Created on : October 24, 2023 12:35 | Last updated on : January 18, 2024 12:26


Cinematography is the art and craft of making motion pictures by capturing a story visually. Though, technically, cinematography is the art and the science of recording light either electronically onto an image sensor or chemically onto film.


The Art of Motion Picture Photography is called Cinematography. In order to capture a true image that is conveyed to an image sensor or other light-sensitive material within the movie camera, Cinematographers employ a lens to concentrate reflected light from objects. These exposures are made one after the other and saved for processing and viewing as a motion film in the future.

These exposures are made one after the other and saved for processing and viewing as a motion picture in the future. Every pixel in a picture taken by an electronic image sensor generates an electrical charge, which is then electronically processed and saved in a video file for further processing or display.

History of Cinematography

Cinematography in the 19th & 20th Century:

It was during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century that cinema began to be used for scientific research as well as pleasure. Since film was a more effective medium than the human eye for catching and recording the activity, movement, and surroundings of germs, cells, and bacteria, French scientist and filmmaker Jean Painleve actively promoted the use of film in science.

The Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, invented the device known as the Cinematographe in 1895, which allowed for the recording and display of moving pictures. This invention is credited with giving rise to modern cinema. Early cinema had a period of fast invention. Filmmakers learn and use new techniques, such close-ups, special effects, and film editing.

Hollywood started to take shape as the film industry's headquarters, and many of the well-known companies of today, such Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures, started to dominate the business. Cinema and Cinematography have seen significant evolution throughout time. From the silent films of the early 20th century through the sound-added movies of the 1920s and the widescreen and color movies of the 1950s, there have been enormous advancements in overall inventiveness and technique.

 Cinematography in Black and White Motion Pictures:

From its birth in the 1880s, films were predominantly monochrome. Contrary to popular belief, monochrome does not always mean black and white; it means a movie shot in a single tone or color. Because colored film bases were significantly more expensive, the majority of films were made in monochromatic black and white. Even with early color trials, most movies were produced in black and white until the 1950s, when less expensive color processes were invented. In certain years, more than 51% of movies were filmed using color film. Color started to dominate films stock by the 1960s. Monochrome film became rare while color film grew much more common in the next decades.

Cinematography in black and white films refers to the process of capturing and presenting pictures in grayscale, devoid of color. Throughout the history of cinema, this creative method has been used in many different productions. With the use of this effective tool, Movie Makers may accentuate lighting, contrast, and texture to improve the visual storytelling experience. Since color film was not yet widely accessible in the early years of cinema, black and white cinematography has been used. This method was used by filmmakers to produce visually arresting and evocative movies. Thematically and artistically, black and white filmmaking persisted even after color film technology advanced.

Cinematography in Colour Motion Pictures:

A great deal of effort was put into producing natural color photography after the invention of motion pictures. The need for color photography became much more once the talking picture was invented. However, color photography took a while to become widely used compared to other technical advancements of the era.

Since early films were shot in monochrome and then hand- or machine-colored afterwards, they were not truly color films. The first example of this type is the Edison Manufacturing Company's hand-tinted Annabelle Serpentine Dance from 1895. Later, tinting by machine became popularity. Up until the 1910s, when natural color filmmaking first appeared, tinting was still practiced. Digital tinting has lately been used to colorize several black and white films. This contains video from political propaganda, athletic events, and both world wars.

Instead of using colorization techniques, Edward Raymond Turner produced the first motion pictures in 1902 using a natural color process. In 1909, Kinemacolor was first shown to the general public.

In 1917, the first Technicolor version was released. The year 1935 marked the launch of Kodachrome. For the rest of the 20th century, Eastmancolor was the preferred color once it was introduced in 1950.

In the 2010s, color digital cinematography mostly took the role of color film.

Camera Movement in a Film

Cinematography can not only depict a moving subject but can use a camera, which represents the audience's viewpoint or perspective, that moves during the course of filming. This movement plays a considerable role in the emotional language of moving images and the audience's emotional reaction to the action.

Techniques include the most basic movements of panning, which is the horizontal shift in viewpoint from a fixed position, and tilting, which is the vertical shift in viewpoint from a fixed position, like tilting your head back to look at the sky or down to look at the ground. They also include dollying, which is the act of moving the camera closer or farther away from the subject, tracking, which is the act of moving the camera to the left or right, craning.

Almost every type of transportation that can be imagined has cameras installed on it. The majority of cameras may also be operated handed, meaning the camera operator can move the device about to capture the action on camera. Garrett Brown's creation, which became known as the Steadicam, allowed for the creation of personal stabilizing platforms in the late 1970s.

In the early 1990s, several other businesses started producing their own versions of the portable camera stabilizer once the Steadicam patent expired. These days, this invention is far more prevalent in the realm of film. An increasing number of networks are starting to employ handheld camera stabilizers for anything from nightly news broadcasts to full-length movies.


In the film industry, the cinematographer is responsible for the technical aspects of the images (lighting, lens choices, composition, exposure, filtration, film selection), but works closely with the film director to ensure that the artistic aesthetics are supporting the director's vision of the story being told. The cinematographers are the heads of the camera, grip and lighting crew on a set, and for this reason, they are often called directors of photography or DPs. The American Society of Cinematographers defines cinematography as a creative and interpretive process that culminates in the authorship of an original work of art rather than the simple recording of a physical event. Cinematography is not a subcategory of photography. Rather, photography is but one craft that the cinematographer uses in addition to other physical, organizational, managerial, interpretive. and image-manipulating techniques to effect one coherent process. In British tradition, if the DOP actually operates the camera him/herself they are called the cinematographer. On smaller productions, it is common for one person to perform all these functions alone. The career progression usually involves climbing up the ladder from seconding, firsting, eventually to operating the camera.

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