Workshop on the fundamentals of cinematography 

A repeated request from friends who frequent visit my blog Oliulagam is to conduct focused training workshops on the nuances of this art. While we were more than excited to begin these workshops, prior commitments and other practicalities have always gotten in the way. 

It was in the month of November 7th & 8th - 2015 that we finally managed to conduct a workshop. Conducted in Chennai the two-day workshop was a fulfilling experience for us and from the feedback we got from the Fifty two participants , it was an eye-opening experience for them too. 

It was a pleasant surprise to see that there was a diverse range of participants at the workshop, from different fields, different age groups and different places. While visual communications students, assistant cinematographers and others affiliated to the cinema industry where the usual suspects, there were a number of people from other walks of life too. Engineering students, IT employees and college lecturers also featured in the list of participants. Among the participants, there was a software development professional in the US who happened to join us, there was an IT professional from Bangalore who had taken time off to participate in the workshop and an avid cinema buff from Sri Lanka, who travelled to India for the sole purpose of attending this workshop. One thing that was common among them all was their passion for understanding the nuances of digital filmmaking, which rules the roost when it comes to cinema in India in contemporary times.

We felt a sense of fulfilment when we heard the audience say that the workshop empowered them with the confidence to realise their silver screen dreams. That really meant a lot to us and inspired us to plan, coordinate and conduct more such workshops.

If not the most, cinematography is definitely one of the most integral parts of filmmaking. There is much to learn from handling lights to understanding and utilising the cameras available in the best manner possible. From an idea to an incredible visual, to convert one’s imagination to the best technology can offer and to express a subtle emotion and make the empathy real for the viewer, cinematography is both the medium and the message in many ways.

As we conducted intensive training modules during the workshop, there were many points where we struggle to narrow down on what to teach and how to go about it. Can it be explained on a blackboard with a chalk, or handed over as a printed manual? These questions, while simple, were overwhelming us at times. The idea was to determine the best way to disseminate our knowledge. The knowledge acquired over years by intensive reading and rich, rare experiences in the cinema industries in India and elsewhere. We were asking ourselves what to share and how to share it. Finally we decided on the amount of information and knowledge that can possibly be taught in the limited time available and designed our workshop around this idea. The schema of dissemination was then developed with a lot of care. 

Videos relevant to each module were acquired along with examples. Each lesson was prepared in the form of power point slides as well.

During day one, we introduced various technologies used to capture light, spanning from still to motion picture capture. We started with the working principles of a basic camera function and its operating principle, articulated to how it forms the fundamental of the field of cinematography and progressed to the fundamentals of modern digital camera’s internal structure. We explained the current camera models prevalent in Tamil and Hindi cinema industries, their key features, differences and importance. 

The second day was dedicated to practical sessions and to make sure the participants got a real feel for things, we made available a RED EPIC camera, Alura Zoom, Ultra Prime Lens and corresponding special lights and their auxiliary equipment for the day. This day was all about converting theory to practice. The key ideas to keep in mind during light setting and the practical difficulties encountered when dealing with light formulation were discussed. We demonstrated the techniques and also allowed participants to shoot a little. 

Later, we used this footage and taught the basics of editing, the post-processing essentials and how to convert the edited footage to DI. Also, this footage was used to perform the colour fixing for a processed footage.

Two days, approximately 20 full hours! We, as a team discussed a lot about cinematography, we spoke, shared quite a lot of details about this indispensable art of filmmaking. Unlike a dry and mundane training program, we designed this session as an information sharing platform pertaining to the wonderful field of cinematography. We introduced many things to an astonished audience. We made them realise that a lot remains to be felt and learnt in this field. Holding their hands, we tried to be their friendly guides to the amazing world of cinema. 

At the end of the workshop, it was clear that these two days were just the baby steps that the participants had taken into the world of cinema and cinematography. For us too, it was baby steps when it comes to teaching the techniques we have learnt over the past two decades. Almost every participant asked us to expand the curriculum with detailed lessons and more focused sessions, to conduct this workshop with increased duration and assured their participation in them. These enthusiastic students have also rendered their voice in written requests. We are delighted and overwhelmed at their requests, and it is this interest of these participants which has fuelled the plan of taking these focused workshops as a dedicated, movement.

We have been requested to conduct dedicated sessions on photography, light setting, creativity and digital technology. Driven by this demanding need and the thirsty young fraternity eager to learn, we have decided to conduct them one by one.

As a first step, we have created this website. The lessons are classified and listed. You can choose your area of interest. Please provide your particulars and location once you have decided. This will help us determine the next workshop’s date and location. As we get enough requests, we can then finalise on our next workshop details.

If you would like to join us, learn from us and enter the world of cinema through us, do get in touch. We hope to be part of your journey and would love for you to be part of ours. 

If you think this workshop is needed at your location or if you could arrange one at your area, please contact us. We are waiting to disseminate the knowledge.






This course for emerging cinematographers and videographers highlights the advantages of using digital technology, and addresses the challenges and limitations of various digital formats.


