- For Teachers
I wondered if you guys could check over my reflective essay on cinematgraphy to make sure the grammar and spelling is at a high standard. I am a first yeat University student.
Cinematography lectures and workshops have influenced my vision and technique duringpre-production and filming. The way I thought about the appearance of how ascene should look in regards to composition and lighting, was that as long asthe characters were placed within the frame and they were well lit, then thestory would do the rest. I soon found out that this could be no further from the truth.
In the firstweek of lectures we looked at composition and the importance of the rule ofthirds, where the characters stand and in which direction they move. This hassuch a bearing on how we perceive them and the story. A well composited shotcan either destroy a scene or captivate the audience. To be able to give ascene meaning and depth is what a love about cinematography. It effects how thestory is interpreted, both cognitively and emotionally. I love the fact you canalter the atmosphere of a scene just by changing the lens of the camera or byaltering the lighting slightly.
Duringpre-production, for the filming of the scene casino, I was able to use myexperience from lectures to complete a script analysis and storyboard firstdraft. This was one of the most enjoyable tasks, to be able to interpret ascripts meaning and then to create ideas on how to convey that throughcomposition and lighting was both enjoyable and rewarding. Every camera anglechange or movement has to have a meaning and add value to the story. Makingsure that your chosen shot hammers home the theme of the scene and also emphasizesthe characters emotions is paramount.
“Movies arestories. We are storytellers.” – Mark Carey
Duringfilming I was able to put all this knowledge into practice by collaboratingwith the director and producer to make sure that we did the script justice.Communication is a massive factor while on set, making sure that the sparks andgaffer know exactly what you want from them can be challenging so you have tobe diplomatic. My attitude towards lighting has changed dramatically and I showedthat during filming. I was able to set up the 3 light set up and change the setup when required. After we shot the first scene we had to change the lightingset up, while making sure the key light was coming from the same direction. Wehad a problem with the backlight, as it was burning out in shot. To rectifythis I brought in some flags and stood the light as far away from the flag aspossible. This softened the intensity and we were able to continue filming. Because of my knowledge I was able to help outthe director and guide him through shots, while explaining why I was choosing aparticular angle or type of lighting. The director I worked with wasknowledgeable and knew exactly what he wanted but wasn’t sure how to go about gettinghis message to the audience.
After theeditors had put our scene together, I sat down and watched it to see if therewere any improvements that could be made. Overall I am happy with the outcomeof the film, and it does stand up to my expectations, however I think there isone or two improvement to be made. Some of the cuts we did we’re unnecessaryand don’t really serve any purpose apart from being aestheticallypleasing. So in future I will try andshoot a scene with as few shots as possible and make sure any cuts are there toadd depth or meaning to the story and not just for show.
So toconclude, I have used my experience gained from research and workshops to tella story through the use of lighting and composition. I have learned the valueof visual storytelling and that simplicity does not equal stupidity. I havepassed on my knowledge to other crew members and explained the importance ofhow a scene looks. I hope to keep on learning about the art of cinematographythrough independent research and university workshops. I have also beennetworking in order to fine tune my skill by taking on roles outside of university.