No Title Productions Sep 30, 2016 1

Five Essential Cinematography Techniques

Cinematography techniques are important to any filmmaker since they help tell the film’s story in the most effective way possible. As a director of photography, it is critical that you learn the most effective and precise cinematography techniques to do the job effectively as well as keep up with the changing world of cinematography techniques. The following are some of the five most important cinematography techniques.

1. Three Point Lighting Technique
The three point lighting technique is the standard lighting technique that cinematographers use. It is so named since it includes 3 separate lights for illuminating the subject being filmed. The 3 lights involved here are the fill light, key light, and back light.

The key light is the primary lighting device for illuminating the subject being filmed from the front. The back light is shone from behind and its focus is creating a contour of the subject being filmed. The fill light is normally paced at an angle and adds to the lighting to attain the desired effect.

2. Forced Perspective
The forced perspective is simply an optical illusion for making the viewer believe that they are viewing the object from a distance that is actually quite different from the actual distance at which the object lies. The illusion is achieved by using objects not of standard size that tricks the brain into believing that the object is closer or further than it is in reality.

3. Size Of Shot
The size of shot is yet another technique that has a deep effect on the way a film is perceived. For instance, an object shot at close range has more intimate and dramatic effect than one shot from several hundred feet away.

The commonest shot sizes used are close-up, extreme close up, establishing shot, long shot, and medium shot. Most of them are quite self-explanatory with the establishing shot being one that shows the viewer that change of time or location has taken place.

4. Digital Video Lighting
Lighting is a key aspect of cinematography. With the numerous digital cameras flooding the market in recent years many filmmakers both amateur and professional have been left struggling with learning just how to light a scene properly using digital cameras.

Some filmmakers say that it is possible to shoot digital video with inferior cinematography and still be comparable to an actual film in the end. This is never the case. For successful video lighting, a digital video has to be lit as if it was shot on film for it to look as though it was shot on film.

5. Matte
Matte is an old technique film editors use that combines two separate images or shots into one shot. This usually applied to those situations where actors need to be placed in different locations than those that they were originally shot. This technique was quite popular in the 70s and 80s. However, the technique is being phased out slowly with the advent of green screens and other newer technologies.

In conclusion, the five techniques are matte, digital video lighting, size of shot, forced perspective, and three-point lighting. Now that you understand them all that remains is to go out and start shooting some films.

  • Dominic J Kanaventi October 14, 2017

    I would consider this my major notebook for filming. It’s intrresting to note the 5 keys to filming given herein are the major guidelines that any serious filmmaker would follow, albeit subconsciously.
    I rate the tips from this writer 5 stars.*****


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