Learn About Cinematography & The Top 10 Cinematography Techniques

What is cinematography? What impact does it have on the final output of a movie? Well, have you seen movies or stories in films and realized that the visual elements on the screen are super appealing & intriguing? If yes, then the cinematographer of the movie is to be thanked! Telling a story via film is very little about recording the action, but more about how the images & visuals are captured. The art of photography & visual storytelling in a motion picture or television show comes under the umbrella of cinematography. Film cinematography comprises all on-screen visual elements, including lighting, framing, composition, camera motion, camera angles, film selection, lens choices, depth of field, zoom, focus, colour, exposure, filtration & so many more things.

Now that you know what is cinematography, you would definitely be intrigued to know what a Cinematographer does, isn’t it? When it comes to films, Cinematographer is usually the Director of Photography as well, where he/ she is in charge of the camera and the lighting crew. The Cinematographer is to make sure that the look, colour, lighting is right for every single shot in a film. Cinematographers in many films are also camera operators. Some of the movies have become the best in the industry because of the skills that the Cinematographer possesses. In case you haven’t seen a lot of such movies, here is a list for you to binge on:

  1. Roma
  2. Blade Runner 2049
  3. La La Land
  4. The Revenant
  5. Birdman
  6. Gravity
  7. Life of Pi
  8. Hugo
  9. Inception
  10. The Godfather

Do you want to know what the Cinematographers of these movies do to make the movies so noteworthy? Every great Cinematographer has some tips & tricks they follow to make their shots a class apart. And here, we will disclose some of the types of shots that the best film cinematographers use to capture the scenes that people end up loving so much!

  1. Extreme long shot– Capturing a very wide area, this type of shot is used as an establishing shot when changing from one big area or city to another.
  2. Bird’s eye shot– This one is like an extreme long shot from a much higher angle. Bird’s eye shot is used as an establishing shot for introductions and scene transitions.
  3. Long shot– This shot makes the viewers feel like a casual bystander when the film is going on. The long-shot does not focus on the people in the shot.
  4. Medium shot– Commonly used for documentaries & news programs, the medium shot allows viewers to move in a lot closer in an informative way. This shot features a person from the waist up.
  5. Close up shot– Close up shot is taken when the impact is being made by the character’s facial expression. It features the entire head up to the chin or neck & frames less of the background.
  6. Extreme close up shot– Used only when the film cinematographer wants to increase the emotional intensity of a scene. The cinematographer zooms in on the character’s face to add the drama & the intimacy.
  7. Over-the-shoulder shot– Used in narrative filmmaking, over the shoulder shot adds much-needed depth to a shot but & aids in making conversational scenes look natural to the viewer.
  8. Panning shot– The cinematographer uses this shot to show the surroundings, in situations when there’s action in the film.
  9. Zoom shot– This type of shot is used to increase the focus on a scene, an object, or a character.
  10. Crane shot– Shots, where the camera is moved up & down using a crane, are called the crane shots. In recent years, the cranes have been replaced with drones. Film cinematographers use the crane shots to add depth to the production.

While cinematography in films & television has evolved a lot over the years, there is a lot more in the future of film cinematography. We believe that the next few years will explore a lot more of computational cinematography, though the basic shots & concepts will remain the same. In this ever-evolving art of motion picture, there is a lot of scope to learn, explore, and innovate. So what are you waiting for? Get ahead & start exploring the amazing field of cinematography!

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Updated: Oct 15, 2019

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