What Makes Great Cinematography?

Cinematography is one of the critical elements of producing a great film. It is the art of photographing moving pictures or what many refer to as the shots of a movie. But it takes more than that. A good cinematographer can tell a story making people feel emotions through images. Therefore it is not only about having quality film gear but also knowing how to use it to bring value.

Today, everyone can take a picture or movie using their mobile phone or camera, but only a true cinematographer understands how to combine quality equipment, good lighting, and composition to create a good story.

What Is Cinematography?

Cinematography can be divided into two primary elements: technical and functional aspects. The technical part of cinematography is the art of using electronic equipment to record light into image sensors and make videos or films. The functional element combines everything, including lighting, placement, movement, and focus, to create a great story.

According to director Mark murphy director, one misconception people have about cinematography is that it simply involves capturing amazing images. However, it involves capturing ordinary things in a way that generates some emotion in the context of the story being told. That is why a cinematographer works closely with the film director to create a good film from start to finish.

The Key Ingredients Of Good Cinematography


Even though having the best video-making equipment doesn’t make you a good cinematographer, quality equipment is vital for getting the type of shots you want. There is no one-size-fits-all in filmmaking, so there is a wide range of cinematography equipment. But the video camera needs to shoot in high resolution. Other essential items include a tripod for stability, point lighting kits, a camera light for creating well-lit scenes, and a microphone for audio.


Lighting is one of the key ingredients for outstanding cinematography, and it can transform mediocre cinematography into professional and brilliant filmmaking. One of the skills a good cinematographer needs is the ability to capture the best light in a way that creates realism in the location and people being shot. Lighting in cinematography is also used to set the scene’s tone, so the cinematographer must use it in a way that creates a sensual mood. Therefore, one of a cinematographer’s important decisions has to do with what lights, lenses, and filters should be used for different scenes.


Focus refers to the art of when and what the camera should be focusing on during a scene. This is a skill the cinematographer acquires from research, experience, and a lot of hard work. The best way to achieve this skill is to learn from the great cinematographers in history and remain inspired. This is an essential aspect of cinematography as it helps in eliciting an emotional response from the viewers in a particular scene.

To Conclude

Other aspects of great cinematography include movement, placement, and composition. A good cinematographer combines all these elements and works closely with the director and editor to bring the creative vision to life throughout the filmmaking process.

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