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   Training Review
   Hollywood Camera Work
   Creator: Per Holmes
   Publisher: Hollywood Camera Work
   Format: DVD (6)
   Topic: Comprehensive Blocking and Shot       Layout Training

   MSRP Cost: $399.99
   Special Pricing:
Click Here

   Website:  Hollywood Camera Work
   Clip Downloads : Click Here

   Review Date:
October 15, 2005
   Reviewed By: Jeremy Hanke
Final Score:

Hollywood Camera Work boasts one of the strangest origins of any training tool I've ever heard of. Certainly the strangest origin of any training tool that has been adopted by as many parts of filmmaking society, from microfilmmakers to the Hollywood studio system.

Basically, Hollywood Camera Work was a massively labor intensive creation that started out as a project to train only one person: Per Holmes.

Per Holmes started out as a young filmmaker, then made it big in the music world as a producer of platinum-selling super groups. After dong that for awhile, he returned to his filmmaking roots to direct music videos and became obsessed with cinematography. So much so that, in the late '90's, he dropped out of music altogether in order to perfect his personal cinematography. The only way he knew to do that was to shoot and shoot and shoot short film after short film until every technique was drilled into his head. Or rather, he intended to shoot every technique he could find into a series of many short films, and then he planned to watch each one of those short films over and over until he had every technique drilled into his head.

Unfortunately, the human elements of short films got in the way of Per. He was continually reminded that actors grew tired of holding their cues, would wander out of framing, and would expect to take periodic breaks in order to get things to eat. All of these tendencies of human talent put a serious crimp in Per learning all the best possible shots, angles, and blocking to become the ultimate cinematographer.

Luckily, in 2003, Per discovered 3D modeling and rendering programs. At last, there was a way to showcase every single shot that was regularly being used in film without exhausting human actors or running afoul of SAG!

Estimating the work involved, Per realized that this would would be a grand unifying course of cinematography that could help many people. With that in mind, Per spent the next fifteen months (and over 4,000 man hours!) creating 3D models of people, cameras, cranes, dollies, gibs, and props and composing the ultimate DVD training tool for blocking and camera work that he could imagine. He discovered an extra benefit from the 3D models: camerawork most speaks for itself when a viewer is not distracted by actors' expressions or body language.

So that this massive encyclopedia of cinematographic lore wouldn't prove overwhelming to newcomers, he created a streamlined introduction that would get inexperienced camera people up to speed on things like sight lines, the 180 degree rule, and proper film blocking, after which it would then dovetail into the more advanced techniques he had been striving to master for so long.

When he was finished, he had created over ten hours of training material that covered nearly every aspect of professional camerawork from the ground up. Spread over six DVDs, Per had indeed created the ultimate training guide. Not only did the DVDs relate to the actual camera operators and cinematographers, it gave a common language that directors could use to exactly describe the shots they were looking for from their DPs and camera people as well.

3D crane shots of scenes like this
allow us to see coverage areas...
...followed by the actual shots
from the camera's lens.

With all this said, how understandable are the DVDs for people who may not be as familiar with traditional shooting techniques? Actually, they're very understandable provided that you deal with them in discreet chunks, rather than trying to sit down at watch them all at once. If you fail to do this, there is a very real danger of becoming overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information present in the DVDs, no matter how understandable any piece of the DVDs in fact are.

The best way to combat this is to simply realize how much data is present here and watch them accordingly. Treat each segment or couple segments as a bite size lesson. Watch a lesson at a time and process what you've learned. Done at that rate, you could easily absorb all of the information in the DVDs and begin to make use of them in a couple of months.

After you've gotten the hang of everything by watching it through in detail the first time, then you can rewatch them in their entirety as refreshers. Again, Per's goal was to have a rewatchable tool that would drill the terminology and usage of different shots and shooting techniques into your head through repetition.

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