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CINEMATOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS

Workshops

It has been a rhetoric request from friends who frequent my blog for the cinematography related articles to conduct focused training workshops on the nuances of this art. In spite of this request of the past few years and despite the fact we were equally, actually excited, we have been deferring this initiative due to some practical difficulties. However, when time has ripen and we could see all the pre-requisites synergised at an opportune moment we never hesitated to seize the opportunity to satisfy the call of this enthusiasts. As a matter of fact, we could successfully complete a 2 days’ workshop in a commendable way.

There had been a welcome response to the workshop and we could witness- with happiness- a surprising mix of people from different walks of life amidst the participants. To name a few, visual communication students, assistant cinematographers, engineering students, IT employees, college lecturers were in the list of participants who eagerly nominated themselves to learn about the art of capturing the picture in motion! To sample a few, an IT employee from the US of A, a software professional from Bangalore and an avid cinema fan from as far as Sri Lanka, who has travelled all the way to India for the single purpose of attending this workshop were among the list of participants, with the common thread which uniting them all was the fiery quest of digital development, which governs the cine industry in these modern times. We could feel the sense of fulfilment when we heard the audience say that the workshop empowered them with the confidence to realise their silver screen dreams. That really meant a LOT and gave us a satisfaction.

In the film making process, cinematography is a very important and inevitable part. There is a lot of things to learn from light to equipment and so on. Finite to creativity, imagination to technology, emotions to elegance.. This art is about absolutely everything!

As we conducted this intensive training, the struggles of thoughts varied from what to teach, how it has to be taught. Can it be explained on a board... or can be given as printed manual...these were overwhelming! The knowledge acquired over years by intensive reading and rich, rare experience was necessarily to be transformed to a presentable curriculum. We were asking ourselves what to share and how to share it... We decided the quantum of dissemination, then its present relevance, after which the schema of dissemination was developed with a lot of care. Videos were gathered in relevance to each lesson along with examples. Each lesson was prepared in the form of power point slides as well.

During Day one, we introduced every technology of light capture, spawning from still to motion picture capture. We started with the working principles of a basic camera function and its operating principle, articulated to how it forms the fundamental of the field of cinematography and gone to the extent of the fundamentals of modern digital camera’s internals. We explained the current camera models prevailing in Tamil and Indian cinema industries, their key features, differences and importance. We spoke them all in detail in day one.

We planned to dedicate the second day for practical session and in line with that, we ensured the availability of RED EPIC camera, Alura Zoom, Ultra Prime Lens and corresponding special lights, their auxiliary equipment for the day. As we have explained about the lighting technics during the previous day, we utilised this day to demonstrate how to practically implement the theory. Besides, the points to be taken care during light setting and the practical difficulties in the light formulation were discussed. We demonstrated the tactics and recorded them in camera. Later, using this footage, editing, their precursor activities, proceeding the edited footage to DI and the requisites were explained. Also, this footage was used to perform the colour fixing for a processed footage.

Two days, approximately 20 full hours! We, as a team discussed a lot about cinematography, we spoke, shared quite a lot of details about this indispensable art of filmmaking. Unlike a dry training program, we designed this session as an information sharing platform pertaining to the wonderful field of cinematography. We introduced many things to an astonished audience. We made them realise that a lot remain to be felt and learnt in this field. Holding their hands, we tried to be their friendly guide. We could conduct dedicated sessions about what we spoke to the attendees in these two eventful days. They are that rich and contently meaningful classes!

However, at the end of the day, one thing was certain, which is, these two days were not enough at all. Not only the students, we felt the same too. Almost every participant urged us to expand the curriculum with detailed lessons and more focused sessions, to conduct this workshop with increased duration and assured their participation in them. These enthusiastic students have also rendered their voice in written requests. We are delighted and overwhelmed at their requests, and it is this interest of these participants which has fuelled the plan of taking these focused workshops as a dedicated, movement.

We have been requested to conduct dedicated sessions on photography, light setting, creativity and digital technology. Driven by this demanding need and the thirsty young fraternity eager to learn, we have decided to conduct them one by one.

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