cinematography school
Posts

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Cinematography Alum Jude Abadi Wins Best Student Cinematography Award

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    This summer, New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Cinematography alum Jude Abadi added a very important accolade to her resume when she won the Best Student Cinematography Award at the European Cinematography Awards. The award was for her work as director of photography on the short film The End of the World.

    The European Cinematography Awards are a film competition for filmmakers worldwide. According to their mission statement, the ECA supports “new and student filmmakers, who are just beginning their careers with a supportive and enthusiastic audience for their creative efforts,” as well as gives filmmakers “access to film industry professionals who can offer guidance and other forms of career assistance.”

    Best Student Cinematography Award

    Of the award, Abadi told NYFA that she was “ecstatic.” Abadi enrolled in the MFA program at NYFA’s cinematography school in Fall 2016, an accelerated, conservatory-based graduate program designed to instruct gifted and hardworking prospective directors of photography in a hands-on, professional environment. The cinematography school is chaired by Tony Richmond, A.S.C., B.S.C., who has shot many well-known films including Sympathy for the Devil, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Legally Blonde.

    “Jude did a great job shooting this film, and putting it together,” said Mike Williamson, a NYFA instructor and one of Abadi’s thesis advisors, who worked with her as she shot the film. He continued, “It can be difficult to maintain a consistent look when you’re shooting a long scene in a practical location, but her work over several shooting days matches very nicely. Her team made a strong film, and this award is well-deserved.”

    The End of the World was filmed in Los Angeles and tells the story of a married couple taken hostage by a crazed stranger, and their attempts to defuse their captor and his inane ramblings. It was written by Nabil Chowdhary and directed by NYFA alum Joshua M.G. Thomas. The film co-stars Buffy Milner, another NYFA alum who has recently written, directed, and acted in the film Type.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Jude Abadi on her prestigious award and wishes her the best of luck as her career continues forward!

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 22, 2018 • #WomenOfNYFA, Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1268

  • “Sympathy for the Devil” at 50: New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond Presents Restored Godard Film 

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Fifty years ago, Jean-Luc Godard filmed an intimate, groundbreaking documentary about the Rolling Stones, capturing the recording of one of their most seminal tracks: “Sympathy for the Devil.” The 1968 documentary shares the same title, though it was originally titled One Plus One before its producers controversially took final cut away from Godard. sympathy for the devil

    The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) recently held a limited theatrical release for the 50th anniversary of Sympathy for the Devil, which was kicked off with a Q&A with New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond, A.S.C., B.S.C. Richmond served as Godard’s director of photography on the documentary, and supervised the color grading of the newly restored, 4K version of the film.

    The restoration was done in London by Arrow Films, working off the still-preserved original 35mm negative. “It’s just wonderful,” says Richmond of the project, adding it was “such an honor to go back to a film I shot fifty years ago and give it another life.”

    Sympathy for the Devil was one of Richmond’s earliest films as director of photography. He has mostly worked on narrative features since then, including Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Sandlot, and Legally Blonde. The London-born, BAFTA-winning cinematographer has resided as Faculty Chair of NYFA-LA’s cinematography school since 2015, where students receive hands-on training in the unique visual language of film with state-of-the-art equipment they can use on their classmates’ productions. 

    Sympathy was a landmark moment in rock and roll documentaries, preceding other films like Gimme Shelter and The Last Waltz. Along with a strong political message, the film captured the birth of one of the Rolling Stones’ most famous hits. It was also a turbulent shoot, with legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard butting heads with his producers, who changed his original ending. As an infamous story goes, at a screening of the film, Godard attempted to screen his original ending outside in the parking lot, and when one of the producers intervened, he punched him in the face. 

    Additionally, some of the film was shot on the streets guerilla-style, without permits. Some shots included jumping out of Godard’s car to film his wife, Anna, spray-painting walls, roads, and vehicles, and then hopping back in the car and taking off before the police arrived.

    With an incredible story told by the film and another one around the making of it, it was no surprise that MoMA would host a limited release on its 50th anniversary. The Q&A with Tony Richmond was held after the September 13 screening, which Richmond told NYFA was “a great success. I enjoyed the Q&A, telling them how much in awe I was with Jean-Luc Godard and what an honor it was to shoot a film for him at such a young age.”

