13 Cinematography Techniques Every Freelance Photographer Should Study
By Chris Hoshnic
Photography is a like a sport and I just f%#@ing hate it. I absolutely hate taking photos. I hate the how long it takes to load a camera and format it and wait for the sensor to self-clean and clean the lens and check the battery and white balance and take test shots wevmnairognmaodsknl I HATE ITTTTTT.
But it also helps to think of it like it's an art too. So I went ahead and put together some films, my other mistress-hobby and compared the two. Check out how film and well, film are the same.
1. La Dolce Vita
Cinematography by Otello Martelli
A week in the life of a paparazzo journalist living in Rome, La Dolce Vita uses depth, geometry and composition, demonstrating the use of "visual direction" by placing objects and/or people at the forefront to create interest.
2. The 400 Blows
Cinematography by Henri Decae
Where story meets cinematography - the start of the French New Wave, Francois Truffaut (the director) used hand-held cameras and harsh edits. Useful in film camera shooting and polaroids.
3. Yesterday Girl
Cinematography by Edgar Reitz
The first film of the New German Cinema - the true beginnings of independent financing/filmmaking, this is less about the art and more about what you can achieve on such a small budget.
4. Citizen Kane
Cinematography by Gregg Toland
The reinvention of the Director, Citizen Kane gave directors and cinematographers a voice in visual storytelling; something photographers can learn from if they get lost in all the creative conflicts with clientele.
5. The Young Girls of Rochefort
Cinematography by Ghislain Cloquet
LA LA LAND-inspired, shot in what is now considered "classic cinescope" AKA wide lens, photographers can learn more about production value with Jacques Demy films.
6. Cries & Whispers
Cinematography by Sven Nykrist
Igmar Berman inspired many other iconic filmmakers, Spielberg, Allen, Scorsese, Coppola, etc. Cries and Whispers uses lighting to its advantage, a technique photographers NEED to know and understand.
Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel
Eclectic, fun, bold and ambitious; The style most NEW photographers and filmmakers will adopt until they find their niche, but that doesn't mean the camera work in Amelie should be ignored - more like techniques you can adopt and then own.
8. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Cinematography by Robert Yeoman
Wes Anderson in one word is COMPOSITION. Told in mostly 4:3 aspect ratio, which is essentially like a film being told on a Mamiya.
9. The Revenant
Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki
Completely shot in Masters (Wide shots) and lens possibly all under 24MM, The Revenant uses natural lighting all the way through. Something photographers "claim" to be masters at. Watch this film with a "Natural Light" photographer and test them.
Cinematography by Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
Old wine, new bottle. A film that looks like it was made in 1970 is actually a 2016 film.
11. Beach Rats
Cinematography by Helene Louvart
On a small unknown budget, Beach Rats was filmed in New York with a 16mm about a teen's sexuality. Photographers can take its non-digital concept and know that film is still the best form of visual storytelling.
12. Call Me By Your Name
Cinematography by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
Completely shot on ONE lens, the 24mm and during the most cloudy and stormy summer of Crema, Call Me By Your Name can teach photographers that maybe natural lighting isn't all its cut out to be. Talent is turning dreary summer storms into a sunny, 1980's romance.
13. The Wrestler
Cinematography by Maryse Alberti
My only argument here is that The Wrestler's cinematographer was a woman. A woman shooting a sports film and the results are crazy good. Don't let a man tell you you can't do anything a man can do.