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Looking at Movies, 5th Ed., Ch. 6 - Cinematography
Terms in this set (86)
the process of capturing moving images on film or a digital storage device.
Director of Photography (cinematographer)
responsible for the cinematographic properties, framing of the shot, speed and length of the shot, and any special effects
One uninterrupted run of the camera. A shot can be as short or as long as the director wants, but it cannot exceed the length of the film stock in the camera. Compare setup.
the number of times a particular shot is taken.
One camera position and everything associated with it. Whereas the shot is the basic building block of the film, the setup is the basic component of the film's production.
Technicians that make up two separate groups: one concerned with the camera, and the other concerned with electricity
The member of the camera crew who does the actual shooting.
Member of the camera crew who assists the camera operator. The first AC oversees everything having to do with the camera, lenses, supporting equipment, and the material on which the movie is being shot. The second AC prepares the slate that is used to identify each scene as it is being filmed, files camera reports, and feeds film stock into magazines to be loaded into the camera.
The board or other device that is used to identify each scene during shooting.
First assistant electrician to the gaffer on a movie production set.
All-around handyperson on a movie production set, most often working with the camera and electrical crews.
Celluloid used to record movies. There are two types: one for black-and-white films and the other for color. Each type is manufactured in several standard formats.
also called gauge. The dimensions of a film stock and its perforations, and the size and shape of the image frame as seen on the screen. Formats extend from Super 8mm through 70mm and beyond, into such specialized formats as IMAX, but they are generally limited to three standard gauges: Super 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm.
Also known as film speed or exposure index. The rate at
which film must move through the camera to correctly capture an image. Very fast film requires little light to capture and fix the image, whereas very slow film requires a lot of light.
additive color systems
In early filmmaking, techniques used to add color to black-and-white images, including hand-coloring, stenciling,
tinting, and toning. Compare subtractive color systems.
subtractive color systems
Adopted in the 1930s, this technique involved shooting three separate black-and-white negatives through three light filters, each representing a primary color (red, green, blue). Certain color components were subtracted or removed from each of the three emulsion layers, creating a positive image in natural color. Compare additive color systems.
widescreen aspect ratio
Any aspect ratio wider than 1.33:1, the
standard ratio until the early 1950s.
In postproduction, the process of altering and enhancing the color of a motion picture (or video or still image) with electronic, photochemical, or digital techniques.
digital imaging technician
Working in collaboration with the cinematographer, during production the DIT is responsible for managing media capture that will result in the highest image quality; if necessary, further manipulation may occur during the postproduction period.
A lamp that produces hard, mirrorlike light that can be directed to precise locations. Compare floodlight.
A lamp that produces soft (diffuse) light. Compare focusable spotlight.
A piece of lighting equipment, but not really a lighting instrument because it does not rely on bulbs to produce illumination. Essentially, a reflector board is a double-sided board that pivots in a U-shaped holder. One side is a hard, smooth surface that reflects hard light, and the other side is a soft, textured surface that reflects softer fill light.
employs three sources of light, each aimed from a different direction and position in relation to the subject.
Also known as main light or source light. The brightest light falling on a subject.
Lighting, positioned at the opposite side of the camera from the
key light, that can fill in the shadows created by the brighter key light.
Fill light may also come from a reflector board.
The relationship and balance between illumination and shadow—the balance between key light and fill light. If the ratio is high, shadows are deep, and the result is called low-key lighting. If the ratio is low, shadows are faint or nonexistent and illumination is even, and the result is called high-key lighting.
Lighting that creates strong contrasts; sharp dark shadows, and an overall gloomy atmosphere. Its contrasts between light and dark often imply ethical judgments. Compare high-key lighting.
lighting that produces an image with very little contrast between darks and lights. Its even, flat illumination expresses virtually no opinion about the subject being photographed. Compare low-key lighting.
Lighting, usually positioned behind and in line with the subject and the camera, used to create highlights on the subject as a means of separating it from the background and increasing its appearance of three-dimensionality.
