Cinematography: An Introduction to the Art and Practice of the DoP

New Dates TBC!

Cinematography: An Introduction to the Art and Practice of the DoP

Date: (awaiting dates)

Duration: 2 days (weekend)
Capacity: Max. 8 participants
Fee: £450 Fee includes all equipment.

The cinematographer is one of the key creative individuals in the filmmaking process, and is certainly the craftsperson whose work audiences are most aware of. The cinematographer’s imprint is on every frame. Cinematographers can elevate a film beyond its script and subject, and they also have an ability to grind a shoot to a halt, destroying creative confidence and crew morale.

Cinematography is much more than making pretty pictures and beautiful lighting. It has a ‘language’, and it’s about shooting films in a relevant way, in order to serve and express the script. In a larger crew, the cinematographer is the Director of Photography, managing a large camera department and working to schedule and budget.  Still, the task is the same: to create a work of visual clarity and power. 

This 2-day workshop will give an introduction to the art of cinematography, with a particular emphasis on lenses and camera movement. Participants will learn:

  • How camera angles and movement relate to drama.
  • How different lengths of lenses affect space and emotional engagement.
  • How to manage depth of field and framing to direct the audience’s attention and enhance storytelling.
  • When it feels right to shoot handheld, on a tripod or on a slider.
  • The basics of operating a camera in a shooting situation.
  • The basics of pulling focus in a shooting situation.
  • Some basics of lighting, and lights that are useful in low-budget situations.

Camera images

The workshop is suitable for people with some basic knowledge of camera who are considering moving into a camera department role, and for directors who want to improve their understanding of the camera’s function in visual storytelling. It will run through the very basic aspects of camera, both theoretical and practical. The points made will be illustrated with examples from film and TV, with practical demonstrations and practical exercises.

Eight participants will work together in a tight group (an important part of cinematography), discovering adaptability, and participating fully in a series of exercises. Participants will use the Sony PXW-Fs7 camera with both prime and zoom lenses, and a lighting kit including Kino Flos and a bi-color LED panel.

The second day consists of shooting scenes with professional actors in which participants will block, rehearse, operate camera and pull focus. Participants will shoot scenes in different styles and discuss how stylistic approaches lead to different dramatic results on screen.

 Stills from Alex Boutellier's recent films

This course focuses primarily on camera techniques. For more lighting-specific training, students are encouraged to sign up for Film Lighting: Theory and Practice.

This course is listed on the ScreenSkills Skills Passport, supported by the ScreenSkills HETV Bursary. You may be eligible for support of up-to £1000 to continue your proffesional training. Visit the ScreenSkills Bursaries page for more information. 


Tutor profile: Alex Boutellier, Cinematographer

Alex Boutellier's workshops at LFS

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Alex Boutellier is a freelance cinematographer with over 15 years of professional experience in the film and television industry. His credits include feature length and short films, documentaries and commercials for television, and web content such as news and advertisements for corporate clients. Originally from Switzerland, he is currently based in the UK. A scholarship recipient of the London Film School and the University of Exeter 'Film by Practice' PhD program, his research on the impact of disruptive new technologies on the role of the cinematographer in the modern film industry will be completed in 2019.