Course Title: Direct cinematography for screen productions

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: VART5922C

Course Title: Direct cinematography for screen productions

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6087 - Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media

Course Contact : Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: 03 9925 4815

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff


Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

Cinematographers are responsible for providing screen productions with their unique visual look. They work closely with directors and camera and lighting crews to achieve the required creative outcomes. Direct cinematography for screen productions covers the skills and knowledge required to devise and manage camera shoots across a wide range of screen, media and entertainment productions.

Direct Cinematography for screen productions CUFCAM601A is delivered and assessed alongside Devise camera coverage CUFDRT604A and Conceive and develop lighting designs CUFLGT501A.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUFCAM601A Direct cinematography for screen productions


1 Prepare for shoots.

Performance Criteria:

Performance Criteria: 1.1 Participate in pre-production conferences with relevant production personnel to establish overall production requirements for shoots.
1.2 Undertake comprehensive review of scripts or screenplays to understand fully the required artistic and visual outcomes.
1.3 Conduct appropriate research relevant to needs of productions and contribute creative and technical solutions and ideas as required.
1.4 Develop or refine existing camera plans according to production requirements.
1.5 Negotiate amendments to camera plans and circulate final camera specifications to relevant
production personnel.
1.6 Prepare lists of required equipment and accessories, including supplies of stock, and arrange for acquisition in collaboration with relevant production personnel.
1.7 Block shots for use during rehearsals and actual productions in collaboration with relevant
production personnel, taking into account impact on overall production requirements.
1.8 Assemble and brief relevant production personnel on production requirements, including equipment and accessories required for shoots.
1.9 Follow OHS requirements as they apply to the preparation and implementation of shoots.


2 Set up for shoots

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Manage selection and set-up of equipment and accessories to meet planned shots, ensuring safety of relevant production personnel and other
2.2 Ensure cameras are matched correctly and check lighting is appropriate for intended shots and scenes.
2.3 View proposed shots and set-ups through viewfinder or on monitors and make creative and technical adjustments as required.
2.4 Participate in rehearsals, noting required changes and instruct camera and lighting crews accordingly.
2.5 Ensure shots and lighting requirements are marked up and established to reflect artistic and style needs of the shoot.
2.6 Maintain ongoing supervision and collaboration with relevant production personnel to maximize creative outcomes.


3 Shoot content.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Supervise technical and creative operations of camera shoots during productions consistent with actions devised during rehearsals.
3.2 Monitor output of camera operations to ensure cuts and dissolves between shots produce required technical and creative outcomes.
3.3 Operate camera where applicable while maintaining overview of creative and technical criteria.
3.4 Ensure camera movements are planned to avoid interference with other camera operators, technical personnel or performers.
3.5 Respond to cues received from relevant production personnel in a timely manner.
3.6 Communicate clearly to relevant production personnel unavoidable variations from predetermined plans.
3.7 Attend daily viewings of rushes to assess quality and relevance of recorded material and schedule reshoots where necessary.


4 Wrap up shoot.

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Supervise dismantling, packing and storing of equipment and accessories and complete necessary documentation.
4.2 Ensure locations are left in original or improved state.
4.3 Participate in post-production editing activities as required, including providing additional materials, such as pick-ups.
4.4 Participate in post-production debriefings and reflect on own performance and that of production crews, noting areas for future improvement.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to work collaboratively with others to manage camera shoots for screnn productions.

Details of Learning Activities

Your learning activities will take place in a studio, workshop or classroom using industry standard tools and resources. You will complete exercises and industry style projects. You will also be required to undertake independent study.

Teaching Schedule

Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.


