Magazine article American Cinematographer

Learning from the Masters

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Learning from the Masters

Article excerpt

Twenty budding cinematographers from around the world converged in Hollywood last fall to attend the ASC Master Class, conducted from Oct. 21-25 at the Society's Clubhouse and other Los Angeles facilities. It was the first time the ASC hosted such an event, but Society President Richard Crudo says the organization has long sought to launch this type of course as a natural extension of its educational outreach. "We looked around at all the other programs out there, and we felt we had a lot more to offer," Crudo explains. "We have the best people in the world at what they do, all under the same roof. That's our greatest resource, and we felt it was time to finally institutionalize it."

Instructors and guest lecturers for the week included Christopher Chomyn, ASC; Caleb Deschanel, ASC; Dean Cundey, ASC; Curtis Clark, ASC; Bill Bennett, ASC; Rob Legato, ASC; associate ASC member Joshua Pines; and James Knight, the CEO of Knight Vision Studios.

Day one of the program focused on highlights of cinematography history via carefully selected film clips, and participants discussed how the cinematographer's role has evolved over the past century. "Everybody brought to the table their respective admiration of cinema, which inspired us to be what we are," says ASC Vice-President Kees van Oostrum, who helped organize the curriculum. "We thought that would be a great way to inspire the students as well."

Other days offered hands-on seminars with Cundey and Deschanel at the Mole-Richardson Co. soundstage, where the students worked with camera equipment provided by Arri, Canon, Red and Sony. "The job of a cameraman is pretty solitary in that you don't get to spend a lot of time watching other cinematographers work," observed student Ryan Kemaghan, a cine- matographer from Belfast, Northern Ireland. "Any chance you have to see elite cameramen like Caleb and Dean work, there's no substitute for that sort of thing." Footage from both days was sent to Technicolor for processing so the students and instructors could review their work later in the week.

Another day of the class focused on technology and visual effects. Clark, the chairman of the ASC Technology Committee, led the morning discussion, which addressed workflow practices and how cinematographers can incorporate the Academy Color Encoding Specifications and the ASC Color Decision List into their work. …

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