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Welcome to PDV Digital Cinema

The quality of your video doesn’t depend on the type or model camera you use. It depends on you knowing how best to use your equipment and importantly, learning the cinematic language so you can tell your stories creatively in a motion medium.

PDV Digital Cinema offers unique cinematography and filmmaking training to take your video production to a higher level. Led by award winning cinematographer Pieter de Vries ACS, the small-group workshops are hands-on, and are tailored to the skills and needs of participants.

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A new Sydney workshop in April

My February workshop filled very quickly however there is a new set of dates.

THE CAMERA, THE STORY and THE LIGHT. These three elements form the foundation of successful video cameracraft and are the foundations of this workshop, designed for anyone with a desire to get beyond menus and dials. This course is designed for the users of DSLR and conventional video cameras alike more3


February training courses in Sydney and Canberra

Hot on the heels of a six day shoot in Central Queensland I have just wrapped up ten busy days training keen videographers in Sydney and Canberra. SBS Television, a two-day Sydney weekend workshop for ten, Dept of Communications, the ANU's College of Asia and the Pacific and top stills photographers. A shoot with Aussie rock band The Living End on Sunday and I Killed the Prom Queen on Sunday. There has been positive feedback.

"You managed to keep us all engaged and took time to make sure everyone understood the tools and techniques and allowed time for questions; I can personally vouch that no-one left the venue unhappy with the experience"
Graham Gall, Director Jarbo Productions, Canberra
[weekend workshop Sydney] 


"Just wanted to to thank you again for a fantastic two days of training. It was incredibly insightful. Really feel more confident now in grabbing a video camera for the odd shoot with the Minister or for internal communication use"
John Noble, Assistant Director Media Publishing and Events, Dept of Communications, Canberra [in-house corporate]




February - Central Queensland filming for the Stockman's Hall of Fame

This is a film we're making for the Stockmans Hall of Fame, in Longreach QLD and directed by a good mate, Bill Bennett. Bill and I have not worked together for some time and it was great to see him again -  almost like we had not been away following individual careers in the meantime. The production was shot on my Sony PMW-F3 and Sony PMW-EX1R cameras. My stills photographs were taken with the Sony Alpha 7R mirrorless full-frame camera using a Zeiss 35mm f2.8 lens + Canon 24-105mm zoom. Lighting used for the greenscreen setup: 2 x Kino Flo, 2 x Dedolight Felloni Tecpro 30 x 30cm LED lights, 3 x Rosco LED Lightpads.


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January - Dragon Image Camera Movement Workshop

I presented a talk at the sell-out Camera Movement Workshop held at Dragon Image in Sydney on Saturday. While screening clips of my work, I spoke about my use of dollys, jibs, and Steadicam - there was lots of questions about which is the right device for the shot.

Drew Janes from Defy who design and build brushless motor camera gimbals presented the G2 and G5 camera stabilisers. I love this stuff. The day was hosted by US based tech reviewer Olivia Speranza


January 2014 - off to a good start with Dept of Communications Canberra


December - Final weekend workshop for 2013

The last Sydney small-group video camera workshop for 2013 has just wrapped. Participants came from NSW, Queensland and Indonesia. More workshops are being planned for next year so keep you eye on the PDV facebook page

"I really enjoyed the weekend, everything you showed me will be a massive confidence booster and I now feel like I am on my way to getting some good results"
Jason Ney, Photographer/Videographer


"Loved the course, it was fantastic - I learnt so much and now trying to put it into practice!"
Megan Corcoran, Sunshine Coast Health Service





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Nov/Dec 2013 - Indonesia's Forgotten Islands Photography Cruise

The photography cruise on board the National Geographic Orion was an outstanding success. Guests from Australia, Britan, NZ and the US, bristling with camera and video equipment arrived in Denpasar Bali to start the ten day journey. Photographer Nick Rains and myself delivered a total of eight talks and workshops during the journey that took is from Bali to Cairns Australia. All lectures and workshops were filled to capacity - some overflowing. Most guests on board agreed that the tiny (Forgotten) Indonesian island of Banda Naira was probably the pick of the locations for stills and video photography.

The bustle of the jam-packed central market on the island of Kisar in the Southwestern Moluccas was also well documented and discussed - with so much to shoot it was hard to know just where to point the camera next. I filmed and edited a three minute video sequence of the market and the local school to demonstrate Final Cut Pro X at one of my at-sea workshops. 


November - Vietnam lecture tour

A trip to Vietnam, my latest tour. I’ve been continuing my series of talks for Silversea, a luxury Monte Carlo based cruise ship company.

As a guest lecturer I conducted talks and screenings of my work on the Silver Shadow as she sailed from Singapore to Hong Kong over ten days with stops in Vietnam along the route.

Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Hue/Da Nang and Ha Long Bay were the places visited. I am now in Bali, preparing for my National Geographic Orion cruise Indonesia's forgotten islands. I’ll be holding a series of workshops as we head back to Cairns Australia.

