Learn and practice the fundamental techniques of scene coverage and camera movement

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This course is for emerging cinematographers and filmmakers looking to immerse themselves in the fundamentals of camera operation and movement. Through a mixture of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises, students explore the fundamental skills of a camera operator and camera assistant. Exercises break down the best practical use of camera support systems for studio productions, as well as the use of hand-held rigs and 3-axis gimbals. An emphasis will be placed on the motivation for the use of each piece of camera support.

Following initial lectures and demonstrations, students will participate in a series of exercises in scene coverage, composition, focus pulling, and blocking actors. Led by a career cinematographer, the class will break into groups and rotate roles in their camera crews. Camera Assistants will practice “building” the camera and its many peripherals, pulling focus in a variety of scenarios, slating, and setting marks for actors. Operators will be tasked to achieve the camera movements both handheld and on support systems. They’ll experience the challenge of executing the physical and ergonomic aspects of the shot while composing a strong frame.

Dailies will be reviewed in class for critiques. Exercises and scenes will be edited to analyze the effectiveness of scene coverage and the consistency in visual styles. By week’s end, students will feel comfortable with industry-standard production procedures as they pertain to the camera department and will have been afforded the opportunity to foster interest in the various roles available to them.

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Instructor: Dave Perkal, ASC

Dave Perkal, ASC is an accomplished, multifaceted cinematographer, known for his intelligent lensing and keen lighting on a broad array of television and film projects.

Working in television, Perkal lensed projects such as Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop live-action adaptation, Marvel’s award-winning Runaways, CBS’s Zoo and ABC’s Primetime Emmy awarded Castle. Some of his previous television credits include: the Primetime Emmy awarded Entourage for HBO; the world-syndicated The Vampire Diaries; Franklin & Bash, Scrubs, Chuck and In Case of Emergency.

In film, Perkal is known for his work on projects such as Do You Take This Man and Preacher’s Kid, TV movies Teen Spirit, Christmas Cupid and Happy Campers, as well as shorts such as The Frank Anderson,The Key and Lucky. Beside lensing Do You Take This Man, Perkal also served as a producer. For his work on The Frank Anderson, which he directed and lensed, Perkal won awards at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival, FilmOut San Diego, San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Valley Film Festival and the Woods Hole Film Festival.

A member of the American Society of Cinematographers since 2011, Perkal is a Los Angeles native and earned his BS in Film and TV from San Diego State University and graduate degree in Cinematography from the American Film Institute and...