Lights Camera Action
Discovering the Silver Screen
Cinematography (from Greek: kinema – ????µa “movement” and graphein – ???fe?? “to record”), is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for the cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography. Many additional issues arise when both the camera and elements of the scene may be in motion, though this also greatly increases the creative possibilities of the process.
The art of cinematography need not be complicated, though to many it is the most intimidating part of the filmmaking process. Simply think of cinematography as still photography without the ‘still.’ The best way to learn cinematography is to learn 35mm still photography. A good manual 35mm SLR (single-lens-reflex) camera, and the mastery of its use, should be a self-imposed requirement for every filmmaker before shooting a motion picture.
It should be noted that with all the advancements in video technology, film seems to be nearing the end of its legacy. At least, that is what many in the digital video revolution would like you to believe. But they have been giving this line for many years and yet film has survived, mostly for one reason: Film Is The Standard. Everyone wants their movie to look like it was shot on film, even if it wasn’t, simply because film looks better. It has a timeless essence to it, a surreal look. However, if you cannot afford to shoot film, then go with video. The success of your movie will depend more on the story than on the medium it was shot in. With that said, this lesson will focus on film as the standard in motion picture production.
The key to great photography is having something interesting to photograph. Beautiful sets and wardrobe are as essential to cinematography as are the elements of lighting, camera work, and actor performance.
Everything in photography can be measured in doubles and halves, most prevalent in the standard measurement called stops. An increase of one stop equals double the amount of light; an increase of two stops equals four times the amount of light; a decrease of one stop equals half the amount of light; a decrease of two stops equals a 75% decrease in the amount of light.
Never use the light meter installed in the camera itself. Purchase a good incident light meter. Own a spot meter too if you have the funds. Learn to use them proficiently by practicing with your 35mm SLR camera. During the production shoot it is best to have a backup incident meter in case the other fails or is damaged. Be sure to test the accuracy of each meter with still 35mm film. (See ‘Using a Light Meter’ under Lighting the Set)
Double-check everything dealing with both camera and lighting before rolling film. You do not want a great shot of a great performance to be ruined because you ignored a simple detail.
When shooting film, your goal is to produce the
highest quality negative possible, by getting every element of the exposure exactly as you desire. Do NOT depend on the lab to fix your mistakes later!
Finally, remember the elements you control: light intensity, direction, dispersion, and color; the focal point and the depth-of-field around the focal point; the film rate-of-speed as it roles through the camera (fast/slow motion); and the composition of the shot itself (framing/camera moves).
Source: by HomeFilmSchool.com
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Q: How is “sight” used in The Birds by Hitchcock?
A: Melanie’s bitter memories of her mother are softened by Mitchell Brenner’s mother. The two women are introduced to each other by Mitchell at the local diner and their frosty relationship ensues, but the freaking-out-birds-crisis helps develop trust and compassion towards each other.
Q: What I need to know is how an image looks from 10mm lens to 150mm lens? The arri sr that I want to buy comes with those lens but I dont know exactly how those measurements look like.
A: photography4real.webs.com is a great site on how to take good pictures.
Q: What does “editing sequence” mean in cinematography? How is it different from “Frames/Framing” in a trailer?
A: Editing sequence – series of shots or scenes that includes a beginning, middle and end (like a chapter in a book). Framing – A film frame, or just frame, is one of the many single photographic images in a motion picture. The individual frames are separated by frame lines. Normally, 24 frames are needed for one second of film. In ordinary filming, the frames are photographed automatically, one after the other, in a movie camera. In special effects or animation filming, the frames are often shot one at a time.
Q: Which university is best for cinematography?
A: For cinematography UCLA is one of the top schools. However, understand there are 20 to 50 graduates for every job opening in Hollywood.
Q: What is the difference between cinematography and mise-en-scene film techniques?
A: Cinematography is a term which describes everything related to the camera in filming: film stock, film speed, framing (ie the distance, level, height and the angle of the camera) and camera movement. Mise-en-scene is literally, ‘staging.’ It describes everything in the image which has been placed in front of the camera for filming: set design, location, costume, make-up, props, actors, acting style and lighting effects.
Source: Yahoo Answers