The DSLR Cinematography Guide is one reason Ryan Koo’s NoFilmSchool is a go-to filmmaking resource. And for good reason: the massively informative guide is not only free, but available online or as a beautifully designed PDF.
The default look profiles for Canon DSLR’s aren’t the best — they’re over-saturated, high-contrast, and give humans a pink glow. But once you install Technicolor’s CineStyle look profile, you’re able to shoot a flatter image which gives you more flexibility to color correct in post-production. A must-download for Canon DSLR owners.
Though I have never tampered with the firmware of my own Canon T3i, Magic Lantern — an alternative firmware for DSLRs — expands the functionality of your camera way beyond what it ships out of the factory with. Messing with firmware for electronics is never a sure thing, however, so proceed with caution.
65. O’Connor Labs
Over at the “labs” website of O’Connor — famous for their camera support heads – you can download diagrams, schematics, and other technical information about cameras and camera accessories. Not everything there is essential knowledge, but a lot of it is good information for camera assistants to at least be aware of.
66. Kodak Film Packaging Components Diagram (PDF Link)
I absolutely love this little PDF document Kodak threw together and put on their website. In very simple graphics it explains how to read a film can, the difference in film formats, and info about perfs, cores, and winding. If you’re looking to start loading film (or get better at it), then print this out and sleep with it under your pillow.
Another great resource for loaders are the threading diagrams David Elkins makes available on his website. Just about every major film camera is up there with pictures of threading, feed, and take-up.
There are too many references Panavision offers for me to pick any one to list it here. From manuals and quick start guides to charts to reports on such things as “The Art of Light,” Panavision provides it all. It’s a list about as comprehensive as the one you’re reading right now.
Technically we’re all “students” in the film industry. To say otherwise would be ignorant. But that’s beside the point. If you’re looking to get a basic overview of color, cinematography, and filmmaking, then this is your one stop shop. Likewise if you are trying to teach or mentor about the subject, Kodak’s got you covered too.
When I was doing prep-work as 1st AC on a RED shoot, I went ahead and created RED specific camera reports from a variety of different types of camera reports I had seen. The result was a template that enabled easy marking of traditional notes (lens, f-stop, etc.) as well as RED-specific meta-data.
The RED One Pocket Guide is a downloadable PDF designed to put the most important information into your pocket for quick and easy reference so you can work faster and better with the RED One digital cinema camera. Created by yours truly, it really is useful and valuable to have on set. It’s even available in a mobile format.
The RED Epic Pocket Guide is an essential roadmap for those who want to get past the burden of the technology and get straight to making great films. Whether you work at a rental house and slip the guide in your Epic packages for clients or are a film school student who wants to learn more about professional digital cinema, the RED Epic Pocket Guide helps you understand the camera so you are comfortable with it on set.
When I released this pocket guide for ARRI Alexa, it was downloaded over 1,000 times in 24 hours! People loved it. Like the two RED guides mentioned above, the ARRI Alexa Pocket Guide is a downloadable PDF designed to help you operate the Alexa with ease.
74. ARRI Alexa Pocket Guide (from ARRI – PDF Link)
Unbeknownst to me until I made my own, ARRI Group CSC already had their own ARRI Alexa Pocket Guide. However, mine and theirs are quite different. Whereas mine fits on one page, theirs is a flip-book of multiple pages. It is still insanely valuable, however, and I suggest Alexa users download a copy immediately.
75. ARRI Look Creator for Alexa
One of the major features ARRI recently released for the Alexa is the ability to create looks on your computer and apply them to the camera during shooting. This allows cinematographers to deliver a closer-to-finished image to the editor before settling in with a colorist to hammer it out. It’s also great for shutting up nosy producers or crew who might ask, “Why’s this look so flat?” when staring at a monitor on set.