Digital filmmaking class for Tibetans

This project was designed with an aim to educate Tibetan youth in Dharamsala about the basics of digital filmmaking. The project was undertaken by Blind Dog Media run by Kalsang Rinchen, an alumni of the Tibetan Scholarship Program. Announcement for the project and submission of applications were made in July with the deadline set for August 10, 2011. A total of 12 students were enrolled into the program that began on August 18, 2011 at the Community Hall of the Tibetan settlement office in Dharamsala.

Following chapters were covered.

Introduction to Film and Video System
Topics covered-Different film cameras and video formats, components of a film camera and its mechanism, aspect ratio, frame rates, shutter speed, iris, f stop, etc...
Genres (documentary, narrative and experimental)
Students got the first feel of a professional high definition video camera, standard definition cameras, tapes and operating mechanisms through practical introduction to the equipment.

Topics Covered –lens, f-stops, filters, shutter speed, depth of field, types of shots, camera angles, 180 rule and breaking it, support systems, how to use a video camera, screen positions Students were taught the different methods of shooting with examples. Study
materials on techniques of shooting were distributed in the class. The students were also asked to submit their assignments on video shooting using different shot types and camera angles they have learned. The submitted works of the students were then screened in the class and group discussions were held. A film
called ‘Baraka’ was shown in the class and the students were simultaneously introduced to various shot types and camera angles used in the film.

Topics Covered -audio recording pattern of mics, -mics –types of mics, recorders, sample rates, bit rates etc.
The students were introduced to various recording devices and types of microphones. Professional field recorders, shot gun mics and lavalier mics were shown to the class, and recording of sound was demonstrated. The students were also taught about field recording during shooting.

Topics Covered -types of light, tungsten and daylight, measuring light, use of lights in video and film, diffusion of light using filters, Qualities of light – intensity-color-direction. Three point lighting system was demonstrated in the class with light kit. Students were made to study the lighting options using different cameras.

Editing (non linear)
Topics Covered –cuts, types of edits, Types of software
Final cut pro (practicals). Students were taught the basic techniques of editing video. Different types of editing were taught. The students were given footages to edit while learning practicals.

Students were given lectures on how to write script for films and documentary films. They were given examples of scripts, and explained the methodology they should use while writing for their production.

After the course, students were given feedback forms to fill up.
Majority of the students felt that more such classes should be given in the future. The best thing, they said, about the course is that there was access to equipment for practicals, and everybody agreed that since they could have hands on training, it was quicker to learn. They believed that the learning process was made easier by the Tibetan language as it was everybody’s first language.
From my students, there are three entries to this year’s Tibetan Film Festival to be held simultaneously in Zurich and Dharamsala from October 29 to 30. The students had formed groups of their own to shoot and edit their works. Whether or not they win at the festival, I think their participation in itself is a great achievement for me.

Name of the participants
1. Lobsang Tenzin
2. Tenzin Rabgyal
3. Thupten
4. Trinley Tenzin
5. Jampa
6. Yeshi Thupten
7. Kunga Tsering
8. Tsetan Dorjee
9. Wangmo
10. Kalsang Jigme
11. Tenzin Delek
12. Tenzin Yarphel

Link to a news report that appeared on

Voice of Tibet radio service also interviewed the students and did a report.

> Download this file in pdf.

Production company
based in Dharamsala
Kalsang Rinchen
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