cinematography
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  • Making Magic at NYFA

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    virtual stage

    Director of Photography Yan Rymsha composes the shot of Sawicki playing the giant.

    The students in my Cine 810 class in visual effects cinematography outdid themselves recently by shooting a mock Solar Power commercial complete with miniatures and size scaled performers. Originally, the plan was to have the concept take place during the day but director of photography student Yan Rymsha suggested that it take place at night with mysterious film noir lighting.

    I loved the idea and modified the script just before the shoot. The principal photography took place on a green screen stage in Hollywood and is an example of a poor man’s virtual set. The miniature and myself (playing the giant) was set up at one end of the stage and was shot with a Red Epic A camera. Colin Meyer, playing the solar panel owner, was shot in the same room simultaneously with a Red Epic B camera, using the same focal length lens as the A camera. This enabled the performances and camera angles to be synchronized very easily.

    To “pre viz” the shots a Panasonic AS50S switcher was used to do a rough video composite between the two cameras to make sure the critical alignment was spot on. The crew also used an Atomos Ninja recorder to record the output of the switcher for editing purposes. The giant coin prop was created by sticking a blow up photo of a coin on a film can and having Colin pick it up off of a C-stand. Animation of the giant’s hand holding the coin was then executed in After Effects to link up with the prop coin that Colin picked up at just the right frame. The shoot took all of a fun filled eight hour day. Post compositing was executed in After Effects and saved in our database of real world exercises. The students and I had a lot of fun shooting the project and we look forward to developing more virtual stage projects here at NYFA Los Angeles.

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    July 25, 2014 • 3D Animation, Cinematography • Views: 4051

  • NYFA Students Shoot Workshop Scenes at Lincoln Heights Jail

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    lincoln heights

    At New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus, we’re always looking to take advantage of the many great locations here in Hollywood. Recently, the Filmmaking and Cinematography programs conducted two of their intensive workshops at Lincoln Heights Jail. During its heyday, the jail famously housed Charles Manson, as well as legendary actor Robert Mitchum following his conviction for the possession of marijuana in 1948. Lincoln Heights closed its door as working jail in the late 60’s, and has since served as the backdrop for such notable films as “L.A. Confidential”, “American History X” and more recently “Iron Man 2”.

    The third semester MFA Cinematography students spent three days at the location for the Advanced Lighting workshop, bringing in a 600 amp generator, heavy duty cable and power distribution. They learned how to properly set up an array of high-powered lights including 10K tungsten fresnels, a 9 Light Maxi-Brute and a 4K HMI PAR. Instructor Jeff Siljenberg presented different challenges and scenarios to the students as the class lit shots in the jail cells, corridors and warden’s office, capturing the scenes on the Red Epic camera. The cinematographers got some great footage for their reels while they learned how to work with big lights in a practical location.

    The second semester MA Filmmaking students joined them at Lincoln Heights, shooting scenes for their 35mm Cinematography workshop. During the week-long workshop, the filmmakers learned how to operate and shoot 35mm film using a Panavision camera and lenses. After their initial hands-on training, instructor Matt Kohnen took the students on location to test their new skills shooting different scenes on 35mm film while incorporating dolly moves into the setups.

    Lincoln Heights proved to be the perfect setting for both workshops, and the students walked away with memorable experiences and great shots!

    lincoln heights

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    June 30, 2014 • Cinematography, Filmmaking • Views: 6093

  • NYFA LA Cinematography Students Conduct Ultimate Camera Shoot-Out with Arriflex Alexa

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    Cinematography Class NYFA

    By their 4th semester, the MFA Cinematography students at New York Film Academy Los Angeles have worked with a wide variety of film and digital cameras including 35mm, Super 16mm, Red Epic and Scarlet to name only a few. With the Master’s Camera Technique class now underway, they can add the Arriflex Alexa to that list. LA Cinematography Chair Michael Pessah has been teaching them the in’s and out’s of this cutting edge camera, taking a hands-on approach by shooting tests and scenes throughout the class.

