ASC International Master Class in Beijing

ARRI China sponsors ASC’s first Master Class and ASC panel discussions in Beijing.

The first American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Master Class to have taken place outside North America was successfully held in Beijing, China, from April 10 - 13 and April 16 - 19, 2017. The classes were held in the studio of Beijing Film Academy while the post-production session was in Digital Domain. During the sessions, Cinerent Beijing Ltd. sponsored the lighting and grip equipment and Digital Domain sponsored the grading studio facility for the master class.

There were 32 and 30 participants respectively for session 1 and 2, coming from various backgrounds including cinematographers, directors, and producers. Many of the participants traveled a considerable distance from other regions of Asia and China to attend, including Malaysia, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong.

ASC instructors and participants attended the two sessions of opening dinners. Top Chinese cinematographers: Mr. Pan Luo, Mr. Xiaoshi Zhao, Mr. Yong Hou, and Mr. Ming Sun joined the first dinner session, while cinematographers from Hong Kong including Mr. Arthur Wong (Hong Kong Society of Cinematographers honorary chairman and founder), Mr. Sing-Pui O (HKSC current chairman), and Mr. Raymond Lam (HKSC current vice chairman) joined the second session’s opening dinner.

The content of both courses was very rich and brought participants practical knowledge and skills. Steven Fierberg ASC taught script analysis in explaining camera motion by shooting in the living room set and outside the studio at the first session of the ASC International Master Class in Beijing. 

By getting the participants to shoot an outdoor scene, Steven Fierberg ASC explains the theory of camera motion in the class.

Automobile commercial master Bill Bennett ASC instructed students how to light the car. He also introduced the best technology for image quality, High Dynamic Range (HDR), during the class. 

Bill Bennett ASC teaches car commercial lighting and shooting during the ASC Master Class in Beijing.

The visual effect master, Sam Nicholson ASC, famous for his work on THE WALKING DEAD, GREY’S ANATOMY, and STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, unveiled the making of these visual effects during the class. He also presented a lighting show with SkyPanels and demonstrated with actors the effect of compositing over a digital background. 

Visual effect master Sam Nicholson ASC, unveils how he produced famous scenes with special effects.

Theo van de Sande ASC explained the cinematographic and lighting skills required for different types of productions and used ALEXA 65 and SkyPanels to film a dramatic scene.

Theo van de Sande ASC, demonstrates how to shoot a dramatic scene with ALEXA 65 and SkyPanels.

Karl-Walter Lindenlaub ASC, BVK, who has worked on a number of blockbusters such as INDEPENDENCE DAY, attended in the first session and taught dramatic lighting. 

Karl-Walter Lindenlaub ASC, BVK instructs participants how to light a living-room set.

In the second session, Frederick Elmes ASC, demonstrated shooting two actors in a car at the studio while using moving lights to create the illusion of driving through a city at night.

Fred Elmes ASC uses moving lights to shoot two actors in a car at the studio

On the afternoon of the third day of each session, a class took place in the post-production house provided by Digital Domain. Florian “Utsi” Martin, Senior Colorist at ARRI talked about High Dynamic Range and demonstrated the grading of materials shot during the class.

Florian “Utsi” Martin, Senior Colorist at ARRI, demonstrates HDR post production in the grading studio.

Famous cinematographers Zhao Xiaoshi, Raymond Lam, and Sing-Pui O participated in part of the session and were very impressed. They felt that the course set-up along with the skills taught by the ASC instructors were very sophisticated and helpful.

ASC Panel Discussions at Beijing Film Academy (BFA) and Beijing International Film Festival (BIFF)

The ASC members and Forest Liu (left), General Manager of ARRI China and Camera System Business Unit in Asia Pacific, attends the panel discussion in Beijing International Film Festival.

Members from the American Society of Cinematographers, including Bill Bennett ASC, Steven Fierberg ASC, Theo van de Sande ASC, Sam Nicholson ASC, Karl-Walter Lindenlaub ASC, BVK (Panel Discussion at BFA), and Fred Elmes ASC (Panel Discussion at BIFF) joined two panel discussions at Beijing Film Academy on April 14 and Beijing International Film Festival Film Market on April 21, co-hosted by ARRI. 

The ASC masters discussed the art and science of their moviemaking careers and shared their experience and stories from previous shoots. There were around 200 audience members during each panel discussion including students from BFA, Chinese cinematographers, directors, producers, national and local media, movie-enthusiasts, film industry practitioners, and investors.

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Photos: ARRI