SNL Cinematographer Alex Buono is back for round 2 of his Art of Visual Storytelling Tour, but this time he's changing things up and offering attendees something completely different.
Perhaps you remember his 2013 workshop where he toured the U.S. giving filmmakers an overview of the entire filmmaking process as it pertains to a DP. That tour was attended by over 4,000 filmmakers, and set the standard for touring workshops with things like broadcast monitors at every desk, full sets, and live shooting with the attendees serving as the crew. This time, Buono is going beyond the first tour with "the sequel", Visual Storytelling 2: Style and Subtext in Cinema to teach attendees more in-depth lighting and camerawork techniques using a variety of live lighting and shooting demos.
Here's a quick promo
We got the chance to speak to Buono about the new tour, how it differs from the first, what people can expect to see, learn, and experience. He explains that the workshop, like the last one, is split up into hands-on demonstrations in the day, and an in-depth lecture in the evening. Buono tells us that there will not only be more demos during the day with Visual Storytelling 2, but that they will cover a wide range of genres and shooting situations, so attendees will leave with a deeper, more well-rounded cinematographic understanding. He even told us that one demo focuses on how to light for shooting inside of a car – “Wait till you see how we’re gonna pull off a night-time driving demo inside of a hotel ballroom.”
He’ll also point out his must-have tools – things that Alex carries on just about every shoot – from his go-to diffusions to the gels he can’t live without, the filters that never leave his kit and the camera gear that you’ll find on every one of his shoots.
Alex has designed the course to prepare filmmakers to work in any genre, shooting situation, and with any budget. His biggest goal for this course is for it to be practical and accessible – it doesn’t help anyone for him to show off a bunch of gear that no one can afford.
One of the things I want to accomplish is to combat the notion that, “…I can’t afford to create that style…”. By working with a set of contained, affordable and accessible tools, and creating vastly different looks using the same tools, I will convince the class that they can all go out tomorrow and do the same thing. I’ll be happy if an attendee walks away from this class not with a shopping list, but just a better understanding of how to use the gear that they already own to add impact to their projects.
Buono said that the evening lecture is all about visual subtext, which he describes as "the next step beyond structure." So, instead of just showing attendees how to set up shots, he's going to explain how lighting, framing, production design, sound design – even hair and makeup -- can help tell your story visually.
I want to present the concept of visual subtext and how you can enhance and deepen the meaning of your images by understanding and controlling it. I want to present the reality that all of the great filmmakers of our time do this. If you look at their films, there's always something going on below the surface of the image. I want to present how that's done. How can you add more meaning to the images you're shooting?
The tour begins on July 22nd in Detroit and will be hitting 32 U.S. cities. To learn more about the Visual Storytelling 2 Tour, or if you're ready to register, click here and prepare to take your filmmaking to the next level.