JOB DESCRIPTION OF A CINEMATOGRAPHER IN SPECIFIC CONDITIONS

 

 

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Cinematography is an important aspect of visual storytelling. There are challenges and tasks with every new film. In every decade the application and syllabus of cinematography has changed. For instance, In the 90s, the Jurassic park series set a new precedent in cinematography and in the millennium, the Lord of the rings trilogy and Peter Jackson’s king Kong introduced new angles in cinematography.

Since Last 50 years the job description of a cinematographer has widened and demands innovation.

With the inception of CGI technology, the cinematographer’s abilities are on test. The right mixture of tangible and realistic visuals with appropriate use of CGI is a collaborative effort a cinematographer must understand.

The write up is to help aspiring cinematographer to understand the various tasks involved while filming under different conditions.

Task of cinematographer while filming the Dwarf Characters :

The characters in dwarf movies demand paying attention to every detail with regards to the physicality, size, close ups, make up, proportion of the character, their body language and facial expressions. All these details reflect the director’s vision and narrative and demand pleasing aesthetic sense from the cinematographer. Shooting from a low angle and the right proximity angle, apt camera angles to create illusions and highlighting characters’ facial expressions using closeup shots can help emphasizing the Dwarf sizes.

Responsibilites of cinematographer while filming aerial scenes

Aerial film shooting are both a risky and thrilling business. It all depends upon the correct timing and proper communication with the team involved. Here are some of the important steps a cinematographer must keep in mind while filming aerial scenes:

Safety of everyone involved

The first and foremost thing is to ensure all equipment is secure, following necessary protocols to ensure safety of the team involved in aerial shooting and last but not the least to keep a tab on suitable weather conditions to shoot under proper light.

Clear communication with the pilot

In order to shoot with right angles , the cinematographer must communicate with the pilot of the plane,helicopter,drone or other flying equipment to coordinate the right movements of the scene.

Careful preplanning and thoughtful execution

Aerial scenes shooting requires thorough planning and zero error approach. This is because you have only a limited amount of time and resources to capture the aerial shots. Here the cinematographer must closely work with the director and the unit and explain them clearly about his vision. A real time improvisation in filming the aerial sequences is a risky business.

Human and machine backup

The cinematographer must know how to use equipment like the drone, helicopters, parachutes etc., aptly to capture a pair sequence. He should also keep plan b ready if there is any error occurring from a human or machine.

Responsibilites of cinematographer while filming a period film

The importance of the era is to be considered when filming any periodic drama. Every periodic drama has a distinct feel in terms of the infrastructure, costumes, food, language etc. The cinematographer must comply with the director’ vision.

The most essential element for a periodic film is :

Lighting

With the right amount of lighting helps in creating that periodic ambience. The lighting should not disturb the adequacy of the images. The final output must reflect visible and clear images.

Colour grading

Colour grading reflects the time period of the film. For instance, in the old times there was no electricity and people mostly used lamps and candles. Colour grading here can be used by introducing the right amount of blue colour in the night. Cinematographer must do a detailed study of colour palates to be used and the film’s period.

Placement and composition

Placing the camera in right angles, the speed of the camera on trolley or in hand, actors positioning while taking high emotional shots. The use of wide-angle and long and static shots can actually enhance the mood of the period film.

Responsibilites 
of cinematographer while filming in the forest

Filming scenes in the forest is a challenging task because the weather conditions constantly keep on changing. Nature is a dynamic and ever-changing phenomenon. If you are clear here then you will understand the changing lights of the sun and darkness. For instance , if you want to shoot close ups and wide-angle shots of a Lion then you must place the equipment with respect to changing sunlight, time. Also, safety of crew members is important while shooting in a Jungle.

Another important aspect is to manage sound . It is pertinent to place all sound equipment at a place which would not disturb the natural flow and mood of the scene.

Responsibilites  of cinematographer while 

filming car chase sequences

Car chase sequences are not easy to shoot. It requires a lot of detailing and visual accuracy. The scenes should give a crisp and clear output. To establish the geography of the chase is one of the most important and challenging tasks in car chase sequences. It involves five aspects:

1. The point from where cars are coming

2. The point where are they going

3. And how they are interacting with each other

4. Steady camera settings while capturing the high-speed action of the chase with explosions

5. Use of devices such as gimbals and steady cams for achieving stabilization.

Use of different camera angles can be more creative and a good visual treat for the viewers. Like for example shots from the inside of the car can elaborate passengers and drivers’ mentality and overhead shots can depict the scale of the scenes.

Responsibilites  of cinematographer while 

filming the horror sequences

Filming the horror scene requires understanding of creating visual mystery on the screen and utmost understanding with the background music. An effective horror scene is an outcome of appropriate sound, light and camera work. The cinematographer should be well versed with the psychology of fear and how to use camera angle, light and shadows.

Use of Wide-angle and close ups camera shots

Wide angle shots in a horror sequence depicts vulnerability of the characters and helps in creating mystery and suspense. Whereas close ups shots enhance characters fearfulness and anxiety.

The cinematographer must be aware of the term’s suspense, chaos, confusion and tension when filming the horror scenes.

Responsibilites  of cinematographer while filming in the snow-clad regions

Mostly , thrilling, horror, suspense, adventurous and action movies make use of the snow element in their movies. Whatever may be the subject, the task of the cinematographer is to make the audience believe that they are present in the snow-clad regions. The most important task here is to keep the balance between the light and darkness. If it’s a night sequence then usage of appropriate blue light and focus light is essential.

Wide angle lens can capture the vastness of a snowy location, narrow aperture would help in maximizing depth of field and make sure that the focus is in all the elements of the scene.

Shooting in sub-zero temperatures, cold weather demands usage of protection of equipment, because in the low temperatures there are chances of battery and other equipment malfunction.


With the right equipment and expertise, a cinematographer can create magic of the winter wonderland on the screen.

Responsibilites of cinematographer while filming scenes in the desert

Filming in the desert mostly does not favour the cinematographer. Due to the unfriendly weather conditions, harsh lightning conditions, it becomes difficult and challenging to shoot the desert region.

It is essential for the cinematographer to choose the right set of equipment which can withstand the unpredictable desert weather conditions. The equipment selected should be light and portable if you want to sustain in the desert’s low moisture region.

The cinematographer must understand the topography of the desert. He should survey the area to avoid any mishap before shooting. Using different filters, camera angles and lenses can enhance the beauty of the desert. Creativity, teamwork and patience is the key to shooting in these challenging terrains of desert.

Responsibilites of cinematographer while filming scenes with VFX and CGA technology

Most of the films these days used VFX and CGA technology in their films. As a cinematographer you must develop patience and good listening skills especially working with the visual effects team. A keen observation, understanding the technique and implementing the same can create win-win situations for all those whom a cinematographer is collaborating with.

Another important aspect here is to position the actors correctly when shooting in a VFX studio. The cinematographer must ensure that the actors are fully integrated and their body movement and facial expressions are in sync with the elements of VFX set up. Any shortcomings with the requirement can affect the final digital output.

Responsibilites of the cinematographer while shooting scenes underwater

Shooting underwater is both risky and a daunting task for the cinematographer. The first and foremost responsibility of the cinematographer is to use equipment which are waterproof and cam sustain in the locations where water is involved.

Three important things a cinematographer must ensure while shooting underwater :

1. Safety of the crew and equipment

2. Scouting of the location before shooting

3. Whether conditions

Last but not the least , the role of cinematographer in filmmaking is both challenging and creative. He must acquire new skills along with traditional methods to create thrilling and engaging scenes that give audiences a stunning visual experience and keep them on the edge of their seats.

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