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Camera & Postproduction

What stands out when you take a closer look at the Oscar winners for 'Best Achievement in Cinematography' over the last five years?

2010 “Avatar” (DP: Mauro Fiore) 2011 “Inception” (DP: Wally Pfister) 2012 “Hugo” (DP: Robert Richardson) 2013 “Life of Pi” (DP: Claudio Miranda) 2014 “Gravity” (DP: Emmanuel Lubezki)

Four of the five films were largely made on the computer. In the science fiction and fantasy genre, it's almost impossible for a cinematographer to avoid computer generated imagery. That's why today it's important to deal with postproduction and the digital possibilities. I don't mean that a DP has to be a matte painter or visual artist at the same time, but it makes your work easier and you can influence the look of the film if you know how to use it.

It´s the directors vision and then it's up to me as a cinematographer to make it happen. Whether an image is generated with the camera or on the computer, creativity is required every time. But before you can be creative, you have to learn the craft. That's not always easy. I've spent months with online tutorials. You can create great effects relatively quickly, but until you're able to implement your own ideas instead of just copy others work, it can take years.

I started using After Effects 6 in 2004, now work with AEcc and can proudly say I´m still just a hobby Visual Effects Artist. Here are the main tutorial sites I've visited over the last decade:

videocopilot Thanks to Andrew Kramer and his free tutorials, thousands have gotten started with After Effects.

tuts+ They have great tutorials for After Effects, Photoshop and Cinema 4D, among others. Unfortunately, not all of them are free.

creativecow After Effects tutorials on everything.

In almost all my short film projects over the last three years I have also been a Visual Effects Artist. From simple retouching and rotoscoping work to elaborate matte paintings, I did it all. Here are a few examples of my work:

Creating something on the computer is incredibly fun. But above all, it's a great enrichment for my work as a cinematographer to be involved in post production myself.

After all, my job is to provide the Visual Effect Artist with the best possible material. That's why I always have post production in mind when I'm shooting. Wrong decisions on set can quickly add up to extra post-production days. Having worked in post-production yourself makes you more aware of the lurking dangers when shooting and helps you avoid costly mistakes.


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