Earlier this week we (Jonathan Hunt and Stephen Hill) drove to Houston to attend Pulitzer Prize-winning photo journalist turned film maker Vincent Laforet’s Directing Motion 10 week 32 city tour. The sold out all day workshop and evening seminar was held at Houston’s Hilton Post Oak hotel. Sponsors included Adobe, Canon, Vimeo, Marmoset, NAB show, Freefly, Tenba, Zacuto, Red Giant, Film Tools, Oconnor and more.
Kicking it off with a little Film School 101, Vincent began by revisiting the basics of camera motion and control. While it’s certainly not new information to anyone here, it’s always nice to get a refresher of the basics and to apply those fundamentals to our on-set communication techniques. Do we always say “push” when we mean “push”? Are we always clear about when we want a “lead” vs. “follow” shot? Are we causing unnecessary frustration among our crew because of poor communication as directors?
Vincent covered a lot of ground explaining the director’s role as it applies to motion. Specifically, Vincent described how the camera and actors move across the picture, and defined when and why to use motion. He discussed terms in critical detail, theories and even the psychological aspects of the precise cinematic language of motion and how this information applies to video or film projects. He had a full working crew with him including actors and a sets which were used in hands on workshops. Students were able to use state of the art camera & set equipment to practice and demo the techniques discussed in class. He reviewed a variety of well-known films bringing fresh insight and perspective to the motion involved. Over the course of the day session, we performed two live camera shoots, each recreating a scene from the Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List. Through these two shoots, Vincent worked hands-on with attendees to help communicate a director’s vision to the crew.
The best part of the entire day for me was the evening seminar. Vincent discussed in extreme detail the process involved in making a full featured Nike Flynit commercial featuring Kobe Bryant, Richard Sherman and Allyson Felix. He broke down the spot from negotiations between his producers and the client, budget, talent, storyboarding, film techniques, set requirements. He even discussed the pressure and timing of the release.
My overall take on the experience of the seminar was very positive. Vincent’s confident teaching style and explanations of complex film making techniques was very inspiring. Vincent guarantees that you will never move the camera the same way and your pieces will not look as they currently do after taking the seminar. I would have to agree. The timeless techniques of motion that he efficiently conveyed applies across a number of disciplines, not just film. Directors, video makers, creatives, animators, and advertisers would find the information Vincent taught relevant and engaging. He catered to not only the novice but experts as well.
In summary, Vincent Laforet’s Directing Motion tour is an informative and useful class filled with tips and tricks that are easily applied to a variety of projects. Here is a nice interview with Vincent Laforet by multimillion dollar blockbuster cinematographer Shane Hulbut. Lydia sits down with Vincent Laforet for an interview about his Directing Motion Tour and the results of that crazy x-ray. If you are unable to attend the tour or Vincent has already come by your city, be sure to catch him on his next tour, fingers crossed, or download the DVDs on his website.