    In a recent profile by Rolling Stone magazine, Richmond went into further detail about the shoot, describing how they would pre-light for each member of the band before they would stroll into the studio after a late night of recording and maybe some hard partying: “We knew where Mick was gonna be, where Keith was gonna be, where Brian and Charlie were gonna be, and it was lit in such a way that we never had to touch anything between takes or disturb the Stones in any way…

    “And then the guys would come in, and they’d get down to work, and we would shoot. We were very quiet, and we had a very, very small crew — just a guy pushing the dolly, a focus-puller, Jean-Luc and I, and everybody else was way in the background.”

    Speaking with NYFA, Richmond added, “I wouldn’t know what we were going to shoot until [Mick Jagger] arrived on the set. I can’t tell you how exciting and frightening that was.”

    All told, the new 4K restoration and MoMA’s limited release of Sympathy for the Devil went very well, and included both the theatrical and Godard’s original ending. Richmond told Rolling Stone, “I hadn’t seen it again on a large screen until recently. And I have to say, I think it’s really fantastic… You really see how they’re putting the music together.”

    [UPDATE: November 7, 2018: Sympathy for the Devil will also be screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles on November 8, 2018.]

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    October 15, 2018 • Cinematography, Documentary Filmmaking, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1777

  • Q&A With New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Horacio Martinez

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Horacio Martinez graduated from New York Film Academy’s 1-Year Cinematography program last year, but the hard-working lover of film finds education everywhere he goes. That includes everything he learns whole on set, where his work ethic and passion for cinema has made him a valuable asset to any film crew.

    Martinez really spoke with NYFA about his time at the Academy’s Los Angeles campus and his work on a feature film starring Ed Asner as 2nd AC. In addition to all the technical skills he’s picked up along the way, Martinez stresses that human relationships between the crew and between fellow students and instructors are just as important when forging your career in film.Horacio Martinez

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What was the journey that lead you to the New York Film Academy? 

    Horacio Martinez (HM): Movies have been a part of my life ever since I was kid. I’ve always related episodes or experiences in my life with films. In my teenage years, I developed a curiosity about photography. At the same time, I worked as a composer for short films and various behind-the-scenes for photographers and videographers. After I moved to the USA from Venezuela, I explored my passion for photography, doing a lot of Urbex (Urban Exploration). It was a wonderful experience and I got to know every corner of the city. 

    I felt I needed something beyond urban and landscape photography. After doing some research, I decided to pursue my original dream of trying to find a place in the industry of visual storytelling. I found NYFA as my home as a professional, and also as a human being. Cinematography really changed my perception of life, my surroundings, the way I see and analyze problems to opportunities, and everyday life. 

    NYFA: Why did you choose NYFA’s 1-Year Cinematography program?

    HM: Cinematography, in my opinion, is the perfect marriage between technology and art. It is a very passionate career. We have to be chameleons and adaptable. We have to get into people’s minds (in most cases, the director’s) and meticulously dissect their thoughts and ideas, and then translate them into reality with the use of wonderful, amazing tools. Technology can help us in solving problems and achieving a unique look for each film. 

    I looked at the instructors, all the subjects and the approaches to cinematography, and found that the 1-Year Cinematography program was a great match. I needed to formalize my education, and open my eyes professionally about the craft itself. Since I’m in my 30s, I am hungry to go out and explore the world of filmmaking and find the right path to success. 

    NYFA: What were your favorite moments at NYFA?

    HM: Getting to know all of my classmates and people from other departments that share the same passion as me about storytelling. Forging relationships and earning people’s respect one day at a time.

    I loved all of my classes, so it is very hard for me to choose one specific favorite instructor or class. They were all shaping my life as a cinematographer and making me a different person since the day I started. All the classes are of equal importance. All the instructors are very passionate professionals that really care about teaching not only their knowledge, but also personal experiences that really helped me to have a better understanding about the craft of cinematography, and the protocol and relationships in the industry. 

    NYFA: Shortly after graduating, you had the opportunity to work on an independent feature film as the 2nd Assistant Camera (2nd AC). Can you tell us about that?

    HM: That was an amazing opportunity and I am really thankful for it. When I was at NYFA, one of my main priorities was to create strong relationships not only between my classmates and fellow students, but also between me and the instructors. In this case, Anthony B. Richmond ASC, BSC called me on a Saturday afternoon, asking me if I could join his son Gaston on a low budget feature film starring Ed Asner. I immediately said yes. At first, I couldn’t believe that I got a personal phone call from Tony himself asking me if I could work with his son.

    Everything turned out amazing, and I really learned a lot about all the duties of a 2nd AC in the real world. Of course, what I learned at NYFA was a huge influence on my workflow. 

    NYFA: As the 2nd AC and media manager, what were your responsibilities on the film? 

