Filmmaking in its very nature is a life-long learning process. One can never say I know it all and there’s nothing new for me to learn here.
While certain principles may remain constant, established narrative and filmmaking techniques have being tested and questioned frequently by bold filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick and Lars Von Trier for example.
In addition, filmmaking technology evolves at a staggering pace and delivery outlets are struggling to keep up as in the case of 4K delivery for broadcast. We have the acquisition tools, the workflow solutions, the end user home entertainment solutions, but not the delivery channels. At least not yet.
If you look at where we were 10 years ago, you’d be astounded to find out that we’ve come further in the last 10 years in terms of filmmaking technology than in the prior 100 years dominated by film. It seems like the leap from MiniDV to HD, then 2K and 4K, happened so quickly that the developments caught a lot of people off-guard.
Yes, for all of you, old-school fanatics, out there, it’s true – film stock emulsions did improve, faster film stock came out but at a much slower pace – every ten years, if that. Film cameras remained largely intact designs and inner workings for decades. Yes, some will say – film technology was simple and it worked. It is true, film was and is still special. But we are living in 2014, not 1974. Innovation is what keeps the visual form of storytelling going forward.
Back in the day, if you wanted to learn how to become a cinematographer, you had to go to film school, preferably a good one, and then hone your craft by climbing slowly up the ladder. The film industry was more structured at the time and filmmaking tools were extremely inaccessible as the industry was mainly closed to the outsider.
Still the principles from some of the best paper resources in the field of camerawork and lighting for film and TV productions are still relevant today. Classic books on the craft, such as Joseph V. Mascelli’s “The Five C’s of Cinematography” ,which was written 50 years ago, or John Alton’s “Painting with Light” hold immense value even today for those interested in learning more about the craft of cinematography or getting better at their work as DP, gaffer, or a director.
However, as technology evolves and learning resources multiply with an almost unsustainable pace, someone starting out today may have really hard time sifting through the thousands tutorials and online resources. Finding solid learning resources in the age of Web 2.0 can be harder than we think due to the myriad of not-so-great content out there.
Hollywood DP, Shane Hurlbut, ASC, whose work includes “Terminator Salvation”, “Need For Speed”, “We Are Marshall” and many others, has been offering sage advice, gear reviews, and tutorials on his blog – Hurlbutvisuals.com to independent filmmakers for quite some time now.
It is not very often that you get a Hollywood DP to offer his advice and experience to the masses, but Shane’s no ordinary DP. He’s been on the forefront of digital filmmaking technology for a long time and has pioneered DSLR’s as viable professional filmmaking tools (he shot a feature film, “Act of Valour”, on the 5D Mark II back in 2011).
Today, Shane Hurlbut is launching something quite special. “Shane’s Inner Circle” is a monthly subscription based service, aptly priced at $7.95 per month, offering more in-depth gear reviews and tests, lighting guides, as well as an unprecedented access to the inner workings of a Hollywood DP on the set of a feature film, to those who are serious about getting their craft to the next level.
Here’s what Shane has to say about “Shane’s Inner Circle” in his own words:
The intent is to elevate your knowledge base and creative ingenuity. We all must continue to challenge ourselves to achieve, to push beyond what we consider our comfort zone. I have built my career on achieving artistic mastery and I want to provide you with a technical foundation and creative perspective for doing the same thing.
Shane’s Inner Circle is a monthly membership club designed to be intimate, interactive, and share extreme attention to detail for those of you who desire to take your filmmaking and storytelling to the next level. Many of you have voiced how my virtual mentorship has changed your life and that our current informational posts have helped shape you as a storyteller. This club is my commitment to help advance filmmaking knowledge globally. I think of it as being able to share the “Keys to My Castle.”
Here are the Benefits of joining “Shane’s Inner Circle”:
- On-Set With Shane – takes you straight into the inner workings of a Hollywood DP on the set of a feature film from Day 1. This section of the monthly club outlines Shane’s “day to day” challenges and triumphs from his latest feature film projects. This section will be packed with visual aids, location pictures, links, and lighting schematics that will share the decision process he goes through every day.
- Power Blog Posts/Lighting Fundamentals – aimed at both those just starting out as well as film professionals working in the field, this will be an advanced but yet practical section including – Lighting, lens choice, composition, blocking, and exposure, which will be discussed in depth along with techniques, video examples, testing and full audio commentary.
- Monthly Podcast – subscribers can submit challenges and questions, which Shane will answer in an hour long Podcast, thus giving you access to his 20 years of experience, ranging from career advice, to lighting techniques and everything in between.
- Camera Picture Profiles – including, but not limited to C300/C500, Canon 1DC, Canon 5D Mark III and others.
- In-depth camera, lens, and lighting tests
I’ve been following Shane’s blog for a long time, and have learned a ton from him, so I am super excited to become a part of what seems to be a rather unique and unprecedented learning tool for filmmakers from any background.
I haven’t seen any of the content yet, and the subscription service is supposed to go live later today. So far everything on Shane’s blog has been invaluable and I am sure “Shane’s Inner Circle” will be an incredible creative hub for those serious about upping their filmmaking game in the field of cinematography.
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