Course in cinematography

Course in cinematography

I want to become a cinematographer. I am a graduate in Fine Arts. Where can I study cinematography to take it up as profession? Does the film industry ...

I want to become a cinematographer. I am a graduate in Fine Arts. Where can I study cinematography to take it up as profession? Does the film industry formally recruit them from colleges? Or do I have to struggle like other technicians waiting for work and a break. Also, what are other fields where I can work, if not in movies? - Prateek Kashyap, Bowenpally

cinematographyCinematographers are magicians who look through the view finder, focus, shutter angle and lighting and are the eyes of directors. The immense popularity of cinematography as a career option has led to establishment of various institutes conducting specialised courses in this creative field. Students undertaking these programmes can work in films, documentary, short films, Government publicity departments, etc. But there are no short cuts and you need to travel a long road before you reach the top.

Initially, seek internships on major films or television sets, or get your foot in the door by filming instructional videos, commercials or public access television and also try and approach cinematographers and directors to show them your work. With a proper, approach you can certainly start off as an assistant and then move through the ranks to become a cinematographer and then the director of photography - the movie's chief cinematographer. You can also freelance for advertising commercials and music videos.

Livewires � The media Institute in Mumbai, considered as one of the most prominent institute of media education offers a course in cinematography for those who have completed the beginner's course in cinematography/have relevant experience. Mindscreen Film Institute, Chennai, founded by Rajiv Menon, an acclaimed Indian cinematographer and film maker, offers a six-month course on cinematography for graduates. It is not a residential college and the course fees also looks high, but the programme looks comprehensive, hands-on and, moreover, it is basically a school for cinematography.

Digital Academy - The Film School in Mumbai offers a one-year post graduate diploma specialisation course in Cinematography and is accredited by the University of Westminster; United Kingdom. It has a dedicated placement cell which gives placement assistance and guidance to students of the Academy. Zee Institute of Media Arts, again in Mumbai, offers a six-month short term course, the training being given by professional faculty staff and also a promising placement.

Other institutes are: World College School of Media Studies (Mumbai); Film and TV Institutes of India -; SRFTII, Calcutta; Bangalore Polytechnics, from where Govind Nihlani is a graduate; CRAFT- Center for Research in Art of Film and Television, Delhi (they have two sessions for one year diploma program starting in January and July); Satyajit Ray Film Institute, Kolkata; The L V Prasad Film and TV Academy, Chennai; The Whistling Woods International Institute for Film, Mumbai; Television & Media Arts, Mumbai; Universe of Media Arts, Delhi; Asian Academy of Film and Television, Delhi; Film & Television Institute of Tamil Nadu, Chennai; Film Institute, Delhi.

Initially, a cinematographer is paid around Rs 7,000 to 8,000 a month. An experienced cinematographer can earn between Rs 40,000 and 50,000 monthly, or depending upon the project he/she has undertaken. As your reputation grows, your salary go up to five to six digits.

How do I sell my show to TV channel?

I am interested in making TV shows. I want to stay in Hyderabad and make creative shows for local channels. However, my friends say that it is difficult to convince channels to air our shows. Is there any particular way I should go about in approaching channels and selling my show? I am also keen on doing travel shows. - Dheeraja Reddy, Ameerpet

Selling ideas to TV channels is not an easy task, especially for first timers. Therefore approach with the right resources. Below are the steps you need to take to get started:

tv chaneelThe idea Ensure your idea of the show is unique and fresh and has to be streamlined in a feasible way. Then concentrate your story or program format into a brief synopsis with a highly marketable, catchy "logline", for a producer will never invest the time in reading the entire script or treatment, and there is no chance of the project being produced.

The pitch The "pitch" refers to what you will tell a potential buyer about your project to make them interested enough to buy it. a. At the outset, make friends with people in this business and build a contact list, say by attending film/TV festivals, industry conferences, classes and television writer's contests (industry professionals often serve as judges) and start collecting business cards. b. Your point of entry can also be working as an intern or assistant in a TV production house. c. With the help of your contacts, call development officers at production companies to schedule an appointment to pitch your idea. Almost all production companies prohibit unsolicited pitches, so you will have to call a lot of companies. d. You can also hire an agent who knows the inside of the business. e. Prepare a 10 to 15 minutes tight pitch, including enough information which clearly explains your ideas to excite the listener. f. The pitch is vital if you want to close the sale, so be flexible about suggestions and answer questions readily and don't lose your train of thought.

All the best

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