Behind the cameras of your favorite film, you’ll find the cinematographer. They control every camera, every shot, it’s not an easy position. Learn more about the talent and passion it takes to be a cinematographer.

The cinematographer controls every camera onset of a film.
The cinematographer controls every camera onset of a film.
Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

What is a Cinematographer?

A cinematographer (also known as the director of photography) is the person who controls the cameras on the set of a film. Even though they might not be the person touching the cameras (that falls to the camera people), they have the final say. They decide on framing, angles and camera movement.

This time-consuming job controls the outcome of the film. They are almost as important as the director. That’s why, when choosing a cinematographer, directors looks for skill and passion. They need someone that’s as dedicated to the film as they are.

The director and the cinematographer work hand-in-hand. The director’s vision needs to shine through. It’s up to the cinematographer to do that. They monitor every camera. They also work on the film until the very end to achieve the desired look.

What exactly does a Cinematographer do?
  • Select Equipment
  • Decide on Angles, Framing, Light
  • Train Crew to Use Equipment
  • Attend Rehearsals
  • Maintain the Mood/ Theme of the Film

  • Test Shots
  • Use Camera Movement
  • Approve Set-ups
  • Work with the Editing Team
  • Stay up-to-date on Camera Training

For more information on what a cinematographer does, visit better team.

How does the Cinematographer Change the Film?

Mood. Story. Shots. It all comes down to the cinematographer. The director can only do so much to get their vision on film. The cinematographer’s knowledge of cameras and film has to come into play.

The cinematographer has an array of tools to help them make the film come to life. Cameras. Filters. Monitors. Special Effects. It’s almost a science as much as an art.

One of the cool things about cinematographers is that you can pick their work out, just like directors. Their job controls every shot. So any artistic choice the cinematographer makes throughout their career shows. Maybe they use a specific color theme, or a favorite camera movement. Pay attention to the cinematography next time you sit down to watch a film.