Cinematography

Cinematography

  • Look of a film and its relation to the story depend on the collaboration between the director and the cinematographer
  • Storyboarding – individual frame drawings of how things will look
  • Style of photography should be geared towards story, theme, and mood of the film
    • Low-key lighting styles portray evil and secrecy ala. The Godfather
    Shots
    • Directors have different preferences in shot length and structure
    • Shots aren’t necessarily determined by length/distance
      • Some lenses distort distance
        • A telephoto lens can produce close ups when its far away
        • Extremely long shots are often called establishing shots
        • Full shot – head at top of frame; feet at bottom of the frame (full body)
        • Long shots – kind of like the distance between an audience and the actors in a live theatre performance
        • Medium shots:
          • Two shot – contains 2 figures from waist up
          • Three shot – 3 figures; any more and it tends to become a full shot, unless there’s other figures in the background
          • Over the shoulder – 2 figures, one with the back of his/her shoulder showing, the other facing the camera
          • Close up – focuses on a relatively small object – e.g. a face of a person
            • Close up elucidates importance
          • Extreme close up – e.g. shows only mouth or eyes

      Wide angle lens

      • Shows something up close, then goes out of focus to show something of greater distance (that was out of focus before)
        • Amelie – when she is in the theatre – she is in focus while the background is out of focus – she tells us that she likes to look at peoples faces when they are watching movies and a wide angle lens is used to put her background in focus and Amelie out of focus.
        • the show 24 does this a lot
        • easier for audiences eyes to shift this way
        Angles
        • Angle is determined by where the camera is placed – not from where the subject is placed
        • Most filmmakers film scenes at eye level – 1½ metres off the ground
          • e.g. view of an observer (eye level)
          • Realist tries to make viewer forget the camera is there
          • Formalist constantly brings attention to the camera
        • Angles are often manipulative – thus, some filmmakers tend to avoid them

        Five Basic Angles

        • Birds eye view – overhead shot
        • High angle – usually include floor/ground as background; establishes setting
        • Eye level – allow users to make up their own minds about how they see things
        • Low angle – low angles give opposite effect of high angles – increased height of a person = sense of power
        • Oblique angle – tilt of camera
          • e.g. All about my mother – perspective of someone getting hit by a car – he is on his side – we see from his POV
          Light & Dark
          • Spotlights are highly selective in focus and intensity – they can guide the viewers eyes to any area
          • High key – bright; few shadows
          • Realist favours available light (sunlight) but often uses lamps & reflectors
          • Overexposure – flood of light over entire surface of the picture

          Colour - Colour is sometimes expressionistic (conveys meaning)

          Lenses, Filters, Stocks & Opticals

          • Telephoto (aka. Long lens) – gets close ups at extreme distances
            • E.g. if you are at a zoo, you wouldn’t want to go up close to a lion and film it
            • Rack focusing/selective focusing – adjusting focal distance of long lenses while shooting
            • Wide Angle lenses (short lenses) – short focal length and wide angles of view
            • Lenses & Filters – can make an actor look taller, slimmer, younger, or older
            • Soft Focus – often used for close ups – eliminate small facial wrinkles & blemishes
            • Fast stocks – highly sensitive to light & can register images with no illumination
            • Slow stocks – insensitive to light; require as much as 10x more illumination than fast stocks


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