DCT Information

DCT-MP/COMMAND Components:
DCT-MP, BP, and LS: teach Filmmaking from Writing to Post.  The most revolutionary training course you will ever own. Over 30 hours of filmmaking savvy, wisdom, examples, demonstrations, tips and tricks, presented by people who work in Hollywood day in, day out. Learn Scriptwriting, Formatting, Editing, Camera Operation, Lighting, Exposure, Audio, and Directing, all focused on Digital Movies. DCT-BP (Basic Production): 10-Point lighting, the jargon and motive behind each light source, as well as balancing them together with Quality, Quantity, Direction, and Color. Composition concepts: Law of Thirds, Screen Mass, Triangular Dominance, Color Harmony, and Planar Separation, as well as the psychological impact of each. Also, Lenses, Depth of Field, Shots, Axes of Motion, Makeup, and Steadicam. DCT-MP (Movie Production): Screenwriting, Directing, Acting. Add foreground detail and make a dolly move really count, block your actors to match their eyelines, compose your shots to set the audience at ease (or not), and light the set with a minimum of fixtures. DCT-LS (Lighting Set): 10 complete sections devoted to Pro lighting. Matching your lighting to fire-light, Christmas lights, uncorrected fluorescents, flashlights, candles, lighting chrome weapons, and groups of actors at a card table scene. When you finish the last section of this series, your mind will be overloaded. You will never watch movies the same way again, knowing that the “Natural Sunset” light inside an apartment is actually tungsten light off a gold reflector, and that there is a reason why directors move the actors in specific axes.
The Digital Cinema Course begins by detailed instructions on building a screenplay with proper structure and solid characters. Many screen writing textbooks have also done this, but the course is the first to do it by use of a dramatic short film teaching writers the basics of overcoming obstacles and disasters. This is then furthered by second more concise section outlining how to write in clear instructions. It categorizes specific methods and tools, and inspires writers who may have given up on dramatic storytelling. The following section describes how to physically construct a screenplay, what paper to use, how to bind it, and how to format the content. This is done with the use of computer graphics. Once the storytelling sections are complete, the course moves on to teach film editing. Starting with the history of editing and progressing to current digital nonlinear editing, the section prepares the filmmaker for the field. It abides by the rule that the best cinematographer or director is first a competent editor. After the editing section, the course moves on to discuss filmmaking equipment and gear, from the basic C-stand to the intricate use of color gels and corrective filtration. It prepares filmmakers for the technical aspect of making movies with HMI, tungsten, and fluorescent lighting. After the equipment section, it explores basic production in a controlled studio environment. Lighting, lenses, shots, depth of field, composition, and axes of movement. The course then applies all the concepts learned in the movie production section. By far the longest of the sections, at about 12 hours, it puts all the principles to the test on a real movie set. It carries with it all the variables that can assault filmmakers while trying to make a digital film. After the movie production section has been completed, the course moves on to the advanced lighting section. This is the most detailed of the sections, concentrating for hours on the art of lighting a film set with faith to the script’s intention. Whether lighting to mimic candlelight, firelight, or fluorescent warehouse lighting, this section discusses the most difficult situations that a cinematographer may confront. The Digital Cinema Course is also accompanied by a color technical manual for the field, a checklist, and a preparation CD.

DCT-GG Gear Guide Components:
DCT-FF:  Focuses on Follow Focus Devices with Karl Horn from Cinetech.  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-FF volume teaches Focus Pulling Techniques, Follow Focus Types, Single/Double Wheel, Whips and Extensions, Speed Cranks, Rear-Firing Configs  and much more. The more you shoot with your Pro HD or SD Digital Cinema Camera, the more you will rely on the focusing dial to create more dramatic transitions into actors or objects.  The more you focus with your camera dial, the more you will feel that your wrist is not in the correct ergonomic position to achieve the best focus pulls.  That’s where follow focus wheels come in.  They reorient the direction of the focus dial to one that more easily fits the movement of the human body.  Also, they give you focus stops, so that you don’t have to guess where your subject is.  Just set up the A and B stops, and go from A to B.  No guess work.  This comes in very handy in cameras that do not have numerical readouts for focus marks.  Another very useful facet of focus pulling devices, is their ability to allow attachment of whips or extensions.  This allows you to “pull” focus from behind the camera, more comfortably.  It also allows another professional, the “focus puller” to pull focus for you, so that you can just concentrate on panning and tilting the camera with the actor.  The DCT-FF section will teach you all that, and much more.
