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Cinematographer's Preparation

Lesson 14 of 16

How to Camera Test


Cinematographer's Preparation

Lesson 14 of 16

How to Camera Test


Lesson Info

How to Camera Test

Kind of the last little bit is you know, people talk and you hear about all this, you know, like what? You know, massive amounts of camera testing that tent that happened before big movies and you know, I think that it's you know, there I doom or less test depending on you know what I'm doing if if the project there's something familiar to me where you know, I'm kind of working on things that I've done a lot before there's not a lot to test but you know, say for the last project, I you know, we wanted to come up with a cool look for some characters that were partying and doing drugs, and so we tested different kinds of streak filters, we tested different frame rates, that sort of thing, you know, and it's, you know, I think the most important thing is that you think about, like, what is it that you're actually trying to find out a certain amount of his technical stuff like you're comparing two different cameras you want to know, like which one looks better on you know, you're comparing...

different lenses you're you know you're kind of messing around with exposure, you know, you're or you know, from or creative thing you're tryingto figure out how you're going to achieve a certain ly ving style you might have on image that you've that you said this is the thing that I want uses my inspiration how do I get that you'll you know so maybe that maybe you don't necessarily need your movie camera for that you could use a still camera you know our and simple set up teo to figure out how how tio how to do how to achieve the look that you're after um and then the last thing is when the test isn't for you when the test is you know, a hair makeup test or wardrobe test or shooting a screen test for an actor or something I think that you know, the main thing like my main warning to everybody is don't combine those two kinds of tests if you've got like people want to look at the makeup or the hair or something like that just do like make the lighting and the camera just kind of conservative and you know make it not about you also testing your crazy filter at the same time because it will you know it'll freak everybody out that's also learned the hard way you know usually what I do you know I might have set it up and it seems like you're just going to be not that interesting um for the hair makeup or the casting test or something I do something very simple a white white scene with the gray seamless you know, beauty lighting I you know I might try tio use the edge light or maybe a little modeling to kind of suggest the mood of the movie, but I definitely won't go all the way in terms of what the you know what the lighting on set will be like and for the costume tested in particular, I'll make sure that I kind of get even enough lighting head to toe that that you can see what the costume looks like. You know, in the in the context, there's there's an argument in favor of trying to light it. So that looks like a set. But if you're not on the set, it's, you know, the live ing actually kind of stands out as being, you know, obtrusive and people tend to, you know, focus on the lighting rather than on the hair and the makeup and the costumes stuff that they really want to be paying attention to. Um, yeah, but in any case, you just want to make sure that you, you know, like any scientific experiment, you, you know, change one variable of the time and you use slates and keep good notes.

Class Description

Cinematographers need to do more than simply, “show up and shoot.” Preparing to film is a complex, considered, and artistic task and Cinematographer's Preparation with Jim Denault, ASC will teach you how to strategize and achieve the most creative, productive shoot possible.

Most filmmakers are in the dark about what cinematographic preparation truly entails. This class will give you with a step-by-step guide to preparing to shoot a whole range of narrative material – from the simplest moments to the most complex series of scenes. Jim will show how to break-down and analyze a script from an aesthetic, technical, and practical point-of-view. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Analyze a script aesthetically and technically
  • Evaluate and provide for the practical needs of a scene
  • Achieve maximum subjective effect within your shooting "strategy"
  • You’ll learn precise, effective, artistic, and technical approaches to shooting, which can be applied across all forms of filmmaking and length of material.

Working cinematographers, camera operators, and filmmakers will develop new skills for efficiently and beautifully conveying the artistic essence of their material.  


Zuhair Lokhandwala

Great class! Highly recommend to those starting out who are unclear about the process of getting the first job, meeting the director and keeping things organized so you feel more in control and have good clarity when you're at the shoot finally Thank you Jim!


This class is perfect for anyone who does not have years of experience as cinematographer ; it teaches everything a DP should do in pre-production, and is often not taught in film schools ! I'm freshly graduated and thus I don't have that much experience of pre-prod as DP, but this gave me everything I needed to know. It's also one of the few class of the genre online, and it's a fantastic one, thank you so much !

Christopher Lamb

There is nothing more valuable than learning from people that continue to work in their field. This course is priceless. To get into the processes and thoughts of a successful working Cinematographer -- there aren't words. Everyday I'm on set I think about the necessity of mentorship and this is the closest thing to that. Thank You Jim for agreeing to share your processes and techniques and to Mentor us in this digital age. Thank you CreativeLive for hosting this class and making it available.