WeekClass ContentCompetencies/Elements
1Course Introduction.
Assessment tasks explained.
Multiple Choice Q & A (ungraded assessment).
Film Versus Video.
First scheduling round for Assessment Task 8.
Intro to camera coverage and camera plans.
CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
2Introduction to film cameras.
Loading and handling techniques.
Camera operation and principles.
Focus pulling
CUFCAM601A / 1, 2
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
3Camera coverage plans (ungraded assessment).
Exposure meters.
Film Stock characteristics.
Exposure tests using digital cameras (ungraded assessment).
CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
4Lenses, Depth of Field and Field of View.
Filters - Colour Temperature and Colour Correction.
Film labs and digital telecine.
Logging, shooting ratios and continuity.
Second scheduling round for Assessment Task 8.
Pre Production for week 6.
CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 3
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
5Approach to lighting
Lighting plans
Contingency plans
CUFCAM601A / 2
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
6Film, lens and camera tests. (Send exposed stock to lab.)
Pre production.
CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1,2,4
7View rushes from camera tests (ungraded assessment).
Lighting plans.
Camera and lighting crew roles.
Communication with other departments.
Shoot protocols and slating procedures.
Final scheduling round for Assessment Task 8.
CUFCAM601A / 1, 2
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
 Easter break 
8Lighting plans (ungraded assessment).
Skills and knowledge review.
Pre production for graded assessment task.
CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
 9Production A/B, Assessment Tasks 6, 7 & 8 CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
10Production C, Assessment Tasks 6, 7 & 8CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
11Production CD, Assessment Tasks 6, 7 & 8CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
12Production E, Assessment Tasks 6, 7 & 8CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
13Production F, Assessment Tasks 6, 7 & 8CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
14Production G, Assessment Tasks 6, 7 & 8CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
15Production G/H, Assessment Tasks 6, 7 & 8CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
16Production G/H, Assessment Tasks 6, 7 & 8CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4
17Assessment Week Screenings (Date to be announced)
Combined class presentations, 2A, 2B and 2C,
including Q & A sessions (Location to be announced)
CUFCAM601A / 1 - 4
CUFDRT604A / 1 - 4
CUFLGT501A / 1 - 4

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Burum, Stephen H., 2007, American cinematographer manual Vol. 1 and 2, ASC Press Hollywood, Calif

Lorenze, Catherine, 2004, Dream gear : cool and innovative tools for film, video, and TV professionals, Studio City, CA : Michael Wiese Productions

Viera, Dave and Maria, 2005, Lighting for film and digital cinematography, Belmont, Calif. : Wadsworth ; London : Thomson Learning

Uva, Michael, 2009, The grip book, Amsterdam ; London : Focal


• Camera manual for Panasonic P2
• Camera manual for 16mm Aaton LTR
• Camera manual for 16mm Aaton A-Minima
• Camera manual for 16mm Arriflex SR
• Hollywood Camera Work DVD box set (Vol. 1-6)
• Screen Production Guide
• Production docs on Screen Blackboard
All manuals are held at the schools equipment store.
You are advised to look at the course Blackboard site for ongoing updated information.

Other Resources

Portable hard drive

Camera assistant gaffer items and expendables, eg,

various pens


wodden pegs, etc.

A full assistant’s kit will be described in class.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester and will involve practical exercises, knowledge assessment tasks and practical group projects.
This course will be delivered and assessed in conjunction with Devise camera coverage - CUFDRT604A and
Conceive and develop lighting designs - CUFLGT501A.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment tasks in this unit are either ungraded or graded. Ungraded tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered as essential building blocks for more substantial (graded) assessment tasks.
To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.

All students will be required to plan and produce ’mini’ productions (in teams of 2 or 3) to a final cut standard for presentation and graded assessment. Students are also required to crew on and support fellow student productions. Attendance is vital to the successful outcome of all productions and the completion of all assessment items. 

Semester 1
1. Multiple choice Q & A
2. Camera coverage plans
3. Exposure tests
4. 16mm film camera tests
5. Lighting plans
6. Production documents (Due at start of production)
7. Workplace observation of crew roles
8. Edited and graded production (Due in Week 17, date to be announced)

Grades used in this course are as follows:

CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
CAG Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for Assessment

For further details on these assessment tasks and the grading system and criteria used, please refer to the course blackboard site.

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program administration

Other Information

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that students attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

Cover Sheet for Submissions
All students must complete a submission cover sheet for each piece of submitted work.

Plagiarism - RMIT has a strict policy on plagiarism. For more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity

All students have access to the myRMIT copyright shell. The myRMIT copyright shell contains information on copyright, plus also examples on how to use copyright works as part of your projects and assignments.

Special consideration Policy (Late Submission)
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension. Please refer to the following URL for extensions and special consideration:

Student Progress Committee
This committee promotes the early identification of students who are not achieving acceptable academic performance. The committee provides identified students with assistance and seeks to ensure such students are aware of the range of support services available to them at the University. Student Progress Committee (SPC)

Student Feedback
Students are offered opportunities to provide feedback through a variety of mechanisms including online surveys conducted at the end of each course or semester, student complaints and Student Staff Consultative Committees

Course Overview: Access Course Overview