A Cinematographer's Guide to Making your Indie Film Look Like a Million Dollars

Taught by Matthew Boyd

$399

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Class hosted by: Matthew Boyd

Award-Winning Cinematographer

Matthew Boyd is an award-winning cinematographer, credited with over 30 short films and 12 features. Early in his career, he teamed up with writer-director Colin Trevorrow (SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, JURASSIC WORLD) on several projects, including BLACK DRAGON with Xin Wuku and Jake Johnson. Boyd's recent work includes the dramatic thriller MINE 9, SPACEMAN (starring Sterlin K. Brown, Josh Duhamel, and Ernie Hudson; streaming on Netflix), IN-LAWFULLY YOURS, THE MENTOR, and BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING. Critically acclaimed films include THE FIRST SESSION, STRAPPED, and PASS THE SALT, PLEASE, and acting as a contributing cinematographer on HBO's THE WEIGHT OF GOLD. In 2021 Boyd teamed with writer-director Aidan Stone on YOU'LL LOSE A GOOD THING. Boyd is currently in pre-production with writer-director Edward Mensore on the opioid epidemic thriller, HAZARD, set to film in January 2022. Full Bio »

Summary

Thinking on your feet is critical to any production. Time is money, but you don't want a low-budget or tight production schedule to cost you quality. The best way to get the most out of your budget is to work with a cinematographer who knows the secret tips only experts have and ensure your film looks like a film worth watching. You can have this expert information with help from an award-winning cinematographer who's worked with big names like Colin Trevorrow (JURASSIC WORLD) and Netflix.

Don't view your low budget as a boundary but an opportunity to get creative! In this interactive four session class, Matthew will show you how to get fantastic production value without the cost by using real-life examples, including how his crew pulled off one seemingly impossible location for a recent feature on Netflix.

The higher the perceived value of your film, the higher the price buyers will pay. Your goal is to make your film look several times over what the actual budget was, and your team can achieve this by getting creative and resourceful. You will break down scripts scene-by-scene, how to make the most of location scouting to maximize production value on shoot days, how to use practical and in-camera effects, and more.

You'll have time to ask questions from Matthew, get feedback, and reach out with questions in between classes. You'll know how to get creative under pressure to make your film look like millions without breaking the bank by collaborating with your cinematographer.

Plus! Matthew will also provide you exclusive, confidential, and helpful documents for you to download and use, including:

  • Sample workflow and cheatsheet
  • Helpful equipment
  • Moving camera choices
  • Resource list
  • and more!

And even if you watch this class on-demand, we recommend you do the assignments to get the most out of Stage 32's world-class education. 

What You'll Learn

Session 1: Setting Yourself Up for Success: The Script, The Vision, and The Partnerships (part 1 of 2)

  • Make decisions at the script phase to get the most out of your budget in pre-production
  • Breaking down the script from a DP perspective, one scene at a time
  • Creating the shot list with your DP
  • What/whom do you already have access to?
    • Scaling your script to your budget and resources by adapting it for what you have vs. what you don’t (i.e. locations, vehicles, props, and people)
  • How to use your DP and camera to save you money
  • Communicating your vision, look books, references, and other tools to get your team on the same page to save time and money
  • Q & A

You will have an assignment after this session

 

Session 2: Setting Yourself Up for Success: The Script, The Vision, and The Partnerships (part 2 of 2)

  • Planning your shoot schedule with your DP based on some important and potentially costly factors
  • Time of day for the best use of natural light
  • Interiors vs. exteriors
  • Company Moves
  • Multi-purpose locations
  • Make the most of location scouting to maximize production value on shoot days
  • Time management
  • Which scenes should you devote the most time and resources
  • When to move along and not waste time you will want for “money shots”
  • Ensuring you have moments to breathe for the “surprise shots”
  • Shooting for the edit
  • Planning your workflow in prep to ensure your footage is usable
  • You can’t just “fix it in post”
  • How to get shots right the first time to eliminate pickup shots and ensure a happy editor
  • Q & A

You will have an assignment after this session

 

Session 3: How to Achieve High Production Values Without the Cost

  • Moving the camera
    • How you choose to move the camera (or not)
    • The value it can add
  • The different looks and value
  • Dolly, steadi-cam, handheld, cranes etc.
  • How to create the look of high-cost toys without the cost
  • Low-cost substitutions for gimbals, helicopters, cranes, dollies, jib, and more
  • How to build your own substitutions to cheat the look
  • “Make it rain!”: Ways to use practical (non CGI) and in-camera effects
  • Shooting on Location vs. Sound Stages
  • Equipment: Affordable lighting and camera equipment that still looks amazing.
  • Q & A

You will have an assignment after this session

 

Session 4: DIY Tips and Tricks to Getting Seemingly Cost or Logistically-Prohibitive Shots

  • Scene case studies to see how the pros hack their way to excellent results
  • Using stock footage and real-life events to cheat your epic locations
  • Filming car scenes on a budget
  • Using documentary-style filming to save money
  • Free set design, extras, and loads of production value
  • Teaming with a VFX partner for added options
  • What scenes in YOUR movie have you worried?
    • Matt will offer some creative solutions and work through
  • Q & A

About Your Instructor

Matthew Boyd is an award-winning cinematographer, credited with over 30 short films and 12 features. Early in his career, he teamed up with writer-director Colin Trevorrow (SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, JURASSIC WORLD) on several projects, including BLACK DRAGON with Xin Wuku and Jake Johnson.

Boyd's recent work includes the dramatic thriller MINE 9, SPACEMAN (starring Sterlin K. Brown, Josh Duhamel, and Ernie Hudson; streaming on Netflix), IN-LAWFULLY YOURS, THE MENTOR, and BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING. Critically acclaimed films include THE FIRST SESSION, STRAPPED, and PASS THE SALT, PLEASE, and acting as a contributing cinematographer on HBO's THE WEIGHT OF GOLD. In 2021 Boyd teamed with writer-director Aidan Stone on YOU'LL LOSE A GOOD THING. Boyd is currently in pre-production with writer-director Edward Mensore on the opioid epidemic thriller, HAZARD, set to film in January 2022.

Schedule

SESSION 1: Setting Yourself Up for Success: The Script, The Vision, and The Partnerships (part 1 of 2) - Wednesday, December 1st – 4pm-6pm PST

SESSION 2: Setting Yourself Up for Success: The Script, The Vision, and The Partnerships (part 2 of 2) - Wednesday, December 8th – 4pm-6pm PST

SESSION 3: How to Achieve High Production Values Without the Cost - Wednesday, December 15th – 4pm-6pm PST

SESSION 4: DIY Tips and Tricks to Getting Seemingly Cost or Logistically-Prohibitive Shots - Wednesday, December 29th – 4pm-6pm PST

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a lab?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live lab class?
A: If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class. If you cannot attend a live class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A. Plus, your instructor will be available via email throughout the lab.

Q: Will I have access to the lab afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of the lab, you will have on-demand access to the video recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like!

 

 

 

 

 

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Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • Great class. Matt is a very comprehensive teacher who provides real-world, on-set practical knowledge.

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