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Top Cinematographers Offer Online Course on Filmmaking

Three major cinematographers – Janusz Kaminski (“Lincoln”), Phedon Papamichael (“Nebraska”) and Wally Pfister (“The Dark Knight Rises”) – have teamed to present Advanced Filmmaking, a series of online instructional videos for aspiring filmmakers.

In addition to extensive interviews with the three d.p.’s, the course offers more than 12 hours of chats with their collaborators, including directors Alexander Payne and Wim Wenders.

“We conceived Advanced Filmmaking as a way to communicate lessons that aren’t normally covered in film school,” says Papamichael. “In our interactions with students and young filmmakers around the world, we saw a thirst for information about other topics like successful collaboration, making good career decisions and managing your personal life.”

Course modules vary in length, averaging about a half hour, and can be can be rented for one week via video sharing site Vimeo for $3.95.

The d.p. trio know one another well, having met at the beginning of their careers shooting films for low-budget indie producer Roger Corman.

Since then, Kaminski has made more than a dozen films with Steven Spielberg, earning two Oscars along the way. His credits include “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Diving Bell & the Butterfly.” His next project is Spielberg’s untitled Cold War thriller starring Tom Hanks, to be followed by Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The BFG.”

Papamichael, an Oscar nominee for Nebraska, has more than 40 narrative credits with such directors as Payne, Gore Verbinski and James Mangold. His films include “Walk the Line,” “The Descendants,” and “Sideways.”

Pfister, a four-time nominee, won the Oscar for “Inception,” the culmination of his collaboration with director Christopher Nolan, which has also yielded “Batman Begins,” The Dark Knight” and “Memento.” Pfister made his feature directorial debut last year on “Transcendence.”

“Nut-and-bolts skills are important,” says Pfister, “but we have learned so many hard-won life lessons along the way, insights I wish I’d known when I was starting out. That’s the idea behind Advanced Filmmaking.”

Course topics include Getting Started, Building Your Career, Equipment, Post-production, Collaboration and Personal Life.

(Pictured above at a taping for Advanced Filmmaking, from behind: Papamichael, Pfister and Kaminski.)

(An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Janusz Kaminski is working on the next Indiana Jones movie.)

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