Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer

Cinematic Excellence at 24 Frames a Second

An Intro To Lighting, Green Screen, & Copyright

When I began in this field, there were far fewer resources available that I could learn from and that gave me the knowledge I needed to have in a way that I could understand it. Today with the proliferation of high speed internet connections, that issue has disappeared as there are thousands of resources online. Now the problem is trying to figure out where to begin as the quality and information can be stellar, or downright appalling. And that is where Reel Classroom has stepped in by publishing three quality introductory training lessons. Here is what you can expect to get out of each lesson, and how you can save 10% on your order...

Introduction To Lighting For Film & Video-
Carl Gundestrup, a veteran gaffer, does a great job in this video covering all of the basics that you need to know to get started lighting your productions. With over a 100 minutes of content, he not only shows you what different lighting instruments are, but how their light qualities affect the scene being lit. He also covers the basics of three point lighting and demonstrates how that principle can be applied on a set to convey different moods and times of day.

Often times in a training video, it can be tempting to bring out the big guns and fancy equipment to really show off what can be done with the "cool" tools. But what I appreciate about this video is that while Carl shows what the big expensive HMI lights can do, he uses inexpensive, easily accessible lights in his demonstrations. This makes his no-nonsense approach accessible to anyone first starting out. I also find it refreshing that when he goes out to demonstrate lighting at a practical location he covers the real life challenges you will encounter. He shows realistic solutions that can be accomplished with a small crew and a limited budget. The great thing about lighting is that the theory and principles always remain the same. So even though this video was created before the current deluge of digital cinema cameras, what you learn here still applies, and current camera technology will actually make it easier for you to get high quality results. If lighting is intimidating to you and you don't know where to begin, this video will get you up and running with tools that will be easily accessible to you and your budgets. I appreciated watching Carl work, as even though I have a good understanding of the concepts, there are a thousand ways to light the same scene. And seeing how someone else works always gives me new ideas, and new solutions on how to approach lighting a scene.

(You might also like: Three Tips For Buying A Lighting Kit)

Green Screen Lighting-
Carl continues his no-nonsense approach to lighting as he covers the intricacies of lighting a green screen (or a blue screen for that matter). This video is structured in a similar manner to the Intro to Lighting video. Carl starts out by covering the theory and the tools, then he shows the setup in an idea studio location, and finishes with a demonstration in a less than ideal practical location.

KinoFlo's with green tubes are the easiest and quickest way to light a green screen. However, when you are just starting out, typically the budget isn't there for this more specialized equipment. In keeping with the Intro to Lighting video, Carl shows you how to use the more affordable tools you'll encounter as you begin your career. I also appreciate that he covers how to approach interactive scene lighting as well as how to light for generic and custom backgrounds. Correctly lighting a green screen is not the most sexy of topics to cover for the beginner, however, when done properly it will save a lot of headache and time in post production, and it shouldn't be overlooked.

A Guide To Copyright for Media Artists & Educators -
Copyright is one of those topics that you think you know about until you actually sit down and start to look into it. As I watched this video, I learned how much I didn't know, and I had some wrong assumptions corrected. Covering a dry topic like this could be boring and put you to sleep, and while this video isn't a riveting drama, I found it to be informative while holding my attention. This is due to the fact that it is an overview of copyright and provides high level information without diving into the nitty gritty of each particular law. The video is split up into 2-3 minute segments that are easily digestible.

While the content in the video cannot be construed as legal advice, I think it will be of particular interest to educators and content creators. For educators it outlines the TEACH Act and how that affects the content used in classes both in person and online. And for content creators (media artists), like myself, I learned what my current protections are, and how I can better protect myself and the content I create. If you are well versed in copyright law, then this video is not for you. If, however, you create content, or are an educator, and you have a limited understanding of copyright (like I did), then I think this video will be a useful way to get you up to speed on the big issues of copyright without the drudgery of having to wade through the finite details.

Summary Judgement
If you are well versed and experienced in any of these topics then these videos will not be a good fit for you, as they are meant as introductory lessons. If, however, any of these topics are new to you, make you feel daunted or overwhelmed, and you don't know where to begin, then they will be a good place to start.

How To Save 10% On Your Order
I've arranged for a 10% discount for the readers of my blog. If you want to take advantage of this discount, just enter the following in the Promo Code box: REW10

Do you have any resources that you can recommend to someone just starting out? What have you found to be most helpful?

Until Next Time - Get Out There And Shoot!
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