A comprehensive introduction to the art of cinematography and visual storytelling for young filmmakers!

There are no available registration dates at this time.

In a film production, the job of the cinematographer is to tell the story visually, through image composition and light. This is a foundational course for new filmmakers interested in the camera as a tool and in cinematography as a craft.

Through lectures and exercises they will explore the theory and use of exposure, lens selection, depth-of-field, ISO, contrast, color, and dynamic range. Through hands-on exercises in-class and on location, students practice lighting and shooting images and scenes, and become familiar with the process for acquiring the coverage needed to make an edit successful. They will work hands-on with professional digital cinema cameras, lenses, lighting units and more, and have ample opportunity to practice and become well-acquainted with the many tools of a cinematographer.

Working alone and in groups, students practice framing and composition, and consider the camera’s angle and movement, and the design of the project’s shot series and sequences. They address different lighting strategies pertaining to various situations. An emphasis is placed, throughout the week, on telling story through image as opposed to written word. Basic procedure and etiquette of a film set is discussed and practiced.

In the latter portion of the course, each student will produce a short film that is visually-based, with a focus on light, composition, and framing. They will exercise their creativity and put into practice what they’ve learned, exploring how these elements help to tell a visual story and create emotional impact. Students will also rotate crew positions in support of their classmates’ visions, allowing them to explore each role within a camera department, such as Director of Photography, Camera Operator, and Camera Assistant, and the relationships they share with one another in production. With the guidance of an experienced instructor, students will gain a strong foundation in digital cinematography and valuable mentorship towards an exciting career path in the filmmaking world.

About the Young Artists Program: Young Artists’ days are comprised of both classroom and field/location work: lectures and critiques, demonstrations, shooting, editing, writing, computer workflow and/or darkroom work, depending on the workshop. All instructors are talented industry professionals as well as experienced educators, and each works with a teaching assistant, providing additional support for their class. The students are busy all day and into the mid-evening hours, attending presentations from visiting master faculty. All Young Artists reside at a nearby residence (a motel-style building, with four students to a room, gender specific, and private bath) located 3/4 of a mile from campus. The property is controlled by Maine Media Workshops and is used exclusively by students and their counselors. Students are shuttled to the main campus each morning for breakfast and to begin their day, and are driven back at the end of the each day, following their last class or other scheduled activity. All meals are taken together. Parents can indicate any special dietary needs upon registration. Counselors supervise the students 24 hours a day, and help make group decisions about weekend activities like swimming, bowling and hiking. Coin laundry facilities are available on campus. A lobster dinner is served (there are other choices) on the last Friday night of each workshop, and all Workshops students gather for an evening presentation of highlights from the week’s work. Parents are welcome to attend and meal tickets may be purchased in the Registration Office.

We recommend students have access to $75/week for incidentals, snacks, movies, field trips etc.

Check-in is on Sunday, between 3 and 6 PM and departure is on Saturday morning.

Tuition Note: includes room and board

Students may request a transcript be sent to their high school for possible credit.

Image Credits: Darcy Aders, Amanda Piela, Header Image:  Mỹ Mannucci (Young Artist 2018)

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Instructor: Michael Mayers

Michael Mayers is a Cinematographer with over 30 years behind the camera. Best known for his work on The West Wing, Mayers photographed much of their location work in New York and Washington DC. He joined the main unit in Los Angeles and went on to shoot 37 episodes of that beloved series. Mayers’ feature work has brought him to Sundance many times. To Mayers, being a filmmaker is all about storytelling.