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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  • DSLR Workshop-70

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C300

       VIDEO FOR BUSINESS

A new Sydney workshop

Saturday + Sunday, September 20th & 21st - course details and booking HERE

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.

Back home - a return visit to PNG coming up

Back from a road trip through the heart of the Delta Blues. "Women in Blues” is the working title of a new documentary being produced by U N Me Films. Chicago Illinois, Clarksdale Mississippi and down through Louisiana to New Orleans - all the way, filming and photographing the story of American Blues music and in particular, the women who sing the blues.
 
The camera I have used for all the video and stills images is a Sony A7s plus some nice Zeiss lenses - a 55mm f1.8, 35mm f2.8, 24-70mm f4 and the sweet and lightweight Sony G series 70-200mm f4. 
 
Here are some still images taken along the way, some at ridiculously high ISO settings. I hope to go back soon to shoot another episode. The women who sing the blues will be there.
 
 
 

Women in Blues - Chicago and Clarksdale Mississippi

I'm currently shooting in Chicago with some of the town's finest blues singers. Each of these amazing artists burst into song during the filming - spine tingling behind my camera! Thanks Grana Louise, MzPeachez Williams and Liz Mandeville

I've met a number of other Chicago based blues singers and I've photographed and filmed them for the documentary Women in Blues. Drove to Mississippi (11 hours) for a few days of shooting in Clarkesdale. The annual Blues Festival down there is run by actor Morgan Freeman and we stayed at his amazing blues pub. Video and stills images are being shot on a Sony A7s camera with a Zeiss lens package with some wider shots being recorded on a GoPro Hero 3+.

Thanks MzPeachez Williams, Peaches Staten, Mary Lane, Claudette Miller, Laretha Weathersby, La La, Grana Louise, Shirley Johnson and Liz Mandeville

 

August assignment: "Women in Blues"

I’ll be hitting the Southern region of the United States in early August with Producer, Lisa Eisman of U n Me Films. It will be phase one; researching a documentary about how the blues and gospel women singers/songwriters and musicians have influenced music today. "Women in Blues" will be an assignment close to my heart.

We’ll base in Chicago for around four days before starting a road trip. The plan is to track down through Memphis to Clarksdale Mississippi. I’ll no doubt record some sequences along the way on a Sony A7s however principle photography will hopefully take start next year. The story will be based around their historic endeavors so we know where they came from, their homes and what they did or do to succeed and then fast forward into the now and watch them as they groove.
 
 

Weekend workshop wraps up plus more One-on-One training

The weekend workshop went very well and thanks to everyone who came along to make it one of the best. We pack a lot into the two days and I know that you draw on your new confidence next time you hit the record button.

"As soon as I got home, I downloaded the shots and before I knew it, it had taken shape and had a life of its own. It was an inspirational weekend".
Tristan Parry, Creative Director and Cinematographer, Media One Creative Agency".

Also this week, popular Sydney photographer Paul Wright seems happy with his Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4. Paul spent a few days with me at the North Sydney venue upgrading his skills to get his video shooting up to speed.

Fire & Rescue NSW camera & lighting training week

This is a five day training video cameracraft course for Fire & Rescue NSW. Broadcast producer Bronwyn Hilton is with the Media and Communications unit and this week's training has been a mix of North Sydney studio and city locations using the Sony PMW-200 and Canon's 5DM3.
 
Bronwyn covers potentially exciting and dangerous incidents in her work and I am training her not only in camera operation but to have the skills required for the organisation to be able to hand over the footage to network news organisations if required. It’s been a busy week shooting in and around fire stations in the centre of the city.
 
 

Sennheiser Momentum headphones series

I filmed this short and sweet advertising spot recently during the Adelaide Festival. For Sennheiser’s new pro MOMENTUM headphones, it's part of a series of short documentary spots that feature talented sound artists from all over the world - you find out more about them, their stories and see how each artist uses Momentum headphones. Pure inspiration for anyone who loves sound. Thanks Dan Hughes at Page 2 Communucations for the tight edit and to good friend and location producer Martin Ireland from Sennheiser Australia.

Promo spot for Get Fit Boxing

I'm working on a series of great promos this month. Featuring boxers and boxing trainers Chy Chuawiwat and Mark Pitts. TV presenter Caroline Pembertone is chucking a few punches along the way. I'm predicting A fast and pacey edit with strong a thumping music track. These are noisy and motivating training sessions and it's not hard to let the energy of the room influence the camera moves. for this spot I am cinematographer/director. View completed video is here

One-on-One training takes top execs out of the "Offis"

Chy Chuawiwat, CEO and Ric Holland Director of Digital Agency Solutions, both from Sydney IT company 0ffis, a company that provides Instant IT infrastructure. Two keener guys you'd be pressed to find. They will soon be adding their freshly crafted home grown footage to the already abundant array of video content on the Offis website.

May assignment: PNG & West Sepik region - Aitape and Tumleo Island

Just a few of the many images taken during my recent shooting assignment in a remote region of West Sepik of Papua New Guinea. I have been filming segments for the television series World Wide Berlin being produced by Berlin Producers/Fernsehbüro. The series journeys to some of the far off places which share the same name: BERLIN. Formally known as Berlinhafen, Aitape was established as a train station by German colonists in 1905 as part of German New Guinea and it was my home base for this assigment.

The tiny island of Tumleo just off the coast, was one of our main locations. It's a peaceful place with the some of the friendliest people on the planet. Fishing is the main business and the island's small population made us feel very welcome - the only dangers are the Malaria and Dengue hosting mosquitoes.

This is my second collaboration with Munich based director Hannes Schuler. A few year back Hannes and myself collaborated on the documentary drama series "Darwin's Lost Paradise",  a 2 X 1hr international program featuring a few of the lesser known journeys of Charles Darwin. Interesting, we first met in Berlin for the initial production meeting.

April CAMERA STORY LIGHT Workshop

As was the case in February, the April workshop was well attended. The nine fabulous people who came along had a great weekend of leaning with tons of fun along the way. It rained non-stop for our location shoot on Sunday, but it still was a successful consolidation day - just a matter of keeping everyone and everything dry under shop awnings. My next workshops are planned for July so keep you eye here or on the PDV facebook page

"The hands-on, practical nature of the workshop was extremely helpful. Piet was able to juggle giving relevant advice to experienced photographers/film makers as well as novices like myself"
Michael Funder, The School Of Total Education, Warwick Queensland

 

"Thank you again for the wonderful weekend workshop - I have the impression today of being a new young filmmaker and also be much more confidant .... a new adventure has just begun.... Awesome!"
Christian Reverchon, ImagineFXstudio, Sydney

 

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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]

  

 


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February assignment - Central Queensland 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 - Guest speaker at 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

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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. 

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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 - wait 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.            

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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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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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.

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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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

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

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.

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.

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

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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.

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