DCT-FLUO:  Focuses on Fluoresecents with Frieder Hocheim and Tom Jacob from KinoFlo.  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-FLUO volume teaches Fluorescent Fixtures, Large Studio Models, Small Portable Models, Diffusion Techniques, Dimming, DMX Controls, Daylight/Interior Bulbs, Special Effects, 12V Car Models  and much more. The more your lighting experience increases, the more likely you will rely on Fluorescent lighting.  It is perfectly tungsten or daylight balanced, soft, emits almost no heat, and is dimmable with very little shift in color temperature.  However, the subject of fluorescent lighting is very complicated. Which instruments do you use?  Which color temperature?  Do you match with the window or the other tungsten instruments?  How do you perform DMX dimming and networking?  How do you safely replace bulbs?  What color options are there?  How do you safely regulate power output of the DC supplies?  All these questions plus many more are answered in the DCT-FLUO section.
DCT-GELS:  Focuses on Gels and Lighting Modifiers with Joel Svendsen from Rosco Gels.  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-GELS volume teaches Correction Gels, Film vs. Video Intensities, Color Effect Gels, Modifiers for Stage Lights, Daylight Balance Gels, Tungsten Balance Gels and much more. The more your lighting experience increases, the more likely you will rely on color gels for correcting instruments or creating a mood.  However, the subject of gels is very complicated. Which type of gel do you use?  How much color temperature correction is necessary?  Do you match an HMI instrument with the window or the other tungsten instruments?  How does gelling an instrument differ from Digital HD to Film?  How do you safely use gels?  What options are there in color and and mood?  Both Straw and Amber gels cause a mathematical warming shift in the color temperature, so why are there two different types?  All these questions plus many more are answered in the DCT-GELS section.
DCT-GRDR:  Focuses on Gear Rental with Steve Tobenkin from Birns & Sawyer in Hollywood.  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-GELS volume teaches Safe Renting Practices, Rental Contracts, Insurance Types, Negotiating Travel Days, 3-Day Weeks, Building Relationships, Trust and Credit, Economies of Scale and much more. As your reputation improves in your filmmaking circle, you will be called upon to shoot bigger and bigger jobs.  It would not make sense to own 4 different cameras when you primarily use just one, especially when the other cameras are used only once or twice a year, or cost $120,000.  Enter the rental house.  You can get a great camera package, lights, grip gear, and stay within budget.  The entire rental is tax deductible as an expense, as opposed to amortizing an expensive camera package for 7 years.  You don’t have to take out a loan for it.  Just get a down payment from the production company, rent the gear, use it, then return it.  Makes sense, sounds easy.  It’s not.  It is a very complicated process that sometimes takes several disasters to fully respect. You can avert most disasters by carefully viewing the DCT-GR Gear Rental section.  Mr. Tobenkin teaches you all the ins and outs of safely renting gear, as well as avoiding common horrors of discovering that “mysterious disappearances” are not covered by insurance companies, and can leave you penniless for years.  For over an hour, he guides you through every line of a common rental contract, explains every term, and gives you real street-advice every step of the way.  Rent safely with the DCT-GR volume, also included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.
DCT-GRIP:  Focuses on Grip Gear with Ed Phillips from MSE (Matthews Studio Equipment).  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-GRIP volume teaches C-Stands, Light Stands, Combo Stands, Flags, Black Net, Silks and Diffusers, Cucaloris Modifiers, Cutters, Dots and Fingers and much more. The more your production experience increases, the more likely you will rely on professional grip equipment.  Also, your ability to identify and use grip gear on the set will earn the respect of your peers and employers.  Pro gear lasts longer, looks more professional, holds weight more securely, and helps you sculpt precision-lit sets with flags and scrim.  Which light stands do you use?  Which clamps for which lights?  How do you safely equip, mount, and weight-balance a C-stand?  How do cheaply made roller stands differ from professional ones?  What is the difference between a preemie, a HiHi, and a combo stand?  What is the difference between a half-apple and a pancake?  All these questions plus many more are answered in the DCT-GRIP section.
DCT-HDL:  Focuses on Heavy Dollies with 35-year Veteran Hollywood Key Grip Chet Spinney.  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-HDL volume teaches Heavy Studio Dollies, Balancing Dolly Track, Proper Dollying Methods, Dolly & Jib Moves, Pro Mic Booms and much more. You can get away with using compact dollies on many occasions, but there are certain situations where you will be required to help set up or operate a heavy dolly.  Mr. Spinney will help you understand the principles of balancing a dolly track, pushing techniques, proper movement, and braking.  After that, Mr. Steve Schuneman will share his extensive experience operating Pro Mic Booms on multi-million dollar TV shows.  He will show you how to operate a pro mic boom, or communicate with your boom operator so that you can have a more productive set experience.  As a filmmaker, you should be familiar with the operation and terminology, facets and limitations, of every piece of equipment on the set.  This section will help get you one step farther, in a generally ignored part of the industry that doesn’t get the glitz of body-mounted camera systems, but has been a mainstay of every indie and studio film for 60 years.