    In addition to working with the Alexa, the class is also conducting the “Ultimate Camera Shoot-Out”. Under the guidance of instructors Michael Pessah and Rick Greenwood, the cinematographers will shoot tests to evaluate the best of the best cameras, gaining an understanding of the strengths of each format. The test will examine the following nine cameras:

    • camera testArriflex 535 (35mm)
    • Arriflex SR3 (Super 16mm)
    • Arriflex Alexa
    • Red Epic
    • Red Scarlet
    • Sony F65
    • Canon C300
    • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema
    • Canon 5D mk3

    The class will view the footage in a high-end color correction room at Fotokem in Burbank, allowing the students to see critical differences in a professional screening environment. The students are excited about this unique opportunity to compare the various state-of-the-art formats and look forward to viewing the results. We are confident this will give them the knowledge to pick the right camera for each project as they start their careers the film industry.

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    June 13, 2014 • Cinematography • Views: 4544

  • Industry Guests Advise NYFA Los Angeles Cinematography Students

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    Mike Williamson

    While the fourth semester MFA Cinematography students prepare to shoot their thesis films, they are also being prepared for life after film school. As part of the “Navigating the Industry” course, instructor Suki Medencevic, ASC reached out to his colleagues to find guests to speak to New York Film Academy Los Angeles students about starting their careers in the film business.

    He got a great response, bringing in major industry players including recent Academy Award nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, ASC (“Nebraska“, “Pursuit of Happyness“, “Walk The Line“), producer and visual effects guru Brian Rogers (“Godzilla“, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows“, “Green Lantern“), writer and director Nick Castle (“Major Payne“, “Dennis the Menace“, “Hook“), cinematographer Jacek Laskus, ASC (“The Devil’s Arithmetic“, “The Guardian“, “Parting Glances“), assistant director Alexa Sheehan (“Saw“, “A Love Song for Bobby Long“), and many others.

    Students received valuable advice on getting into the business and asked questions about the current state of the industry. The intimate class format allowed the guests to speak freely, sharing advice and stories from the many films they’ve worked on.  The Cinematography School in Los Angeles is grateful to our guests for sharing their wisdom, we look forward to seeing our students join their ranks soon!

    Mike Williamson
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    April 7, 2014 • Cinematography • Views: 3834

  • MFA Cinematography Students Get Hands-On Lecture at Sony Studios

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    Thanks to New York Film Academy Instructor Suki Medencevic, the January 2013 MFA Cinematography students had a rare and amazing opportunity to travel to Sony Studios where they had a seminar on Sony cameras. While at Sony, they went to the Digital Motion Picture Center (D.M.P.C.). The seminar educated students on Sony’s top of the line 4K digital cameras: the F55 and F65.

    sony-lectureAt the DMPC, the two main instructors for the seminar were Curtis Clark, an A.S.C. director of photography, and Kazuo Endo, the F65 engineer who created the camera. The first part of the seminar began with a lecture from Kazuo Endo going over the capabilities and specifications of the cameras. Following Kazuo’s lecture was Curtis Clark, who introduced the students to a universal color space reference tool called the Academy Color Encoding Specification or A.C.E.S. A decade in the making, A.C.E.S. will be the new industry standard for motion pictures and television. A.C.E.S. was created by the combined efforts of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the A.S.C.

    After Curtis taught the students about A.C.E.S., they had the opportunity to shoot two different night and day shots using the F55 and F65 on set in the sound stage of Sony. Before the test shoot, Curtis introduced everyone to an application engineer/D.I.T. by the name of Steve MacMillan, who then presented the digital workflow of the F55 and F65 using A.C.E.S. as a color reference.

    The cinematography students jumped right in to shoot their two shots showing skill, resourcefulness, leadership, and creativity that they learned from their schooling at New York Film Academy, which impressed both Curtis and Kazuo. When they were finished shooting, the footage was handed off to a colorist by the name of David Burnstein. David projected the RAW footage in 4k in the DMPC Theater where they had a color grading session with David.

    When the color grading session was over, Curtis and Kazuo gave closing remarks and thanked everyone for coming to Sony. Curtis and Kazuo also gave the students a parting gift and wished them all luck with their future projects. “The students showed considerable skill and resourcefulness in the way they approached the two scenes they shot on the DMPC set,” said Curtis. “I’m sure it reflects the high quality of instruction and training they receive from NYFA. Kazuo and I very much enjoyed having them take part in our seminar and look forward to continuing working with NYFA cinematography students in 2014.”

    Needless to say, all of the students were thrilled about their wonderful learning experience at Sony.

    If you’re interested in NYFA’s MFA Cinematography program, CLICK HERE for more information.

