Still Photo Project
Using a 35mm still camera, each student will tell a short story by creating seven black and white photos. The photos must be arranged in order, and should give the audience all of the necessary information to understand the story visually. Students will be limited to using a single 50mm lens, however they will incorporate different shot sizes in the project (wide, medium and close-up shots) where appropriate. Students will concentrate on creating strong compositions, and use a light meter to help them make exposure decisions. This assignment will be shot with available light.
Using a camera such as the Arri-SR, each student will shoot a silent film that tells a complete story in one single shot. Each film should have a clear beginning, middle and end, and the audience must be able to understand the story based only on the visuals. Emphasis will be placed on blocking the actors to the camera, and selecting the best focal length for the shot. Students will have access to a basic light kit, allowing them to design a lighting scheme that serves the story. Though students may shoot on color 16mm film stock, the final project must be submitted in black & white. Soundtrack music is encouraged, but no dialogue or synch sound effects are allowed.
Shooting on high definition video, each student will create a project utilizing multiple shots to tell a story. Shots should be designed to cut together seamlessly according to the rules of classic continuity editing, creating the illusion of continuous action. Students should strive to have the camera in the best place for each moment of the film, incorporating different shot sizes and using different lenses as the story dictates. This project should build upon students’ skills with composition, exposure, and lighting developed in their previous films. This project will provide the first opportunity to shoot in color, and the first chance to incorporate synch sound (dialogue, etc.)
Music Video Project
Shooting with a digital cinema camera such as Red Scarlet, each student will create a project inspired by a piece of music. Students should strive to understand and take advantage of the RAW workflow, while delivering strong images that connect with the viewer emotionally. The project can be a traditional music video, incorporating performances, a narrative film inspired by a song, or an experimental piece that finds appropriate visuals to interpret the intent of the music, but must have a coherent visual concept.
The HD Camera Project is a montage exercise, a film of 15-25 shots that employs film non-linear storytelling techniques where images tell a story or convey a message by manipulating time, space, and rhythm. A filmmaker/cinematographer must have a thorough understanding of how film images work together, how a filmmaker uses it to tell a story and engage the audience. We see montage as another primary method for dramatic storytelling on film. It is essential that students be fully versed on the “rules” and applications. This project requires multiple shots, necessarily with most edits of discontinuous space/time/action. Documentary style approach as well as working in minimal crew is encouraged, as well as working in natural light and with minimal equipment.
This project is restricted in camera, and in content parameters. The POV Project must be shot on an advanced camera, similar to the Red Dragon. Students will shoot a story that clearly establishes one character’s story POV, and then, create a discernible shift to a second character’s clearly established story POV. Collaboration with students from other programs is encouraged. Each student will be allotted two full days for their project and they will have access to the whole G&E package of the second semester. This project focuses on developing confidence with complex narrative structures, as well as with the equipment that will be used on the Capstone film.
Semester One Final Film
The students can use any camera or equipment taught to them to date. The student will have the opportunity to choose between shooting a music video, potentially contacting local bands and performers or teaming up with musical theater students, or shooting a commercial respecting timing and visuals typical of a mainstream commercial. Each student will have up to two days to shoot. Collaboration with other departments is encouraged.
Throughout the program, cinematographers will edit and revise their cinematography reel. The reel should showcase their best work and demonstrate a strong sense of composition, a range of lighting techniques, dynamic camera movement, and so on. In editing their work, the students will create a snapshot of their identity as a cinematographer. The reel will go through multiple iterations, including a rigorous critique process in the final semester. There will be opportunities throughout the program to screen the reels for other NYFA students in order to facilitate collaboration.
Semester Two Film
Each student will shoot a short project using the Red Dragon digital cinema camera and a large lighting package. The film must incorporate a strong narrative with an emphasis on visual storytelling, utilizing the techniques and skills honed on previous films. This project should be a showcase for the cinematographer as they endeavor to create a visual approach that is specific to this story. Cinematographers are encouraged to work with students from other NYFA programs, continuing to build their network and find new collaborators. These projects will be featured in a screening at the end of the term.
The Filmmaker’s Thesis is a departure from the other projects. For this project, students will collaborate as the Director of Cinematography on a filmmaker’s thesis project. This is meant to mirror the real working world. Students must find a director/producer to work with, a script they are interested in, and a time in their busy schedule to commit to such a project. They must serve the director’s creative decisions and interpretation of the story, work within the budget, and use the camera available to the production.
One-Year Capstone Film
Each student will shoot a short project using a camera such as the Red Dragon digital cinema camera or a similar camera, as well as a large lighting package. The film must incorporate a strong narrative with an emphasis on visual storytelling, utilizing the techniques and skills honed on previous films. This project should be a showcase for the cinematographer, as they endeavor to create a visual approach that is specific to this story. Cinematographers are encouraged to work with students from other NYFA programs, continuing to build their network and find new collaborators. These project will be featured in a screening at the end of the term.