About the Conference Teaching Cinematography

Description of the Conference:

The overall topic is the interaction of research and teaching cinematography. We do not see that as two separate entities but as interacting methods to look into the storytelling capacities of moving images. Essentially, it intends to reveal the relevance of the study of cinematography to the field of film studies. We make a bridge between academic research and the practice of teaching cinematography. This also includes the understanding and researching of the experiential knowledge of cinematographers. Cinematography research has significance beyond the academic field and is committed to generate knowledge that matters. In our mediated social world, the hunger about how to create emotion-evoking images, and how they are perceived, is becoming more and more relevant. Although movies do not offer a realistic window on the world, they do shape our experiences and offer us tools for defining our societies (Verstraten, 2013, p. 50). To better understand cinematography is a worthwhile goal, “a medium like film is a tool that modern society uses to organize itself, and that to function efficiently and productively, people should know how to accurately interpret media” (Young, 2012, p. 179).

The first aim is to add to the scholarly field of film studies, to put a focus on the methodology for researching cinematography by connecting educators and academic researchers in that relatively new field of study: cinematography. Beginning with the first investigations of cinema in the early twentieth century, the intellectual milieus in which knowledge of cinema has been generated stood far away from the production film set (Grieveson & Wasson, 2008, p. xvii). Cinematography has hardly been researched. We want to lay out and talk about an alternative area of investigation in the field of film studies: the contribution of cinematography to narrative film.

A key objective is to present papers and research from academic researchers, to build a bridge between film practice and film studies. The argument for tapping into the knowledge of cinematographers lies in the simple fact that since the existence of cinema, cinematographers, or cameramen as they were first known, were always there. “Cinematographers have been there since the inception of the motion picture. Without them, there could be no film” (Sterling, 1987, p. vii). Moreover, the study of cinematography needs to become an established part of film studies; it needs its own space, so that critical focus can be put on the cinematographic expression. That will then invite investigations into the different aspects of cinematography, especially its role in narrative film. The challenges and the limitations when researching cinematography are numerous, not only does the technology evolves super fast, the art and craft of cinematography is little understood in the academic world. However, in this fast-paced age, the hunger of how to create emotions evoking images and how it is perceived is big.

A second key dimension of the conference is to discuss the current trends in cinematography and how this should be applied to future teaching in film school and other educational facilities. It does not limit itself to technique but includes the "development of the eye", film history, the study of art history and traditional teaching of established techniques alongside the teaching of digital workflow and other more recent developments in the digital domain. The round tables we will organise will generate conversations with the international cinematographers societies with the teachers of cinematography on related topics. The round tables will be led by selected experts in the field.

The focus is on academic research and teaching (in an academic setting, a.k.a. schools) and the connection between the methodologies of researching cinematography and teaching cinematography. We have identified four main angles namely: 
1. The role of disruptive new technologies
2. Sharing pedagogical experiences
3. Relation between practice and academic research of cinematography
4. Cinematography as an art form

The overall topic; the discourse of the visual, is linked to the three stages of film modes: production, projection and film participation.
We will pay attention to the overall framework and the contributions to the field of film studies that the conference will bring. It looks into new knowledge acquisition and its methodologies. These approaches are historically not embedded in film studies but currently many cinematographers are turning into scholars. For example while during the round table we can discuss how to teach digital colour grading, we can during the seminar session learn about academic research on the perception of colour.

Each participant will be able to attend two of the below round tables where a key question will be asked at the start of each session. 
1. In practical terms, what exactly should a student of cinematography be able to do once he/she finishes school? 

2. What new educational methods have you already put into practice in regards to the specific theme of your workshop? This can obviously include hardware, software as well as the theoretical aspects taught in class. 

Following this preliminary exchange of views, the participants of each workshop will then explore some more specific topics.

 Round Table & paper presentations Topics
    1. The role of disruptive new technologies
This includes topics such as different displays, recording formats and projections technologies and its impact on narration and complications of teaching these subjects in a film-school environment.
    2. Sharing pedagogical experiences
An emphasis will be put upon the tools and methods to exchange teaching and practice experience and the documentation of it for educational goals. Which methods are effective to teach the foundation of lighting, framing, camera-placement, virtual cinematography, 360 degrees etc.. and what tools, books, exercise do exist?
    3. Relation between practice and academic research of cinematography
We want to bridge and connect academic researchers in the field of visual studies and cinematographers that research and teach in film schools.
The exchange of articles, books and experiments is interesting for researchers in related fields such as optics, art-history, electronics, digital data etc.. and vice versa.
    4. Cinematography as an expressive form of visual narration
The debate on the role of cinematography and its impact on the visual narration can range from the perspective of film history, style, aesthetics, film language, color and perception. Putting a focus on Cinematography in the field of film studies for academic research is a promising area to explore.

• Paper presentations:
A call for papers will be launched and selected researchers will be invited to present their research on Cinematography during the conference.

• Conclusions:
- Podium discussion on artistic research
- The heads of the round table give a summary of conclusions and findings

Conference Partners: 
IMAGO the European federation of Cinematographers
IMAGO has been reaching out the last decade to partners in society and education. In 2014 an education committee was formed and the members have since organised debates, conferences and other educational activities. This conference will also be co-organised by its members. Besides the creation of the images, cinematographers feel responsibility towards connecting the makers and the audience, the professors and the students, the cinematographers and the directors on an international scale. The power of an image is not to be understated and can show us the wonders-the truth if you want- about humanity and the world but can also manipulate, deceive and spread hate. The last couple of years a big effort has been done to organize conferences on the question ‘how to teach’. The members are aware of their responsibility in this debate and will participate in this conference, sharing teaching methods and academic research methodologies. Tony Costa is the chair of the education committee of IMAGO and teaches at Lusofona University, which is a partner in the organisation of this conference.

SBC the Belgian Society of Cinematographers
The two co-chairs from this conference, van den Hove and Dr. Van Kets are members of the education committee of IMAGO and are co-chairs of the education committee of SBC. Ella teaches at INSAS and Marijke teaches at RITCS. Marijke is also engaged by the RITCS as a researcher and intends to establish a research group with a focus on cinematography in the field of film studies.

Target group:
We will have four groups namely participants, experts, presenters and observers. Clearly one can also be a participant and a presenter, the divide between the groups might not always be crystal clear. 
But roughly we can state the following:
            • The participants, our prime target group, are mainly film faculty teaching and/or researching cinematography and related topics in film schools (GEECT). 
            • The second group of presenters will include academics who might not be cinematographers but who are conducting research into related fields such as the perception of visual media, the narration of moving images and so on.
            • The third group consists of experts who will be heading the round tables for moderations and are experts in the specialisation discussed, for example on the topic of: VFX a specialisation? an expert in Visual effects cinematography and post-production (who can also be teaching this subject) will lead that round table.
            • The fourth group of observers will be cinematographers (not teaching staff), other film faculty, head of departments, technical staff and film students attend the sessions and presentations but are not expected to participate in the discussions.

Media Partners