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    December 19, 2013 • Cinematography • Views: 3850

  • NYFA Grads Film ‘Deep Water’ in Alaska

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    deep waters

    Two New York Film Academy graduates, Daniel Zagaevsky and Xiaolong Liu, teamed up and set out on a mission to film an ambitious project in Alaska. The short, Deep Water, was written and directed by Daniel Zagaevsky with Xiaolong on board as cinematographer. The film juxtaposes two completely different locations, New York City and the vast wilderness of Alaska.

    Deep Water was a big challenge; something that a lot of people thought would never happen,” said Daniel. “I had a chance to do something different for my film and I chose ‘The Last Frontier’ as a set for my story – Alaska”

    Daniel contacted Xiaolong Liu three weeks before the first day of shooting Deep Water. He felt Liu was unafraid to stretch his creativity to make this film happen and that he had the right vision. Given the small crew size, a student budget, and the frigid cold environment, the two were in for quite a challenge.

    “Xiaolong is a very talented Director of Photography – full of resources and ideas – a hard-worker. Through technique and skill, he was capable of capturing the best images for the story.”

    The crew had to shoot in close quarters with an actual grizzly bear, on a fishing boat in the middle of rough seas, and with a crane in the middle of a glacier. Not exactly your typical student film set. Nevertheless, the crew triumphed through adversity to make this film a reality.

    Xiaolong Liu was also nominated for Best Cinematography at the La Jolla Fashion Film Festival and International Fashion Film Awards for his work on Anatomy of Gravity. Check it out!

    THE ANATOMY OF GRAVITY from arthurvalverde on Vimeo.

     

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    November 26, 2013 • Cinematography, Film School, Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7291

  • New York Film Academy Visiting Toronto

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    toronto_night_skyline

    The New York Film Academy will be visiting its neighbor to the north! That’s right, Canada, our admissions team will be in Toronto, holding auditions, portfolio reviews, and information sessions. If you’re interested in studying at the New York Film Academy and are in the area, you do not want to miss this. See details below.

    September 28th – Auditions & Portfolio Reviews

    Time: Please RSVP for a time slot

    Location: Toronto

     

    September 29th – Open House/ Information Session

    Time: 1PM – 3PM

    Location: Toronto

     

    Acting for Film or Musical Theatre Audition

    • Auditions are for partial scholarship and placement for our Musical Theatre or Acting for Film programs
    • *New York Film Academy does not offer full scholarships
    • *Scholarships are only available for long-term programs

    Portfolio Reviews

    • Portfolio reviews are for partial scholarship to our Filmmaking, Cinematography, Photography, Screenwriting, Producing, Documentary, 3D animation, Game Design, and Broadcast Journalism programs.
    • Creative portfolios consist of two pieces of creative work pertaining to your desired field of study.
    • *New York Film Academy does not offer full scholarships
    • *Scholarships are only available for long-term programs

     

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    September 6, 2013 • Academic Programs • Views: 5100

  • New York Film Academy Returns to South Africa

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    cape-town-south-africa

    Once again the New York Film Academy couldn’t resist another trip to South Africa! We are never disappointed and we’re always anxious to get back. Not to mention the overall enthusiasm South Africans have for the arts and the New York Film Academy.

    If you are interested in finding out more about NYFA or would like an audition, check below to see when we’ll be in your area.

     

    JOHANNESBURG

    Auditions for partial Talent Based Scholarship to the Acting and Musical Theatre programs

    AND

    Portfolio reviews for partial scholarship to Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing programs

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

    WHERE: Johannesburg (Kempton Park)

    TIME: 13:00-15:00

    ——————-

    Open House and General Information Session for All New York Film Academy programs

    WHEN: Thursday, September 12th, 2013

    WHERE: Johannesburg (Kempton Park)

    TO RSVP: You must email southafrica@nyfa.edu 

    —————–

    CAPE TOWN

    Auditions for partial Talent Based Scholarship to the Acting and Musical Theatre programs

    AND

    New York Film Academy portfolio reviews for partial scholarship to Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

    WHERE: Cape Town

    TIME: 13:00-15:00
    —————–

    Open House and General Information Session for All New York Film programs

    WHEN: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

    WHERE: Cape Town

    TO RSVP for this or any event, please email southafrica@nyfa.edu

     