    HM: My first priority was to be invisible. That’s a thought that I always had with me while working on set. Invisible to the point that I had to make the 1st AC’s — Gaston Richmond’s — job easy. I had to keep the department afloat. Everything has a domino effect. If one tiny little thing breaks, falls, or is not charged, then the department could be delayed big time, so anticipation was key. 

    I also needed to keep the camera in order, keep all the batteries charged, keep track of all the rolls that we shot and what day they were shot. When things flow smoothly, it’s thanks to order, organization, and protocol. 

    I also had to change lenses in extreme situations, and change camera magazines. I had to run blocks and blocks down the street during a massive heatwave in order to back up the files to three hard drives at the same time, while keeping in constant communication with the Sound Mixer to also get the sound files and back them up in the proper way.

    Gaston was a great mentor, and I really learned a lot from him. He gave me great support, and helped me keep things in balance with the thousands of details that people assume are going to be taken care of. It is true that no one is going to tell you how to do your job at first, but I saw that as an opportunity to show them who I really was and all that I knew. 

    NYFA: Were there any specific challenges for the camera department on this film? How did you handle those issues? 

    HM: There were a lot of challenges like I mentioned before, but being a 2nd AC is a challenge itself. You are the base of the camera department, the one that keeps everything running smoothly. If you take care of the details, people will trust that you will do your job.

    My first focus was to have a great relationship with my department. We are a team, and we all wanted to have things moving forward smoothly. My relationship on set with Gaston (1st AC), was really important since he and I were working so closely. As I said, he was very reliable, incredibly supportive on set, and a great guy with a great personality. With a good attitude and always keeping our cool, we solved any challenges that we had to overcome.

    It is also extremely important to have a good relationship with every single department on the project. You never know when someone will have to help you, and basically save your life. I also offered myself as help to other departments when needed.

    Life on set is not easy, it is basically creating art out of chaos. That’s why it is extremely important to have good relationships with everyone, have a great attitude, a good sense of humor. Be humble at all times, and ask for help when you need it. These factors will help you overcome all the challenges on set. 

    1st AC Gaston Richmond and 2nd AC Horacio MartinezNYFA: Did your classes at NYFA prepare you for working on a professional set? 

    HM: Definitely. 100% of the material, cinematography practicums, and classes that I had at NYFA were of huge help, especially when it came to actually knowing my role. You have to respect the protocol of communication between members of your department, and with other departments as well.

    I never felt out of place, and I spoke the same language as the DP. This was especially helpful when we had to be very technical, with camera resolution, lenses, filters, white balance, etc. 

    NYFA: What advice would you give to current students about starting their careers? 

    HM: Never doubt yourself. Always be yourself. Be willing to learn, because one of the most exciting things about this career is learning about new technologies, developing skills to solve problems, and experimenting with different looks. This is not a 9-to-5 career, and every day is not the same. The challenge is how to adapt ourselves, and use our personality and creativity to leave our mark and identity in the visual story we are telling. 

    NYFA: What projects do you have coming up next? 

    HM: Right now, my mission is to join projects that will help me develop my skills and become a better professional. I hope to join the camera union (Local 600) in the near future. I want to learn, I want to meet people, and create bridges and relationships.

    In the meantime, I am prepping a music video and a couple of short films with great directors, all of them out of NYFA. 

     

    The New York Film Academy thanks Horacio Martinez for speaking about his experiences and looks forward to the future successes his drive, passion, and hard work will undoubtedly bring him!

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    September 17, 2018 • Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1902

  • Anthony Richmond Leads Production Design Practicum at Laurel Canyon Stages

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) has just completed its annual MFA Production Design and Cinematography Practicum, as a three-day production at the Laurel Canyon Stages.

     

    Throughout the practicum, NYFA Instructor Anthony Cook stepped in to offer guidance and support as the students worked through the many problems that can arise on set. Color theory, storytelling, and layout were all discussed throughout the class. Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond oversaw the production.

    “Production designers work hand in hand with the cinematographers,” Cook said. “Production Design is really another character in the film. It should be as carefully considered as the actors. It’s an unbelievably important component of crafting a good story.”  

    The New York Film Academy had created the Production Design Practicum for Cinematographers largely to help rising producers understand, through hands-on experience, the vital importance and intricacies of production design.

    The three-day shoot took place at the Laurel Canyon Stages. The New York Film Academy has been working with the studio for several years.

    “They’re always friendly and supportive,” said Associate Chair of Cinematography Mike Williamson.

