Shane Hurlbut, the Director of 18 Hollywood films (Terminator: Salvation, Act Of Valor, Need For Speed) and 24 commercials for enterprise brands such as Game of Thrones, Ford, VISA and AMEX to name a few - will be sharing his knowledge in a series of action packed one day workshops on the The Illumination Experience Tour.

ReelSEO recently interviewed the world renowned cinematographer as he rolls out the tour which promises to :

Show you how to unleash the power of your camera and create maximum lighting impact so that your films attain the highest level of visual artistry. Whether you shoot with Cine-style or DLSR cameras, this workshop will improve your skills, marketability, storytelling effectiveness, and confidence as a filmmaker.

Of course, what it should read is 'This workshop could be the turning point of your film career' - but Shane's way too modest to claim that - however true it may be.

Shane Hurlbut: The Art of the Cinematographer

REEL: Would you say that great film making stands or falls on the cinematographer's skill?

SHANE: Yes to some degree, and particularly when it comes to storytelling. Your camera is an instrument that allows the audience to witness each character’s emotion. In the workshops I show the process I go through when choosing camera settings, composition, and camera motion to convey the emotion of each character that maximizes impact. Even a great script can be flat if the lighting fails to enhance the emotion the actor is trying to portray.

REEL: Your workshops are billed as 'Hands-On' - what literally?

SHANE: Oh sure. We create in-classroom sets, and I'll pull attendees from the audience and we shoot scenes from my work. I want everyone to experience the powerful techniques that they can instantly incorporate into their own films. Everyone has a 'digital sensor' that kicks in when they have the right equipment and inspiration - this behind-the-scenes experience allows workshop attendees to hopefully grow a competitive advantage over others.

REEL: Is lighting the key skill that all cinematographer needs?

Shane Hurlbut CinematographerSHANE: For a cinematographer, lighting is everything - knowing how to manipulate the quantity and quality of light, how to diffuse, how to use color, how to create depth and separation, and how to block scenes in a way to deliver the greatest emotional impact. I demonstrate how to analyze any situation using a three-step formula: discovery, creation, and execution—a formula you can use on any job or location, with actors or in live documentary film-making. This will immediately and dramatically enhance the look of whatever you are filming.

REEL: So in practice what does this mean?

SHANE: OK...

  • Determine which types of lights and lighting modifiers to choose for any situation.
  • Determine which qualities of light to implement for any scene by utilizing script analysis, storyboard preparation, lighting schematics, and shot lists.
  • Apply specialized lighting techniques make the visual adjustments for both high-end sensors and DSLR cameras.

REEL: How do I know what lens to use?

SHANE: The soul of your film is created with lens choice. From a technical view point this is achieved using various focal lengths to convey emotion differently, depth of field to portray a 3D quality or direct the audience’s attention, and filter choice to create the most artistic look, and how and when to use rack focus to make a statement. You need to learn the basics and then develop your own visual 'voice'.

REEL: You've worked in both Hollywood and Madison Avenue - do you apply different techniques when making commercials?

SHANE: Techniques? Not at all. A successful commercial need to engage emotion as much as any feature. The key differentiator is the client. Swap producer for brand and probably you get less control as the cinematographer. But if you're lucky you will be able to bring your own interpretation to the mix and create something memorable.

Shane Hurlbut ’s Illumination Experience Tour

The Illumination Experience Tour is currently running until the November the 17th and you'll find masterclasses in cities such as L.A., San Francisco, Vancouver, and Chicago. You'll find all the details of the tour on the main website. The early reviews speak for themselves:

If you are serious about being a filmmaker, come to Shane's workshop and be prepared to learn from a true artist

What I loved most was the how I got to experience industry equipment hands-on and that Shane allowed for creative input from the audience.

Shane’s Illumination Experience Tour is one of the most incredible learning experiences you could ever ask for! MZed nailed this workshop!

You can see Shanes current show reel here - here's his sizzle reel from 2012: