The Five C's of Cinematography - Motion Picture Filming Techniques - [PDF Document] (2022)







    CONTINUITY . 67CUTIING . . 14 7

    (Video) Ultimate Guide to Camera Angles: Every Camera Shot Explained [Shot List, Ep. 3]

    CLOSE-UPS . 173


    CREDITS. . . 250



    While production of motion pictures has changed considerably since Iphotographed Th e Perils of Pauline in 1914, some aspects - particu larlythose involving story telling - arc still the same as they were half acentury ago.

    Motion pictu res arc faster paced for today's more sophisticated au di-ences . Television dramas now introduce the charac ters , se t the scene andes tab lish story line in a few minutes. To accomplish this , ea rly films tooka reel or more . Today's uses of the mo vin g ca mera - especially helicop tershots - an d wide-screen form ats permit more con tinuous filming withfewer editoria l cu ts. Modern filmin g trends are moving away from the-a trical effec ts. and toward morc natu ra l ligh ting and ca mera trea tment,Involving the audience more deeply wit h the screen story. Th at is good!

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    Motion picture production was vas tly differen t in 1908 , wh en it wasmy good fortune as a boy of 14 to become assis ta nt - or "camera boy" ashe was then called - to Fre d J. Balshofcr , a pioneer motion picture producer , director and ca mera man. Mr. Balshofer initiated many filmin gtechniqu es - such as strict adherence to directiona l continuity - whichhave become accepted produc tion standards . The following year I wentto work for Edwin S. Por ter - who in 1903 had produced what is nowconsidered the first story film - T he Great T rain Robbery. Ea rly audiencesreco gnized these story pictures as res embling stage plays - because oftheir con tinuity , which was a great advance over the animated movi esnapsho ts presented u ntil then .

    This year marks the golden anniversary of the release of T he Birth ofa Nati on, produ ced and direc ted by D. W. Griffith , the acknowledged orig-inator of screen syntax - as we now know it.

    Yet, des pite the in fluence on cinematographe rs everywhere exerted bythese ou tstanding pioneers - and by many com petent cin ematographersand directors of today an d yesterday - not one of these masters of our

  • Mr. Miller is a three-rime AcademyAward winner for Cinematograp hy. He isa past President of the American Societyof Cinematograp he rs . and its presen tTreasurer and 1\1useum Curator; AssociateEditor of the American CinematographerManual and Chairman of the A.S .C. Pub-lications Committee. Me. Miller is an hon-orary member of Delta Kappa Alpha cin-ema fraternity . and active in many tech-nical and cultural areas of the motion pic-ture industry.

    craft has ever wri tten in clear words just how the ca mera can be used togrea ter advantage in recording screen stories. Th e only way to learn toshoot bette r pictu res was to serve an appren ticeship un der a competen tteacher - or to study films and try to figure ou t how they were made.

    To my knowledge this is the first book that ha s attempted to trans la tethe many in tangibles of film making into defini tive explanations. In myopinion , no one is more qua lified to wri te th is book than Joe Mascelli.Mascelli is a rarity. He combines the wide experien ce of a working camera-man - who films both thea trical and non-theatr ical pictures - with a vastknowledge of all ph ases of motion picture production , along with thedesire to instruct and inspire. He is an astu te student of motion picturehistory - particular ly cinematograph y - and has researched, stud ied andanalyzed the work of motion picture photograph ers, from Billy Bitzer toLeon Sham roy. He has the unique ability to clarify shooting techniques forthose who find the complexities of motion picture production mystifying.

    I believe th at thi s book will be truly valu able to cinematographers oflimited experience , and particularly to students studying motion pictureproduction . By understanding and applying the principles presented inthis book, the reader will be able to visua lize a story in motion pictureterm s. For , above all, it is the power of visua lization th at makes the suc-cessful cinematographer.

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    Read ing the script of THE FIVE C's was for me both in teresting an dthought provoking. I hope you find thi s book as stimulating and tn form a-uve as I have.


    In 1928 , when Eastm an Kodak introduced 16mm Kodacolor - a well-known physicist remarked : "It's impossible - but not quite!~

    On many occasions du ring the years devoted to preparation and writingof this book, I have felt that definin g, exp laining , clarifying and graphicallyillustra ting motion picture filming techniques in an easy -to -understandway - is impossible - but not quite.

    Most professional s instinctively know the right way to film the sub ject- hut seem unable to explain just how they do it . They h ave learned whatnot to do, eit he r from past experience or by serving as appren tices undercapable technician s. However - alth ough the)' arc em ploying the rules con-stan tly!- few can explain the ru les by which motion pictures are filmed .

