There are many fields in the film industry. Director, producer, lighting and camera crew, script writers and much more. A important job that influences the production in film that also creates and develops the visual narrative is cinematography.
So, what is cinematography?
It is the art and technology of motion-picture photography. This involves the lighting and location of a scene, camera choice, lens choice, camera angles and movements, as well as the involvement of any special effects.
Cinematography is important in film by supporting the overall look and mood of a film’s storyline. A cinematographer manages the camera and the lighting crew. they are responsible for creating the look of the scene, colour, lighting, and the framing of every shot in a film.
Some examples of cinematic techniques in filmmaking are:
- Long shot
- Close-up shot
- Point-of-view shot
- Bird’s-eye shot and more
These are some camera angles that cinematographers use to capture the story being told through different perspective that also cast different moods.
The 5 C’s of Cinematography
- Camera Angles – Vital to the stories narrative and the camera positioning helps to drive the story forward
- Continuity – To avoid inconsistencies, continuity must be considered in production and media
- Cutting – The order and sequence of shots become key in evoking the desired effect upon the audience
- Close-ups – Used to allow the viewer access to the intimate details of a characters emotions
- Composition – Plays a role in creating a mood and telling a story. Lighting, colours and spacing, among other visual aspects which are crucial in the co position of an image
Cinematography is used in every film and there are a wide range of motion-pictures that have creative cinematic experience. Here are two examples of cinematography in film.
Blade Runner 2049 – Cinematographer Roger Deakins
The attention to detail in the set design allows for long shots for the viewer to take in the atmosphere of the science fiction world with geometric designs. This angle provides a harsher look to the architecture that seems more imposing and unnerving when the characters are dwarfed by it.
The lighting in the film is constantly in motion, there are hardly any stationary light sources. The shift in light creates dynamic and alluring footage without being too distracting. Since the viewer knows what the source of light is, it enhances the reality of the scene.
Moonlight – Cinematographer James Laxton
Laxton uses bold colours and stunning shots to create an emotional experience. The film is driven by the internal conflicts of the characters rater than the plot. To communicate this in a visual way, the camera frames the subject so that they fill the majority of the screen, thus drawing the viewer into the emotional landscape being created. This would be a close up camera shot, it is used for the audience to see the emotional reactions of the characters more intimately.
During the swimming scene when Juan teaches Little to swim, the frame is set up in such a way that the viewer is not only watching this scene but also experiencing the rush of waves and Juan holding Little about the water. As if we, the audience are right next to them.
This is a brief synopsis of cinematography in film, as well as some examples where cinematographers used their creative and innovative thinking to create beautiful and stunning visuals to capture the heart of the story being told.