When I first arrived at the University in 2015 I soon realised that a large part of my workshop teaching on the Film Production Module, shared across BA Media Production & BA Film & Television Degrees, was to facilitate the use of equipment, rather than teaching the art form of Cinematography.
Which made sense, as it’s a huge module with an average of 140 students at Level 2. With so much equipment for the students to use, little time for it to be taught, my workshops quickly became all about training to use the cameras, the lights, the track and dolly etc.
But these items are subject to change throughout their careers. Camera systems change yearly these days and the students will encounter a huge number of cameras, lighting systems and grip equipment (tools to add camera movement) in their careers that it’s a shame not to focus on the Art form of cinematography, which transcends the equipment. Light will always be light and work within the restraints that the laws of Physics demand. Teaching the students to light correctly is far more important than how to change a battery on a camera system that will be outdated by the time they graduate.
Because of this I set off on my own project creating video tutorials for all the equipment we have in our media stores in the School of Film & Media.
These tutorials will replace the need for the equipment to be taught in workshops, freeing up valuable time and resources such as teaching spaces.
Instead students will be given a link to all the video tutorials, which are currently hosted on a YouTube Channel, at the introduction lecture for the Film Production Module. Along with announcements on Blackboard, Facebook Pages and email.
Students can watch these tutorials in their leisure, before the workshops and once again afterwards when they have had hands on time with the equipment. They can also view them before their shoot days to refresh their memory or even on location if they run into any trouble. No longer will the camera settings be taught in week 1 of Semester A when a student’s really needs them in week 8 of Semester B when their camera operator can’t make it in as they are ill.
These Tutorials free up workshop time so we can teach students more artistic skills that transcend technology and it allows for teaching to be accessible and to be used when they most need it instead of when it’s timetabled.
Students still need to attend the workshops as there is different knowledge on offer. It doesn’t replace me as a Lecturer but instead frees me to teach on a higher level as well as empowers the students.
In August 2016, I finished the first phase, but completing a 12-part series of tutorials for the Sony FS100, the most communally used camera by students studying Film in LSFM.
The next stage will be to create shorter series for the remainder of the equipment that is introduced at Level 2, which will start over the summer of 2017.
Jack Shelbourn is a lecturer in the Lincoln School of Film and Media. Specialising in Cinematography, Jack brings many years of freelance Film Production experience and continues to shoot films as a Director of Photography alongside lecturing at the University of Lincoln.
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