The Shoot – Set Etiquette for Cinematographers

by David Stump

As the cinematographer, you drive three departments: camera, lighting, and grip. It is your job to know at all times what is up next for all three departments. By staying in close communication with the first assistant director, the cinematographer can always be one step ahead of the director in setting up the next shot,…

FIGURE 4.3 This sequence of shots about diversity in golf opens with (1) an ELS to establish the topic and setting, then uses (2) an MS of a young player to reveal the wide spectrum of golfers, followed by (3) a CU of a club hitting a ball, with a cut to (4) an MS of a golfer finishing his swing. Then (5) a canted angle of a golfer lining up a putt adds variety, as does (6) a low-angle shot and (7) a high-angle shot, followed by (8) a CU of a putt, then (9) an ECU of the universal frustration of the ball almost going in but not quite, ending with (10) an ELS as another golfer pushes on.

The Long Shot – Beginning the Story

by Norman Medoff and Edward Fink

The long shot (LS) is sometimes called the wide shot (WS) and is also known as the establishing shot, the master shot, or the cover shot. It is generally the first shot a photographer should take. It is the most important shot in terms of establishing the setting and action. Typically, it shows the subject…


Cinema Raw – What’s Lost in Compressed and What’s Gained in Raw

by Kurt Lancaster

Canon 5D Mark III Compressed vs. Raw Magic Lantern, a software devised by hackers, created a code that gets placed on the memory card of the camera (and engages when you activate the firmware update of the camera—although it doesn’t actually alter or update Canon’s firmware). In essence it embeds a software interface that allows…

Single_16-19 - FEAT

Creating Movement – 3 Basic Ways

by Robert B. Musburger and Michael R. Ogden

Even though video is a moving art form, the individual frame is essentially a still photograph. The manner in which each picture is framed can add to or subtract from its perceived movement. You can create movement in either video or film in three basic ways: by moving the subject, by moving the camera, and…


The Tools of Location Scouting

by David Stump

Depending on the budget and schedule, location scouting can begin far in advance of the shoot, or just as the shoot is about to begin. Obviously the more time one has to react to the circumstances dictated by the locations, the better, but any lead time is better than none. The Tools of Location Scouting…

Rely on auto-functions when executing tricky camera moves.

Shut Up and Shoot! Manual vs Auto Functions: What’s So Bad About Auto?

by Anthony Q Artis

Use Manual Controls A primary difference between pro and amateur shooters is that the pros know how to manually control their camera image and many amateurs simply let the camera decide how the shot should look and sound by relying heavily on the camera’s auto controls. The hectic and unpredictable nature of documentary shooting makes…


BlackMagic Cinema Camera and the Canon C100

by Kurt Lancaster

I had the opportunity to shoot a segment of the Carpetbag Brigade’s “Callings,” a performance art piece performed on stilts. I enlisted one of my students, Kent Wagner, to shoot their rehearsal and performance on the Canon C100, while I shot with a Blackmagic Cinema Camera. What follows is a discussion of the comparison between…

Figure 1.1 The spectrum of visible color .

A primer on digital cinematography

by David Stump

Cinematography begins with light. Cinematography is the art of manipulating, capturing and recording motion pictures on a medium such as film, or in the case of digital cinematography, on an image sensor such as a charge-coupled device (CCD) or complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) chip set. In order to understand how digital photography works, it…

Photo by Chardayyy

The Problem With 4K

by Anthony Q Artis

I think the significance of 4K shooting has been somewhat over-hyped by many indie filmmakers. Don’t get me wrong it’s very cool and a huge leap in the state of the art that we can capture video at such an incredible resolution—4× that of standard HD video. So it is a big deal . ….

Photo by SPDP

Lens Focal Length: What to Use When

by Anthony Q Artis

A sometimes overlooked, but major factor of composition is your choice of lens focal length. DSLRs and pro video cameras have removable lenses and can accept prime (fixed focal length) lenses, while other video cameras have a zoom lens permanently affixed to the camera. To adjust focal length on any zoom lens you simply zoom…

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MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Focal Press authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.