This is the first in a series of #centurycinema101 posts where I try to dig deeper into the finer points of cinematography.
When you go and sit in the movie theater, you see cinematography come to life. It unfolds from scene to scene showing how to director used tricks to create an entire story. Each scene has a story behind it where the director purposely did things to interact with the audience. It is a big reason for why they get paid the big bucks. It is an art where you have to be persistent as a director or the scene won’t justify the message being relayed to the audience.
Some of the best directors have suggested advice such as the tips below for what you should be doing.
Subconscious Control Through Lighting
Ever seen a sad scene and how the lights are manipulated to convey that particular emotion. The lights start to darken and everything becomes grim. It is done on purpose and is not an accident. It lets the audience know this is a sad scene/moment in the movie.
They are then able to cause that emotion to spark inside the audience and make the words and actions in the movie look even sadder. It is important to play with the subconscious mind that uses light as triggers.
If you are hoping to get good shots as a cinematographer, you will need spatial awareness. It is not just about what is in front of the camera, but what is behind it as well. You need space to move around and get the high, low, and middle shots that are needed.
You might not be planning to take high or low shots, but anything can happen and you do want that option in your back pocket. It will give you more control and as a cinematographer, spatial awareness can do a lot for your movie.
If there is one movie-related issue people do end up not know what to do about, it would be the details. How do you get those transitions to flow? How do you get the words to be said right to evoke emotions that can push the story? How can you make a scene look even better through suggestive changes?
The cinematography is not easy, but you end up making it even harder when you don’t look at the finer points of the craft. If you looked, it would lead to movies that are up for awards in the end.