December 12, 2009

Getting Cinemate: #2 Cinematography

The cinematographer is the 'eye' of movies...

Cinematography can be best defined as 'motion picture photography'. And it is the most important job while shooting the film, because the film that will eventually appear on screen has to be constructed from the footage the camera has captured. All planning, all merits and demerits of the script, what the actor could or could not do - everything is immaterial after this stage. You can only see the film the way it was shot. Hence the 'eye'...

Apart from taking care of how and what to capture in the frame, how to light the set, selecting the colour tone, and creating a visual balance between the characters, the costumes and the set - all come under cinematography, just like still photography. But unlike still photography, cinematography has to take care of two more things:
1. capturing the movement of the characters with respect to the camera, i.e changing focus as the shot continues,
2. movement of the camera itself with respect to the ground, i.e panning, tilting, rolling, tracking etc.

A 'Cinematographer' is also known as the 'Director of Photography'. And in the creative hierarchy, he is just below the Director, along with the Writer and the Editor.

1 comment:

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