Canon invites SAE film students to cinematography workshop


8 Aug 2017

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Canon invites SAE film students to cinematography workshop

8 Aug 2017

Esteemed cinematographer and co-founder of the Melbourne-based video production company, Cloakroom Media, Daniel De Silva, has made a name for himself in the world of advertising, documentary films and motion graphics.

With an extensive knowledge in digital camera technology Daniel's skills have seen him shoot everything from music videos and TVC’s, to documentaries and feature films. Having worked with a notable client-base that includes Canon, Peter Alexander, Botani Skin Care, RSPCA and St Kilda Film Festival, it's no wonder Daniel’s DOP skills are highly sought after in the film industry. He’s an expert in a long list of filmmaking technologies, most notably the Canon cinema range in which he provides motion training across the country, and the Freelyfly MōVI and TERO camera movement systems.

Photo: Cinematographer, Daniel De Silva, instructing SAE film students on the Canon camera

Last month twelve lucky film students from SAE Melbourne were extremely fortunate to be invited to a practical hands-on cinematography workshop facilitated by Canon Australia and Daniel De Silva, held at a beautiful professional dance studio in Chapel Street, Prahran called The Space.

SAE film student Aedan Bruitzman attended the workshop and has given us an account of the day’s activities and his overall experience of the workshop…


I was one of the twelve SAE film students to be offered the opportunity to attend the Canon cinematograph workshop at The Space. The workshop aimed at broadening our skill sets as cinematographers by providing us with hands-on experience using specialised equipment such as the C100 and C300 Mark II that was provided by Canon and Cloakroom Media for the students to use on the day.

Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by Tony Steele from Canon Australia and Daniel and the crew from Cloakroom Media. They briefed us on the workshop task - to shoot a documentary within the day! The dancers from the studio were to be our subjects.

Photo: Daniel De Silva with SAE students Eliza May Hinds, Jordan Montgomery, Aedan Bruitzman (author) and Lucy Campbell

The students and I were split into three groups of four and we were given individual roles within our group that were rotated over the day. The challenge was to produce a visually-stunning and creative film with a storyline within a short space of time. The students who produced the best film would win the opportunity to create a film project with Daniel De Silva.

Within the dance studio, three separate rooms were set-up to film different scenarios over the course of the day.

Room 1 "Live performance" – filming the dance group rehearsing and performing a live routine
Room 2 "Interview" – an interview with principles from the company, the dancers and choreographers
Room 3 "Directed performance" - students were given the freedom to direct the dancers as they wanted to create beautiful shots using innovative techniques

In the live performance room Daniel taught us how to improvise while thinking quickly and strategically about our camera placement. The scenario was mainly focused on a piece of equipment called the Movi Ring. This allowed for some incredible shots and was instrumental in creating my team’s video.

The interview room came with a twist! Every group had to set-up the lighting in this room ourselves, with no help from the crew at Cloakroom Media. I found this challenge to be particularly rewarding as we filmed multi-camera interviews with dancers and choreographers. Each group was able to develop their own line of questioning and we the storyline was developed around these interviews.


The third room was where we shot our B-roll footage that included close-ups and hero shots. It was here where my team and I were able to play around with the lighting and setting up interesting shots that we thought would look amazing on film. It was great to be given the freedom to experiment with the Canon cameras and test their capabilities. Everyone was super impressed with the quality of imagery we were able to produce with the equipment.

It was such a treat to trial the latest equipment from Canon while competing against our classmates to create the winning film. Daniel was shadowing the teams throughout the day providing his professional advice and tips on how to the use the gear to achieve the best result. One of the most important tips he gave our team was that no matter what you should always be creating. Whether it be editing, filming, or whatever, his advice was to keep working on creative projects to improve and hone your professional skills.

In the week following the workshop the teams edited the raw footage into a short video documentary and submitted their films to Daniel and the team at Cloakroom Media for judging. As luck would have it, my team produced the winning film! My incredibly talented team consisted of - Eliza May Hinds, Jordan Montgomery, Lucy Campbell and myself.

The winning video…

… a great BTS video Canon put together of the workshop.

On behalf of the other eleven SAE students selected to take part in this experience, I would like to give a huge thank you to Daniel De Silva, Tony Steele from Canon Australia, the team at Cloakroom Media, everyone at The Space and Sean Cousins, our film lecturer for brining this workshop to life!

Being one of the more junior students to attend the workshop, I found this experience to be tremendously valuable. The skills I learnt on the day have helped me in my studies by knowing how to apply theory from the classroom to a professional film shoot. The workshop really cemented my knowledge and provided me with a toolbox of simple yet effective tips that I have since used in my own productions.

Written by Aedan Bruitzman.

Photos provided by SAE student Kishka Phillips

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