Learning Cinematography


New member
Hi, I'm currently enroll at a film program at a college in Miami, Florida, but is not strong enough in the field of cinematoghraphy and that i know, there is no other school specialized on that field. what would be your advice to someone that is interested in learning the art & craft of cinematography.

If you were to start learning right now, how would go about it? kind of the do-it-yourself approach. what books, dvds, workshops, etc. or what camera to practice (no model, but format).

In my opinion there is such a need of apprenticeship in the filmmaking field, where are the Roger Corman's of our generation?
I'm more or less self-taught, although I did finally go to film school when I was 26, but by then I might as well be teaching it.

I started in high school shooting Super-8 short films. I did this for ten years, up until the start of film school (graduate program at CalArts).

But in the meanwhile, as an English Lit major at UCLA, I spent all my time at the Theater Arts Library reading every book and magazine article on cinematography. I read every issue of American Cinematographer going back to the mid 1920's, and I re-read everything starting from 1970 several times over. I read SMPTE Journal (only the film articles) going back to the 1950's. I read International Cinematographer (now ICG Magazine) going back to the 1950's. And I read almost every textbook ever published on cinematography by that period (the early 1980's).

Plus I watched a ton of movies, read film books on directors, editors, production designers, etc.

And I kept making my little Super-8 short films to try out things I had learned.

So by the time I got to film school, I was somewhat over-qualified to be a student. In fact, after getting 100% on the tests in the basic Cinematography course, the professor made me his teaching assistant for the next three years (I later got to help re-write his textbook, which now has both our names on it -- "Cinematography" Third Edition, by Malkiewicz and Mullen.) He used to call me a human encyclopedia.

So it's hard for me to tell you what to read because if you are truly interested in the subject, you're just going to start reading every book you can get your hands on.

I do recommend our Third Edition of "Cinematography", also Kris Malkiewicz' other book, "Film Lighting". Also, "Masters of Light" (interviews) and "Cinematography Screencraft" (more interviews.) And American Cinematographer magazine of course.