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CITIZEN KANE Cinematographer Pre-production Journal

on January 5, 2016


My process for pre-production involves planning the camera movement, angles, lighting, locations, as well as focal length to create professional mise-en-scene.  I scout locations, test lighting there, then chose camera angles that enhance Zach’s analysis and create an effective film.  The result of the tests and planning I have done can be seen below.

Four cinematic storytelling elements I plan on using are:

72. Tracking shot

67. Static shot

76. Handheld camera

Test Shots


Testing camera angle and movement.


Location one: TV Studio.



Location two: nature trail.

Lighting Tests



Testing lighting and angles in the TV Studio.



Testing lighting and shot types on the trail.

Equipment Checklist

2 x EOS Rebel T3i – the cameras

Shotgun Mic (attach to camera 1) – only one needed because there will be only one audio track

Alien Bees Light – used in place of the lamp

Stool – set the Alien Bees light on this

Swivel Chair – Zach sits behind the table on this in the TV Studio

Table – Zach sits behind this on the stool in the TV Studio

Zach – Screenwriter/Speaker

Sam – Director/Cinematographer

Camron – Editor/Sound Designer

Collaboration with Director


Zach and I making decisions.

Zach and I functioned almost as co-directors.  We collaborated often, though I made the executive decisions regarding to the cinematography and mise-en-scene.

Set-up Sequence Workflow

Everything should be set up according to the maps located directly below.  Camera 1a is the same camera as 1b.  Camera 1a means that the camera is used without 1b.  Camera 1a then becomes camera 1b after the shot has been captured.  By doing this, our group can use two cameras instead of three.

Map of Each Location

Scan 4

Complete with lighting, camera placement and movement, and character movement.  Also contains vital environmental information, like the table and trail.

Storyboard Notation

Scan 2

These are the types of shots that will be used.  Camron will decide when to cut between many of these shots.

What I Learned

I learned the importance of pre-planning the cinematography.  Scouting locations before filming was possibly the most important skill I developed during this week.  It felt very rewarding to actually pick a location, instead of finding one on the fly.  I also learned to choose lighting wisely, because I had used only natural light before but artificial light worked very well.  One problem I had was with the lighting in the TV Studio.  I had planned on using a lamp as a light source, but the bulb went missing.  I resolved this problem by using the Alien Bees light instead of the lamp.

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