Basic Cinematography

Learn the fundamentals of motion picture cinematography and be introduced to the basic creative and technical properties of film and digital formats.

In today's film and television production environment, cinematographers work in a variety of acquisition formats. Digital technology evolves continually, while many high-end productions continue to shoot on film. Whether a creative artist selects to tell their story with a film stock or a digital sensor, the basic tools of cinematography include a camera system, an imaging plane, lenses, filtration, and lighting units.

In the Basic Cinematography Workshop (BCW), students are introduced to the craft of cinematography through motion picture film and digital still photography. They explore the use of exposure, contrast, color, depth-of-field, and the importance of latitude and dynamic range in the creative process. Through hands-on exercises in the studio and on location, students discover the nuances and characteristics of film and digital technologies.

The lectures, demonstrations, fieldwork, screenings, and critiques work in conjunction to provide a basic overview of how to control the motion picture image. From that knowledge base, an emerging cinematographer begins to develop a "good eye."

In the context of basic cinematography, having a "good eye" translates to marrying the technical aspects of cinematography with a host of aesthetic considerations in support of the visual story. The considerations involve the framing and composition, the camera's angle and movement, along with the design of the project's shot series and sequences.

The major non-camera related aesthetic tool addressed in basic cinematography is portrait and scene lighting. Students touch upon the fundamentals of lighting portraits and scenes, and address different lighting strategies for film and digital cameras.

With the return of the week's film exercises as transferred telecine dailies, the film lab process will be discussed and incorporated into the digital post production workflow.

Please note: Basic Set Etiquette and Safety will be emphasized throughout the lectures and class exercises.

Level 1 students, or those with no set experince, must attend the one-day Set Etiquette & Safety course.

Testimonials:

"Great experience"
- Marcus Kronemeyer, San Diego, CA

"Maine Media Workshops is about the whole experience...its got the best of everything...makes me want to come back every year."
- Shisha Guha Thakurta

"This course helped me grow as an artist and as a technician, increasing my knowledge while allowing me room to explore my own impulses."
- Jeremy Steeger, Cambridge, MA

"I feel much more confident in my lighting ability after taking this course"
- Luke Hudgins, Halifax, Nova Scotia

 

Instructors

Mark Raker

“I have watched movies with love ever since I saw Mary Poppins as a kid. I would sneak downstairs after my parents were asleep and watch movies on PBS. It was like being in another world. My first career was lighting design for theater but an accident with a drunk driver forced me to take a break. During this timeout I watched every single movie at the rental store, at least once, and when I was ready to work, I was ready for the movies. What a joy to be able to express ourselves through images. A picture needs to communicate the character’s emotion to the audience even if the mute button is on or they’re from another culture or if they’re watching a hundred years from now. I love solving these visual problems with the director.”

Mark Raker has been creating award-winning film and television programs, and national television spots since the 1980’s, including A Letter to Elia, directed by Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones, An Unreasonable Man, Moment of Impact, and Michael Moore’s The Awful Truth.

His network clients include ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, IFC, TNT, BBC, Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic TV, Bravo, Sesame Workshops, and Sundance Channel.

In addition to his automotive expertise with a client list that includes Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Mercedes-Benz, Saturn and Subaru, Mark’s work with beauty and people has been in demand on many campaigns for Kodak, Victoria’s Secret, J. Crew, Avon, Pepsi, Aetna, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Bank Of America, Johnson & Johnson, Goldman-Sachs, Pitney Bowes, Hormel, Priceline.com, UBS, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and dozens more.

Mark was chosen by Kodak to design, direct and photograph a short movie celebrating the beauty of Black & White photography. Following the successful launch and worldwide distribution of over 100,000 DVDs, Kodak asked him to be involved with confidential product development of new film emulsions.

In addition Mark currently has films exhibited in museums in New York, Chicago, Minnesota and Seattle. He has served as a judge for film festivals and for the Emmy Awards. He has been featured in the magazine InCamera. He is a featured speaker for the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Since 1986 he has been the senior professor of cinematography at the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies where he has received the NYU Award for Teaching Excellence and the NYU Award for Outstanding Service. Since 2006 he has also served on the faculty of the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine.

 

 

Matt Siegel

Matt Siegel’s background centers on commercials, branding, and communications. With offices in Los Angeles and Singapore, his company Imageworks runs day and night, producing and filming spots for international brands SONY, Toyota, Ford, Audi, MasterCard, Microsoft, Nike, Adidas, and Coca-Cola. 

Matt has created wildly popular viral marketing campaigns with marquee clients, including Hasbro’s Nerf and Reebok’s hot Zigtech and EasyTone brands.

He has won international recognition for his spot work, including CLIO, ADDY, TELE, Golden Lion, and ACE awards.

In addition to commercial production, Matt has performed tours of duty as 2nd Unit DP and Camera Operator on the WB series Everwood, the CBS drama Joan of Arcadia, the Jerry Bruckheimer series Just Legal, and the top-rated CBS series The Mentalist.

His experience with Hollywood features includes camera operation on the major motions pictures The Matrix: Reloaded, Master and Commander, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Matt balances his professional film career with time in the classroom, conducting camera and lighting workshops around the world. He demonstrates production techniques and new technology for ARRI, Panasonic, and SONY. As a founder and arts professor, Matt lent his professional expertise to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts-Asia.

Matt enthusiastically teamed with Google's Studio G and Google X in Mountain View, CA., assisting in cutting edge R&D on groundbreaking projects like the driverless car and Google Glass along with a wide range of commercial, marketing, and communications applications.

His most recent publication on Digital Cinematography is due to be published by J.Wiley & Sons in 2013.