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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old July 10th, 2005, 04:07 AM   #121
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How many with formal cameraman education?

Perhaps a misplaced question in this forum, but I'm a bit curious about the FX1/Z1 crew:

How may of you, making a living as cameraman/videographer, have a formal education in the field?

I've never had formal education in any of the fields that have been my professions (musician, computer programmer, semiconductor specialist). I just learn by reading books, practising the subject a lot, and talking to professionals. I've found that the "dive in, learn to swim" approach has worked pretty well for me so far. I try to take on projects where I'm underqualified, in order to learn. The "how hard can it be?" approach. Thats what I'm doing right now with my FX1. On the other hand, getting employment requires some solid show-pieces when one doesn't have education.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 06:37 AM   #122
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I think that I must have had the best training possible: starting as an Assistant Film Cameraman with the BBC, then becoming a Lighting Cameraman, then Director, then Producer...
and here I am - through choice, as a freelance Director/Cameraman with wonderful Digital Video.
When I read all the posts about striving for that "film look", you must excuse my wry smile.....

Robin
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Old July 10th, 2005, 08:53 AM   #123
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I got my degree in television production.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 12:46 PM   #124
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and if i would like to get one..where would i go? i am in the san francisco area.

greetings
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Old July 10th, 2005, 12:51 PM   #125
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1 year of NYU film school, and I dropped out cold, never to return. Started working as a P.A. shortly thereafter; watched the DP's work like a hawk and asked a lot of questions. Hung out at a rental house, started learning their Steadicam, starting shooting corporate work etc. Got a job as a staff shooter for small production company; shot and cut hundreds of local commercials and corporates. Went freelance, eventually moved to LA and starting working on movies and episodic TV.

The critical parts for me from a learning perspective were: watching how others do their craft, reading books and American Cinematographer and analyzing movies, then having a chance to try out techniques I had read about (that production company job).

As far as the Steadicam part goes, taking the class at the Maine Photographic Workshops was invaluable (and probably the only "formal" education I've had as a cameraman). There's a lot of great classes there, worth looking into.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 01:39 PM   #126
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I think the 'value of film school' discussion has been pretty much hashed out. SO a search would yield a vast array of opinions.

Like many others, I learned most of my craft 'on the job'. Started in Television (Studio Cameraman,) then remote work. While working as a cameraman, I hung out in MC, learned the switcher and the audio boards. Migrated to Audio for a while. Did some voice over work one night when the local 'big voice' of the station was sick. Moved from that to Radio (#1 station in Houston)...

Much of my career has been skipping from one skillset/area to the next. By virtue of observing the best person on the job. Asking LOTS of questions. Using equipment in the off hours... yeah. Self taught and 'apprenticing'... I think is a big part of advancing in the biz.

THough film schools have the advantage of providing an equipment and personell rich environment if you don't have access to the professional world. Also, in film school, you can establish a network of people to support each other after graduation. (Of course, that's true of ANY professional schooling)

Karl, in the San Francisco area, look into Bay Area Video Coalition www.bavc.org and FilmArts filmarts.org for area classes specific to a topic. Avid, FCP, camera, lighting. These are great local organizations that support filmmakers. Beyond that, although extremeley pricy, look into Academy of Art University. But like I said, not cheap.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 01:58 PM   #127
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It's all their fault!

Started paying attention since I was about 6 years old, worked at a rental house, CineTech, in Miami, took my IA test and started working!

These are the two people who were solely responsible for my career track!
http://www.rbravo.com/new_page_1.htm

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Old July 11th, 2005, 02:59 AM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Bravo
Started paying attention since I was about 6 years old, worked at a rental house, CineTech, in Miami, took my IA test and started working!

These are the two people who were solely responsible for my career track!
http://www.rbravo.com/new_page_1.htm

RB
You couldn't have a better family for getting into this business.

BTW, how come everyone on your staff is so good looking? ;-) Must be exciting to shoot video where there's always action around.

Charles & Richard: Great to hear that my ways of learning probably will fit this business.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 07:54 AM   #129
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Bjorn,

Just so I'm clear... I'm not AGAINST film school per se. In fact, several years ago, I went back and got a degree. Mostly because I was considering the option of teaching, and a degree is necessary if that's what you want to do.

I have found that in most of the 'artistic' professions... film, theatre, art, dance... It's the self-motivated, self-starter who seeks out opportunities, pounds the pavement, puts in the time apprenticing with someone, who will move forward in their chosen field. This is true even when they are in a school structure. In film school, it's not enough to simply do the assignments, you should be volunteering on other peoples shoots, putting in extra hours, etc.

Good luck.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 08:35 AM   #130
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Richard, I understand what you mean. From the talented people I've met in my various line of work, they've been both educated and "uneducated" (misleading word, but you probably understand). I guess people just aquire knowledge in different ways. My main problem with getting an education, the few times I've tried it, is that it generally progresses too slow, so its a waste of my time. Unfortunately I've not met many good teachers.

Right now I'm running two parallel tracks, one business promo video, and one sports educational DVD. I guess this is way over my head with my limited experience, but on the other hand I'm learning a lot and it's fun. But it's also wearing down my wallet to get all equipment! I think the projects are coming out really good as far as I can judge, and the customers are satisfied so far. Well, they've not seen the footage yet... ;-)
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Old July 11th, 2005, 08:36 AM   #131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjorn Moren
How may of you, making a living as cameraman/videographer, have a formal education in the field?
Don't know about Sweeden but in Czech Republic "Kameraman" means Director of Photography. In U.S. "Cameraman" means camera operator.

Radek
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Old July 11th, 2005, 08:43 AM   #132
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Radek, in Sweden we have the US meaning of the word. Our "kameraman" means camera operator.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 08:45 AM   #133
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I got a degree in Media Production at Newcastle Poly, shich gave me a wonderful grounding in how to make short student films. I don't know if I would classify it as a formal training, which I would think of as an apprentice/on the job training as supplied by the BBC or similar organisation.

Ilearnt a lot more when I worked as a technician in Turkey for both a University Film and TV department and on some film and TV productions which is rather like learning military strategy by being shelled.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 09:14 AM   #134
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No formal photography training for me. I did take a few black and white still photography courses is high school and got some darkroom experience, but that was the total of my education on that front. I'm working on my Ph.D. in Engineering Physics, and did my undergrad and Master's in Eng. Phys. and Physics respectively... so while I've got no official film experiences per se, I'm a professional student/geek... which makes me a target audience for this kind of camera ;)

-Steve
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Old July 11th, 2005, 10:42 AM   #135
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I have found the computer-based training (DVD nowadays) to be a very efficient and cost-effective way of learning almost any subject. Most of these I have used so far is not related to filmmaking. Although I have used several training DVDs for NLEs like FinalCutPro, and one DVD set on lighting. To me, actually seeing how things are setup, and then seeing the resulting video, is as close as one can get to observing a true professional on the job without actually being there. Plus, I can repeat the DVD training as much as I need to fully comprehend the subject, or to come back later for review/refresher.

I have been considering buying some of the more expensive DVD training that costs $100-$400 that cover subjects like directing, blocking, lighting, audio, etc. I think I could buy everything I need for $1,000 to $1,500. While this may sound high to some, it's a lot less than most film schools, and the DVDs could be sold when finished.

I wonder if any of you have used this approach for learning the filmmaking trade, and if so, what you think of it.
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