The amount of human and physical resources devoted to the image, including the style of lighting. Production value helps determine the overall style of a film.
piece of curved, polished glass or other transparent material. "Eye" of the camera.
limits the amount of light passing through a lens
An adjustable diaphragm that limits the amount of light passing through the lens of a camera.
The distance from the optical center of a lens to the focal point—the film plane that the cameraperson wants to keep in focus —when the lens is focused at infinity.
short-focal-length lens (wide angle)
makes the subjects on the screen appear farther apart than they actually are
long-focal-length lens (telephoto)
brings distant objects close, makes subjects look closer together than they do in real life, flattens space and depth.
middle-focal-length lens (normal)
create images that correspond to our day-to-day experience of depth and perspective
can shrink or increase the focal length in a continuous motion and simulate the effect of movement.
lenses with fixed focal lengths
depth of field
The distance in front of a camera and its lens, in which objects are in apparent sharp focus.
Any of three theoretical areas—foreground, middle ground, and background—within the frame. See also rule of thirds.
Also known as select focus, shift focus, or pull focus. A change of the point of focus from one subject to another within the same shot. Rack focus guides our attention to a new, clearly focused point of interest while blurring the previous subject in the shot.
the process by which the cinematographer determines what will appear within the borders of the image during a shot
The relationship between the frame's two dimensions: the width of the image related to its height.
extreme long shot
A shot that is typically photographed far enough away from the subject that the subject is too small to be recognized, except through the context we see, which usually includes a wide view of the location as well as a general background information. When it is used to provide such informative context, the
extreme long shot is also referred to as an establishing shot.
A shot whose purpose is to briefly establish the viewer's sense of the setting of a scene—the relationship of figures in that scene to the environment around them. This shot is often, but not always, an extreme long shot. See master shot.
medium long shot
Also known as plan américain or American shot. A shot that shows a character from the knees up and includes most of a person's body.
A shot showing the human body, usually from the waist up.
A shot that often shows a part of the body filling the frame—traditionally a face, but possibly, a hand, eye, or mouth.
A shot that shows a character from the middle of the chest to the top of the head.
A very close shot of a particular detail,
such as a person's eye, a ring on a finger, or a face of a watch.
A shot in which two/three characters appear; ordinarily a medium
shot or medium long shot.
A soundproofed enclosure somewhat larger than a camera, in which the camera may be mounted to prevent its sounds from reaching the microphone.
An approach to composition within the frame that places figures in all three planes (background, middle ground, and foreground) of the frame, thus creating an illusion of depth. Deep-space composition is often, though not always, shot with deep- focus cinematography.
The process of rendering the figures on all planes (background, middle ground, and foreground) of a deep-space composition in focus.
rule of thirds
A principle of composition that enables filmmakers to maximize the potential of the image, balance its elements, and create the illusion of depth. A grid pattern, when superimposed on the image, divides the image into horizontal thirds representing the foreground, middle ground, and background planes, and into vertical thirds that break up those planes into additional elements.
The level and height of the camera in relation to the subject being photographed. The five basic camera angles produce aerial-view shots, Dutch-angle shots, eye-level shots, high-angle shots, and low-angle shots.
Also known as high shot or down shot. A shot that is made with the camera above the action, and typically implies the observer's sense of superiority to the subject being photographed. Compare low-angle shot.
Also known as low shot. A shot that is made with the camera below the action, and typically places the observer in a
position of inferiority. Compare high-angle shot.
Also known as Dutch shot or oblique-angle shot. A shot in which the camera is tilted from its normal horizontal and vertical positions so that it is no longer straight, giving the viewer the impression that the world in the frame is out of balance.
Also known as bird's-eye-view shot. An omniscient point-of-view shot that is taken from an aircraft or extremely high crane and implies that the observer can see all.
