Hollywood camera work is considered the gold standard for film storytelling. This distinctive style of camera setup and tracking as seen in Hollywood movies is esteemed and emulated by filmmakers around the globe. The accurate terms are blocking and staging, borrowed out of the theater, to describe how the director and cinematographer setup and move the camera in relationship to the actors and the scenery.
The style has grown and evolved over the last 100 years as technologies have appeared and changed. There is only one way for filmmakers to quickly grasp these indispensable techniques, but more on that in a moment.
In the early days of silent movies the action was shot using a fixed camera support which tended to give the look of a filmed version of a theater performance. Editing in close-ups with wider shots added more variety and storytelling tools.
The movable dolly, where a camera glides along tracks, lets the audience have the sensation of being part of the scene and made it practical for the actors to perform and move at the same time. Back projection is the method where a previously shot film is projected onto a semi-transparent screen from behind. Then the actors stand in front of the screen and seem to suddenly be in an exotic setting or part of an imaginary world such as King Kong.
Cranes allowed scenes to be shot from a very high viewpoint and was used to awesome effect in the Atlanta rail terminal scene in the classic film Gone with the Wind. It was also a frequently used trick of Alfred Hitchcock and added suspense to such films as Psycho and Notorious.
The invention of the Steadicam device allowed film to be shot with the feeling of flying or floating by a camera operator rigged with the special stabilizing harness.
Chroma key using green or blue background screens allowed color film productions to show live actors with models and special effects in a more flexible and realistic way than back projection.
Computer camera control matching gives the ultimate in realism by combining live actors with CGI and scale model effects with the appearance of a hand held camera.
It takes years and years of experience to put together all the methods of camera placement that can be combined to imaginatively present a story. Film schools don’t have the necessary equipment or the time to devote to teaching advanced scene staging and blocking. In the world there are only a handful of the most trained movie makers who have the full depth of technique of the power of camera manipulation to tell a story.
Filmmakers who lack an understanding of what can be done to fully use the camera as a partner in the storytelling process are constantly operating at a disadvantage and their films will constantly not meet audience’s expectations when compared against Hollywood’s best. Frequently smaller films fail to win an audience precisely because they lack this polish regardless of how superior is their acting and script.
Independent movie makers everywhere have been hampered in their storytelling attempts by a lack of understanding of how to best use the eye of the camera to tell a story.
In 2004 that all changed when a visual learning course, appropriately named Hollywood Camera Work, became available on DVDs from Per Holmes. Mr. Holmes, an extremely accomplished music producer, music video director and film director, wanted to expand his understanding of blocking and staging but discovered that there were no textbooks or classes that covered the subject in any depth.
He began with a multi-year effort of experience and discovery to collect and classify all the techniques used by the master directors and cinematographers across the years. He could see that a textbook or the usual video course could never fully explain the complex interaction of camera and actors. The only solution was to make computer generated 3D virtual sets, cameras and actors so a student could observe the process from all angles as well as seeing the final result.
Hollywood camera work is delivered on 6 DVDs packed with over 9 hours of crystal clear instruction on all elements of movie staging and blocking. The DVDs are truly a master-class and will clearly be the standard reference for many years to come. It is now accepted and used by most film schools and frequently referenced by the Hollywood studios.
Mr. Holmes recommends that film students take responsibility for their own education as film schools rarely give the depth of information necessary to actually make it in the filmmaking world. Products like Hollywood camera work deliver a level of access to knowledge that no film school instruction can match.
He says, “What you really need is access to quality knowledge, and then you need to train and train. I can’t count the number of film school grads have bought the Hollywood camera work training and told me they wish they’d never gone to film school.”
Although the course costs less than a single class at a top end film school, and is worth every penny, that is still costly for some struggling starting movie makers.
A substantial educational discount can be had by anyone through the sites FreeFilmSchool.Org or 4Filmmaking.Com. Click on this next link to read a complete review and buy Hollywood Camera Work with the educational discount coupon code. Read more in this Squidoo article and learn how to get the educational discount coupon