The Integral Role of a Cinematographer in the Filmmaking Process

Pursue your passion, Explore the Best Cinematography Colleges in India

Cinematography is the art and craft of making motion pictures by capturing a story visually. A series of shots that form a cohesive narrative, all shot by the Cinematographer or DP or DOP (Director of Photography).

A cinematographer assists the film director by establishing the visual look of the movie. While the director narrates the flow of the story, the cinematographer is the one who tells the story through the artistic and technical decisions to make regarding lighting, film stock, shot selection, camera operation and other elements.

It is an appropriate blend of both creative and technical skills. The best way to learn cinematography is by doing a cinematography course. There are many colleges and institutes established across the globe and some of the best cinematography colleges are in India.

The aspirants who want to learn cinematography have ambiguity about the role of a Cinematographer.

So let us understand it.

Pre-Production Stage:

In the world of filmmaking, the role of cinematographer starts long before the film shooting is started. During the pre-production stage, it is here where the cinematographer decides the look and feel of the film. From choosing the equipment to colour, from setting a more realistic tone to impressionistic tone everything is decided by the cinematographer. That also decides what shots need to be taken at what time of the day, in what lighting etc.

As filmmaking is a collaborative business if the cinematographer can understand the vision of the director they continue to make many more projects in partnership.

Production Stage:

Cinematography is one of the most complex and challenging facets of filmmaking, especially during the production stage when everything gets hectic. Not only does the Cinematographer have the biggest crew on set, but he also has to be in continuous communication with the Director and the Production Designerto make sure that everyone is on the same page with how the film will look.

For each scene, the Cinematographer decides on the best combination of cameras, filters and lenses, as well as where the cameras will be placed, what the lighting should be and when the scene will be shot.

Post-Production Stage:

Once everything is shot the major work of the cinematographer is done. Majority of the projects are captured in digital RAW formats, manipulating exposure and colour is easier than ever before which reduces the involvement of the Cinematography in post-production, this is handed over to the editing department. However, the cinematographer sticks till the output has come to make sure the film retains the look envisioned by the cinematographer and the Director.

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