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What is cinematography?

Cinematography is the art of using, moving and positioning the camera and camera lens, deciding what and how thing appears within the camera frame, and how those things should be lit. 

That’s a lot to take in. 

Simply put, cinematography is the art of using a video camera and filming footage.

It’s important to think of film as a visual language. And, like a written language doesn’t just tell readers basic important, the camera doesn’t just show audience information (although that is part of it).

Good writing, for example, makes a reader feel as well as understand. Likewise, cinematography helps create mood, feeling, emotion. This is all done through camera shots, movement, and angles, as well as framing, composition, and lighting.

If some or a lot of this language is new to you, don’t worry; we’ve set out a selection of cinematography skills and techniques in an order where you can slowly but surely build your skills and confidence when it comes to setting up camera shots and filming footage.


2.1 Framing, camera angles and movement

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2.2 Composition and drawing the viewer's attention

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