What if you kidnapped an award-winning Hollywood cinematographer and made him teach you all his secrets?
And we filmed it.
Cinematic Cookbook is an intensive video course that will revolutionize the way you approach shooting any scene.
Get hired on one job after watching this course and it more than pays for itself.
Can you shoot Hollywood quality footage with a $300 camera and minimal lighting and gear?
Yes, if you have the knowledge and creativity of an award-winning cinematographer like Brad Rushing.
So we kidnapped Brad for a day and made him tell us all his secrets.
In Cinematic Cookbook, you’ll see extensive scene breakdowns detailing how Brad and Ryan chose to light and shoot ten wildly diverse styles with the same two people sitting at the same table in the same room.
Your story is like a road map for cinematography. It tells you everything you need to know about how to approach lighting and shooting each scene of your project.
Does your subject need to look powerful? Shoot them at a low angle. Does the scene needs to look funny? Use broad, high-key lighting to brighten the mood. Does it need to look gritty and realistic? Use hand-held camera.
In Cinematic Cookbook, we start off each recipe covering the most important element: story. The story you are telling, the message you are sending, the emotion you want your viewers to feel will inform all the creative and technical decisions you make on set.
With that knowledge in hand, you’ll be able to easily answer questions like, “Where should we put the camera?” “What’s the shot size?” “Is the camera moving or static?” “How should the subject be lit?”
Y (vertical) angles tell a story. A high angle looking down on the subject can make them seem inferior or passive. A low angle can make them seem powerful or authoritative.
X (horizontal) angles tell a story. If the camera is more off to the side, the shot’s going to feel more objective and less intimate than if the camera is closer to the subject’s eyeline.
And Z (rotated, or dutch) angles tell a story of danger, energy or unbalance.
Cinematic Cookbook will enhance your understanding of camera angles to enable you to tell your story more effectively.
Wide shots establish where we are, what time of day it is, and who we are watching. Closeups put us right in the subject’s personal space. As a shot size gets tighter, we move from a public, objective perspective into a personal, subjective one.
Cinematic Cookbook also explores focal length, which has a huge impact on the feel of your shot. Wide angle lenses in mediums and closeups distort and exaggerate facial features.
Longer lenses make your depth of field APPEAR shallower, due to the magnification of the image because of the narrower angle of view. So long lenses accentuate the blur of the background, and make your subject really pop out from the background.
Camera movement can reveal new information to the audience, draw them closer to subjects, follow people through spaces, and add stylistic flair.
If you need to pull the audience into a person or even a product, dolly in! Even a simple tracking shot on a $80 slider can add a massive amount of production value. With a simple camera move, your project can instantly feel like a Hollywood production… if you’re moving the camera for the right reason, that is.
In Cinematic Cookbook, we walk through when, why, and how we move the camera.
Light sets the mood. A dark scene with heavy shadows will inevitably feel more moody (or even scary) than a bright scene with few shadows.
And with just a few lights and minimal grip equipment, Cinematic Cookbook shows you how a master DP creates stunning lighting setups, from frightening horror to upbeat comedy.
Behind-the-scenes footage and 3D animations spell out exactly how we achieved each look.
Cinematic Cookbook is 99% about production. But at the end of each section, we show you what touches of color grading we made to finalize the look we were going for.
Some scenes just needed a tiny correction to make the footage look great. But others used strong color grading to complete the emotional effect we were going for.
What people have to say
"The insights of a Hollywood professional like Brad are invaluable. Knowing where and why he chose to place lights is something you can not get anywhere else."Shane Walsh
"I've been shooting for years and have never thought of shooting this way. Cinematic Cookbook made it so easy to get amazing looks."Stephanie Walsh
Movies like Titanic, The Notebook, A Very Long Engagement, and Gone With the Wind inspired this romantic scene.
Learn how we created a candlelight gag and used a dolly move to create this beautiful cinematic look!
This big-time television look was inspired by sitcom favorites like How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.
Learn how high key lighting can speed up your production and get you a light, comedic look.
