Refine methods, technologies, and aesthetics with a Master Director of Photography.

Photo taken by: Danni ScullyA film director relies on the director of photography to help create a specific look appropriate to the story. Award-winning cinematographers discuss their work, and share the many challenges they faced in achieving "the look." The relationship between the director of photography, the director, and other creative personnel during preproduction and production is addressed and discussed at length. The class explores the camera's role in the filmmaking process: formats, aspect ratios, lenses and the impact of digital technology.

Through screenings, demonstrations, and discussions on technology and processes, the class covers the use of lighting, art direction, scene coverage and planning for special effects. The class screens and analyzes scenes from influential films from mainstream and independent cinema. The theory and motivation behind specific aesthetics, scene coverage, lighting, lens selection and camera movement are explored.

This is an opportunity to work with and get to know other creative professionals in a relaxed and informal setting. The pace is less intensive than in other workshops, with more time devoted to discussion of careers and industry trends. Students may bring a professional reel to share with the class and receive feedback.

Students are asked to submit a résumé and professional reel upon submission.


"I learned more in one week about film lighting than I did in an entire year of film class in college."
- Scott Auerbach, Atlanta, GA

"This is where the great DPs meet and we all learn from the best."
- Wei Zhou, Mountain View, CA

"This class changed my perspective about film and brought the impossible closer to reality."
- Paul Patton, Wilmington, DE

"I've been coming here since 2002 and am always impressed with the instructors' knowledge, experience, and their willingness to share."
- Jack Chavez, San Jose, CA


Russell Carpenter, ASC

Russell Paul Carpenter, A.S.C., is a celebrated cinematographer and native Southern Californian, born in Van Nuys, Calif., in 1950. Among Carpenter’s most celebrated collaborations are those with director James Cameron for the films TRUE LIES and TITANIC. Carpenter received the Oscar for his cinematography on TITANIC. Among his other films are 21, CHARLIE’S ANGELS, AWAKE, MONSTER-IN-LAW, NEGOTIATOR, SHALLOW HAL, NOEL, INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD and LADY IN WHITE. With a background in educational and documentary films, Carpenter enjoys mixing up his work schedule with a blend of small independent films and commercials, as well as big box office pictures. His interests include portrait and flower photography, of which he says: “At heart, I hope my photography makes it easier for the viewer to experience the epiphanies in flowers that were there all the time.” He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and has taught at the Maine Media Workshops several times during the last decade. He made his first appearance at MMW as a student.  His latest film, JOBS, on the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, debuts this August.


From one of Russell's students:

"I had a great experience during the course.  Russell Carpenter brought his knowledge and introduced this magic world to the group."
— Dennis Zanatta, Washington, DC



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