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Film Training

THE SYLLABUS

This is a sample syllabus, a template we use as a starting point in designing a personalized film training or video training program. The coursework generally begins with visual story telling, then branches off from there into prep and post production, visual theory, working with actors, etc.

Unlike film school or film workshops, we customize each syllabus. For clients who walk in with an existing script or project, we will tailor the program to the specifics of that project.

UNIT ONE - THE OVERALL LOOK

Reading - ASC MANUAL (8th ed.) pp 478-488, 1-69

Getting an overall look
Starting with b&w

Formats
Flat, anamorphic, super-35, regular and super-16
Tape and digital

Film stocks
Color balance, grain, sharpness, contrast
Print and intermediate stocks

Screening
Kodak film demo

Homework
Primary color still exercises

UNIT TWO - BREAKING DOWN A SCRIPT

Screening
Behind the scenes video

Scene Breakdown
Cast and Production Breakdown

Scheduling

Homework
Script breakdowns

UNIT THREE - COLOR, TONE, LIGHTING, AND CINEMATOGRAPHY

Reading
- ASC Manual, pp 151-251

Screening
Color, tone and contrast still photo exercises

Cameras and movements
Sync/non-sync, high-speed
Specialty film cameras
Tape and digital

Lenses and optics
Wide/tele
Specialty lenses

Depth of Field
Lenses, aperture, distance
Choosing depth of field first

Color Temperature
Kelvin scale
Daylight/Tungsten
HMI, fluorescent, etc.

Contrast
By lighting
By film stock and lab
By art department

Filters
Conversion, LB, Compensating
Diffusion, Contrast, Polarizer

Lighting
Why we light
Electric equipment
Grip equipment
Basic set procedures

Camera movement
Cranes, dollies, jibs, etc.
Hand held
Steadicam

Field trip
Camera and/or Grip-Electric rental house

Homework
Lighting exercises on stills

UNIT FOUR - LABS, POST PRODUCTION, AND VISUAL EFFECTS

Reading
- ASC pp 450-477, various Cinefex articles

Editing and post production workflow
Shoot film finish on film
Shoot film finish on video
Shoot video finish on video
Shoot video finish on film
Dailies, timing, printing, opticals
Digital Intermediates

Visual Effects
Opticals, Digital FX
VFX workflow
Blue and green screen
Motion control, Roto

Field Trip
Lab tour and visual effects house

Homework
Introduction to Final Cut Pro and After Effects

UNIT FIVE - DEFINING THE VISUALS

Reading
- Masters of Light

Visual analysis
Reference material
Visual breakdown of a script
Writing the visual analysis

Field Trip
Art museum

Homework
Storyboard project

UNIT SIX - BLOCKING AND SCENE DESIGN

Reading
- Five Cís of Cinematography

Scene design
Breaking it down
Set procedures
The full crew and their responsibilities

Scene blocking with actors

Homework
Schematic and shot list project

UNIT SEVEN - ACTORS

Reading
- Directing Actors by Judith Weston

Directing actors for the camera
Casting, Rehearsing
Blocking, Shooting
Taking care of the actors
Working with the AD

Homework
Scene analysis

UNIT EIGHT - DIRECTING TECHNIQUES

Reading/screening
- Find six favorite scenes and analyze them

Directing a scene

Prep
- From 3-5 script pages do a visual analysis, location stills, story boards, shot lists, schematics; camera, crew and equipment lists

Shoot and direct
the scene on DV, edit

UNIT NINE - PRODUCTION

Reading
- SAG, DGA, WGA, and IA contracts

Budgeting, producing, and paperwork
Building a production team
The director-producer relationship
Developing a budget
Insurance and bond companies
Unions
Case study - script to screen with a short film

Homework
Budget a short film or commercial

UNIT TEN - PREP

Reading
- Art of War, by Sun Tzu

Complete prep procedures for a feature film
Getting organized
Building a notebook
Location scouting
Sets and stages
Art department
Camera department
Costume department
Creating (and sticking to) a prep schedule

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