    Many cameramen - part icularly tho se shooting non-theatrical pictures-cbecomc so involved in the technical aspects of movie making that theytend to forget that the primary purpose of a motion picture is to tell anintcrcsun q story! There is much marc to shooting motion pic tures thanthreading a roll of film in a camera, and exposing the picture correc tly.

    Th e aim s of this book are to mak e the reader aware of the m anyfactors involved in tellin g a story with film . and to show how theatricalfilming techniques can be successfully applied to non-thea trical pict ures .Th ere is no need for tremendous budgets to shoot a motion picture prop-erly l The same profession al ru les may be successfully ap plied to a docu -mentary film report.

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    The definitions , rules and recommendations in thi s book are no t meantto be absolute. Most of these precepts have gradually developed throughthe years , and have become routine procedures. In a few ca ses, I have hadto di scover the hidden rule by \v-hich cert ain types of filming is accom-plished . I have also had to invent names - such as Action and T riple-Take Technique - for definition and expl anation of shooting method s.

    The production of a motion pic ture , par ticularly a non-the atrical film .can be a highly personal undertaki ng. It is up to the indi vidu al to accept.cha nge or twist the rul e to fit his particula r purpose. Filming methods arecon tinuously changing. Th e so-called "new wave" has shattered manyestablished techniques - with some suc cess . The coming generations offilm makers may find some of today's standard filming method s d even obsolete. Film prod uction can use changes - bu t they shouldbe changes for the better. Changes that involve the audience more deeply 'in the screen story are construc tive and always welcome.

    It is impor tan t. however , that ambitious movie makers first learn therules before bre aking them. Learn the right way to film , learn the accept-able method s, learn how audie nces become involved in the screen story -and what viewers have been conditioned to accept through years of moviegoing . Experiment ; be bold ; shoot in an un orthodox fashion ! But . firstlearn the correct way. don't simply do it a "new" way - which . very likely.was new thirty yea rs ago ! - bec ause of a lack of knowledge of properfilmin g techniques.

    Learn to know your audience. Place yourself in the viewer's posit ion .

  • Be truly objective in judging a new method or idea. Try it. If it plays _ ifit is acceptable - and the audience comprehends and enjoys it - use it .If it simply confuses , teases or even dis tracts the audience from the narra-tive - discard it!

    Experiences in both theatrical and non-theatrical film making has ledme to the conclusion that the documentary - in-plant, militar y, ind ustrialand educational - cameraman working with a sma ll crew , of ten on remotelocations, without a de tai led sc ript or other bene fits of a studio prod uc tiondepartmen t. mu st have knowledge and experience reac hing fa r beyondthat of a tech nical nature . He mu st of ten act as a camera man / direc torand later edi t his own film. His work ma y cover everyth ing from conceiv-ing and prod ucing the picture - to putting it on the screen !

    Thi s book will , I sincerely hope , provide suc h ind ividu als with grea terinsigh t in to the many ways in which a movie narrative may be filmed _with the ass urance that the picture can be edited in to an in teres ting ,coherent , smooth-flowing screen story.

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    Th e serious studen t should also consider a sixth "C" - Chea ting _which can not be learned from this or any other book! Cheating is the ar tof rearran ging people, objects or actions, during filming or editing , sothat the screen effec t is enhanced . Only experience will teach the camera-man and film editor wh en and how to cheat. The secret of effective ch eat-ing is in knowing how to make changes without the audience being awareof the cheat. The only crime in cheating is in getting cau ght! A player'sheight may be chea ted higher in a two-shot ; or the corner of a lamp m aybe cheated out of a close-up; or portions of the even t may be chea ted ou tof the final edited picture- for a better screen result . Th e beginn er may beeither afraid to cheat, or he may chea t too much. Th e experienced tech -nician knows exactly how far cheating can be carried before the viewer isaware of a change.

    Th is volume is not intended to be a means to an en d - bu t a beginning !My purpose is to make you aware of the many facets of movie making.With that atti tude you may analyze any filming situation ,


What are the five C's of Cinematography explain? ›

The 5 Cs are Camera angles, Continuity, Cutting, Close-ups, and Composition.

What are the 5 components of cinematography? ›

Any aspiring film makers should be aware of what enormous part cinematography and editing play in the making of a film.
  • Camera Angles. The camera angle is vital to a stories narrative and the camera positioning helps to drive the story forward. ...
  • Continuity. ...
  • Cutting. ...
  • Close-ups. ...
  • Composition.
26 May 2017

What are the 5 basic shots used in video production? ›

The basic types of shots in a film are:
  • The extreme wide shot.
  • The wide, also known as a long shot.
  • The full shot.
  • The medium shot.
  • The medium close-up shot.
  • The close-up shot.
  • The extreme close-up shot.
  • The establishing shot.
18 Mar 2019

What are the main concepts of cinematography? ›

Cinematography comprises all on-screen visual elements, including lighting, framing, composition, camera motion, camera angles, film selection, lens choices, depth of field, zoom, focus, color, exposure, and filtration.