Need something a little weird? Our Quirky Comedy style was inspired by movies from directors like the Cohen Brothers, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Terry Gilliam.
Learn how to use ingredients like wide lenses and color correction to cook up a zany, weird look for your project.
Get an inside look into how we used ingredients like sunlight and simple dolly moves to create a Classic Drama recipe that will knock your audience’s socks off!
Movies like Great Expectations, American Beauty, and It’s a Wonderful Life inspired this crowd favorite.
Need something moody? Learn the real-life techniques used in award-winning independent films to get a gritty, realistic feel on the cheap!
The ingredients in this recipe will keep your project mobile and fast and make your video look realistic and moody.
Get some laughs! Learn how to use ingredients like hand-held camera and pop zooms to create a spontaneous comedic look.
Shows like Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, and Arrested Development inspired this fun, unpredictable style.
Don’t open that door! Movies like The Exorcist, Halloween, and Poltergeist served up this dish. But the Pop Horror look isn’t just for movies. Use it in educational or promotional videos to paint a scary picture of what will happen if your audience doesn’t listen to what you have to say!
Ingredients like crabbing dolly moves and low-angle light make this Pop Horror recipe a killer!
Feeling mysterious? This classic stylized look was inspired by movies like Casablanca, Double Indemnity, Out of the Past, and The Third Man.
Ingredients like a light slash and hard kickers will get that classic noir look you’re going for!
Sometimes you just need to make someone look amazing! This classic fashion beauty shot is on every great cinematographer’s menu.
Learn how broad high-key lighting and hard kickers made this look pop!
Even MORE scary?! We can serve that up. This hyper-real Modern Horror recipe used ingredients like high shutter speed and hand-held camera to create an eerie and frantic look that will keep your audience on the edge of their seats!
Movies like 28 Days Later, The Ring, and The Grudge inspired this frenetic, scary style.
How did we shoot ten wildly different scenes in one day? Well it comes down to prep, prep, and one more thing… let me check my notes… Oh yeah, PREP! Here are a few tips and tricks we had up our sleeves that you can use in your own project:
- Shot list. The shot list had every setup on it, and each one was timed down to the minute. Everyone who needed the shot list had a copy, so the crew were always clear about where we needed to be at all times. My rule of thumb is to always deduct three hours from the day: one hour to load in and set up, one hour for lunch, and one hour to wrap. Then you’ll have a realistic idea of how long you actually have to shoot.
- Shoot directionally. For each scene, we picked a direction and shot every shot that faced that way, even if it was out of sequence. Changing directions means all the lights and grip equipment have to move, so group your shots by direction whenever possible.
- Use the sun as a light! We scheduled the day so that all the setups that could make use of sunlight were scheduled when the sun was beaming through the windows. But how did we know exactly when the sunlight would fill the room? We knew because we did a…
- Tech scout. We visited the location ahead of time to find out everything we needed to know. And I mean everything. How many circuits were in the house. We checked every outlet. Decided where we could eat lunch. Found the best place to stage equipment. Found the times the sun would shine through the windows. What furniture could move and what had to stay. The list goes on. Whenever possible, go to the location with your key crew members and walk through the day. Knowing your obstacles ahead of time will save you hours and headaches on set.
- Day for night. We had quite a few night time scenes. But rather than waiting for the sun to set and shooting into the night, we blacked out the windows with plastic sheeting. Instant night time! The sun was setting when we left, but we had already shot night scenes for several hours.
- Get food delivered! (And order the day before). We had a small crew, so instead of losing a crew member for an hour while they picked up lunch, we ordered lunch the day before and scheduled delivery to the house!
Who created Cinematic Cookbook?
Cinematic Cookbook was created by three film and video experts:
Josh Mellicker is the co-founder of DVcreators and has been one of the world’s foremost digital video pioneers for over 20 years. He has consulted and trained the Fortune 1000, Hollywood movie studios, TV brands, major universities and countless others in their digital video pursuits.
