Hollywood Camera Work | Print |
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Written by Reviewed by Amanda Lynn Porter   

SVN recently discovered Per Holmes, the creator of Hollywood Camera Work, a company dedicated to help you improve your shots, angles, and special effects. Currently, there are two courses available: “The Master Course in High- End Blocking & Staging,” a six DVD set, and “Visual Effects for Directors,” a seven DVD set.

Needless to say, SVN checked out both courses and there isn’t a more amazing word that I could fabricate to describe them to you. They are INCREDIBLE!

Both priced at $329, they’re worth every penny. One volume/ DVD will give you more than any book could ever explain. Each is jam packed with new angles, new ideas, and marvelous insight as to how to improve your production.

Thinking I had stumbled upon the undiscovered, I checked out Per’s website, http://www.hollywoodcamerawork.us. It seems that everyone uses these remarkable courses. Aside from SVN’s high mark of approval, check out what others have to say:

Brad Blackbourn, of DreamWorks, said, "The Hollywood Camera Work DVD course is THE definitive reference for scene blocking & staging. It is clearly the most comprehensive & effective learning tool available to help filmmakers of any level increase the cinematic value of their scenes. It's brilliant!"

Sam Simon, the producer of the Simpsons noted, “Everything a Director needs to know about camera work is brilliantly presented. It's film school in a box."

For use in a classroom, the course can be licensed either as "public performance" where you own a single copy and get permission to use it in class, or as a "study material" where each student receives a copy and no license is needed.

For a preview of both courses, click the screen to the right.

Public performance licenses can either be purchased as a single teacher use ($150) or school wide use ($250).

Watch for the latest course, “Hot Moves: The Science of Awesome,” a 1-DVD addition to the Master Course, coming out this August!

Who is Per Holmes?

Per Holmes was originally a music producer in the 90s, with a string of platinum-selling acts to his name, including the band Cut'N"Move (which swept Europe and Australia in the early 90s), the bubblegum-pop group Toy-Box, and has received a host of awards including Danish Grammy’s and even a World Music Award.

In the late 90s, he decided to quit his music career and devote himself fully to narrative directing, and made a number of short films to practice his narrative storytelling technique. It was at this point he felt the need for a complete language of camera work, and not finding one anywhere, set out to create one.

Per spent the next 5 years obsessing about blocking, training for thousands of hours. At first he kept directing short films, but realizing that what he was really after was great camera work, he began blocking in 3D, which made it possible to work many times faster without the hassle of production.

The goal in the beginning was to create a video for himself containing every technique, which he could watch again and again to “burn them in”, so he would remember to use them on the set. But what began emerging was a sort of “grand unified theory” of blocking that was not just about knowing a bunch of techniques, but knowing what every shot and every move means in order to tell the most effective stories.

He felt that this could become a great learning tool for anyone who wants to direct at a high level, and began turning it into a course. Production began in the summer of 2003, and after almost 4,000 hours of 3D animation and editing, wrapped in September 2004.

With this course done, Per is in the process of developing several other courses, of which the first to be released will be Visual Effects for Directors. He also still occasionally produces music, and most recently composed orchestral theme score for a series called “WorldWatch”, hosted by Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek.

Learn more about Per, Hollywood Camera Work, and pick up the courses at www.hollywoodcamerawork.us.

The Master Course of High-End Blocking & Staging Chapter List:

Volume 1: Stationary Blocking
1. Introduction
2. Shot Sizes And Types
3. Focal Length
4. Framing And Perspective
5. Staging Upwards And Downwards
6. Managing The Line
7. Coverage
8. Spatial Continuity
9. Open And Closed Framing
10. Right-Angle, Outward And Parallel Cameras
11. Letter Shapes And Camera Plots: I
12. Letter Shapes And Camera Plots: A
13. Letter Shapes And Camera Plots: L
14. Letter Shapes And Camera Plots: U, II, O
15. Scattered Characters

Volume 2: Stationary Blocking
1. Temporal Continuity
2. Expanding And Contracting Time
3. Transforming Cameras
4. Covering Stops
5. Motivations For Character Movement
6. Motivations For Stopping
7. Script Staging: Motivations For Movement
8. Intimacy, Honesty And Power
9. Script Staging: Intimacy, Honesty And Power
10. Managing The Line: Moving Lines Part I
11. Managing The Line: Moving Lines Part II
12. Coordinating Foreground And Background
13. Deep Staging Part I: Static
14. Deep Staging Part II: Shifting Depth
15. Depth Of Field In-Depth
16. Managing Focus And Rack Focus
17. Mirrors, Hotspots And Shadows

Volume 3: The Moving Camera
1. Introduction
2. Why Storyboarding Doesn't Work
3. Thinking In Parallel
4. Thinking In Keyframes
5. Thinking Backwards
6. Script Staging: Parallel Staging And Keyframes
7. Pan: Keyframe To Keyframe
8. Pan: Reframe And Regroup
9. Pan: Start On, Reveal, End On
10. Blocking-Transitions
11. Pan: Search, Shift, Swish
12. Pan: Hand-Off
13. Parallax And The Value Of Foreground
14. Track: Coordinating Foreground
15. Track: Keyframe To Keyframe
16. Track: Keyframes On Opposite Sides Of The Line
17. Track: Deep Staging To Deep Staging
18. Track: Early And Late Arrival Into Keyframe
19. Track: Parallel
20. Track: Start On, Reveal, End On

