March 14, 2015

cinematographytips
This week I’m sharing some things that have helped me with my cinematography, from the practical to the creative.

 

There are so few videos about the creative side of cinematography, so I’ve made a video about cinematography without talking about tech! These are the things that I would tell myself about cinematography if I could go back in time a few years. Not that my past self would pay any attention of course, he was far too interested in comparing the specs of different shoulder rigs…

 CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S DSLR GUIDE:

1. CHOOSE LOCATIONS WITH LOTS OF SPACE

I’m beginning to understand why so many big productions film in studios where they can build only the walls that need to be on camera. Ceilings and walls are a big challenge when you’re trying to position lights high enough to be out of the frame, and the cameras far back enough that you don’t have to use an 11mm lens. One of the biggest deal breakers when i’m looking at locations is small spaces!

2. SUBTRACT LIGHT

If the lighting looks bad, you just need to add more lights, right? Usually not.  Blocking and diffusing light gives you full control over the exposure of your background, and any other part of the scene, because each light becomes more independent, not just filling the whole room.

3. MOTIVATED LIGHTING

I’m finding that this is more and more important – when we see someone face lit up, but they are surrounded by darkness, our subconscious mind asks, where is the light coming from?  There have been lots of short films i’ve seen where the lighting is nice, but it somehow feels intangibly fake and glossy, you can really feel that it’s ‘lit’.  I think where alot of those short went wrong was to not show lamps on a table, street lights through a window, large fluorescents, windows and moonlight in the scene itself.

4. MORE THAN CAMERA + LIGHTING

What you point the camera at is just as important as the way you point that camera at it. When we see a film at the cinema, it’s worth remembering that a lot of time, money and creativity has been put into the set design and costumes of everything single frame. It’s easy to give that credit to the DP, but the reality is that a huge part of the visual side of film comes through the world that the audience is placed in.

Check out the video for the rest of the tips!

CINEMATOGRAPHY BREAKDOWNS:

I cannot begin to describe how helpful these three websites have been to me. I recommend that you read them all, and then check back to them at least once a year, because there is just so much information and inspiration to be found when you take a scroll through these pages. Check them out below:

THE CINEMATOGRAPHY OF THE INCREDIBLES:

incredibles cinematpgraphy

THE CINEMATOGRAPHY OF INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS:

inglourious

THE CINEMATOGRAPHY OF PRISONERS:

prinsoners

MORE VIDEOS ABOUT CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Simon Cade

Filmmaker, and host of DSLRguide. Since I was making my first film age 11, I have always been fascinated by the way films are produced, and the effect it can have on the audience.

  • Thank you for this nice post!

  • William Sanjaya

    Thankyou Simon!