The size and placement of a particular object or a part of a scene in relation to the rest—a relationship determined by the type of shot used and the placement of the camera.
The horizontal movement of a camera mounted on the gyroscopic head of a stationary tripod; like the tilt shot, the pan shot is a simple movement with dynamic possibilities for creating meaning.
The vertical movement of a camera mounted on the gyroscopic head of a stationary tripod. Like the pan shot, the tilt shot is a simple movement with dynamic possibilities for creating meaning.
Also known as traveling shot. A shot taken by a camera fixed to a wheeled support called a dolly.
A wheeled support for a camera that permits the cinematographer to make noiseless moving shots.
Slow movement of the camera toward a subject, making the subject appear larger and more significant. Such gradual intensification is commonly used at moments of a character's realization and/or decision, or as a point-of-view shot to indicate the reason for the character's realization. See also zoom in.
Movement of the camera away from the subject, often used for slow disclosure that occurs when an edited succession of images leads from shot A to B to C as they gradually reveal the elements of a scene. Each image expands on the one before, thereby changing its significance with new information.
When the dolly runs on tracks (or when the camera is mounted to a crane or an aerial device such as an airplane, a helicopter, or a balloon).
A shot in which the image is magnified by movement of the camera's lens only, without the camera itself moving. This magnification is the essential difference from the dolly in.
A shot that is created by movement of a camera mounted on an elevating arm (crane) that in turn is mounted on a vehicle that, if shooting requires it, can move on its own power or be pushed along tracks.
A camera suspended from an articulated arm that is attached to a vest strapped to the cameraperson's body, permitting the operator to remain steady during "handheld" shots. The Steadicam removes jumpiness and is now used for smooth, fast, and intimate camera movement.
The most common point of view portrayed in movies. An omniscient POV allows the camera to travel freely within the world of the film, showing us the narrative's events from a godlike, unlimited perspective that no single character in the film could possibly have. Compare group POV and single character's POV.
single character's POV
A point of view that is captured by a shot made with the camera close to the line of sight of one character (or surveillance camera), showing what that character would be seeing of the action. Compare group POV and omniscient POV.
A point of view captured by a shot that shows what a group of characters would see at their level. Compare omniscient POV and single character's POV.
Cinematographic technique that decelerates action on- screen. It is achieved by filming the action at a rate greater than the normal 24 frames per second (fps). When the shot is then played back at the standard 24 fps, cinematic time proceeds at a slower rate than the real action that took place in front of the camera. Compare fast motion.
Cinematographic technique that accelerates action on- screen. It is achieved by filming the action at a rate less than the normal 24 frames per second (fps). When the shot is then played back at the standard 24 fps, cinematic time proceeds at a more rapid rate than the real action that took place in front of the camera. Compare slow motion.
Also known as sequence shot . A shot that can last anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes. Between 1930 and 1960, the average length of a shot was 8 to 11 seconds; today, it's 6 to 7 seconds, signifying that directors are telling their stories with a tighter pace.
Technology for creating images that would be too dangerous, too expensive, or in some cases, simply impossible to achieve with traditional cinematographic materials. The goal of special effects cinematography is generally to create verisimilitude within the imaginative world of even the most fanciful movie.
A special effect that is created in the production camera (the regular camera used for shooting the rest of the film) on the original negative; examples include montage and split screen. Compare computer-generated imagery (CGI ) and laboratory effect.
A special effect created mechanically by an object or event on the set and in front of the camera.
A special effect that is created in the laboratory through processing and printing. Compare computer-generated imagery (CGI) and in-camera effect.
Computer-generated imagery (CGI)
The application of computer graphics to create special effects. Compare in-camera effect and laboratory effect.
Live shooting against a background that is front- or rear- projected on a translucent screen.
Also known as mocap, motion tracking, or performance capture. An elaborate process in which the movements of objects, or actors dressed in special suits, are recorded as data that computers subsequently use to render the motion of CGI characters on-screen.
A visual concept for telling the story.