Practical training for cinematographers
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Practical Training for Cinematographers. (Autumn Term Orientation) – Year 11 News Journalism & Broadcasting Association. Anything highlighted in yellow , you should write down in your presenter’s notebook!. Your Career In The Media Starts Here.

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Practical training for cinematographers

Practical Training for Cinematographers

(Autumn Term Orientation) – Year 11 News Journalism

& Broadcasting Association

Practical training for cinematographers

Anything highlighted in yellow, you should write down in your presenter’s notebook!

Your career in the media starts here

Your Career In The Media Starts Here

  • Cinematography is a very in-depth role that requires much research and practical training.

  • Ultimately as a cinematographer, you refine your own style of the art and therefore you master it because it is your own. To get there you will need to make comparisons and inspiration links with other cinematographers you wish to follow.

  • Following is good but try to start your OWN trend.

  • As a cinematographer on the team, you will carry out the job mainly as a cameraman, equipment manager and special cinematic device operators such as the dolly or crane jib.

What s cinematography all about

What’s Cinematography all about?

  • Cinematography is basically a fancy term for “Filmmaking”. More specifically Cinematography is the art of Filmmaking which includes both technical and primarily artistic aspects of documenting an event or the story of a film.

  • The Department of our cameramen is known as The Cinematography Department.

  • As a Cinematographer, your job may differ from a number of different services we offer;

  • Filming Lunchtime Events (Enterprise, Vertical Sports for example…)

  • Filming Independent Projects (Lunchtime, After School Events)

  • Camera Operator for Events Broadcast Live (PMC, Christmas Concert…)

Required skills cinematographers are expected to know the following skills

Required Skills: Cinematographersare expected to know the following skills

  • How to use an SLR camera fully (photographic and movie mode functions)– Basic Skills

  • How to use an SLR’s manual mode for more control over filming (Advanced Skills) – Things like Manual Focus, Zoom, Exposure, Aperture.

  • Shots & Framing (such as Close-Up, Wide Angle, Cutaway) and WHEN to use them and the EFFECTIVENESS of each one per situation.

  • Video Formats (also different camera types)

  • Resolution – Pixel Sizes and Frame Rates

  • Shooting Interviews (Preparation, Techniques, Sound, Lighting, Editing, etc..)

  • Different Cinematic Equipment + their uses

Tips on becoming a top cinematographer

Tips on becoming a top Cinematographer

  • 1 . be proactive

  • no one can push you harder than yourself so take the initiative to think a step ahead when you arrive on location and assess the scene. what kind of light do you have, what color space will you be working in and what camera support would best fit the scene?

  • 2. be mindful

  • think slow, act fast. shooters just starting out often roll all the time in fear of missing something but by doing so you’re not making a conscious decision about what you’re shooting and therefore actually get less out of the scene. take the time to think about what’s going on and how to capture it, and THEN hit record. you will be more focused and……less distracted, getting more relevant imagery out of every scene. even when there’s nothing happening you can always be looking to make the light better or find a better angle.

Tips on becoming a top cinematographer1

Tips on becoming a top Cinematographer

  • 3. be a storyteller

  • you are not a camera operator, you are a storyteller. that means you should know your craft and the equipment that goes with it. we will often discuss the look and feel we’re going for but it’s up to each cinematographer to decide what shutter, aperture, iso and lens to use. there are a million things things your DP needs to think about and the last thing they need to do is tell you what your camera settings should be. if they have a specific shutter speed they want it will be communicated to you but as a cinematographer you need to be comfortable with your gear and how to best utilize it to further the story.

Tips on becoming a top cinematographer2

Tips on becoming a top Cinematographer

  • 4. be curious

  • know the big picture. the DP will often work with the director (or the lead shooter will know the couple from a wedding) and come up with an approach and as a cinematographer it’s crucial for you to understand that as well. don’t just show up and shoot independently of the team but inquire about the story, look and feel so that you are a more informed shooter. all of that should play a part into how you shoot so if you don’t know, ask. if you see something that doesn’t make sense, get clarification. not knowing is not an excuse.

Tips on becoming a top cinematographer3

Tips on becoming a top Cinematographer

  • 5. be efficient

  • it’s important to work hard, but also to work smart. don’t waste your time repeatedly doing something you know well, but rather take the time to tackle your weaknesses. if you struggle with lighting pull out all your lights and give yourself scenes to light, or go outside and shoot in various conditions so you’re more comfortable shooting in any kind of light. if something doesn’t work do something to change now, don’t wait for next week or next month. that way you aren’t making the same mistakes over and over again.

Tips on becoming a top cinematographer4

Tips on becoming a top Cinematographer

  • 6. be ruthless

  • this is huge. lose the ego and be ruthless in everything in do. before you roll make sure you are happy with the light, the color, the composition etc – if you don’t like it, fix it – again don’t record just to record. when you roll be cognizant of what’s going on and adjust if necessary. in post, if it doesn’t serve the story cut it. just because you shot it doesn’t mean it’s good enough to use so cut all filler footage, or things that are just mediocre. don’t give yourself a pass because you’re new or because things didn’t happen as planned. if you’re ruthless with your shooting i guarantee you and your work will improvement dramatically the next time you pick up a camera. you can’t settle for good if you want to be great.

Tips on becoming a top cinematographer5

Tips on becoming a top Cinematographer

  • 7. be aware

  • be focused, be present. think about what are you doing that you shouldn’t be and what aren’t you doing that you should be. do the centerpieces and shoes even matter at this wedding or should you be following the groom’s dog? what kind of mood does the scene have and should you be getting three shot coverage or just hold the shot to let it breathe? always keep your eyes and ears open and take it all in. you can be a much better storyteller and get so much more just by being aware of your surroundings.

Tips on becoming a top cinematographer6

Tips on becoming a top Cinematographer

  • 8. be confident

  • this is probably one of the biggest things you can do for yourself. it’s not about being stubborn or arrogant but about making conscious decisions while shooting and being firm and assertive about it. the process may be difficult for some but learning to be confident in your choices is so important. as a female who is quite small it can be a bit intimidating to shoot menacing football players who are easily three times my size. naturally it would be easier to shoot from far away with a longer lens, but it’s an emotional game and the feeling in the huddle and locker rooms are very raw so i had to get right in there next to them. it changes everything when you carry yourself with confidence – you will be stronger, your crew will feed off it and even the talent will feel more comfortable knowing you’re at the top of your game. you have to believe in yourself and if you trust that, good things will happen.



Be Proactive

  • Assess the scene, what kind of light do you have, colour space, camera support/equipment.

  • Decide what you’re going to shoot before hitting record.

  • You aren’t a camera operator, you’re a storyteller

  • Know the big picture.

  • It’s important to work hard, but also to work smart.

  • Don’t record just to record.

  • Do what you should be doing, not what you shouldn’t

  • Be firm and be assertive, do what you must do.

Be Mindful

Be A Storyteller

Be Curious

Be Efficient

Be Ruthless

Be Aware

Be Confident

Useful links

Useful Links






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