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The Forgotten Islands Photography Cruise - SOLD OUT waiting list only

This photographic adventure on board the National Geographic Orion luxury expedition ship will feature workshops and masterclasses run by myself and photographer Nick Rains. It will be one of the standout photographic events of 2013. There are over 100 guests already coming onboard with a waiting list for last minute guests.

Click on the map to enlarge and here for full cruise details

Our route takes us from Bali along the trade routes of the early navigators and traders who opened up this new world of spices, gold and pearls. Every step of the way, you'll have the experience of Nick and myself to help you create stunning travel photography.            

October - SBS Television's big training week for cadet journalists

Shooting with Panasonic P2 cameras and Miller DS10 tripods, they wrap up with a location shoot on a perfect sunny Sydney day.
Laura Murphy-Oates, Calliste Weitenberg, Naomi Selvaratnam & Laurie Lawira.


October - photographer Jason Ney completes DSLR video training

Just completed two solid days of One-on-One training with Jason. Working in the real estate sphere, he uses Nikons including the D800E plus collection of great Nikon glass. Our practice location shoot took place around the leavy streets of North Sydney. Jason is using the Small HD DP4 monitor in one of my favorite North Sydney streetscapes.

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Sept/Oct - Kuala Lumpur, Osaka & Seoul: Asia 3D for VMware

I've just returned from Korea. Fifteen days covering Australia and Asia for US software and data centre giant VMware, showcasing their new Horizon™ Suite using the Sony PMW-TD300 3D camera. Locations, Malaysia, Japan and Korea. Production company, Visionation. Director, Stephen De Villiers

As the DP I enjoyed using the TD300. It's a compact 3D video camera, shoulder-mount in design with a remarkably light body. One of the best features is that it is a fully integrated 3D camera reducing the burden of having to do complicated adjustments on location before and during shooting - adjustments such as time consuming left and right lens alignment and misaligned verticle convergence.

A thankyou goes out to Sony Australia for valuable camera technical support and to our Stereoscopic 3D Supervisor, Rob Morton. Rob kept the twin lenses alligned and perfectly converged for our endless tracking setups. I suspect this gig may have been slightly calmer compared to his work as Stereoscopic 3D Supervisor on Storm Surfers 3D. Finally, Calvin Gardiner and his team at Engine - they are doing the edit and post work.

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August - Fairfax Media Sydney workshops

Photographers from Fairfax Media continue their DSLR-for-video training with PDV Digital Cinema Workshops. The lastest through the training course came from from the Sydney Morning Herald, the Illawarra Mercury and the Newcastle Herald. Check out their work in the video section of the SMH iPad app.

August - DSLR and video camera weekend workshop

Three elements - THE CAMERA, THE STORY and THE LIGHT form the foundation of successful video cameracraft and were the foundations of this workshop, designed for users of DSLR and conventional video cameras. Some of the participants of another sucessful weekend workshop.

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August - Saturday & Sunday 10th & 11th - small-group workshop update

Just one spot left - book now. Details here 

July - New York, Cincinnati Ohio, Maysville Kentucky to Chennai IndiaMarket girl, Chennai Southern India

My recent filming assignment was for the US Smithsonian Institute and SBS Television Australia. This is a new documentary series and currently in production and it's scheduled to be shown next year.

July - journalist Ruth Ostrow and Stuart Bathurst One-on-One training

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"Thank you for an invaluable weekend as our private tutor in cameracraft and directing. My partner Stuart and I have come away with more information and skill than we hoped for, and in a very short time. In terms of honing our production skills, you are a miracle worker."

Ruth Ostrow, Videographer and Senior Journalist, The Australian Newspaper

June - One-on-One DSLR video training - always popular

Kostya Ananin, one of the latest DSLR-for-video training participants. There are some inspiring nearby locations for our practical shoots.


June - Fairfax Media photographers DSLR-for-video training

Steve, Helen, Kirk, Silvia and Jess are the latest Fairfax Media staff to take their photography skills to the Herald's iPad app. Keep your eye out for some stunning new video content.

June - Sydney's Apple Store - filmmaking events for the Film Festival

There was a big turnout for my lighting masterclass at Australia's spectacular Apple Store in George St Sydney.
apple lightingThe scheduled one hour session went well beyond - I brought along enough video lighting to take car of the entire ground floor.
My thanks to not only all who came along but to Nick, Brandon and Bree from Apple, our model Celia and camera assistant Dan Becker. Nick Buchner from Sony Australia provided an F55 camera for the night, a good choice said the crowd.

Masterclass - Lighting Your Film with Pieter de Vries ACS

Light - and the way it falls - sets the mood in every scene. Join Pieter de Vries, one of Australia's finest cinematographers, as he discusses the very latest photographic lighting tools and how to create softness, intensity and drama by looking into the shadows. He'll also share advice on interview lighting and professional lighting on a budget. 

The Apple Store, George St Sydney, Thursday 13 June at 6:00 pm

click to go to Apple Store events website

A Girl and a Gun - a new video chat show podcast series

Whatever happened to worst video game in history? More David & Goliath law suits. Part 4 in our series on screenwriting with Karel Segers. And special guest Cinematographer Pieter de Vries ACS talks about DSLRs, Pirates, The Trans-Siberian Express railway, Lenses and full-frame digital camera sensors.