    READ CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU RSVP

    1. Portfolio Reviews consist of a panel review of two pieces of creative work pertaining to your desired field of study. Reviews are for partial scholarship to our *full time Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing programs.
    2. Auditions are for partial scholarship to our *full time Acting or Musical Theatre programs.
    3. MUSICAL THEATRE AUDITION: Consists of a 60-90 second monologue from a published contemporary American play or screenplay, and two contrasting musical theatre songs with music backing.
    4. ACTING AUDITION: Consists of 2 contemporary, contrasting monologues of approximately 60- 90 seconds per monologue.
    5. Information session/Open House: A detailed overview of all the programs NYFA has to offer.
    6. *Full Time = 1 Year or longer
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    August 13, 2013 • Academic Programs, Road Show • Views: 13387

  • ‘Broken City’ Director of Photography Chats at NYFA Union Square

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    benseresin

    Last week, the New York Film Academy in Union Square hosted an exclusive Guest Speaker event with Cinematographer, Ben Seresin. Ben has been a member of the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC) since 2010, and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) since 2011. He has worked on the films Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, World War Z, Pain & Gain, and more. With over twenty years in the business, Ben has worked with many of Hollywood’s top directors. Recently, blockbuster director, Michael Bay, has chosen to work with Ben on Transformers and Pain & Gain.

    On Wednesday, NYFA screened Ben’s film, Broken City, an action thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. While the movie sounds like a big Hollywood film, Ben says he had to work on a bit of a low budget. He admitted having to film major scenes in the course of a day. His goal was to shoot the noir in a contemporary way and to make New York City feel more like a home, as opposed to the glorified movie set it is so often portrayed as. Ben also noted that Russell Crowe was the most technical actor he’s ever worked with. “He had a great sense of the camera.”

    benseresin2

    One of the topics of the conversation between Ben and moderator John Loughlin was overshooting a scene, or allowing oneself to get wrapped up in the mechanics of filmmaking while on set. “Having a safe option can potentially be damaging,” said Seresin. “Compromises can be made if you over cover a scene. It can then be edited in many ways.” Ben added, “There’s a mechanical element that can distract you from film making. It’s dangerous if you get caught up in the mechanics. You lose sight of what’s really important.”

    His advice in avoiding this potentially damaging aspect of film making, “Try to stay detached. Be relaxed. Do not be stressed and trust your eyes.”

    Ben hopes to diversify his upcoming projects as he loves exploring all genres of cinema. We look forward to seeing more great work from Ben!

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    August 5, 2013 • Cinematography, Guest Speakers • Views: 6691

  • NYFA Holds Cinematography Workshop with ARRI ALEXA

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    Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 12.35.19 PM

    Recently, the advanced New York Film Academy Cinematography students in Los Angeles met at Arriflex for a week long intensive workshop on the Alexa. The digital camera marks features modularity, PL mount lenses, a Super 35 sized CMOS sensor shooting up to 2880 x 2160 resolution and supports uncompressed video or proprietary raw (ARRIRAW) data. To put it simply, another monumental step forward in the world of digital filmmaking. The workshop was led by ARRI Inc.’s Vice President of Cameras, Bill Russell, and Stephan Ukas-Bradley, Manager of Technical Services.

    During the first day, Cinematography Chair, Michael Pessah’s students received training on brand new Alexa models – even before they were available to the general public!

    On second day of the workshop, NYFA students were given a tour of Alternative Rentals, a premiere camera rental house in Culver City. At Alternative Rentals, they spent some time testing various lenses by Zeiss, Canon, Angenieux and Red on the ALEXA. Students checked out and rented the Alexa from Alternative rentals for use in their NYFA projects.

    Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 12.45.08 PM

    Students filming on set of Desperate Housewive’s “Wisteria Lane”

    The third day of the workshop, students designed and photographed an extensive camera test under the supervision of Suki Medencevic, ASC. In this test, the Alexa, the RED Epic, RED Scarlet, 35mm Panavision and the 5D were compared in a travelling dolly shot. The class will grade the camera test at Fotokem, under the supervision of their senior colorist Alastor Arnold (Parker, etc) in Fotokem’s Digital Intermediate theater.

    On the fourth day of the workshop, the Cinematography students filmed a practicum with the Alexa, directed by Matt Sarnoff. The practicum was filmed on the Universal Backlot and included professional actors. “An Alexa on the Universal lot?” said Pessah. “It doesn’t get better than that!”

    After a day of rest, the Cinematography students teamed up with recent NYFA Producing students for a one-day shoot with the Alexa. They rotated crew positions and were able to DP their own project. All in all, the workshop was an exclusive and incredibly informative experience for all of our aspiring cinematographers.

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    July 8, 2013 • Acting, Cinematography • Views: 5469