DCT-LENS:  Focuses on Diopters, Converters, and Filters with Bill Turner from Schneider Optics.  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-LENS volume teaches Diopters, Wide and TeleConverters, Adapters, 4×4 Filters Polarizers, Graduated ND Filters, Color Filters and much more. The more you work with your fixed-lens camera, the more you will want to modify the optics of that lens beyond its capability.  You will want a wider wide angle, and a deeper telephoto.  The only way of achieving that is with the use of Wide Angle Adapters and Converters, as well as Telephoto Converters.  Learn the difference between a converter, an adapter, and a diopter.  Learn how to film just one part of the face, like just the lips or the eyes.  Learn how to select the correct attachment for your camera, and get the most out of it.  Learn how to make a penny fill the frame.  Also, learn how to protect your camera from misuse of large converters. After that, jump into filters.  Learn how to darken a bright sky to get it within the dynamic range of HDV, but not affect the rest of the scene, how to see through reflections, how to darken the overall scene to allow a wider aperture for shallower depth of field.  All these subjects and many more are covered in the DCT-LENS section.
DCT-MB:  Focuses on Matteboxes & Zoom Controllers with James Lee from 16x9inc. (Chrosziel and Bebob).  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-MB volume teaches Mounting Matteboxes, Using French Flags, Side Flags, Baseplates and Rods, Sunshades, Filter Holders, Camera Design Issues, Zoom Controllers, Electronic Focus and much more. How do they achieve that crisp, contrasty look in films, even when shooting into the sun?  Why is it that when you try it, the shot is milky or hazy?  The mattebox is the device that solves that problem.  It’s great shooting into the sun:  You get great highlights everywhere, the actors are naturally backlit, the sun isn’t in their eyes, and the scene looks more dynamic.  But you need protection for the camera lens from haze and the major culprit, flare.  Matteboxes allow you to control flare like never before.  They also allow you to mount 4×4 and sometimes 4×5.65 filters demonstrated in the DCT-LENS section.  They also shade your wide angle lens adapters which may or may not come with their own lens hoods.  After that, learn all about the essential zoom controller.  Even if you never zoom in the shot (as any pro filmmaker would) you need a zoom controller to easily change the focal length of your lens without moving your hand away from the pan handle.  If you need to zoom for say, an industrial or how-to video, or for effect, the zoom controller is indispensable for providing a smooth focal length change without unnecessary jitter on the camera body.  Learn all about electronic zoom and focus controllers in the DCT-MB section.
DCT-ONCM:  Focuses on Pedestals, Jibs, and Camera Lights with David Butler from Ste-Man (Cartoni and PAG).  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-ONCM volume teaches Studio Pedestals, Compact Jibs, On-Camera Lights, Dichroic Filters, Diffusing Eye-Lights, 3-Wheel Dollies, Battery Chemistry, Underwater Bags and much more.  You already have a dolly that will get you closer to your subject in a more dynamic smooth manner.  But what happens when you need to rise up with the actor as he gets out of a chair or a car, or goes up the stairs?  To maintain a smooth movement akin to a dolly, but in a vertical direction, you need a jib.  Enter the DCT-ONCM section.  Learn how to use jibs, their axes of motion, and techniques.  This section goes much further, and explains the usage of on-camera lights.  You are in a situation where the interior illumination is too low for your camera to see the subject, and it is beyond your control to raise the ambient light level or bring in a studio light.  You need the battery operated camera light.  Learn how to use them and all the accessories, as well as the battery systems and chemistries that match them. You are opening a new studio, and you don’t want to simply use a tripod on wheels.  You want the ease of use and heavy weight of a studio pedestal with a vertical pneumatic lift.  Learn how to use them, bleed excess pressure, maneuver and operate them. You have a shot that requires a camera to be inserted underwater, or in a situation where it may be splashed by waves from below.  You need an underwater bag, and this section shows you how to use the most trusted and popular types. You want a body-mounted camera support that offers you full range of motion, but you don’t need a full steadicam or can’t afford one.  This section shows you how to mount and operate the popular PAG Orbitor body mounted system.
DCT-PODS:  Focuses on Tripods, Bags, and Reflectors with Mark Bender from Bogen Imaging.  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-PODS volume teaches Light Duty Tripods, Medium Duty Tripods, Heavy Capacity Tripods, Camera Bags, Reflectors and much more.  The more you use your pro camera, the more you find that it deserves a better ride than a Sears tool bag.  Enter pro camera bags, specifically designed to safely and lightly carry cameras and accessories.  Learn to pick the right type, and how to make it work for the projects you are involved in. Also, learn how to setup and operate light and heavy tripods, the difference between friction and fluid heads, and what capacity is required of a tripod to do the job. An added bonus is a section on reflector types, what uses they have, and how to get the most out of them.