Brad Rushing is an award-winning cinematographer with over twenty-five years experience shooting commercials, music videos, documentaries, and feature films.
Ryan Phillips is the president of DVcreators and an AICP Award-nominated director, known for his sleek visual storytelling for brands like Intel, Got Milk? and Nespresso.
Canon EOS M
When we shot Cinematic Cookbook in August of 2014, the EOS M was only $300! Click here to buy on Amazon. This camera features a large APS-C sensor, giving you a shallow depth of field that instantly gives your footage a stunning cinematic look. Despite the small form factor, this camera is sturdy. But it doesn’t have XLR inputs for high quality microphones, so you’ll need an XLR adapter…
BeachTek DXA SLR Pro Adapter
An XLR adapter like the BeachTek DXA-SLR Pro is a must-have for any camera that doesn’t have XLR inputs for high-quality mics. This will allow you to power a shotgun mic and run the audio directly to your camera, so there’s no need to sync audio in post! Buy it from our friends at the DVeStore here.
Rode NTG-3 Shotgun Mic
A quality shotgun mic is the best choice for recording high quality audio, and the Rode NTG-3 is top of the line. The directional quality of a shotgun mic allows you to hone in on your subject’s voice. Click here to get the Rode NTG-3 from our friends at DVeStore.
Lowel DVcreators light kit
We developed the DVcreators light kit with Lowel, and it became the best-selling light kit in history. It has everything you need for just about any situation: a few broad lights, medium-powered lights, and a couple small sources. Most of Cinematic Cookbook was shot with two 1K Lowel DP lights and some bounce boards. Click here to buy the Lowel DVcreators light kit.
To create dynamic moving camera shots, we used a slider made by Igus. The slider mounts right on your tripod! It’s a little over three feet long (1,000 mm) and only weighs a few pounds. Plus it’s dry lubricated, so you don’t have to worry about making a mess with wet lubricants. You can even tighten the sliding shoe to dial in the right amount of resistance. Click here to buy it on Amazon for under $150. We paid the extra price to have the shoe pre-drilled, but you can get them cheaper if you don’t mind drilling the aluminum yourself.
Ikan Shoulder Rig
Any time you’re doing hand-held work for more than a few shots, you’ll want a shoulder rig to take some weight off your arms. Shoulder rigs are also great for reducing camera shake on hand-held shots. We used an Ikan shoulder rig with adjustable mount and handles to perfectly fit the camera and operator. Click here to buy it on Amazon. This one is pricey (around $450), but you can find cheaper shoulder mounts like the Cowboy shoulder support ($30) or the FilmCity shoulder rig ($90).
Expendables are all the things the camera and lighting department use that will probably get thrown away. Gaff tape, paper tape, C47s (clothespins), duvateen, diffusion, and markers all fall under this category. But these items can add up quickly, especially diffusion, gels, and gaff tape. So instead of paying full price, go to FilmTools. They purchase in bulk, so the pricers are always cheaper. Plus, they will ship everything to you, so you don’t need to spend any time picking the items up. And if you’re in the Los Angeles area, go to The Expendables Recycler. They buy and sell expendables, so it’s a great resource to either purchase or sell all those little items.
If you plan on blacking out your windows to shoot day for night scenes, buy black plastic sheeting instead of wasting expensive duvateen. Click here for some a cheap sheeting options. Just don’t use trash bags. Even the heavy-duty ones are semi-translucent.
FilmStyles is a set of filters for Final Cut Pro X designed to instantly make your video footage look spectacular. By building a set of plugins from the ground up, we were able to customize the filters to exactly what we thought would be the easiest and the quickest way to brilliantly stylize and color your footage. Just drag and drop one of the presets and quickly dial in your settings with the sliders to tweak the look you want, or completely change the way the footage reads.
Almost all the color correction for Cinematic Cookbook was done using our FilmStyles filters for Final Cut Pro X. If you want to use FilmStyles on your next project, head over to the Filmstyles page to read more or see for yourself how it works: filmstyles.dvcreators.net