The Digital Cinema Course begins by detailed instructions on building a screenplay with proper structure and solid characters. Many screen writing textbooks have also done this, but the course is the first to do it by use of a dramatic short film teaching writers the basics of overcoming obstacles and disasters. This is then furthered by second more concise section outlining how to write in clear instructions. It categorizes specific methods and tools, and inspires writers who may have given up on dramatic storytelling. The following section describes how to physically construct a screenplay, what paper to use, how to bind it, and how to format the content. This is done with the use of computer graphics. Once the storytelling sections are complete, the course moves on to teach film editing. Starting with the history of editing and progressing to current digital nonlinear editing, the section prepares the filmmaker for the field. It abides by the rule that the best cinematographer or ... Written by
For me, the DCC course is destined to be a classic. I read the other reviews here, and I figured someone should spell out what's inside the course.
First, you watch a DVD set called the Gear Guide. The Gear Guide has the ACTUAL manufacturers who make little things like C-stands, Matteboxes, Tripods, Tungsten Lights, Fluorescent movie lights, Lighting gels, and Filters. These are not salesmen, or would be "pro's" doing the videos, but the people who actually MAKE the matte boxes and tripods that we use everyday. For example, the president of Matthews grip come out and tell me how to balance a load on a C-stand. These guys aren't telling you why their product is better than the other guy's, but showing you how to use gear. The key is, they discuss general terms about why you should do things, and how to accomplish them. For instance, the guy from Rosco tells you when to use a 1/4 CTB gel vs. a 1/2 CTB gel, what to use for Film as opposed to HD, how to combine a CTB with a Plus Green for overhead fluorescent, etc. All general stuff you can apply with your own gear. The guy from KinoFlo, he lays out the entire history of fluorescent lighting, brings it to today, gives you specific examples about when to use each type of light, and how to do it. He always says things like, "If you want to do this, here is what you do..." And DEMONSTRATES it. NO INTERVIEWS! All how-to. I hate interviews! I wrote to DCC and asked them to PROMISE me that this isn't some bogus interview DVD set where filmmakers "talk" about making movies. They promised it's all how-to, with demonstrations, so I bought it. They told the truth.
After that, you watch the Basic Production set where you slowly begin to realize how little you know about lighting. I mean, I thought it was just 3 point lighting, but now I know there's TEN positions for a light, for EACH subject! Needless to say, I can light much better now that I know the difference between a Fill light and a Filler light, a hair light and a clothes-light. I love the jargon too.
Then you do 2 subjects, then you get into Axes of Movement. I mean, here I am learning that there is a difference between having a guy come in from the right side of the screen as opposed to the left. Cool! I did research on that and I found that this is an established psychological fact from like 80 years ago. Only now I am aware of it.
After the Axes, comes Composition, which was awesome. After Basic Production comes Movie Production, 6 DVDs. Starts with a training film for 20 minutes, teaches you writing, then another section discusses writing principles. Then the DVD gets into Editing. The coolest part about that section is that it finally married FILM editing with VIDEO editing. I have been wondering about that for a while, and the course used graphics and after effects to make it clear. It explained a lot more concepts like Montage, Overlap, Trimming etc.
This was all in 1 DVD!!!!! Still in the Movie Production box, there are 5 MORE DVDs left! Those get into the actual nuts and bolts of making a real movie in every freaking location imaginable, from riding a bicycle to a restaurant BATHROOM. If you can get 3 guys and a camera into it, they did. But that's the reality of indie film-making, you make movie scenes in the weirdest places. The course shows you HOW TO LIGHT AND SHOOT in the tightest places, and still get a good quality scene with continuity and composition. This goes on for about 10 hours. I had to watch this over 3 days. After that I watched it all again, and took notes. There is so much in there, directing, cinematography, lighting, cameras, tripods, audio, gamma settings, etc. on and on. It was seriously delicious.
After Movie Production comes Advanced Lighting. This is 4 more DVDs. Boy. It starts you off with this cool scene where two guys have prop guns on each other, John Woo Style. The course actually shows you the step by step building of the set and lights from nothing (bare wall) to a full, AWESOME FILM NOIR set with smoke, fans, guns, etc. You get to hear the director (Rush I assume) chatting with the gaffer, step by step, as they go from nothing to the final shot. After that, you learn how to light a Poker table with three people, fluorescent scene, an African American woman next to a window and balance with HMI AND TUNGSTEN lights, and on and on. Last disc gets into lighting tabletop objects, and summarizes every lighting concept you learned earlier.
So that's the whole deal. I want to reiterate that although the course makes recommendations for pro gear, the narrator (Rush Hamden I think) NEVER MAKES YOU FEEL STUPID for not having pro gear. I use my friend's lights when I can, but sometimes I have to use work lights. The concepts you learn from this course, you can apply with just the sun and a reflector, or work lights, or LED flashlights. I want that to be clear, because the narrator makes a big deal about it, that you are a FILMMAKER no matter what gear you use. I really appreciated that.
Summary: Best thing I ever did. I wrote a first draft screenplay with the pen and pad that come with the course, and I already shot it. I don't know if this DVD set will change your life, but it helped me finally have the confidence to make something happen that I was afraid to do without guidance. It was great. THANKS DCC!
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