Looking at Movies - Ch. 6: Cinematography

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Cinematography
process of capturing moving images on film or a digital storage device
Kinesis
means "movement"
Photo
means "light"
Graphia
means "writing"
Cinematographer (DP)
Job is to represent mise-en-scen on film/video
Shot
one uninterrupted run of the camera and the recording on film, video, or other medium resulting from that run
Take
number of times a particular shot is taken
Setup
one camera position and everything associated with it
Cinematographic properties, framing, speed and length, special effects
Director of Photography's responsibilities
Camera crew
one group of technicians concerned with the camera and another concerned with electricity and lighting
Camera operator
does actual shooting
Assistant camerapersons
ACs
First AC
oversees everything having to do with the camera, lenses, supporting equipment, and material on which the movie is being shot
Second AC
prepares the slate, files camera reports, feeds film stock into magazines that are then loaded into the camera
Gaffer
chief electrician
Best boy
1st assistant electrician
Grips
all-around handypersons who work with both the camera crew and electrical crew to get camera and lighting ready for shooting
Film stock
recording medium, black and white or color
Formats
aka gauges; widths measured in mm
Speed
exposure index; how sensitive it is to light
Additive color systems
first methods to add color to black and white film stock
Subtractive color systems
deals with three colors, takes away the unwanted colors from white light
Color grading
aka color correction; the process of altering and enhancing the color of a motion picture with electronic, photochemical, or digital techniques
Digital imaging technician
responsible for managing media capture with postproduction image manipulation in mind
Focusable spotlight
produces hard (mirrorlike) light; can make direct beam or more indirect
Barn doors
Black metal doors on focusable spotlight
Barn doors
cut and shape the light in many ways, producing distinct shadows
Floodlight
produces soft (diffuse) indirect light with little shadows
Softlight
most effective floodlight that produces almost no shadows
Reflector board
one side is hard and smooth, reflecting hard light; other side is soft and textured, providing softer fill lights
Quality of light
hard or soft
Three-point system
lighting system used a lot in Hollywood studio era, used to cast glamorous light on their stars
Key light
main light source, creates hard shadows
Fill light
adjusts depth of shadow
Lighting ratio
Relationship and balance between illumination and shadow, key and fill
Low-key lighting
little/no fill, high ratio, gloomy
High-key lighting
makes image with little contrast
Back light
light behind and above, distinguishes background from subject
Halloween lighting
lighting from underneath character
Production values
amount and quality of human and physical resources devoted to the image
Lens
piece of curved, polished glass or other transparent material, eye of camera
Aperture
adjustable iris that limits the amount of light passing through the lens
Focal length
distance (mm) from optical center of the lens to the focal point on the film stock or other sensor where the image is sharp and clear
Short-focal-length lens
aka wide angle len
Short-focal-length lens
produces wide angle views, appear farther away, may appear to be moving faster
Long-focal-length lens
aka telephoto lens
Long-focal-length lens
bring distant objects close, making subjects look closer together than they do in real life, moving from background toward camera may not seem to move at all
Middle-focal-length lens
aka normal lens
Middle-focal-length lens
takes most shots in feature films, realistic depth and perspective
Zoom lens
aka variable-focal-length lens
Zoom lens
shrink or increase focal length, magnifying image, can look artificial
Depth of field
property of lens that permits the DP to decide what planes will be in focus
Plane
area of the image
Rack focus
change of point of focus from one subject to another
Framing
process by which DP determines what appears within the borders of the image during a shot
Aspect ratio
relationship between frames width and height
Extreme long shot
shot at great distance, subject is wide view of a location
Establishing shot
shot that gives background info
Long shot
shot with full body of one or more characters, almost filling the frame
Medium long shot
shot for one or more characters from the knees up
Medium shot
Shot of character from waist up
Close-up
shot generally of faces
Medium close-up
shot of midchest to top of head
Extreme close-up
shot that focuses on small details
Deep-space composition
total visual composition that places significant info or subjects on all 3 planes of the frame and thus creates illusion of depth
Deep-focus cinematography
uses SFL lens keeping all 3 planes in sharp focus
Rule of thirds
Grid pattern dividing image into horizontal (foreground, middle ground, background) and vertical thirds
Shooting angle
level and height of the came in relation to the subject
Eye-level shot
made from observer's eye level and usually implies camera's attitude toward subject is neutral
High-angle shot
camera is above action and typically implies observer's sense of superiority to the subject
Low-angle shot
camera is below the action and typically places the observer in the position of feeling helpless
Dutch-angle shot
camera is tilted from normal position, giving impression that the world in the frame is out of balance
Aerial-view shot
extreme type of point of view shit taken from aircraft or very high crane, implies observer's omniscience
Scale
the size and placement of a particular object or a part of a scene in relation to the rest
Pan shot
horizontal movement of a camera mounted on gyroscopic head of stationary tripod
Tilt shot
vertical movement of a camera mounted on the gyroscopic head of a stationary tripod
Dolly shot
taken by camera fixed to dolly
Tracking shot
dolly shot that moves smoothly with the action when the camera is mounted on a wheeled vehicle that runs on a set of tracks
Crane shot
made from a camera mounted on an elevating arm that is, in turn, mounted on a vehicle capable of moving under its own power
Steadicam
device attached to operator's body, steadying camera
Omniscient POV
shows what omniscient camera sees, usually from high angle
Single character's POV
shot is made with camera close to the line of sight of a character
Group POV
shows us what a group of characters would see at their level
Long take
can run as long as there is sufficient media in camera to record
Special effects
technology that creates images that would be too dangerous, expensive, or simply impossible to achieve with traditional cinematographic materials
In-camera effects
created in production camera
Mechanical effects
create objects or events mechanically on the set and in front of the camera
Laboratory effects
created on fresh piece of film stock
Computer-generated imaging
application of computer graphics to create special effects
Motion capture
specific CGI effect in which a live-action subject wears a body suit fitted with reflective markers that enables a computer to record each movement as digital images
Cinematographic plan
visual concept for telling the story
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