While the course is suitable for anyone who wants to learn how to make their own digital media content, it is particularly useful for, who want to expand their skill set and aspiring documentary and independent film makers.


The workshops are an ultimate guide to learn about the basic settings of your DSLR. It will give a fair understanding of Digital Photography, Camera operations and handling techniques.


You will learn the tips and tricks to creating polished and dynamic lighting that can set mood and capture an audience. Workshop teaches you just that; how to light different types of set-ups using the equipment you might already have.


Fundamentals of cinematography:

Learn the fundamental techniques and the wide world of aesthetic possibilities for cinema-style production using digital motion picture cameras. This course for emerging cinematographers and videographers highlights the advantages of using digital technology, and addresses the challenges and limitations of various digital formats. The course offers demonstrations and hands-on experience of various aspects of cinematography. This includes lighting, framing, shots selections and camera movements, light meters, working with the camera’s dynamic range as well as balancing and correcting mixed lighting sources. The course also provides an introduction to the digital workflow and post-production process, and output options for the finished video.


Digital videography for Documentary films and Short films:

This is a crash course in digital video production (filmmaking) skills. While the course is suitable for anyone who wants to learn how to make their own digital media content, it is particularly useful for aspiring documentary and independent film makers. The course strives to provide all participants with a solid foundation of practical knowledge and a working understanding of digital cameras, framing, types of shots and camera movements, sound recording, interview techniques as well as the principles of lighting, both natural and artificial. 


Basic Photography: 

This course is ideal for picking up the fundamentals of photography and more often than not acts as a jumping board from which amateur photographers can take off from. Struggling with all the complicated configurations in your new camera? Frustrated with the quality of your photos? Looking to take your photography to the next level and start taking images like a pro? If the answer is in the affirmative to all or any of these questions, then this course is for you. 

These workshops are guaranteed to transform the way you use your DSLR again. The sessions will also inculcate an inherent understanding of digital photography, camera operations and handling techniques.  

Wedding Photography:

This course is for those aspiring to become wedding photographers. The sessions are carefully planned and the module was created to deepen the students’ understanding of the photographic language and enhance their creative potential. At the end of this course, you are sure to pick up more than a few tips and tricks that are bound to help boost your career as a wedding photographer.

 The best suited wedding camera and gear bags, lens choices, camera settings, styled photo shoot and how to put your subject at ease and build confidence through interaction will be a few of the lessons thought. The entire workflow process from pre-production to the final album will be gone through in a step by step manner. Apart from these major post-production aspects such as which filters and plug-ins to use in both Lightroom and Photoshop will also be part of the course. 

Fashion Photography:

The course will look into detail every aspect of fashion photography. These include the practical considerations, the planning, working successfully with models, hair and makeup artists, stylists and creating an effective theme. We guide you through a series of shoots of exciting fashion and beauty images both in the studio and on location. These are sure to expand your understanding of the genre and give you the confidence to organise and undertake a similar shoot yourself.

This course will provide you with a greater understanding of lighting and composition for effective fashion and beauty photography and post-production workflow and retouching techniques to provide flawless images.

Photo Tour:

The photo tours have something for everyone. They combine the pleasures of experiential travel and learning in a way that is as fun as enriching. During the tour instruction on effective photography / videography / cinematography will be provided and guides will be available for hands-on assistance during the practical sessions. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, the photo tours will either have something new to offer or refresh your memory and enhance your fundamental skills. The tours are also good for those who wish to sharpen their sense of composition and discover amazing locations at the best time of the day. You will learn how to frame, compose and shoot portraits, landscapes, urbanscapes, night shots, low lights and wide angles. Each photo tour is for three nights and four days and will be held in Kodaikanal, Bengaluru, Goa and Ladakh among other locations. 


Lighting for still images:

This is a crash course in photographic lighting for digital photographers. The course also deals with how to use available light effectively, how to augment and capitalise on light sources for different photographic effects, using flash systems and studio lights for working both in both brightly lit and low light conditions. 

The right kind of lighting can enhance the images feel, colour, improve contrast and open the door for new creative possibilities. Proper use of light can also accentuate any scene, express a feeling or transform the subject. Lessons on white balancing, setting colour temperatures, choosing light quality will also be taught. Appropriate accessories for learning to work with light will be provided for. Opt for this course if you would like to join the journey and discover how to master the magic of light.

Lighting for video:

This is an intensive, hands-on workshop for independent filmmakers who want to learn fast, simple and effective lighting techniques without a big budget or crew. You will learn the tips and tricks to creating polished and dynamic lighting that can set the mood and capture an audience. Topics covered include foot-candles, colour temperatures and corrections, lux ratings, ISO’s, f-stop conversions, mired shifts, frame rates, shutter speeds, lighting ratios and latitudes, reading luminance levels, light meters and waveform monitors and colour gels. 

The workshop teaches you how to light different types of set-ups using the equipment you have. If you want to be able to evaluate lighting needs for a scene and derive at the best exposure for the overall look for when it is edited, then this is the course for you.




Name: Vijay Armstrong
Phone: +91 98406 32922

Name: Gnanam Subramanian


Phone: +91 99200 29901