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Cinematographer

THE BUILDUP OF THE FIRST SEMESTER OF THE CINEMATOGRAPHY CLASS

 

The first semester is mandatory for every filmmaking student on a basic level.

This semester is 12 x 3 hours. It will consist of cinematographer lectures, discussions of practical examples, and camera and lighting exercises.

The classes will be held in ELTE’s classrooms or small studio (as per availability). Furthermore, we will hold practical displays at camera rentals, where our students will have the opportunity to familiarize and work with the equipment. We will also have post-production visits for professional color grading.

Cinematographer students will be frequently given homework. We will discuss the students’ works and projects in a workshop-like environment. A further requirement of the basic level cinematographer course is that the students will have to work with those from the advanced semester, helping out as crew members in their short films and commercials.

 

SEMESTER I

The basic tools of the cinematographer

  • Communicating with pictures. Basic elements: framing, composition, light constructions.
  • Light and shadows, exposition, setting a tone.
  • Recognizing lighting situations found in nature. Light directions. Effect lamps, practicals, diegetic lighting.
  • Types of camera movements and their function.

Camera and lighting tools

  • Introducing the camera and its accessories, the technical aspects, and the different lenses.
  • Familiarizing with the different lamps, and technical tools and accessories related to basic lighting.

The role of the cinematographer during pre-production

  • Discussing the screenplay with the director, creating a visual style together.
  • Choosing the locations through scouting from the point of view of the cinematographer.
  • Agreeing on the pictures’ world with the production designer.
  • Active participation from the cinematographer in the making of the storyboard.

The working relationships of the cinematographer during shooting

  • Working relationship between the director and the cinematographer.
  • Mise-en-scène from the point of view of the cinematographer.
  • Working with the gaffer.
  • Collaborating with the rest of the crew, the electricians, and the set designers.
  • The mini-crew. Student films and micro-budget from the cinematographer’s point of view.

The tasks of the cinematographer during post-production

  • Consulting with the director before locking the final cut.
  • Color grading.

Technical, lighting, and camera exercises

  • Lighting and camera exercises in ELTE’s small studio (as per availability).
  • Shooting various materials inside ELTE territory using the less complex cameras available (with the teacher’s permission); executing cinematographer home works.
  • Joint practical class with the directing students. We will shoot short scenes. The main focus of this practice is not on the story or acting, but on placing and moving the camera; the different types of shots; and mise-en-scène from the point of view of the director and the cinematographer.

Short film making exercises

  • The cinematographer students will shoot short stories and scenes while working with the directing students and the cinematography teacher.

 

THE SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH SEMESTER OF CINEMATOGRAPHY CLASS

The additional three (optional) semesters are recommended for those cinematographer students who aim to become professional cinematographers or cameramen.

The semesters will consist of lectures, discussions of the practical examples, and the completion of camera and lighting exercises.

Students will be frequently given homework. We will discuss the students’ works and projects in a workshop-like environment.

The classes will be held in ELTE’s class rooms or small studio (as per availability). (Those cinematographer students, who want to shoot with ELTE’s cameras or use their equipment, will have to take a basic exam after a practical training. This is in order to ensure proper use for both the cinematographer students’ and the equipment’s safety.) Furthermore, we will hold practical displays at camera rentals with more expensive and professional gear. Our students will have the opportunity to familiarize and work with the available equipment. 

In these advanced semesters, the cinematographer students will work on their own projects, and also help out the directing students by joining their crews. Every short film or commercial made in directing class will have a cinematographer from this advanced class. Working with the production-ready screenplays we will help the students in creating the storyboard and scouting locations. We will discuss the production tasks of the cinematographer, focusing on each project one-by-one.

The requirement of the exam films in these semesters is that the cinematographer students can’t use special lighting or actors. They will have to complete the project working with the power of the scenes shot and edited together. The film will have no director, screenplay, editor or a producer. The cinematographer students will have to make the exam films all by themselves.

 

SEMESTER II

Theory

  • Whole system’s dynamic range and color depth.
  • Zone system.
  • Color temperature and color balance.
  • Lenses, formats, viewing angle.

Basic lighting exercises for cinematographer students

  • Lighting black-and-white still lives consisting of small objects.
  • Lighting a black-and-white portrait.
  • Portrait lighting through examples from films.
  • Lighting effect with lamps.

Camera movement exercises

  • Panning, tilting and zooming.
  • Tracking a moving subject.
  • Professional tips for handheld camera movement.

Two minutes exam film (associative or rhythmic study)

  • Working out the cinematographer idea and getting it approved.
  • Working out the screenplay and cinematographer storyboard, getting it approved.

 

SEMESTER III

Theory

  • The practice of light metering.
  • Color timing.
  • Data compression, codecs, containers.

Lighting exercises for cinematographer students

  • Introduction to more complex lighting tools.
  • Lighting wider shots.
  • Connecting shots with different field sizes: problems and their solutions.
  • Changing camera direction mid-shot: lighting problems and their solutions.

Camera movement exercises

  • Simpler camera movement tools: slider, dolly.
  • Dolly exercises.
  • Dollying and tracking a moving subject.

2-minute exam film (associative or rhythmic study)

  • Working out the cinematographer idea and getting it approved.
  • Working out the screenplay and cinematographer storyboard, getting it approved.

 

SEMESTER IV

Theory

  • The role of the cinematographer in CGI.
  • Complex composition tasks.

Lighting exercises for cinematographer students

  • Lighting a two-camera set. Using two cameras simultaneously.

Special shooting techniques

  • The use of chroma key effects.
  • Time-lapse and slow-motion recording.

Two minutes exam film (silent film, storytelling)

  • Working out the cinematographer idea and getting it approved.
  • Working out the screenplay and cinematographer storyboard, getting it approved.