A Crash Course in Professional Cinematography: Filmagic

film editing institute in Mumbai
Film Editing

A Crash Course in Professional Cinematography: Filmagic

Cinematographers or directors of photography (DoPs) are the professionals who are responsible for creating the looks of films, TV shows, etc. They collaborate with the camera and lighting crews, ensuring the cameras capture the details that the director wants. That’s the technical definition of cinematography that students at every film editing institute in Mumbai learn. 

Although this basic definition does apply to most professional cinematographers, in reality, a cinematographer does much more. Cinematographers must always lead crews that meet the technical needs of the film production project in hand. On large-scale cinema productions, film producers or directors are the official captains of their ships. But, in various filmmaking decisions, cinematographers serve as the real heads of the crews.

Becoming a Professional Cinematographer – What Skills Will You Need? 

Aspiring cinematographers taking filmmaking courses in Mumbai have to master a lot of skills. Cinematographers serve as the heads of the camera department. So, having high-quality creative and technical skills is mandatory. In addition to that, cinematographers need to be patient and reliable organisers. Their main goal is to use their technical, creative, and management skills to photographically capture on screen the vision of the director in a way that’s consistent with the mood of the film. To do so, cinematographers need to be –  

Efficient Managers

Film production is all about choosing the team carefully. If you’ve been to a film making institute in Mumbai, you know just how important it is to get along with different members of the production staff. Since the cinematographer is the go-to person for everyone involved in the production staff, he/she needs to get along with others and solve new problems every day. Some of the professionals that cinematographers supervise on film sets include – 

  • Camera Operators
  • First Assistant Camera Professionals (Focus Pullers) 
  • Second Assistant Camera Professionals (Clapper Loaders)
  • Digital Imaging Technicians (DITs)
  • Camera Trainees
  • Camera Grips (professionals who move the cameras between set-ups)
  • Chief Lighting Electricians
  • Spot-boys

Pre-Production Preparation

When an aspiring cinematographer leaves his or her film editing institute in Mumbai and is offered a film to shoot, their first steps should be – 

  • Reading the script several times to get a feel for the story as a viewer.
  • Re-read it as a cinematographer, aiming to analyse the scenes as a member of the film production crew.
  • Have discussions with the editor and the director about visual styles. Brainstorm ideas with the rest of the film crew. 
  • Assess other films whose visual styles might be suitable for the film at hand.
  • Decide which visual style to use. 
  • Assemble camera equipment.
  • Assemble the team. 
  • Break the script down, page by page, scene by scene, understanding how the interior and exterior locations should be lit. 
  • Communicate with set designers to ensure the visual looks, as agreed, are maintained.
  • Visit possible locations (recce or reconnaissance)
  • Watch all the initial rehearsals and discuss how scenes should be covered with the director.
  • Forecast potential problems that might impact shooting in terms of camera operation or camera movement. 

As you can see, the job descriptions of professional cinematographers’ change based on which stage of the filmmaking process they’re in. That’s why filmmaking courses in Mumbai teach aspiring cinematographers to feel comfortable while wearing different hats. 

Responsibilities During Production and Post-Production 

At top filmmaking courses in Mumbai, aspiring cinematographers are encouraged to visit film sets because that’s where the real work gets done. Some key responsibilities include –

  • Determining how to shoot different scenes and which cinematography techniques to use. 
  • Go over raw, unedited footage every day, ensuring everything is aligned with the director’s original vision.
  • Colour grading is a key skill that students learn at every top film editing institute in Mumbai. Cinematographers tweak the looks and colours of the film, ensuring that no further shots are needed before the set-up is cleared.

Aspiring cinematographers must take filmmaking courses in Mumbai, spend time on film sets, hone their technical skills, study small camera movements and most importantly – find their unique visual voice!