Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Research - Cinematography - Ms Begum


What is cinematography:
Cinematography is the art or technique of motion-picture photography. Cinematography also looks at the way a shot is framed, the angle it’s been taken at and the movement of the camera. All these factors give the audience different representations of a character and allows the audience to respond in the different ways depending of the cinematography techniques used. Cinematography is a very important tool in the film making process, this is because the different types of cinematography techniques used all have different meanings and are used for a specific reason, which gets the audience thinking.
All learnt terms:
Camera angles:
Low angle - A low angled shot from a camera positioned low from the vertical axis, anywhere below the eye line looking up. This camera angle could be used on a character that has strength and power.

High angle - A high angle shot is when the camera is located above the eye line this shows us looking down on the character. This camera angle could be used to portray that a character is vulnerable and powerless.

Shot sizes:
Extreme close up (ECU)

An extreme close up shot aims to give a clear illustration of a specific object/person and also shows something in detail and gives emphasis on it. Moreover very small objects or areas or small portions of large objects can be photographed with an extreme close up shot, so their images are magnified on the screen. In the example, only the eye of the character is concentrated on and the focus is only with one aspect of the characters body.

Close up (CU)

In a close up shot a certain feature or part of the subject takes up most of the frame. A close up of a person usually means a close up of their face. Close ups are useful in showing detail, and emphasises on the person’s emotion. We can clearly see the anger and frustration portrayed by the character because of the close up shot being used.

Medium close up (MCU)

A medium close up shot mainly focuses on chest level and above and concentrates on the body posture of a person and the body language that they convey to the viewer. As shown in the example, there is minimal background detail, and it’s mainly concentrated on the character itself and the upper body.

Medium shot (MS)

This shot is usually used from the waist upwards. This shot also captures action and detail such as where the character is, and what they’re doing and the mood that they’re portraying through their body language and facial expressions. We can see the clear facial expression displayed through the example, and the body language that’s been used.

long shot (LS)

A long shot shows the whole body and shows the actions of what the character is doing. It also gives a understanding to the viewer about the type of place they’re at and allows us to infer what’s happening. The example I’ve given shows what the character is doing and this reflects on the surrounding that he is in.

extreme long shot (ELS)

An extreme long shot includes the full body of a character, and the whole surrounding that the character is in. Usually the surrounding is highlighted more than the character itself, implying the importance of the surrounding. In this scene shown above the character is portrayed at significantly small compared to the surroundings, this is because the surrounding is more of a significant factor than the character itself.
Establishing shot (ES)

The establishing shot is usually at the begging of a film, or at the start of a new scene. This shot shows a city with tall buildings and houses in the background, the effect that this has is that it gives us a understanding of where the action in the current scene is going to take place.
Camera Movements:
Panning shot

This camera movement technique involves moving the camera horizontally to the right or the left. A panning shot could be used when someone is riding a bike to capture their movement.  Moreover the subject is caught on camera; however the rest remains a blur in the background as show in the example.
Tilt shot

A tilt shot is a camera movement which involves the camera angle looking up or down at the object, instead of being at the same level. an upwards tilt shot could be used to signify superiority. On the other hand, a downward tilt shot could be used to observe action over a large area such as a football pitch as shown in the example.
Crane shot
On a crane, the camera movement would be more flexible, and it can move the camera higher than usual to get a larger filming area. Moreover it could be an advantage to the director because he/she could be able to get camera at angles that a man wouldn't be able to manage. Above is an example of a crane being used in order to get the camera to move to the place where it’s needed to be.
A zoom is technically not a camera move as it does not require the camera itself to move at all. Zooming means altering the focal length of the lens to give the illusion of moving closer to or further away from the action. The effect this has is that it gives emphasis towards a specific part of a character/object.
Point Of View (POV)

This is when the camera is at an angle that it looks like it’s from the persons view. The way this has an impact on the viewer is that it puts us in their shoes so we see exact same as what the character views. Furthermore, this is frequently used in thriller films because it creates tension and suspense to the viewer not knowing what would occur next.
Hand Held

Hand held camera movement is when the camera moves with the person. This creates more of a ‘home made’ or a dramatic feel to the shot. A film that uses a lot of hand held camera movement is REC. in this specific film it creates a sense of fear for the viewer and it feels like the viewer is sharing the experiencing with the character that’s holding the camera.
This in depth research of cinematography gave me essential and significant ideas that I would use towards making my own thriller trailer. Having the knowledge on the different camera shots sizes has helped me understand which shot sizes are suitable to use depending on the scene and what I will be portraying to the viewer. Moreover, I would use the camera angles depending on the different characters and the type of character they are. The knowledge I have now on the different type of camera movements would help me know what movement would suit a specific scene. Finally, for my thriller trailer I would consider using some close up shots to get a close up of their face and to portray emotion, as well as some long shots which would give the audience a more broad idea of the full body of the characters and what they are doing.


  1. Onat, a good post here with a good clear structure to it which allows to see your understanding of cinematography

    To improve;
    -introduction, discuss cinematography's importance to a scene
    -examples should be thriller specific
    -provide some analysis of your screen shots using PEER
    -in your conclusion, state some of the ideas that you are planning on using

  2. Good Onat. Pleasing to see that you have taken on board the feedback and you provide a good understanding of cinematogrpahy. Well done.

    To further improve;
    -include a clip from a thriller and identify and discuss three examples using PEER