What does CS mean in camera shots? ›

CS: Cowboy Shot. MCS: Medium Close Shot. WS: Wide Shot. EWS: Extreme Wide Shot. FS: Full Shot.

What is composition in cinematography? ›

Composition refers to how the elements on screen (actors, scenery, props, etc.) appear in respect to each other and within the frame itself. In the earliest days of cinema, film composition basically mimicked that of a stage play. Directors staged all actors and important information to face the audience.

What cinematography means? ›

cinematography, the art and technology of motion-picture photography. It involves such techniques as the general composition of a scene; the lighting of the set or location; the choice of cameras, lenses, filters, and film stock; the camera angle and movements; and the integration of any special effects.

Why is cinematography important in filmmaking? ›

Much of the impact of a film or television show is visual. Cinematography represents that visual aspect, whether through the camera and lens choice, angle width, aspect ratio, or other visual elements. The impact of certain shots also plays a significant role in the overall feel of a film.

What makes good cinematography? ›

What makes good cinematography? Cinematography is the art of visual storytelling, and good cinematography tells the story effectively. That encompasses many aspects of the actual art form, including camera placement, lighting, the grammar of film and knowing it well, and understanding the script and the story.

How many shots are there in cinematography? ›

There are three different types of basic camera shots which include: the close-up, medium shot, and the long shot.

How can I improve my cinematography skills? ›

Top 10 Cinematography Tips:
  1. So get out there are and start shooting. ...
  2. Get out and find your style. ...
  3. Start building relationships now. ...
  4. Be true to your inner voice. ...
  5. Work like mad to learn all the tech and then give yourself the freedom to forget it all. ...
  6. Understand your role and that you are there to serve the director.

What is the difference between filmmaking and cinematography? ›

The primary difference between cinematography and filmmaking is that cinematography is the application of camera techniques which determine the visual depiction of the film, while filmmaking is the overarching process of making the entire film itself.

What are film techniques used for? ›

Film techniques, in short, are ways in which the film presents images to the viewer in order to change the audience's perception of them. Film techniques can take a few different forms, including what the camera shows, how lighting is used in a scene, and the way the film is edited.

How can I learn cinematography? ›

Learn the Basics

You'll also need to study basic video compositional techniques, light and sound design, film and video editing, and many others. After all, cinematography is more than just about manning the camera—it's also about understanding how the entire process of movie production works.

What is CS shot? ›

Cowboy Shot (CS)

A variation on this is the cowboy shot, which frames the subject from roughly mid-thighs up. It's called a “cowboy shot” because it is used in Westerns to frame a gunslinger's gun or holster on his hip.

What does CU mean in videography? ›

CU – Close-up. ECU – Extreme Close-up. EWS – Extreme Wide Shot.

Why is shot size important in cinematography? ›

It's important to use different shot sizes in your movie. It's a way of spelling things out, to make sure that people see exactly the things you want them to see. If you shoot everything in long shot (head to foot) people will probably miss details and expressions which would help them understand the story.

What are the 7 rules of composition? ›

Let's get started.
  • Rules of Shot Composition.
  • The Rule of Thirds.
  • Balance and Symmetry.
  • Leading Lines.
  • Eye-Level Framing.
  • Depth of Field.
  • Deep Space Composition.
10 Jul 2022

What is the 180 rule in film? ›

The 180-degree rule states that two characters (or more) in a scene should always have the same left/right relationship with each other. The rule dictates that you draw an imaginary line between these two characters (or subjects) and try to keep your camera(s) on the same side of this 180-degree line.

What is lighting in cinematography? ›

What is lighting in film? Film lighting refers to the direction, quality, source, or colour of light. These different elements work together to guide our attention, create texture or visual impact, and create an atmosphere. The direction of light refers to the path where the light source comes from and where it lands.

What is another name for cinematography? ›

In this page you can discover 10 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for cinematography, like: filming, motion-picture photography, camera-work, mise en scene, special effects, musical score, choreography, Idziak, cinematographer and camerawork.

What is an example of cinematography? ›

The art or technique of movie photography, including both the shooting and the processing of the image. The definition of cinematography is the art and process of movie photography. An example of cinematography are the decisions made about lighting, camera filters and lenses when shooting a movie scene.

Who was the first cinematographer? ›

However, the invention of cinematography is often credited to Louis and Auguste Lumière, who created the first motion-picture apparatus—a camera and projector—which was first used publicly in 1895. From there, film evolved rapidly in the early 20th century.

