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The Craft of Cinematography with Peter Stein, ASC


AbelCine has partnered with Peter Stein to present The Craft of Cinematography: Composing Shots and Moving the Camera. This 4-hour workshop will cover such topics as composition, camera movement, perspective, and camera/actor choreography.

In this class, Peter will analyze what makes a composition “work” by looking at still frames from notable films. Remembering that everything in the frame has been placed there with a purpose, attendees will study the composition of the frame, and how different arrangements create different emotions in the viewer – what are the elements that make a scene powerful, or wistful, or upsetting? Refining techniques like headroom, leadroom, and smooth camera operating will be discussed and demonstrated, as well as the use of the background and the architecture in achieving strong compositions.

Perspective will also be discussed and demonstrated through various film clips. Different lenses will be studied, including long lenses, wide angles, and the use of rack focus. The concept “field of view” will be discussed.

The interplay of camera and actor motion is the dynamic aspect of composition, and is one of the things that gives film its distinct appeal. Peter Stein will illustrate how to move the camera, how to move the actors, and how to move them together. The use of zoom lenses will also be discussed and demonstrated. Scenes from famous films that employ exemplary camera movement will be screened, and their use of camera/actor choreography will be dissected. The various possibilities for synchronizing movement will be demonstrated.

Finally, attendees will learn what not to do, through the demonstration some “weak” compositions and how to improve them.

Upcoming In-Person Workshop Dates

This workshop is not scheduled at this time.
Location: TBD

Custom Training

Custom Group Training
Schedule a custom group training for this workshop. We provide custom training at our offices or at your location.

Price: From: $180

  • Composition
    • Analyzing elements of still frames
    • Headroom, leadroom, and smooth camera operating
    • The use of the background and the architecture in achieving strong compositions
  • Perspective
    • Lenses: long lenses, wide angles, and rack focus
    • Field of view
  • Camera and Actor Choreography
    • Moving the camera and actors simultaneously
    • Using zoom lenses

This class for anyone who wants to develop their cinematic techniques by studying the classics and learning to apply these principles to their own work.

Peter_SteinPeter Stein is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, and has been a Director of Photography on over 50 feature films, TV movies, and documentaries. He has photographed classic cult films in the genres of comedy and horror, major studio releases, independent films, and noted documentaries. He has taught at SUNY Purchase and The School of Visual Arts; he has also been on the NYU graduate faculty since 2002 where he now serves as Head of Production. Currently, he is producing and directing a documentary for American Public Television about his father, the photographer Fred Stein. For more information, visit petersteinasc.com