So you want to be a Director?

Mark Bohuslav
4 min readDec 20, 2020

That pretty much sums up my Friday and part of Saturday in the Cinematography course!

I have a very imaginative mind, and I do enjoy a good roleplay session but if you told me 2 months ago that I would be playing the role of a Camera Man shooting a Scene, fading from black to alpha and then zooming, panning and using a Dolly track to control my camera movement while I capture the perfect shot for a scene and doing retake after retake to get it just right….I’d say your Nuts! But yet here I am…..and it’s freaking awesome!

Don’t get me wrong….I don’t have plans of becoming the next Stephen Spielberg but I am really enjoying learning about all the in’s and out’s of Cinemachine and how the virtual cameras tie into the Main camera with Timeline.

To be able to control and manipulate the camera views and add sequential animations that occur during each camera view is really incredible. I was able to go through the Sleeping Guard: Cutscene, the Game Over: Cutscene and the Complete Level: Cutscene. By the time I got to the Complete Level: Cutscene I had it all down thanks to Jonathan’s detailed explanations in the earlier two Cutscenes; I was able to complete all the challenges in one shot prior to watching the solution videos.

That being said he did throw in a new technique like blending two cameras to get a better shot of a scene. I had just used one camera shot and zoomed into the action but I learned that you can create 2 shots, one from the original angle and one shot zoomed in at a slightly different, more favorable viewing angle. The technique calls for blending the shots into each other in Timeline. The result was much better than just a simple zoom/pan into the action.

It was a nice change of pace from pure coding and I look forward to the rest of the course. I even have a few ideas on cutscenes I would like to implement into my Space Shooter to create more of story throughout the game.

I do have one unresolved issue that requires further research: Having recorded his course a couple years ago there was a couple marked differences in how Cinemachine seems to work in his version and the current version I was using. For example The Red and Blue overlay Window Guides that appear automatically on his virtual cameras do not show up on my version unless I am using the Look At feature on a target. I can’t use AIM and its settings unless using the Look At Feature. That threw me off a bit because it was difficult to apply the rule of Thirds without the guides in scenes where I was not using the Look at or Follow settings. I am not sure if this is intentional in the new version or if I am missing something but either way I worked around it and ended up creating very similar cuts to his. I will check with the senior guys in the program to see if they are experiencing the same issue and/or if there is a work around to get the Guides to show all the time.

There was also another difference when using the Dolly Track. His version starts with just one point and he has to add another point and automatically has a third point that allows for manipulation of the Tangent (curvature of the track). On the current version 2.6.3 and above you start with 2 points and need to add a third point so that the middle point defines the curvature. Subtle difference but I did get stumped there for a while until I figured it out!

The GIF does not do the camera work justice but here is a sample using a dolly track to pan around the security guard and then a switch to an overhead shot that pan’s upwards and fades to the game over scene.

Too bad we have a 25mb limit on Medium; this scene was converted to 5 fps to stay within the filesize limit. Sadly the scene loses the fluid motion of the original. But you get the idea!

Have a great weekend everybody and just because it’s the weekend it doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Try to set at least an hour or two each day to learn something new and keep challenging yourself by leaving your comfort zone. You wont regret it….trust me!