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Lighting or Shoot Film (2 replies and 2 comments)

1 month ago
mvarez24 1 month ago

Hi Roger,

I'm currently at university at the moment and am stuck between choosing one of these two classes.  The first is a advanced lighting course, while the other is a camera course which specializes in shooting in film rather than digital, specifically 16mm. I am leaning towards the film course at the moment, but am hesitant since lighting is so freakin important.

I feel like shooting in film for a cinematographer is similar to how a painter needs to learn anatomy before proceeding to paint figures. It's good to have a masterful understanding of your medium, especially since it's the classical way of shooting. But then again, a cinematographer learning lighting is similar to how a painter expands upon his color palette to having near infinite hues using just a few colors. I see you Roger discussing more about lighting than you do camera, and I always underestimate how important lighting is. 

I'm taking an course at the moment where we learn digital cameras such as RED and Alexa, so I have that under my belt. I really wish I could take both! This decision is so hard! If anyone has any advice, i'm all ears!

I apologize in advance if I am posting in the wrong place.

4 weeks ago
lmaurizzio 4 weeks ago

I think it would be ideal to do both, but having to choose one, I'd go for lighting. Nowadays you have access to digital cameras more than film cameras. Lighting is everything and you will use it either with film or digital. It is cruicial to learn what to light, but most importantly, what not to light and learn how to direct the audience's eyes on the big screen. That is just my opinion. I wonder what Mr. Deakins has to say about it anyway. All the best. Luis

4 weeks ago

I agree, besides, you can make great films with great lighting on digital or film, but film can't help you against bad lighting

Roger Deakins
4 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 4 weeks ago

The camera is just a tool and the technicalities of a camera's operation is less important than the meaning of an image. Lighting is important but so is framing, so is camera movement and so is lens choice. I think each of these will be part of your study of lighting but lighting might not be part of your study of the camera.

4 weeks ago

Thanks Sir

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