A Free Online Event Offering Cinematography Knowledge from World-Class DPs

Cinematography is not an easy subject to learn on your own -- that is, unless you have access to professional DPs who are willing to spill the beans about the tips and tricks that have made them successful.

From January 20th to 21st (next Tuesday and Wednesday), Big League Film School will host its annual cinematography summit. Aptly named the Big League CineSummit, the unique online event brings a host of working narrative and commercial DPs, ranging from Frankie DeMarco (the cinematographer behind the first season of Mad Men and All Is Lost) to Shane Hurlbut, who needs no introduction around these parts. Each of the guests will be presenting on a topical aspect of cinematography and offering practical tips that viewers can use in their own work.

Here's the trailer for this year's summit.

Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/115342725

Curious as to what kind of material you'll be learning at the Big League CineSummit? Here's a preview that features our good friend Matt Workman, who recently put together an awesome series of videos about operating and designing camera moves for the Technocrane. In this video, Workman talks about both the importance of composition and how different tools can affect camera movement.

The catch in all of this is that these presentations are only free if you watch them live during the middle of next week. If you'd like additional access to them so that you can watch them on your own schedule and at your own pace, well, that's going to cost you about $100 (as of this writing). Depending on the educational value and quality of the presentations, which I expect to be good considering the top notch DPs who are presenting, that price could very well be a worthwhile investment.

If you're interested in learning more about and attending the Big League CineSummit, head on over to their website to get all of the details about who is presenting and what they'll be talking about.     

Your Comment

24 Comments

Does the link to sign-up for CS3 work for anyone?

January 14, 2015 at 9:48AM

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I've signed up successfully. I wonder if it is worth paying 100$ for something that isn't done yet...I mean I don't know anything about the quality and content of the presentation (no trailer, no demo or teaser) If it is just a bla bla or a real practical demonstration of the craft.

January 15, 2015 at 1:09AM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
1440

Einar,

it's definitely very practical and actionable information. This is not discussions on theory, but prepared sessions on "how-to" achieve quality cinematography.

January 17, 2015 at 12:44PM

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Anybody else having issues with the links?

January 14, 2015 at 9:58AM, Edited January 14, 9:58AM

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I have mixed reviews... read my comment below...

January 15, 2015 at 8:19AM

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Pabs
86

Sounds cool! Did someone visit the last year summit? Was it good?

January 15, 2015 at 1:01AM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
1440

I hope the attenders will talk about the cinematography craft and not advertise tools.

January 15, 2015 at 1:16AM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
1440

I second that...

January 15, 2015 at 6:09AM

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Kayode
1132

There is definitely no pitching of equipment in the presentations. It's straight up great information by top working DP's.

January 19, 2015 at 5:05AM

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Hmmm... I have my doubts about this. I bought the videos last year and some of the presentations are way too simple. For example, there was one where it took the cinematographer one hour to explain why he uses a bounce for the talent in commercials, aka beauty lighting. I'm sure he must know a whole bunch, but his whole selling point was that adding "the glow" to your talent was pretty much the only thing you needed to enhance commercial cinematography, which is for me, simplistic. Last, with all due respect, most of Aviv's comments and questions were just terrible, sometimes just going around and around the same topic.
I do hope that with the big names they have coming this year, things work a lot better, but I guess that for the most advanced crowd, it may not be worth the 100 bucks...

January 15, 2015 at 8:17AM

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Pabs
86

Thanks for the input Kayode and the participation last year. I'm not sure of your level of filmmaking, but that particular presentation about the "glow" was presented by a top commercial NY DP named Matt Workman.
I, and I am certain the rest of the 99% of the population out there, received tremendous value from that particular session as well as the other sessions that year. I also tend to aim my comments to fit a broad spectrum of viewers and not just the elite of the elite.
I personally can say, that I use the information from that particular session last year on every single shoot I do. There were heaps of take aways besides adding a "glow" via a bounce.
Perhaps you are much more advanced then the 99% of filmmakers out there, but for those not in the top 1% like yourself, I would hate for them to read your comments and miss out on prepared sessions by DP's that are in demand and at the top of the food chain.
The CineSummit is a wealth of fully developed sessions by very accomplished DP's in the industry, and for those reading these comments I would highly recommend not missing out.

