What is cinematography?

We explain what cinematography is and what this artistic technique implies. In addition, the history and characteristics of cinematography.

  1. What is cinematography?

Cinematography, also called cinema , is the technique and art of capturing, storing and retransmitting moving images , often provided with a hearing aid. This process is usually carried out with a video camera (or similar support, such as smart phones) and is closely related to photography , both technically and creatively.

Cinematography and its derivatives (such as television) play a fundamental role in the contemporary world and the idea of communication that we handle, according to which everything is filmed and reproduced by others a few miles away or even years later. The latter responds to a very central idea in the imaginary of humanity, which is to overcome the passage of time : thanks to cinematography it is now possible to see again deceased people on video or events that occurred on the other side of the world.

The cinematographic technique consists of capturing, in a very similar way to the photographic one, an image projected in beams of light on a photosensitive surface that acts as a receiver.

There the images are fixed and in the video camera they are compiled at the rate of many per minute, generating when they are reproduced in rapid sequence an appearance of movement . In fact, if we slowed a film screening, we would see that the reproduction of the images resembles a slide carousel.

Of course, the film industry takes this process to very high margins of effectiveness and adds sound , special effects product of the computerized or digital intervention of the image, and a series of additions that result in a film or film , such and as we understand it today. A large number of professionals, technicians and artists are involved in this process.

  1. History of the cinematography

hollywood - history

Initially it was considered as a novel form of photography, since at the beginning of the twentieth century there were only silent short films . However, the refinement of photographic techniques and innovation in terms of plans, color films and the subsequent incorporation of recorded sound (previously shown the dialogue in writing in intermediate vignettes), forever revolutionized the conception of film cinema humanity.

During the nineteenth century there were great movie precursors that deserve to be named: the Lumière brothers, Alice Guy and Georges Méliès. The latter would be important as it would film the first fiction short films in history, using actors and scenographic material.

In 1919 Hollywood would appear , becoming the mecca of independent American cinema and in its competition with other national and international distributors and producers, the importance that cinematography would have for humanity, in terms of information, entertainment and even preservation of precious moments .

  1. Characteristics of the cinematography

The cinematography arises under the idea of ​​being able to record and transmit reality , since unlike photography it can reproduce the movement (and even the sound). However, cinematography is not necessarily true to reality , even when aspiring to produce a documentary or journalistic report, which requires objectivity.

Every cinematographic recording is a montage : an arbitrary arrangement of the recorded sequences that, seen at a stretch, acquire logic , meaning and credibility. So much so, that the first projections of the Lumière brothers in France, in which a train was shown coming in front of the viewer, caused an instinctive fear in the public that made them leave the room terrified, even though they were not in danger real.

In fact, the films that we usually watch in the cinema are not shown to us in the exact order of their recording, but in the convenient order for their assembly, that is, the order of the story told.

  1. Examples of cinematography

hollywood movies

The examples of cinematography abound in our days. Any commercial film distributed by the American studios in Hollywood, any artistic short film awarded at the Cannes European festival and even a detergent advertising broadcast on television, are examples of the assembly and filming work of cinematography.

  1. Film career

The professional cinematography career is complex, since a multidisciplinary team intervenes in the making of a film that faces the different technical, creative and logistical challenges that this implies.

This means that a film student should prepare for a series of trades ranging from director (who coordinates the team and makes driving decisions), producer (who is responsible for obtaining the resources to make the film, including actors and locations) , screenwriter (who writes the story or sequence of shots to be made), cameraman , etc.

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