    Students were involved in every aspect of filming.  They raised flats, designed the interior, directed the scene, and filmed the project.

    “They did everything. Right down to picking the sheets on the bed,” Cook said.

    NYFA alumna Natalie Whittle and actor Shamar Sanders were brought in by Cook to act for the student scenes.  Once the set was wrapped, the students were then able to edit the footage.

    The New York Film Academy Practicums are an opportunity for students to hone their skills in a real-world environment, under the conditions of a professional set.

    Cook was proud of his students stating, “The students did a really good job. It was a great experience. They handled themselves just like I would expect them to.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank all of the students who participated in this practicum as well as the instructors who made it possible.

     

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • New York Film Academy Alum Sapra Drops Love Trumps Drugs Music Video

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    At the New York Film Academy, we are big believers in the idea that understanding all different aspects filmmaking offers a huge advantage for aspiring artists — an advantage that can pave the way to all kinds of creative successes. NYFA Cinematography Conservatory grad Sapra (2009) is living proof that being able to approach the entertainment industry from multiple angles is sure to come in handy. The dynamic artist is many things — rapper, actor, director, producer, cinematographer — and now he has just dropped his own music video, Love Trumps Drugs.

    Sapra took the time to catch up with the NYFA Blog to speak about his experience making his own music video, and what it’s like to forge a truly unique path as a multi hyphenate artist.

    NYFA: First can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    Sapra: I was born in New Delhi, India, and started playing instruments as a kid. I was auditioned for a theater show randomly when I was bunking a class and that got me a lead part in a big theater production. That started my acting career. I got a taste of what it feels like to be in front of 5,000 people at an early age and I got addicted to the fun of performing. I remember while all of my school friends were studying in seventh standard and I was touring with my high school all over India. So I got to skip the classes!

    In college, I was a theater performer, emcee and an event manager. I had my own event management company called Beyond Exclamation. This was in my first year of college. After doing a lot of that, I wasn’t able to really reach out to millions of people, I was performing for thousands. So the yearning to learn film got me to NYFA. I started with studying film and cinematography, and then ventured into acting for film.

    After graduating from NYFA, I directed and produced multiple music videos for other artists, and I also directed and acted in PSAs. NYFA gave me a kick start in Los Angeles

    NYFA: Love Trumps Drugs is very polished, romantic, and high-energy music video. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired the music and the story?

    Sapra: I see the youth involved in all kinds of substance and I also see adults fancying the use of marijuana. I had a personal encounter where female friends of mine would use marijuana and become delusional and act weird. I also saw a lot of my talented friends leaving back for their country get involved in things they should have stayed out of.

    What I found common in all of them was abuse of such drugs. I saw people who were more talented than me giving up because the drug made them weaker. So I thought of an interesting way to entertain youth and suggest my thoughts. I am not being judgmental about the usage of marijuana in my video, however, I am suggesting a fact.

    NYFA: What surprised you most during the music video shoot?

    Sapra: The steady cam guy did not show up, so I had to find someone on the day of. I was the producer on this so it was a challenge juggling multiple things and keeping everyone happy.

    What also surprised me was the amount of money and time one has to spend to make each frame look good. Also one has to be spontaneous for last-minute story changes.

    NYFA: Were there any challenges in creating this music video, and how did you overcome them?

    Sapra: Budget was a challenge. What we wanted was not cheap. Our financier backed out two days before the shoot, so I had to take out a loan. The rest was easy as I had a great team.

    NYFA: What advice would you share with our NYFA students who want to produce their own music and music video?

    Sapra: Los Angeles is a producer’s paradise — you can make anything happen here! You can work with the best of the best people and teams if you hang tight. The best part is that it doesn’t matter if you have money or not. What matters is whether you are ready to put in the work.

    My agent, Jon of JS Represents, says Los Angeles is a one-way move. Once you are here, get financially stable first. Make this your home and keep on your career, and you will find yourself where you want to be. The industry will cast you when they are ready for you in their time. So hang tight and don’t give yourself a time limit.

    NYFA: What is next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

    Sapra: I am looking for distribution for my next music video Coco, which is my favorite of all. I filmed it in Mammoth. I have produced the video and it’s directed by my decade-old friend AB Chandra.

    I have two more videos in pre-production and a series I am casting for — and guess what? All this with no financial support from anyone!

    NYFA taught me in the beginning: DIY (do it yourself). I have the best mentors and team in the world. I am the lead actor/rapper and producer in all the productions.

    NYFA: Would you say your time at the New York Film Academy was at all useful for the work you are doing now?

