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Cinematographer's Preparation

Lesson 1 of 16

Class Introduction


Cinematographer's Preparation

Lesson 1 of 16

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Welcome to the next generation of film education the creative live film channel welcome internet welcome students my name is robert melas on the head of film education in the film channel creative live were so thrilled we've been looking forward to today for a long time thank you for being with us thank you for being with us. Speaking of being with us, we have one of the the world's in my estimation anyway the world's great artistic thinker philosopher duer technicians cinematographers we could have we could possibly ask for mr jim dino before we introduced him to know we have another sort of secret trick today we're going to be using as the template for today's class the cinematographer prepares a script written by a student someone from the outside world who's here with us miss jessica brown is with us as a student today we're going to be using her script as the template for our class. We'll talk to jessica in one moment but without any further ado please welcome mr jim dino don't wo...

rry, jim all right are you great to have you with us today is happy to be here excited to go back to school? Yeah, you know but it's weird it's like I feel like I'm on the other side of something here like I've never been in this spot before so it's going to be should be pretty interesting cool a cz we mention before we're going to be working with jessica jessica brown script how are you feeling? Super good and super knew why, you know, this is a huge opportunity for somebody like these that one, unless anything, you can only he could mess it up at this point on, I probably will. Wait, we've got that out of the way. Fun class is in session, right? Hey, so, um uh, let's see what we will discuss in this course. So I think that, you know, the first part, like what everybody wants to know is how do you get the job and that's, you know, it's, how do you how do you become a cinematographer? How do you go from being, you know, somebody else and the crew, teo too actually being the dp, and then, you know, once and how do you get the specific job? Whatever, you know, in our case shooting jessica's script in the you know, the second thing you want to be able to do once you've gotten the job is figure out how to understand what the director once achieved from the movie, how do you know howto basically how to speak, director, how to talk to them? What what the kinds of things they're going to be interested in, you know? In what you know what they're going to want you to be able to do teo you know helped put their vision up on the screen because really like as you know all the crew people everyone on the crew what makes it what makes working on a movie interesting and what makes watching a movie interesting is feeling like you're seeing somebody specific vision up on the screen and you know it's just like when you when you see a piece of art or read a book or watch a movie that seems like it was designed by committee you know when when you know when somebody says that you know it it's it's something that you know you're talking about something that kind of lacks a certain amount of focus that lacks a certain amount of you know that lacks a specific vision and you know as all the members of the crew what you want to be able to do is put the director's vision up on the screen is you know is make it so that you when the audience is watching it they feel like they're clearly hearing a voice you know, somebody's speaking to them and not you know and not looking at something that is you know, kind of you know that that is you know doesn't have that clarity so you know, as the cinematographer you're probably the director's right hand person in once that once we start shooting in you know, in getting that vision up on the screen, so in order to do that, you need to be able to do some scouting and planning, you need to be able, tio, you know, absorb the information that the director is giving you and go out and look at the physical realities that you're going to be confronting when we shoot and, you know, and plan ahead so that you're so that all your decisions are our leading towards what, you know, what the vision is, you want to put up on the screen, and so after you've done some scouting and planning, you're going to be able to make some decisions about what the basic equipment packages and, you know, and what extra equipment you might need, you know, for a specific situations, but you're going, you you're going to need to be able to make some logistical information are sorry logistical decisions about what equipment you need, and, you know, so we'll talk about how you decide to do that. Um, there's some support materials, jim mentioned it before, and, you know, you can download that here is the the link we've got theirs, the script, and I've also put I have my friend julien who's, a assistant director, put together a schedule for you know, for this script has got two scene, so it's not a very long schedule, but it gives you a sense of, you know what the paperwork is that that you might be presented with when you're when you're in prep, we've got a one line schedule and a shooting schedule, and then I put some samples of equipment list that I've made. One of them is is a I think I think we have. We also have the equipment list that I've got for this workshop, but there's there to equipment list one is for a one million dollar indie movie that I did. Boys don't cry, and, uh, it was called take it like a man when we shot it. So I actually put that list there because it's a it's a pretty solid, you know what you might expect to want order for for us, you know, an indie movie like that and then there's kind of ah there's, a list from a bigger budget movie that I did that I can't name, but you'll figure it out.

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.