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TECHNOLOGY Shooting CINEMATICALLY by Ben Baldwin O ne Monday morning in July I headed to Pinewood Studios to spend an hour in the company of Den Lennie and Philip Bloom for a Sony Webinar - Shooting Cinematically. Both DOPs share a passion for helping aspiring filmmakers grow their skills and confidence and both have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cameras, kit and shooting experience. It’s now easier than ever for videographers, corporate production companies, music video and budget film makers to achieve stunning cinematic content without the Hollywood budget. It’s all about what you know and what you use. The webinar promised to introduce the viewers to some production tools and workflows along with useful tips and tricks to help get that filmic look. Of course we had some Sony hardware on hand to suit the variety of needs and budgets of the modern day fi lmmaker and although this isn’t a camera review it is with mentioning two of the cameras on show as there is already plenty of interest surrounding them. The newly launched PXW- X180 is a three chip camcorder equipped with the world’s fi rst electronic variable ND and wireless control. And the Alpha 7’s mirror-less digital camera that has staggering lowlight capability, S-Log2 and 4k HDMI output to an external recorder. Before we dived into the main topics of the webinar I thought defi ning what shooting cinematically actually means would be a fairly good place to start. We were all pretty quick to agree that shooting cinematically is completely subjective and rattled of a list of things that contribute towards shooting cinematically rather 32 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 93 SEPTEMBER 2014 than shape a defi nition. That list included some of the conventions of cinema like shooting 2.35:1, shooting shallow depth of fi eld or a controlled depth of fi eld, composition, camera movement, large dynamic range, good audio, emulating the look of fi lm. As for shaping a defi nition, well both Den and Philip agreed it was about lifting production values and making things look as good and as rich as possible and also being more considered. Taking more time when considering what you’re going to shoot shouldn’t necessarily mean you shoot slower, it can still be done quickly, but more time might be taken in pre-production, planning and thinking about each shot, focal lengths, distance from a subject, and what you want those things to convey. When considering what you want to say to an audience and how you want an audience to react to particular parameters you can choose from such as shot composition, a piece of lighting, music, framing or sound. But what of other parameters, our fi rst viewer question of the morning asked ‘What is the single most essential element for the fi lm look, camera lens or post-production?’ The answer from both was “It has to be light.” For Den light is number one “If you get the light right then everything else follows on from that.” But that said, throughout the conversation we kept coming back to the conclusion that you can’t put a cinematic look down to just one single element, it’s a number of elements that work together. Philip highlighted several times during the hour how important sound was and that good audio is key, “Sound is essential” he said. “It doesn’t need to be complicated, mono audio for voice is all you need because a great sound designer can build the track.” added Den. You can have