Volume 4: The Moving Camera
1. Track: Hand-Off
2. Track: Opening And Closing Space
3. Track: Personal And Impersonal
4. Track: Back Parallax And Unrest
5. Track: Regroup
6. Track: Reframe
7. Track: Timed Master Move
8. Track: Master Push
9. Track: Close Push
10. Track: Low Push, High Push
11. Track: Pull
12. Track: Converge And Counter
13. Track: Pivot
14. Track: Pivot-Reveal
15. Track: Around
16. Pan And Track: Rack Focus
17. Boom And Crane
18. Crane: Keyframe To Keyframe, Parallel
19. Crane: Start On, Reveal, Vertical Converge
20. Crane: Pivot, Pivot-Reveal
21. Crane: Low/High Push, High/Low Push

Volume 5: Staging High-End Scenes
1. A Notation System For Blocking
2. The Checklist: 7 Essential Blocking Steps
3. Script Staging: "Change Of Plans"
4. "Change Of Plans" Blocking
5. "Change Of Plans" Cut
6. Script Staging: "Under Attack"
7. "Under Attack" Blocking
8. "Under Attack" Cut
9. Script Staging: "Not A Suspect"
10. "Not A Suspect" Blocking
11. "Not A Suspect" Cut

Volume 6: Staging High End Scenes
1. Script Staging: "System Failure"
2. "System Failure" Blocking
3. "System Failure" Cut
4. Script Staging: "Custody"
5. "Custody" Blocking
6. "Custody" Cut
7. Script Staging: "A Terrible Mistake"
8. "A Terrible Mistake" Blocking
9. "A Terrible Mistake" Cut
10. Script Staging: "The Curse"
11. "The Curse" Blocking
12. "The Curse" Cut
13. Adjusting For Widescreen And Scope


Visual Effects for Directors Chapter List:

Volume 1: 3D Primer
1. Introduction
2. Shading And Mapping Part I
3. Shading And Mapping Part II
4. Simple Lighting
5. Advanced Lighting
6. Modeling Tools
7. Modeling Objects And Characters
8. Image-Based Modeling
9. Basic Animation
10. Character Rigging
11. Character Animation Part I
12. Character Animation Part II

Volume 2: Mixing and Matching
1. Overview
2. Compositing Primer
3. Node-Based Compositing
4. Pulling A Matte
5. Garbage Matting / Rotoscoping
6. Compositing Without A Matte
7. 2D Tracking
8. How Trackers Work
9. Planar Tracking
10. How To Shoot For Planar Tracking
11. Camera Matching

Volume 3: Mixing and Matching
1. Matchmoving
2. How To Shoot For Matchmoving Part I
3. How To Shoot For Matchmoving Part II
4. Motion Control
5. Matching Lighting And Shadows
6. Casting Shadows Into Live-Action
7. The Double-Shadows Problem
8. Receiving Shadows
9. Casting And Receiving Reflections
10. Casting And Receiving Light
11. Matching Camera Look
12. Interaction Part I: Live-Action Affecting 3D

Volume 4: Mixing and Matching
1. Interaction Part II: 3D Affecting Live-Action
2. Virtual Props
3. Motion Capture Primer
4. In-Shot Motion Capture: Body Tracking
5. In-Shot Motion Capture: Face Tracking
6. Object Removal Part I
7. Object Removal Part II
8. Crowd Replication

Volume 5: Green Screen Intensive
1. 2 Kinds Of Green Screen, 3 Kinds Of Shooting
2. Green Vs. Blue
3. Color Sampling
4. Back-Drop Green Screen Part I
5, Back-Drop Green Screen Part II
6. Renting And Prepping A Cyc Stage
7. Building And Painting A Green Screen Cyc
8. Lighting A Green Screen Cyc
9. Keying Part I: Solids
10. Keying Part II: Transparency
11. Keying Part III: Preventing And Handling Spill

Volume 6: Green Screen Intensive
1. How To Place Tracking Markers Part I
2. How To Place Tracking Markers Part II
3. Matching Lighting
4. Matching Direction, Quality, Ratio
5. Extracting And Faking Shadows
6. Receiving Shadows And Light
7. Casting And Receiving Reflections
8. Physical Contact
9. Directing And Blocking On A Virtual Set
10. Giant Green Screen
11. Warping
12. Cinematography Checklist

Volume 7: Simulation & Comps
1. Physics
2. Particles And Fluids
3. Instantiation
4. Cloth, Hair, Demolition
5. Digital Stunt People
6. Fusion Nodes
7. Shot Analysis: F-16 Over Ocean
8. Shot Analysis: T-Rex Chase
9. Shot Analysis: Car Crash
10. Shot Analysis: Garden Shadows
11. Shot Analysis: Embassy Shootout

 For more information please visit Hollywood Camera Work, http://www.hollywoodcamerawork.us.