What is another name for a cinematographer? ›

A cinematographer is also called the "director of photography," or the DP.

What are the 4 Roles of the cinematographer? ›

The cinematographer's responsibilities include reading scripts and liaising with the director and visiting locations to take test shots. You should suggest suitable lighting, angles, filters, and techniques to the director, and also work with the processing lab and post-production team.

What skills does a cinematographer need? ›

  • An eye for detail and a mind for fast invention.
  • Thorough understanding of lighting techniques, light colour, shade and manipulation.
  • Strong technical knowledge of cameras and the film production process.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Strong team management skills.
  • Excellent listening ability.
15 Jul 2022

How can I practice cinematography at home? ›

How to practice cinematography at home - YouTube

How cinematography is an art form? ›

Cinematography is the art and craft of making motion pictures by capturing a story visually. Though, technically, cinematography is the art and the science of recording light either electronically onto an image sensor or chemically onto film.

What is the master shot? ›

A master shot is the principal camera shot that a director and cinematographer use when filming a particular scene. It covers all of the important action in a scene, including the major characters and scenic points of interest. For this reason, master shots are almost always wide shots.

What are the 6 camera angles? ›

6 Common Types of Camera Angles (Shot Framing)
  • Close up.
  • Extreme close up.
  • Wide-angle shot.
  • Medium shot.
  • Over the shoulder shot.
  • Point of view shot.
24 Jul 2022

What does dirty mean in film? ›

Dirty is when there are people and/or objects between you and some key subject in the frame. Over the Shoulder (OTS). Framing the camera so that you're looking over the shoulder of one character to another. Single and Two-shots.

What are the characteristics of film? ›

Four characteristics may be stressed as factors that differentiate the motion-picture medium, either in degree or in kind, from other mediums for works of art: luminosity, movement, realism, and montage.

What are the types of movie analysis? ›

They recognize various types of approaches: (1) Text-based film analysis (structural approach), (2) topic-based analysis (narrative approach), (3) picture and sound approach (iconic analysis), (4) psychoanalytical approach and (5) historical approach.

Is lighting a film technique? ›

What Is Cinematic Lighting? Cinematic lighting is a film lighting technique that goes beyond the standard three-point lighting setup to add drama, depth, and atmosphere to the story. Cinematic lighting utilizes lighting tricks like bouncing light, diffusing light, and adjusting color temperatures.

How can I be a good filmmaker? ›

Simple Ways To Become A Great Filmmaker
  1. Practice, Practice, and Practice Some More. Practice might not always make perfect (especially for a creative), but it can certainly help you improve in a lot of different ways. ...
  2. Experiment With New Techniques And Equipment. ...
  3. Learn From Your Film Crew. ...
  4. Seek Out Diverse Talent.

How can I improve my directing? ›

Build your directorial skill set by checking out the 10 habits of successful film directors below:
  1. Taking extra steps to understand the process. ...
  2. Setting the tone. ...
  3. Treat directing like parenting. ...
  4. Getting to know the actors. ...
  5. Building trust. ...
  6. Being open to collaboration. ...
  7. Directing with kindness. ...
  8. Creating harmony.
16 Jun 2021

What is the purpose of camerawork in films? ›

Camera movement has the potential to function in many different ways, such as to direct the viewer's attention, reveal offscreen space, provide narrative information, or create expressive effects. The camera most frequently moves when an object moves within the frame, initiating reframing or a following shot.

What is continuity in cinematography? ›

Defined simply, continuity editing is the process of editing together different but related shots to give viewers the experience of a consistent story in both time and space.

What is another name for a cinematographer? ›

A cinematographer is also called the "director of photography," or the DP.

What are the basic types of motion in film? ›

There are essentially five motions we can do with a camera. Back and forth, side to side, up and down, around the subject, and pivoting the camera, which we normally refer to panning and tilting.

What makes good cinematography? ›

What makes good cinematography? Cinematography is the art of visual storytelling, and good cinematography tells the story effectively. That encompasses many aspects of the actual art form, including camera placement, lighting, the grammar of film and knowing it well, and understanding the script and the story.

What is the 180 rule in film? ›

The 180-degree rule states that two characters (or more) in a scene should always have the same left/right relationship with each other. The rule dictates that you draw an imaginary line between these two characters (or subjects) and try to keep your camera(s) on the same side of this 180-degree line.

What is an example of continuity in film? ›

For example, a shot of someone tossing a ball can be edited to show two different views, while maintaining temporal continuity by being sure that the second shot shows the arm of the subject in the same stage of its motion as it was left when cutting from the first shot.


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