Studying for a master's is one of the most effective ways to gain inspiration or learn new skills. Watching films and reading books about processes is a fantastic place to start because it can show you new ways to do things. It may also inspire you to use advanced cinematography methods in your next film.
1. Master Exposure
Gordon Willis, known for The Godfather trilogy, Annie Hall, Manhattan, All the President's Men, and a slew of other classics, is the model for mastering exposure. This necessitates a thorough understanding of the dynamic range of your film or sensor, as well as the application of that information to obtain the finest possible image.
One of the best anecdotes about him is about how his exposures were so precise that the lab couldn't make any adjustments to the film without ruining the images. It was also a mechanism for Willis to keep the picture from being altered later in the production process without his knowledge.
Indie filmmakers must first learn about their camera before meticulously designing a scenario to fill that dynamic range.
The easier and nicer the film will look in the end if you can get the original take as near to your ultimate idea as possible. It will take more time and possibly a greater budget to complete, but don't make the opposite mistake of thinking you are better than that and making blunders as a result.
2. Make the most of natural light
Natural light may be a huge help in the film industry. Nestor Alemendros recognized this, and when he paired up with Terrence Malick on Days of Heaven, it resulted in a fantastic pairing.
Knowing when and where to photograph, as well as how to use natural light well by setting the sun against the camera, may help you make great photos all day long. Making the most of golden hour light is a simple process that you can begin right away. It all boils down to the fact that learning and crafting lighting for cinema does not necessitate a plethora of pricey equipment.
3. Learn how to see light
If you want to master cinematography like Sven Nykvist, who worked with Ingmar Bergman and won two Academy Awards, you'll need to understand how to detect light without using expensive equipment. Although today's cinematographers have access to viewfinders and monitors, many of the greats did not.
Although light meters are useful, they do not provide a whole picture. Experimenting with light and learning how light falls outside of the camera viewfinder will help you see the full picture and create a better scenario.
4. Experiment regularly
Christopher Doyle, an Australian-born Hong Kong cameraman, was recognized for experimenting with new techniques. Experimentation can take many forms.
Slow-motion, dragging the shutter, moving the camera in time with sound or action, moving the camera randomly, strobe lights, color filters, extreme wide-angle close-ups, and other techniques are used. You'll stop learning new things if you don't experiment, and while you'll still be able to make outstanding projects, learning and experimenting will help you take it to the next level. The point of rules is to break them.
5. Color is important
Vittorio Storaro, who is most known for his work on Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor, and The Confirmist, is a three-time Academy Award winner. His grasp of color was legendary.
Color theory and design, or understanding how colors interact with one another and how different colors elicit different reactions in an audience, are essential cinematography skills.
This affects all art, and you may learn about color from it. It's crucial to develop your style, which may include utilizing fewer colors.
6. Make Use of Paper Lanterns
Paper lanterns, often known as Chinese lanterns, are a low-cost, high-impact item that every cinematographer should be familiar with.
Wes Anderson's frequent collaborator Robert Yeoman makes excellent use of them. Using a pole to toss them overhead or hanging them up can cover the scene with light from all sides. Make sure you keep this tool in your backpack because it's pleasant, affordable, and simple.
7. Begin learning right away!
Although being here is a terrific start, you should realize that it is never too late to learn cinematography. Raoul Coutard's contribution to the French New Wave was invaluable, and he began his career at the age of 35.
He began his career in documentary photography, where he created innovative techniques for quicker setups, allowing directors and actors greater creative flexibility.
Furthermore, the technology allowed films to be made in genuine locations regularly and on a shoestring budget. These abilities are always beneficial to directors. Keep practicing and learning theory since you'll always need it.
Learning about CRI and other technical aspects of filmmaking is only a small part of what it takes to make a movie. It is a theoretical and artistic endeavor that takes time and patience to grasp and master. If some of the names on this list are unfamiliar to you, start by watching some of their films.
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