Global Cinematography Institute Launches Classic and Virtual Cinematography Courses
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On January 14 at the Beverly Garland Hotel in North Hollywood cinematographers Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC and Yuri Neyman, ASC will unveil plans for an "Expanded Cinematography" program for postgraduate students and filmmakers at their newly established Global Cinematography Institute. The event will introduce interested filmmakers to the upcoming curricula, and discuss the specifics of the courses to be taught.

The goal of the Global Cinematography Institute, says Neyman, is to "prepare filmmakers to take advantage of on-going advances in digital and virtual cinematography technologies." Neyman adds, "The Institute will provide a forum where new and experienced filmmakers from all sectors of the industry can learn about the past, present and future of the art and craft of cinematography, including digital and virtual cameras and lighting."

Neyman first came up with the idea of the Institute nearly three years ago when he was teaching at the American Film Institute. He had created a course on the history of cinematography and, working with young cinematographers, was surprised about how little they knew about the aft of cinematography and the history of the craft. He was also inspired by his experiences with Cinematographer's Language and Style, a club he founded to screen and discuss films with cinematographers. As an inventor and founder of 3cP/Gamma and Density, he also conducted technical and educational seminars and saw the need to upgrade cinematographers' technological knowledge.

Zsigmond and Neyman knew each other as members of the American Society of Cinematographers. But when Neyman interviewed Zsigmond in October 2011 for his Gamma & Density Journal, they realized they had much more in common than they'd previously realized. Zsigmond, an immigrant from Hungary, and Neyman, who came to the U.S. from Moscow, were both inspired early on in their teens by "The Art of Photography," a book by Hungarian photographer Jeno Dulovits and both underwent similar training in their respective film schools. Zsigmond is also a teacher, having taught a very successful master class in cinematography, the Budapest Film Seminar, for ten years. Both Neyman and Zsigmond also agreed with the problems found in the practice of cinematography today. "A great deal of knowledge based in classic cinematography is not being transmitted," says Neyman. "Many basic artistic foundations were and are being ignored and, as a result of this, cinematographers are often losing authority on the set and in post with the influx of new technologies and digital tools." The Global Cinematography Institute was founded to put an end to both trends.

Vilmos Zsigmond and Yuri Neyman at Camerimage Festival in Poland
Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC and Yuri Neyman, ASC at the Camerimage Festival in Poland

"In order to learn new technology, people have to know the old technology," says Zsigmond. "We go back to the beginning and teach the history of film and the best way to make movies. The new generation doesn't even know how we were shooting on film. We can't forget the rules of filmmaking."

Courses will include Foundations and History of Art, Photography and Cinematography, Advanced Lighting for Feature Films, Cinematography for Music Videos, Digital Lighting and Previsualization, Digital Cinematography and 3D Cinematography, Virtual Cinematography, On-set Image Management and Post Technology, Understanding Acting and Directing for Cinematographers and others (see list below).

Teachers will include a list of cinematographers, many of whom have been nominated for or won Oscars, including Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC; Bruno Delbonell, ASC, AFC; Daniel Pearl, ASC; Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC; David Stump, ASC; Geoff Boyle, FBKS; James Chressanthis, ASC; James Mathers, Janusz Kaminski; Matthew Libatique, ASC; Sam Nicholson, ASC and other industry leaders in lighting, previsualization, color correction and digital imaging.

Yuri Neyman, ASC
Yuri Neyman, ASC
"The changing nature of cinematography means that the cinematographer is no longer the visual authority of the image," says Neyman. "Now directors of photography only do part of the job. This trend is growing, and it's a problem. That, plus the growth of virtual cinematography is taking over. Most cinematographers are not equipped to work with virtual cinematography - or aren't even aware of it." The two founders call this combination of classic and virtual cinematography "Expanded Cinematography."

Neyman notes that the Global Cinematography Institute courses do not compete with any existing film school. "Cinematography is a big word," he says. "Our school is only for graduates and working professionals, not beginning students." In fact, Zsigmond and Neyman are hopeful that cinematography teachers will take the courses. "Many, many teachers in the world are also not up to the times," says Zsigmond. "We have to teach the new technologies and, to do that, we have to learn it ourselves."

After the first demo classes on Jan. 14, students will be able to sign up for the courses, which will begin mid-March. Because the classes are aimed at working professionals, classes will take place on weekends. Classes will be conducted on Virtual Stage UVS1 at Universal Studios.

For information about the Jan. 14 meeting go to If you are interested in attending, you can register on the Facebook page of the Global Cinematography Institute ("Launching Global Cinematography Institute") or at the meeting or RSVP to

Course list (all teachers subject to availability)


Advanced Cinematrography -
Lighting for Feature Films


Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, HSC; Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC, Janusz Kaminski

Advanced Cinematography
for Music Video

Daniel Pearl, ASC; Matthew Libatique, ASC

Fundamentals of Lighting and Composition


Yuri Neyman, ASC


Digital Cinematography


David Stump, ASC, Geoff Boyle, FBKS


3D Cinematography


David Stump, ASC; Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC


Digital Lighting


Fred Durand, CGI Cinematography, Lighting and Rendering Expert, Member of Previz Society




Brian Pohl, Visual effects artist/ Previs supervisor/ Member of Previz Society


Virtual Cinematography 1


Ron Fischer, Technical Director of the Universal UVS1 virtual stage


Virtual Cinematography 2


Sam Nicholson, ASC


History of Cinematography


Yuri Neyman, ASC, Suki Mendenevich, ASC


Foundations of History of Art
and Photography


Yuri Neyman, ASC


Current Technology


Michael Most, Bob Kertesz, Bob Currier - Members of SMPTE


Color correction and data management


Michael Most, Member of SMPTE, Colorist/Technologist


On-the-set Image Management


Bob Kertesz, DIT and Video Controller


Acting and Directing for


Dean Parisot, Director ("Fun with Dick and Jane", "Galaxy Quest")