A cinematographer or director of photography (sometimes shortened to DP or DOP) is the person responsible for the photographing or recording of a
film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, ...

, television production, music video or other live action piece. The cinematographer is the chief of the camera and light
crew A crew is a body or a class of people who work at a common activity, generally in a structured or hierarchical A hierarchy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, ca ...
s working on such projects and would normally be responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image and for selecting the camera,
film stock Film stock is an analog medium that is used for recording motion pictures A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting i ...
lens A lens is a transmissive optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, s ...
filter Filter, filtering or filters may refer to: Science and technology Device * Filter (chemistry), a device which separates solids from fluids (liquids or gases) by adding a medium through which only the fluid can pass ** Filter (aquarium), critical ...
s, etc. The study and practice of this field is referred to as
cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Gre ...

. The cinematographer is a subordinate of the film director, director, tasked with capturing a scene in accordance with director’s vision. Relations between the cinematographer and director vary. In some instances, the director will allow the cinematographer complete independence, while in others, the director allows little to none, even going so far as to specify exact camera placement and lens selection. Such a level of involvement is less common when the director and cinematographer have become comfortable with each other. The director will typically convey to the cinematographer what is wanted from a scene visually and allow the cinematographer latitude in achieving that effect. The images recorded by the cinematographer are passed to the film editor for Film editing, editing.


In the infancy of motion pictures, the cinematographer was usually also the Film director, director and the person physically handling the camera. As the art form and technology evolved, a separation between director and camera operator emerged. With the advent of artificial lighting and faster (more light-sensitive)
film stock Film stock is an analog medium that is used for recording motion pictures A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting i ...
s, in addition to technological advancements in optics, the technical aspects of cinematography necessitated a specialist in that area. Cinematography was key during the silent movie era; with no sound apart from background music and no dialogue, the films depended on lighting, acting, and set. The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) was formed in 1919 in Hollywood, and was the first trade society of cinematographers. Similar societies were formed in other countries. Their aims include the recognition of the cinematographer's contribution to the art and science of motion picture making.
The ASC Vision Committee

Societies and trade organizations

There are a number of national associations of cinematographers that represent members (irrespective of their official titles) and are dedicated to the advancement of cinematography, including: *the American Society of Cinematographers (A.S.C.) *the Brazilian Cinematographers Society (A.B.C.) *the International Collective of Female Cinematographers, International Collective of Women Cinematographers (ICFC) *the Canadian Society of Cinematographers (C.S.C.) *the Finnish Society of Cinematographers (F.S.C.) *the Guild of British Camera Technicians (G.B.C.T.) *the British Society of Cinematographers (B.S.C.) *the Australian Cinematographers Society (A.C.S.) *the Cinematographers Guild of Korea (C.G.K.) *the Filipino Society of Cinematographers (F.S.C.) *the French Society of Cinematographers (A.F.C.) *the Italian Society of Cinematographers (A.I.C.) *the Indian cinematographers, Western India Cinematographers Association (W.I.C.A.) *the Indian cinematographers, Indian Society of Cinematographers (I.S.C.) *the German Society of Cinematographers (BVK) *the Malaysian Society of Cinematographers (MySC) *the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers (NSC) *the South African Society of Cinematographers (S.A.S.C.) *the Spanish Society of Cinematography Works (A.E.C) *th
International Federation of Cinematographers
(IMAGO) *the Uruguayan Society of Cinematographers (S.C.U) *the Lithuanian Association of Cinematographers (LAC) *Cinematographers XX *Illuminatrix The A.S.C. defines cinematography as:

Noted cinematographers

The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Awards, Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work on one particular film, motion picture. A number of American cinematographers have become directors, including Reed Morano who lensed ''Frozen River'' and Beyonce's ''Lemonade (Beyoncé album), Lemonade'' before winning an Emmy for directing ''The Handmaid's Tale (TV series), The Handmaid's Tale''. Barry Sonnenfeld, originally the Coen brothers' DP; Jan de Bont, cinematographer on films such as ''Die Hard'' and ''Basic Instinct'', directed ''Speed (1994 film), Speed'' and ''Twister (1996 film), Twister''. Nicolas Roeg, cinematographer on films such as ''The Caretaker (film), The Caretaker'' (1963) and ''The Masque of the Red Death (1964 film), The Masque of the Red Death'' (1964), directed ''Don't Look Now'' (1973) and ''The Man Who Fell to Earth'' (1976). Ellen Kuras, Ellen Kuras, ASC photographed ''Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind'' as well as a number of Spike Lee films such as ''Summer of Sam'' and ''He Got Game'' before directing episodes of ''Legion'' and ''Ozark.'' In 2014, Wally Pfister, cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's Batman in film#Christopher Nolan, three ''Batman'' films, made his directorial debut with ''Transcendence (2014 film), Transcendence,'' whilst British cinematographers Jack Cardiff and Freddie Francis regularly moved between the two positions.

See also

*3D film *Camerimage *Cinematography *Cinematography Mailing List, a communication forum for cinematographers *Filmmaking *Glossary of motion picture terms *Indian cinematographers *List of film director and cinematographer collaborations *List of film formats *List of film-related topics, List of motion picture-related topics


External links

Cinematography.comCinematography Mailing List (CML)International Cinematographers GuildThe History of the Discovery of CinematographyAmerican Society of CinematographersThe Guild of British Camera TechniciansBritish Society of CinematographersIndian Society of Cinematographers (ISC)

European Federation of Cinematographers/IMAGOAustralian Cinematographers Society (ACS)German Society of Cinematography, BVKItalian Society of Cinematography , AIC (Autori Italiani della Cinematografia)Lithuanian Association of Cinematographers, LAC
{{Authority control Mass media occupations Cinematographers, Cinematography Filmmaking occupations Filmmaking