Visual media is an essential vehicle for marketing and communication for anyone involved in the music industry. Introduction to Digital Cinematography is a beginner-level course, which explores the art of visual storytelling and provides a firm overview of the technical foundation in how to effectively use the camera, lighting, and other tools to convey your message. The course starts by examining the art of photography and video, and how to properly harness the medium to communicate your message. From there, youll learn about the technical skills needed to create images and videos through a discussion of the camera and its components. You will learn to control the viewers experience through creative choices you make about where to put the camera and how to move it.
The course then explores how to create a mood in a scene with lighting techniques. These techniques are shown in a straightforward, practical way so you will be able to produce professional results, even with improvised household lighting. The course will also cover the essential topics of movie and video making, such as story, continuity, and collaboration. The skills learned in these areas will give you the ability to create basic as well as more elaborate productions to achieve your goals.
At the end of the course, you will shoot a short video piece and prepare the footage for editing, applying the theoretical, technical, and practical knowledge you’ve gained. The course uses over 100 examples of movies, videos, and music videos to illustrate how cinematographic techniques are applied and used in the professional world. The examples include iconic movies such as Rocky, Jaws, The Shining, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in addition to music videos by Radiohead, Britney Spears, and others. An emphasis is placed on contemporary works, while giving you valuable knowledge of classics such as the works of Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles. The course is designed for the student with basic technical skills, but even people with more experience will benefit from learning how to tell a story effectively with their camera, and how to communicate something to their audience with images.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:
- Produce any kind of video, including a music video or short film
- Tell a story visually
- Employ camera work creatively
- Employ lighting to tell a story or set a mood
- Prepare video footage for editing
Lesson 1 Introduction to Visual Storytelling
Lesson 2 A Technical Introduction to the Camera
Lesson 3 The Lens
Lesson 4 Camera Placement
Lesson 5 Camera Movement
Lesson 6 Lighting Tools
Lesson 7 Creative Lighting
Lesson 8 Color
Lesson 9 The Story
Lesson 10 The Long Take
Lesson 11 Continuity
Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements
Basic knowledge in operating a camera and ability to transfer video. With the many models and types of cameras available, this course can only cover the basic and most common camera settings and functions.
Audio Post Production for Film and TV, Film Scoring 101, Pro Tools 101, and Music Video Editing with Final Cut Pro would complement this course but are not required.
- Video editing software is recommended. Your editing software must be capable of producing .MOV, .AVI, .MPG, .M4V, .WMV, or .MTS file formats. If you do not have video editing software, you can use Movie Maker, included on Windows computers, or iMovie, included on Mac computers.
- A video camera capable of copying video to your computer is necessary. If you are going to submit video directly from your camera for assignments, it must be capable of outputting .MOV, .AVI, .MPG, .M4V, .WMV, or .MTS file formats.
- A still camera is necessary as well, with the ability to copy the images to your computer. The camera may be consumer level, of any type. Your images should be in the .GIF, .JPG, or .PNG file formats.
- Students may also use a camera which functions as both video and still camera, as well as any image-capturing device such as a smartphone.
Cinematographer Tal Lazar’s narrative repertoire includes drama, comedy, horrors, and most recently action thrillers, and has found recognition in the festival circuits across the globe. He has worked on numerous international box offices successes, with Vietnam at the forefront. Domestically, his projects have found homes in theatrical as well as online distribution.
Tal received his MFA in Cinematography at the American Film Institute Conservatory. He earned his BFA in Film & Television studies at Tel Aviv University, where he won the Sharet Foundation Award for Cinematography. He produced the 2004 Tel Aviv Cinematography Masterclass and participated in the 2005 Budapest Cinematography Masterclass. In 2011, he became a Cinematography faculty member at the American Film Institute Conservatory and an instructor at Berklee Online.
Tal was born and raised in Israel, where he served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a staff sergeant. He received the prestigious President’s Award of Excellence for his service from President Ezer Weizman in 2000. Tal is a member of the International Cinematographer’s Guild and resides in Los Angeles.
Hana Kitasei is a Japanese and American LA-based cinematographer. She graduated with a BA in mathematics from Harvard and an MFA in cinematography from the American Film Institute. She assisted Ellen Kuras, ASC, (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) while cutting her teeth on a wide range of narrative, documentary, and experimental projects. In 2018, she was chosen to participate in the first annual Fox DP development lab. She is currently lensing her fourth narrative feature, Paulie Go. Other feature credits include: Unconformity, Daughter (starring Casper Van Dien), The Unborn, and two documentary features, The Myken Project, and Layers, the latter ofwhich was recently premiered by LACMA. She is currently represented by Danica Pupa at Intrinsic LA.
As an educator, she currently teaches the Language of Cinematography class at the AFI, and has mentored students in visual storytelling for two years. Previously, she also worked for two years on the teaching teams of Advanced Production Techniques with Master Cinematographers as well as a special five lecture series Engaging the Industry, also for the AFI.
When taken for credit, Introduction to Digital Cinematography can be applied towards these associated programs:
Associated Certificate Programs
- General Music Studies Professional Certificate
- General Music Studies Advanced Professional Certificate
Associated Degree Majors
- Bachelor’s Degree in Music Production
- Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business
- Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Music Production and Sound Design
- Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Music Studies (Create Your Own Major)
- (Pre-Degree) Undeclared Option
- Bachelor’s Degree in Songwriting
- Bachelor’s Degree in Guitar
- Bachelor’s Degree in Songwriting and Producing Music