May - new cinema commercial goes into production for Page 2 Communications

Two Sony F3's on the job today for a new cinema commercial being produced by Page 2 Communications. Thanks Franc Biffone for some fabulous additional camera work and also Dan Hughes from Page 2 Communications - kept those kids smiling all day


May - PDV's Fairfax Media training course #5

The Illawarra Mercury and The Financial Review gain three new video photographers after their training days this week. My stills-to-video training courses have been a big hit. The iPad apps will soon be richer with video content created by these experienced photographers.


May - Northside Creative Photography talk

Talking video and DSLR's this week at Northside Creative in Lindfield, Sydney

"Northside Creative was most fortunate to receive a presentation on this topic for Pieter de Vries who is one of Australia’s most well known cinematographers".

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May - One-on-One training for shoot in Africa

Josh Dwight from Melbourne taking on training in preparation for a filming trip to Mali.


April - Krakow, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Geneva, London & Amsterdam assignments

I am working with Sydney filmmaker Michael Balint in Israel and Europe this month.

Flying into Geneva

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March lectures and video/stills shoot PNG, Tufi, Tami & Trobriand Islands

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Two-day Sydney workshop - March 10th & 11th



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February lectures and video/stills shoot Bali, Java & Singapore

Indonesia monkeys

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In the Red Centre, Alice "Springs" to the Video Masterclass


There was a great turnout for my recent Alice Springs video camera and lighting masterclass.

Here is an followup note from the newsletter of the Film and Television Assocciation of the Northern Territory:

"Director of Photography Pieter de Vries delivered a very personal and informative workshop to a large group of filmmakers in Alice Springs earlier this month.

A group of more than 15 people gathered at Witchetty's in the Araluen Centre to make the most of the opportunity to learn some key tips and tricks from one of the best in the business.

It was encouraging to see people with a variety of backgrounds and knowledge, including cinematographers with a high level of industry experience through to young students with a passion for telling stories on screen, and de Vries tailored his class to try to suit the needs of everyone.

Apple Masterclass in Film

Apple Australia invited a group of 17 students and teachers to join me for a one day master class held Monday 10th December at the Australian Cinematographer’s Society, North Sydney.

Teachers were ask to nominate two or three of their most talented year 10 or 11 media students to attend.


Latest custom workshop for HD DSLR pros


SBS Television and Reed Publishing journalists training course


The Shadowcatchers at the Cremorne Orpheum Cinema

Actor Jack Thomson and myself signing copies of The Shadowcatchers at the Cremorne Orpheum Cinema last night. My daughter Celia with her copy having waited in line for over 45 minutes. Jack and myself were on stage with David Stratton and fellow DP's Andrew Lesnie, Russell Boyd, Don McAlpine and Geoff Burton in a Q&A to help celebrate the release of Martha Ansara's fantastic new book on Australian cinematography and cinematographers.


The Darwin workshops

Pieter has just completed a sucessful lighting workshop for the Film and Television Association of the Northern Territory and the NT branch of the Australian Cinematographers Society. Around thirty people, a cross-section of the Top End's video professionals from Darwin and Alice Springs attended the workshop held at the Darwin University on August 28th. As you can see, it was a varied age group. ABC Open article on Nov 2011 workshop


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August, a busy month for video training

One-on-One training with Jonica Newby from ABC Television's Catalyst, ABC Trainee Video Journalist Miriam Hall & new filmmaker Michael Balint  + the popular August Weekend Workshop


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Herald photographers HD DSLR training for the SMH iPad app

PDV training for the best photographers in the country continues, these sessions with Kate Geraghty, Ben Rushton, Edwina Pickles and Janie Barrett.

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Sydney's top freelance photographers take on the HD DSLR

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Michael Balint: up to speed with his Canon C300

Filmmaker Michael Balint leaves for one of his overseas shooting trips very soon. He has spent six weekend training sessions with Pieter, tuning his skills on the Canon EOS Cinema camera. This recent training stint with Pieter was to Cockatoo Island on Sydney Harbour.


The Russian Far East expedition

There is a lot to be said about the fortunes that come the way of a humble guy with his cameras. I've recently arrived back from one of the least visited parts of the world. To put it in perspective, less ships explore the Russian Far East, Kamchatka and the Kuril Island group than go to Antarctica each year!

Orion Expeditions are the masters of expedition cruising. With me were photographer Nick Rains and 360 degree panorama specialist Tony Redhead - they provided great company and I'm home a little wiser. Jad Davenport, a world class US based National Geographic photographer was also on board so there was rarely a dull moment.

Video highlights 

Here are some of my favourite location images all taken on a Canon 5D M3/24-105mm zoom - I just loved using this camera! There is a gallery of images from the trip here.





Image gallery from the Russian Far East Orion 2 Expedition voyage: June 2012

Training photographers - Dept of Defence Canberra

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Sydney Video Makers workshop 26th May

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