2030MAPA – 1a) Secondary Research

“Show you have read books and articles (not online) about your chosen path (secondary research)”

Blain Brown is a cinematographer and director who is also the author of Cinematography Theory and Practice. I chose this book as it is written by someone with a great knowledge and experience in cinematography and it has a lot of in-depth information about visual language such as composition, frame organisation, continuity and so much more. It has taught me about visual storytelling within a film and how to portray different emotions with just the camera and lights.

I read this book to understand the different terminology and learn new and interesting techniques which I could use in future projects. It has taught me about lighting which was something I was unfamiliar with and shied away from until now. I understand how lighting can change the mood of the scene or enhance a character’s status just by experimenting with different lighting. It has made me think about my shots in more depth and depict how I want to portray a subject. It has also taught me about different camera movement other than the standard pan or pull focus I tend to use very often which can get boring. It has helped improve my skills with the camera and think about the different kinds of things I can do with my camera to keep my audience engaged.

I also read ‘New Cinematographers’ by Alexander Ballinger which is a book that explores the works of the six most important cinematographers in the world over the recent years. There are detailed explanations of their most noteworthy films which range from different styles from Hollywood films to original independent films. I read this book to find out how individual scenes were filmed, what equipment was used and how different visual effects were accomplished. It gave me an insight of how it is like working on major films with big directors and actors. It’s made me knowledgeable about the different styles of films and how cinematographers achieve this. The book also analysed and discussed storyboards, screenplays, props, location and lighting diagrams of the films mentioned which helped me to think about what I could do in the future to improve my work and to think about pre-production in more depth.

“List anything you have watched or read that has helped you understand your chosen path and how it has been useful to you (secondary)”

As I aspire to be a cinematographer in the future, I have watched many videos and tutorials online to discover new techniques and help improve my work.

1. Cinematography 101: What is cinematography?

This video explains how cinematography is an art form and how “movies are dreams. They are windows into worlds and lives that are not our own but they allow us to sculpt in time”. I think this is a great description of what films are and why they are so successful. This video has explained how important cinematography is and that cinematography is the heart of cinema and is an art of visual storytelling. Its taught me that cinematography is essential communication between the visuals and the audience.
“Cinematography is built on principles of concrete understanding because cinema is a language”. This quote shows that there are rules when filming in order to communicate the story effectively. It shows that it is more complex than just simply filming a scene, there is more thought and planning that has gone into it to achieve the final outcome.

2. How to achieve a film look – DSLR film making

This video shows that you don’t need to have expensive kit to achieve a high-end look. It comes down to skill and a creative eye. It taught me how to attain a cinematic look with a simple DSLR. As I always film on a DSLR this video has helped me achieve a professional look with just my camera and some simple editing. The video clearly explains what ‘the film look’ is and the different techniques in order to achieve it such as the settings, how to capture the footage and how to edit it. It guides you through thoroughly which is what I like about this video.

3. Visual Storytelling 101

Cinematography is about telling a story through visuals so it is important to understand what you’re exactly filming and what atmosphere is being portrayed. It clearly explains framing, how lenses can affect the image, and how light and contrast play important roles. These are all things to consider when being a cinematographer so this video has given me an in-depth insight on how to exactly film a subject and how to give each shot a meaning. I’ve learnt from this what makes a good shot and what would make my work stand out from the rest.

4. How to start a short film project

I have been following DSLRGuide since I got into photography (which was years ago) as he explains really well the importance of the different areas of filming. He explains different areas of film making in-depth such as lighting, composition, sound and much more. I find myself sometimes struggling with thinking about what to film, the narrative, how I go about it and more. This video has helped me with this struggle by giving me ideas on how to think of a script, a schedule, shots and pre-production in general.

Just watching films, in general, has helped me develop my own work. I find myself always critiquing films such as camera work, continuity, editing and more. I pick out points in films that could be improved which helps me think about what to avoid when filming and editing my own work.


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