    Sapra: Yes, NYFA taught me a lot. They supported me after completion of my course. They had great follow up. Dan Mackler, Michael Pessah, and Kirill guided me throughout my stay at NYFA.

    NYFA gave me a jump start and gave an overall understanding of Hollywood and filmmaking in general. Doing multiple projects and finding ways to make them happen without any resources is a part of the great training one can get from NYFA. You can be the best writer, actor, or director, but if you don’t consistently produce your content you may not be seen for years in the industry. That’s what NYFA taught me.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Sapra on his exciting music video launch. Check out Love Trumps Marijuana, Coco, and more from Sapra, coming soon!

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
  • This Dress Is Showing Everyone the Power of Color

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    the dress

    By now, the only excuse for not knowing about #TheDress would be if your Internet’s been out for the past twelve hours. While some viral memes are said to be breaking the Internet, this one is breaking people’s brains—a grainy photo of a dress is splitting the world into those who see it as white and gold and those who see it as blue and black.

    Rumor is that the dress is, in fact, blue and black, but those in the white-and-gold camp believe this is some sort of truth-masking conspiracy, like the lone gunman and the moon landing. Wired has even published a scientific account explaining what’s going on here—it involves the cones and rods in our eyes that receive color and translate images in the visual cortex for the brain. Because of this, sometimes our brains can be tricked, which isn’t exactly news—who hasn’t been dumbfounded by optical illusions like this?

    But besides taking attention away from llama drama, #TheDress controversy has another big benefit—it’s showing everyone just how powerful and important the use of color can be in an image. The students in New York Film Academy’s filmmaking school and cinematography school programs know this all too well—one of the first things they learn is how to properly white balance their digital cameras. White balancing calibrates a camera to read white light as pure white, allowing the rest of the spectrum to fall properly into place. An improperly white balanced image may leave whites looking blue (or gold.) Filmmakers may intentionally warp the colors of their image. Blues can create a downbeat tone, much like minor keys in music. Orange and Reds are considered warm and can be used for the opposite effect in filmmaking.

    It’s not just filmmakers who benefit from playing with the science of color. Our students in New York Film Academy’s graphic design school programs learn how to change the way we perceive images with Photoshop and other software—tools that can break down an image into its very makeup of reds, blues and greens. Right now, they’re the ones everybody is looking to for a final, definite answer to #TheDress question. Of course, we’re all going to listen to our guts—and our eyes—no matter what they tell us.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 27, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3932

  • Birdman Wins Top Cinematography Award

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    birdman cinematography

    This weekend, Emmanuel Lubezki picked up the American Society of Cinematographers Award for Best Feature Cinematography for his work on the Alejandro G. Iñárritu film, Birdman. Lubezki also made history, tying the record of most ASC wins with Conrad L. Hall, with an impressive four victories in the category. Lubezki won previously for shooting the Alfonso Cuaron films Gravity and Children of Men as well as the Terence Malick film The Tree of Life.

    Like Gravity, Birdman features long takes that are not just tricky for actors but for cinematographers who must carefully choreograph and execute the shots. Birdman seamlessly edits the long takes to give the impression the film is one extended shot for the entire feature.

    The win gives more momentum to Birdman as it heads into the final stretch of the Oscar season. Many consider Birdman a close second favorite to Boyhood, with the competition hard to predict outright. With the ASC win, Lubezki has a solid chance at scoring the Oscar for Best Cinematography, though he faces tough competition from the other contenders, with Ida, Mr. Turner, Unbroken and The Grand Budapest Hotel competing in the category.

    Among the other ASC awards given out, Boardwalk Empire’s Jonathan Freeman beat out presumed favorite Game of Thrones for the television prize, and Barbra Streisand accepted the annual Governors Award.

    If you dream of maybe winning the ASC Award one day, check out our cinematography school programs here.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 16, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4185

  • New York Film Academy Cinematography Graduate Shoots in Singapore

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    Thirty Second [NYFA Commercial] from Michael Zaw on Vimeo.

    New York Film Academy graduate Michael Zaw is actively working in the Singapore television industry as a Director of Cinematography. Since graduating from the January 2011 one-year cinematography course in New York, Michael has worked for the History Channel, Crime and Investigation Channel, Channel News Asia, and Singapore Local Channels.

    Michael says that formal training helped him to distinguish the choices he can make in filmmaking and the differences between techniques and elements. He adds, “I am proud that I was in NYFA…I miss NYFA and NY very very much. I kept in touch with all my classmates, I love them so much.”

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 9, 2012 • Acting • Views: 4792