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cinematography

While everyone knows that cinematography is an important aspect of filmmaking, only a few moviegoers have an idea of the tasks undertaken by cinematographers.

Cinematographers are also known as Director of Photography (DOP), because they are the main men in charge of the cameramen and the lighting crew, to which the goal is to translate the film director’s vision and ideas into film.

That being the case, a cinematographer has to work closely with the film director who gives guides on what images to capture. Their respective work as directors must combine to push the story in front of the audience, to help the latter comprehend, as well as relate to the scenes as they unfold. In order to accomplish such an objective, cinematographers must also apply creativity in performing their responsibilities as director of photography.

Responsibilities of a Cinematographer in Film Making

A cinematographer’s first task is to scout for location/s in which scenes will be shot, whilst determining suitability for filming. In doing so, cinematographers have to break down the storyboard and create a list of shots as guides when looking for, or in assessing suggested location/s.

If there are any site issues that could affect the quality of the film, it is the cinematographer’s job to convey and explain his or her misgivings about the location to the director and producer. At the same time, he must be ready to present an alternative site, which may include even a studio setting, if it’s the next best option available.

Once the location/s have been agreed upon, a cinematographer must draw up a list of all film photography equipment needed in meeting the shooting requirements. The list should include equipment that can address potential technical difficulties anticipated as results of his or her assessment of the location/s.

Cinematographers attend actor rehearsals in order to keep abreast of any changes with the scene blockings. That way, they know what camera adjustments to make in ensuring that the framing for shots will capture the important gestures, acts or expressions that the director wants actors to perform or carry out.

During actual film shooting, the DoP oversees the camera crew comprising camera operators, focus pullers and other camera assistants, including camera grips. He has to make sure that each member maintains optimal focus on the subjects or actions being filmed, when carrying out individual responsibilities in the filmmaking process. At the same time, DoPs make creative decisions pertaining to lighting, camera motion, depth of field, shot color, lens usage, zoom and other techniques that can create positive effects on scene composition and actor positioning.

What Constitutes a Cinematographer’s Wardrobe

As it is now apparent that cinematographers lead a busy life when engaged in film projects, it’s also of interest to know what cinematographers have in their wardrobe. The most common color that people find in a cinematographer’s closet is black. Mainly because black is regarded as the professional color that allows the “fly on the wall” concept of being in the midst of the filmmaking but without getting noticed.

Most DoPs’ wardrobe consists of garments to layer during the long hours of work. Layering allows flexibility since a DoP can be in a cold location one moment and in the next, be in warmer spots. The same goes with their footwear, as some scenes are taken indoors, while other shots have to be taken in muddy or grassy outdoor areas. A schedule might call for sneakers or loafers, while other days will require boots that can provide adequate protection against ticks or unnoticeable sharp objects.

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Film Cinematographers :What They Do and Wear When on the Job