Since our Hurlbut Visuals Educational Boot Camp in 2010, I have been trying to find time in between shooting features to schedule another cinematography class. The first one was a phenomenal experience and we still keep in touch with many of those graduates. Watching people who were leery of using the Canon 5D on Day 1 grow in confidence and skill with shooting with it on Day 2 was inspirational to me.
This new tour is very different than the one four years ago because I will be traveling to 25 cities from September 14 to November 16 around the United States and Canada. But the big idea remains the same, building confidence with the tools that propel your career, and The Illumination Experience is that in a nut shell.
I have spent six months creating this curriculum based on questions and discussions from our blog. Lighting techniques and camera composition is the focus of this course tailored to open your mind in new ways. I have designed this experience to be immersive, interactive and intimate using simple techniques to build confidence with any budget.
Many of you have expressed that you feel daunted by the task of lighting. Here is what you all can expect this fall:
The Illumination Experience Overview
The Illumination Experience Tour will teach you the essential fundamentals of cinematic lighting. The specific lighting principles and techniques that you learn will become powerful tools in your arsenal for enhancing and sustaining a compelling story and will build your effectiveness and confidence as an artist. The take-away is being able to walk into any location or set and know how to light it with speed, accuracy, organization, and the highest level of artistry.
The tour gives you access to two different learning opportunities: The 11-hour Illumination Workshop will cover lighting theory with live demonstrations in a highly interactive format that will give you full access to my “Lighting Playbook.” In 9 of the 25 cities, a follow-up day of detailed hands-on instruction with camera composition, lens choice, and lighting nuances will take place at the Experience Master Class where you will do the lighting yourself with me as your lighting guide.
THE ILLUMINATION WORKSHOP
At the Illumination Workshop, I will teach you how to design, develop, enhance, and implement the storytelling process with lighting and camera. You will learn how to determine which qualities of light to implement for any scene by utilizing script analysis, storyboard preparation, lighting schematics, and shot lists. Using live demonstrations, I will show you how to manipulate the quantity and quality of light, how to diffuse, how to use color, how to create depth and separation, and how to block scenes in a way to deliver the greatest emotional impact. I will show you exactly how I light using a three step-process of DISCOVERY, CREATION, and EXECUTION.
In the DISCOVERY phase, I will teach you how to decide the optimal light placement for your scene. You will learn how to determine the direction of light by using a light study — the core of the learning experience, and the technique I use to determine the quality, quantity, color, and height of the key light.
The KEY LIGHT is the first stroke on your canvas and its placement is the most important decision you will make. It dictates how you will block the scene, determines where the camera should go, and is the basis for all other lighting decisions made. Once you have placed the KEY LIGHT, you modify and enhance your mood of the scene with the choices you make about your BACK and FILL lights.
The BACK LIGHT creates and enhances separation and depth. I will teach you how to use Rim and Edge lighting to make a specific emotional statement: For example, do you use a soft and creamy backlight to deliver an intimate statement, or a hard backlight to deliver stark separation for a more decisive feeling?
The FILL LIGHT is the light of character emotion. It is the icing on the lighting cake. It gives the audience eyes into the soul of the actor. I will teach you how to adjust the quality and quantity of fill light to fine-tune the emotional impact of the scene as well as how to match the fill to the characteristics of the environment the scene is shot in.
The CREATION phase is where I will show you how to match the theory with reality. What is each character’s camera emotion and how does that determine the lighting emotion? Where should the light come from when you walk into a room? What is the motivation for the light? Is it stylized? Is it real? How is it supposed to feel and look? What is the mood and tone? Using script reading, reference books, and other sources of motivation and inspiration, I will show you how to draw a light schematic, using the director’s vision, the mood and tone of the script, and the principle of “beautiful reality” as the basis for our decisions.
The EXECUTION phase is where it all comes together on set. Using actual scenes from films I have shot, we will execute the plan using lighting schematics drawn in the DISCOVERY and CREATION phases. Setting the scene with the keyframe image, we’ll light the set together, delivering soft, semi-soft, or hard light from the proper direction. I will show you which types of lights and lighting modifiers to choose to adjust the quality and quantity of light to match the findings of our light study. We’ll also explore lens choice, camera placement, how to apply specialized techniques to the scene and make the proper visual adjustments for both high-end sensors and DSLR cameras.
This is where the rubber meets the road, baby!!! We will get in the trenches together and really understand the subtle lighting and lens choices I make, which is the difference between something looking good and something looking spectacular as well as being emotionally connected so your work of art is firing on all 12 cylinders.
Hands on and immersive are an understatement. You will be put in the proverbial fire, under time restraints to be able to deliver your vision. All of the attendees become your co-collaborators in pulling off the impossible. That is what we do every day. We are like magicians, coming in and taking what would look ordinary if you just plopped a camera down and turn it into something that looks and feels and transports you to a place that is extraordinary.
Our mission is to get you ready for all different lighting conditions with techniques and tools to increase your scope, depth and lighting dimension. Lighting scenes that are set to day, and then turned to late afternoon golden hour. Assisting you with taking a white walled set and lighting it for night with contrast and color, and then immediately transforming the same set to a day lit scene.
These are the requirements that I am asked to do on a daily basis as a cinematographer and I will be passing them onto you. Personally!!!
Check out the website at http://illumination.mzed.com/
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