DCT-TGHM:  Focuses on Tungsten and H.M.I Fresnels, with John Gresch from Arri Lighting.  This section is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND Course.  However if only specialized instruction is needed, the DCT-TGHM volume teaches Tungsten Fresnels, HMI Fresnels, Changing Lenses, Changing Bulbs, Attaching Softboxes, Using Snoots, Safety, Spotting/Flooding and much more. Just as important as selecting the correct camera and mic, is selecting the proper light kit.  The more experienced you become, the less you’ll be willing to settle for “natural” overhead fluorescent lights, with blown out highlights, a green cast, and deep shadows under the actors’ eyes.  You will want to sculpt your frame, light the actors properly and dramatically, and throw shadows on parts of the background that you don’t like.  You will need a professional fresnel light kit, and this section will show you how to use it.  It will go into great detail, from the moment you take the lights out of the box, to tearing down the softbox attachment and packing the kit away.  The DCT-TGHM is the right section for those filmmakers wanting to get more out of their light kits.  The information contained is mostly general, and applies to many other lighting systems.

DCT-AMP Advanced Movie Production
DCT-AMP: Learn all about set etiquette, communication, decision-making, and real-life production, all while watching a full feature film being made. For 12 days, the crew of this film worked hard alongside motivated cast, a passionate director, and a jovial producer. Watch how the whole adventure unfolded, on 8 section, for 15 hours of education and fun. Watch our very own Rush Hamden working as a cinematographer on the set, taking orders, trying his best to get the film made despite fatigue, illness, and shortage of crew. This volume is the crowning achievement of the Digital Cinema Course, and has taken two full years to complete. The finished film is an actual section that can be purchased from Amazon.
The DCT-AMP volume is the crowning achievement of the Digital Cinema Course.It is already included in the DCT-MP/COMMAND-PLUS Course.It has taken two full years of work to complete.Learn all about set etiquette, communication, decision-making, and real-life production.Watch how a production company made a full feature film, for little money, in only 12 days.Follow the crew as they work alongside motivated cast, a passionate director, and a jovial producer. Watch how the whole adventure unfolded, on 8 sections, for 15 hours of education and fun.No punches are pulled: You’ll see us going through all the highs and lows.Get to know cast and crew like you never did before. Live life through their eyes. Share in their triumphs. See our very own Rush Hamden working as a cinematographer on a set, taking orders, doing his best.Witness the crew experiencing effects of fatigue, illness, and shortage of hands. Bonus: Fully searchable 67-page detailed minute by minute Guide as a downloadable document.The upgrade is only available for previous owners of the Command Course.

DCT-A102 Intermediate Audio
DCT-A102: Intermediate Audio Guide is a special focus on Microphones, Mixers, Recorders, Cables, and Wireless Systems.  The DCT-MP/COMMAND Digital Cinema Course teaches basic principles of Audio, but the DCT-A102 goes one step further.  It concentrates on Electret Mics, Dynamic Mics, Condenser Mics, Mixers, Lowcut and Pads, Hard Disk Recorders, Mic Suspension Mounts, Audio Snake Cables, Wireless Systems and much more. The more your filmmaking experience increases, the more likely you will rely on professional audio gear.  Pro Audio gear performs better, lasts longer, is more robust, generates less noise in the audio stream, and offers much greater flexibility in controlling your sound.  This volume teaches the principles of recording “safe audio”, from selecting the right location, to using the right mic for the job, to recording on CF cards or Hard Disk.  All these points plus many more are addressed in the DCT-TGHM section. DCT-COMP Compositing
DCT-COMP: Digital Keying Guide teaches how to create believable Compositing images.  The DCT-MP/COMMAND Digital Cinema Course teaches basic principles of Compositing, but the DCT-COMP goes one step further.  It concentrates on Lighting the Green or Blue Screen Background, Lighting Foreground Plate and Subject, Matching Fore-to-Background, Camera Settings, Using Keying Hardware, Directing Actors, Keying in Post, Using Keying Software and much more. As you progress in your filmmaking career, you will be called upon to film a scene that is to be composited over another background.  The only way to do that is to film the action against a color (green or blue) screen, then remove that color in post, and composite the action onto the desired background.  Sounds simple.  In fact, it is a very complicated procedure that goes beyond setting up two actors against a green paper background.  It is a procedure that requires planning, scripting, charting, very accurate lighting, specific direction of actors, and color-matched post compositing.  The DCT-COMP series will teach you all that, and more.  It goes into great detail, from lighting to post.  It teaches you how to set the height and angle of the background camera, match it to the foreground camera.  As far as lighting, it teaches matching the color, direction, and intensity of the subject’s instruments with the background natural light.  Then it delves deeper with an action scene that teaches you how to blend action elements with proper direction for actor eyelines.  The final section teaches post production compositing, and also contains a 3.5 GB full HD 1080i file with all the elements you need to build your own action scene for practice.  Just copy it to your PC or MAC, drop it into your favorite compositing program, and have fun.
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