. Basically LA has no equal when it comes to the film industry, everyone and everything is there so if you want to get familiar with the film industry, that's the best place to be in my opinion.

Overall I would recommend GCI if you have the money (it's quite costly), the time and are a beginner. If you have somewhat solid technical knowledge, understand sensors, dynamic range, lenses, workflow etc. Then perhaps this workshop is not for you. Perhaps your money would be better invested in the more important part of the craft (again, just my opinion), which is sculpting with light, elevating emotions etc.

Point being that I believe GCI to be more of a technical school than anything else, although they do have some classes that work on your artistic sensibilities.

Can't speak for Maine Media. I did have a call with Juan Fernandez, AEC, of Afilm -- he seems like a cool guy and definitely quite knowledgeable. The program is customizable as there's only a couple of students admitted per year, so that's a plus. You'd get to be in Europe as well which in itself is an experience.

Hope this helps a bit.

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On 8/20/2019 at 7:07 AM, Zahi Farah said:

Hey Karen,

I did end up taking the Global Cinematography courses. As a beginner/aspiring cinematographer I found the workshop to be, on average, solid and helpful. Teaching places emphasis on learning how to see, being specific and having a gameplan when walking onto a set; all of which sounds great to me.

Not all classes are the same, I took every class in both the beginner and advanced programs, which I do not recommend in doing. Pick your classes carefully and make sure there's enough time left in the week for you to take a breather should you decide to enroll. Furthermore, it was my first time in LA. Basically LA has no equal when it comes to the film industry, everyone and everything is there so if you want to get familiar with the film industry, that's the best place to be in my opinion.

Overall I would recommend GCI if you have the money (it's quite costly), the time and are a beginner. If you have somewhat solid technical knowledge, understand sensors, dynamic range, lenses, workflow etc. Then perhaps this workshop is not for you. Perhaps your money would be better invested in the more important part of the craft (again, just my opinion), which is sculpting with light, elevating emotions etc.

Point being that I believe GCI to be more of a technical school than anything else, although they do have some classes that work on your artistic sensibilities.

Can't speak for Maine Media. I did have a call with Juan Fernandez, AEC, of Afilm -- he seems like a cool guy and definitely quite knowledgeable. The program is customizable as there's only a couple of students admitted per year, so that's a plus. You'd get to be in Europe as well which in itself is an experience.

Hope this helps a bit.

Hey Zahi,

Thanks a lot for your feedback! It's very helpful.

For me it only seems like the downside of this course is the duration. It's about only 2 weeks, right? I was looking for a more intensive and longer experience, that's why I thought the Maine Media Workshop would be more appropriate to me. But being located in LA seems like it's one of the best parts of it, definitely.

I would love to study in Europe, I was almost applying for a Masters in the UK but I found some negative responses about the course I was choosing (Cinematography af Goldsmiths). Plus I started thinking that if I really want to work with filmmaking I should go to a place that has the strongest industry of all, specially considering the possibility of networking the course offers and maybe even getting a job there in the future. Or maybe that's not possible at all and I'm just being too optimistic.

Anyway, loved hearing about your experience!

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