Shooting on Film: Still Worth Learning? – with AFI’s Stephen Lighthill, ASC – ON THE GO – Episode 89

In this second part of our chat with Stephen Lighthill, ASC, we discuss shooting on film, and why it’s still relevant.

In last week’s episode, Stephen told us how he believes advances in technology seem to have made film sets somewhat more undisciplined and disorganised, perhaps to the idea that shooting digital means shooting on a sort of “free”, unlimited medium. Conversely, shooting on film, with all its limitations, also forces you to be a lot more disciplined with how, and how much you shoot.

But shooting on film goes beyond that. The basics of exposure are still based around the concepts of photochemical imaging, and film offers a great platform to really establish a rock-solid knowledge of the elements of exposure. This is one of the reasons film is still taught at the AFI Cinematography programme.

Additionally, the programme includes a History of Cinematography course, which focuses on watching films from the pre-electronic era of film in renovated film prints. To Stephen, experiencing viewing that material, in addition to knowing the technical workflow behind film and its characteristics, is a key aspect in the formation of his students not just as technicians, but as artists.

The AFI programme, however, is still mostly based on digital imaging, and aims to give cinematographers a solid foundation in knowledge of workflows through capture all the way to the post-production pipeline.

Stephen also explains the application process to the cinematography discipline at the AFI, as well as what you can expect to experience throughout the programme. Well-worth a watch if you’re considering to apply to the American Film Institute!

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Featured image, courtesy of Jeremy Wong Weddings. wedding photography studio. 





Watch previous episodes of ON THE GO (& On the Couch) by clicking here. Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

Cover Photo by Thomas William on Unsplash

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Cesar Perez-BeatoDavid KazgarJospeh Slomkaniky narchosAFI Success Stories: Could You Be Next? – with AFI's Stephen Lighthill, ASC – ON THE GO – Episode 90 - Unlimited Earn Money Recent comment authors
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[…] The Cinematography programme at the American Film Institute is certainly not what you would call “cheap”. It does, however, offer financial aid for students (check out the AFI website for more information). If you would like to know more about the application process and what kind of work you should present, check out last week’s episode HERE. […]

niky narchos
niky narchos

As a recent film school graduate,, shooting on film has helped me immensely both artistically and career wise…

 Jospeh Slomka
Jospeh Slomka

Shooting on film is very relevant as Stephen touched on it is part of the art of film. The visual language of cinema and film are co-mingled over 100 years of development with both art and technology pushing the other forward. Shooting film means hopefully you are watching film on prints and can see the limitations that previous artists encountered and compare it to the current limitations of digital workflows. There is a whole industry for the development of a film look catering to people who may have never seen a film print. If you are in cinema as an… Read more »

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