January 17, 2015 at 12:41PM

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Hi there Aviv, I think you responded to Pabs not Kayode (although I did attend a few sessions last year)

January 20, 2015 at 8:02AM

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Kayode
1132

Free? This isnt free :(

January 15, 2015 at 4:24PM

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I think you read too fast:
"The catch in all of this is that these presentations are only free if you watch them live during the middle of next week. If you'd like additional access to them so that you can watch them on your own schedule and at your own pace, well, that's going to cost you about $100 (as of this writing). Depending on the educational value and quality of the presentations, which I expect to be good considering the top notch DPs who are presenting, that price could very well be a worthwhile investment."

January 17, 2015 at 12:33PM

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Check again. It sure is free. :)

January 17, 2015 at 12:45PM, Edited January 17, 12:45PM

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Oh, it actually is. I cant wait.

January 18, 2015 at 7:15AM

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Yeah, it's the real deal. I did it last year. No gear sale. Pure lessons. Helped me greatly as a DP. And it's a bargain. Imagine what you would pay if you would attend the presenters own class lessens i.e. Shane Hurlbut ones? Cost you beyond $300 to attend. Grab it.

January 20, 2015 at 8:33AM, Edited January 20, 8:33AM

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I completely agree. This is totally worth the cost to upgrade to the lifetime pass. The presenters are real - they are candid with their thoughts and experiences. Aviv does a great job guiding the presentations in a conversational manner so they don't drag on as they might if they were in a straight lecture style format. This is great on so many levels, especially just getting into the mind of the filmmakers, because as so many of them expressed themselves, there are no 'rules’. Hearing from them the thoughts and ideas that went into their work is inspiring. Kevin Shahinian’s talk is a good example of that with the way he approaches wedding videos... amazing.

Understanding their thought process will challenge and guide the way I look at my own work. Frankie Demarco was unreal to listen to. What a cool, mellow dude. Getting a sense of how these people are was awesome in it's own right and even something small like that can help put things in perspective in the bigger picture of working with others and approaching ideas.

To be fair and balanced, the way it was promoted made it appear like it would be some auditorium style major event, but it didn’t take but a few minutes into the first video to realize it was about the content, not the format. Can you really fault them for hyping their event? Anyone who’s ever sold creative work or promoted themselves knows how hard it is, especially competing for attention in this saturated market. I won’t fault them for that.

I have no regrets with the purchase. I spend so much time reading, learning and looking learning through the fast amount of material out there, with so much great content brought together in one place, it’s great value.

A huge thanks to Aviv, and I look forward to the next one!

January 22, 2015 at 3:50PM, Edited January 22, 3:50PM

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Tabor Carlton
Creative Director
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Viewed the 5 videos once they worked out the site crash issues. Requested refund. It's that bad.

January 20, 2015 at 9:38AM

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Oh come on now, it's actually not bad. Once you get over the fact that it's pretty much just a vimeo powerpoints you'll be ok. I watched a few and found some useful information. Not all of it, but enough to make it worth watching.

I think it's more an issue of how this whole thing was promoted. A bit too much hype and hyperbole.

January 20, 2015 at 2:17PM

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Did we watch the same videos?! Or did you think this was a "Watch these, and instantly become a pro" type deal? I got a ton out of them. Filled with some practical info, but more importantly, you get an inside into how these guys approach filming something, before a camera is even picked up.

January 22, 2015 at 4:59AM

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MoonSong
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So I watched all the videos. It was nice to listen to all of these great cinematographers and Aviv is great host, but generally I was a bit disappointed - most of the stuff was pretty basic. Almost everything you will learn there, you can learn for free on the internet and you probably heard many times before. The exception is a video about shooting car commercials (which is something you dont learn everyday and I strognly recommend it!). Anyway - great cinematographers are not automatically great teachers, but it was still nice to listnem to them and I if you are a beginner, go for it, the price isnt too high.

January 22, 2015 at 8:09AM, Edited January 22, 8:09AM

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Practical information for the working man. I like how the host is always taking what the DP presenting is saying and asking how to achieve the same idea on a budget. Top level DPs may not get tons out of this but I've been directing short films and documentaries for 10 years and I still learn something new and great from every class.

January 22, 2015 at 10:57PM, Edited January 22, 10:57PM

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Sorry I missed this, is it still available to watch online?

January 26, 2015 at 7:27AM

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Ben Joyner
Director of Photography
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