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Digital Cinematography

Book Description

High end digital cinematography can truly challenge the film camera in many of the technical, artistic and emotional aspects of what we think of as 'cinematography'. This book is a guide for practising and aspiring cinematographers and DOPs to digital cinematography essentials - from how to use the cameras to the rapidly emerging world of High Definition cinematography and 24p technology.


This book covers the `on-the-set' knowledge you need to know - its emphasis lies in practical application, rather than descriptions of technologies, so that in this book you will find usable `tools' and information to help you get the job done. From `getting the look' to lighting styles and ratios, what is needed for different types of shoots and the technical preparation required, this is a complete reference to the knowledge and skills required to shoot high end digital films. The book also features a guide to the Sony DVW in-camera menus - showing how to set them up and how they work - a
device to save you time and frustration on set.

Paul Wheeler is a renowned cinematographer/director of photography and trainer, he runs courses on Digital Cinematography at the National Film & Television School and has lectured on the Royal College of Art's MA course and at The London International Film School. He has been twice nominated by BAFTA for a Best Cinematography award and also twice been the winner of the INDIE award for Best Digital Cinematography.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. About the author
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Introduction
  10. PART ONE Digital Cinematography
    1. 1 Why digital cinematography?
      1. Introduction
      2. Exposure meters
      3. Tonal range
      4. Exposure control
      5. Image stability
      6. Greater perceived detail
      7. Repeatability
      8. Portability
  11. PART TWO The Director of Photography’s Craft
    1. 2 Creating a look
      1. Decide what you want
      2. Sharp or soft
      3. Cold or warm
      4. Saturation and desaturation
      5. Skin tone control
      6. The film look
    2. 3 Lighting
      1. Useful styles
      2. Soft lighting
      3. Hard lighting
      4. Coloured sources
    3. 4 Lighting ratios
      1. Defining a lighting ratio
      2. Visualizing lighting ratios
      3. Different lighting ratios for film and television
      4. Using lighting ratios on the set
      5. Controlling the whole scene
      6. The effect of not recording the whole scene
    4. 5 Colour temperature
      1. What is colour temperature?
      2. Filters and Mired shift values
      3. The colour temperature meter
      4. Location sources
      5. Correcting lamps
    5. 6 Filters
      1. Camera filters
      2. Matching shots
      3. Enhancing filter
      4. Fluorescent light correction
      5. Polar screens
      6. Old filter factors
      7. The pan glass
  12. PART THREE The Shoot
    1. 7 Examples of shoots
      1. Drama
      2. Documentary
    2. 8 Crewing
      1. For fiction
      2. For factual
    3. 9 The Director of Photography’s preparation
      1. The recces
      2. Preparing for a shoot
      3. The technical schedule
      4. The camera equipment list
      5. The lighting equipment list
    4. 10 Technical preparation for a shoot
      1. Technical checks
      2. Camera checks – record/playback
      3. Lens checks
      4. Time code
      5. Accessories
      6. Matte boxes
      7. Follow focus devices
      8. Viewfinders
      9. Monitors
  13. PART FOUR The Technology
    1. 11 The camera
      1. The television image
      2. Additive colour imagery
      3. Resolution
      4. The digital camera
      5. The camera head
      6. The image sensors
      7. The sensor chip
      8. The image signal
      9. The internal circuitry
    2. 12 The video cassette recorder
      1. The VCR
      2. Helical scan
      3. Mechanical considerations
      4. The scanning drum
      5. The drum lacing mechanism
      6. A jammed mechanism
    3. 13 White and black balance
      1. White balance
      2. What is white balance?
      3. White balance using a white card
      4. White balance using a coloured card
      5. White balance under fluorescent lighting
      6. The inner filter wheel
      7. Black balance
    4. 14 Time code and user bits
      1. User bits
      2. Time code
      3. Record run time code
      4. Free run time code
      5. Synchronising using external time code generators
      6. Time of day time code
      7. Setting time code
      8. Resetting time code after removing a tape
      9. Synchronizing using a cable
    5. 15 Delivery systems
      1. Television
      2. Projection
      3. Transfer to film
  14. PART FIVE High-definition Digital Cinematography
    1. 16 High definition
      1. High-definition image capture
      2. The Sony HDCAM
      3. The Sony HDW-F500 digital recorder
      4. Inputting 24P into non-linear editing
      5. Panavision digital cinematography
      6. Panavision high-definition lenses
      7. Depth of field
      8. Camera control cards
      9. Digi Beta/HDCAM familiarity
      10. The camera menus
      11. Projection
      12. But what does it actually look like?
      13. HDCAM – a replacement for 35 mm?
      14. Conclusions
  15. PART SIX The Sony DVW In-camera Menus
    1. 17 The Sony DVW camera menus
      1. The set-up card
      2. Reading data from a set-up card
      3. Film gamma cards
      4. The menu pages
      5. Making adjustments
      6. Rate of change
      7. The user menu
      8. Fathers and grandfathers
      9. Different software – the quick reference lists
    2. 18 The Sony DVW 700 menus – quick reference list
    3. 19 The Sony DVW 700 menus
      1. Set-up card
      2. Function ½
      3. Function 2/2
      4. Test out
      5. Widescreen
      6. Level 1/9 16:9
      7. Level 1/9 4:3
      8. Level 2/9
      9. Level 3/9
      10. Level 4/9
      11. Level 5/9
      12. Level 6/9
      13. Level 7/9
      14. Level 8/9
      15. Level 9/9
      16. Others
      17. D/A gain
      18. Mean select 1/3, 2/3 and 3/3
      19. Auto shading
      20. DCC adjust
      21. Operation mode
      22. SG adjust measure mode
      23. Data reset
      24. LED select
      25. Marker ½
      26. Marker 2/2
      27. VF display
      28. Master gain
      29. Camera ID
      30. Shutter speed
      31. Clearscan
      32. ! LED
    4. 20 The Sony DVW 790 menus – quick reference list
    5. 21 The Sony DVW 790 menus
      1. Set-up card
      2. Function ½
      3. Function 2/2
      4. Widescreen
      5. VF setting
      6. Level 1 16:9
      7. Level 2 16:9
      8. Level 1 4:3 and Level 2 4:3
      9. Level 3
      10. Level 4
      11. Level 5
      12. Level 6
      13. Level 7
      14. Level 8
      15. Level 9
      16. Level 10
      17. Level 11
      18. Level 12
      19. DCC adjust
      20. Offset white
      21. Preset white
      22. Operation 1
      23. Operation 2
      24. SG adjust
      25. Enc. Adjust
      26. Data reset
      27. Menu select pages 1–5
      28. Marker 1/3
      29. Marker 2/3
      30. Marker 3/3
      31. VF display ½
      32. VF display 2/2
      33. Master gain
      34. Shot ID
      35. Shot display
      36. Shutter speed
      37. ! LED
  16. Index