Basic Training as a Wake-Up Call: Tom Antos’ 2Day Cine School

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the 2Day Cine School with Tom Antos in Houston.

After about 90 minutes into Day One, everything started to fall into place for me: I realized the 2Day Cine School is geared for people who know gear but not necessarily techniques. Most of the people attending the small, hands-on event were experienced in corporate videos and the workshop was perfectly tailored to them. The thrust of the event was to help working and aspiring filmmakers and video producers to make more of an impact with their projects… to make them stand out from the competition artistically and aesthetically.

The focus of Day One was editing and VFX, and Day Two was more of a cinematography masterclass. In addition, one of the first topics covered was the importance of storyboarding; after all, storyboarding is a very important step in preproduction for scripted films. It helps with everything, especially if you want to add VFX in post. Tom mentioned that sometimes storyboarding can be a challenge, and he offered several options if storyboarding seemed out of range.

The workshop was informative and also a great refresher on the basics. Tom asked what NLEs everyone used, so that he could tell we all knew the basics. After learning what we all used for editing, he encouraged us to use Adobe Creative Suite. Importing and exporting between Premiere and After Effects is easily accomplished with Adobe.

For VFX, he told us that it’s important to know and experiment with 3-D modeling, and that it’s getting easier and easier to make short films with VFX with little to no budget. It takes time to animate, but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it’ll be worth it.

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Tom Antos (background, in blue) supervises as students test-run a scene in a 2Day Cine School workshop

One highlight for me was learning Tom’s editing workflow, which is very organized and easy to interpret; I found myself wanting to create a similar setup for my own editing process.

On Day Two we discussed color grading and the basic lighting styles such as low-key, stylized and hyper-stylized lighting. After the lunch break, Tom presented the class with a short storyboard and then asked the class to pick up some crew positions to shoot. We rotated crew positions between shots and the 30-second clip turned out pretty well. Tom watched the crew at work and even doubled as talent.

One of the most valuable aspects of the workshop was the hands-on time with the equipment. 2Day Cine School has a lot of sponsors including Adobe, G-Tech, Rode, Manfrotto, CAME-TV and Westcott—to name a few. Among the arsenal of lights were the Kino Flo Select 30/20 DMX, the Westcott Skylux and the Westcott Flex. For the camera work, we primarily used the Blackmagic URSA Mini and Blackmagic Cinema Camera while using Rokinon Xeen lenses.

By the end of the workshop, I had learned something about 3-D animation and After Effects, and got the chance to learn various tricks and techniques to improve my moviemaking game. Plus, I got to network throughout. I’m grateful that this workshop helped me to remember that every so often it’s of vital importance to go back to the basics. MM

The Tom Antos 2Day Cine School is touring North America now. Check out the website for upcoming 2Day Cine School Dates in a city near you.

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