The Info List - Cinematographer

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A cinematographer or director of photography (sometimes shortened to DP or DOP) is the chief over the camera and light crews working on a film, television production or other live action piece and is responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The study and practice of this field is referred to as cinematography. The cinematographer selects the camera, film stock, lenses, filters, etc., to realize the scene in accordance with the intentions of the director. Relations between the cinematographer and director vary; in some instances the director will allow the cinematographer complete independence; 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 not common once 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. Several American cinematographers have become directors, including Barry Sonnenfeld, originally the Coen brothers' DP; Jan de Bont, cinematographer on films as Die Hard
Die Hard
and Basic Instinct, directed Speed and Twister. In 2014, Wally Pfister, cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's three Batman films, made his directorial debut with Transcendence; whilst British cinematographers Jack Cardiff
Jack Cardiff
and Freddie Francis regularly moved between the two positions.


1 History 2 Societies and trade organizations 3 Noted cinematographers 4 See also 5 References 6 External links


A cinematographer on set

In the infancy of motion pictures, the cinematographer was usually also the 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 stocks, 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. In 1919 Hollywood, the then-new motion picture capital of the world, one of the first (and still existing) trade societies was formed: the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), which stood to recognize the cinematographer's contribution to the art and science of motion picture making. Similar trade associations have been established in other countries too. Societies and trade organizations[edit] There are a number of national associations of cinematographers which represent members (irrespective of their official titles) and which are dedicated to the advancement of cinematography. These include:

the American Society of Cinematographers (A.S.C.) the Canadian Society of Cinematographers (C.S.C.) the British Society of Cinematographers
British Society of Cinematographers
(B.S.C.) the Australian Cinematographers Society
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
French Society of Cinematographers
(A.F.C.) the Italian Society of Cinematographers (A.I.C.) the Indian Society of Cinematographers (I.S.C.) the German Society of Cinematographers (BVK) the Spanish Society of Cinematography
Works (A.E.C) the European Federation of Cinematographers / IMAGO

The A.S.C. defines cinematography as:

A creative and interpretive process that culminates in the authorship of an original work of art rather than the simple recording of a physical event. Cinematography
is not a subcategory of photography. Rather, photography is but one craft that the cinematographer uses in addition to other physical, organizational, managerial, interpretive and image-manipulating techniques to effect one coherent process.[1]

Noted cinematographers[edit]

See Category:Cinematographers and Academy Award for Best Cinematography

See also[edit]

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 motion picture-related topics


^ Hora, John. "Anamorphic Cinematography". In Burum, Stephen H. The American Cinematographer
Manual (9 ed.). ISBN 978-0935578317. 

External links[edit]

Cinematography.com Cinematography
Mailing List (CML) International Cinematographers Guild Burns, Paul The History of the Discovery of Cinematography American Society of Cinematographers The Guild of British Camera Technicians British Society of Cinematographers Indian Society of Cinematographers (ISC) European Federation of Cinematographers / IMAGO Australian Cinematographers Society
Australian Cinematographers Society
(ACS) German Society of Cinematography, BVK Italian Society of Cinematography
, AIC (Autori Italiani della Cinematografia)

v t e

Film crew
Film crew

Above the line


Leading actor Movie star Superstar Character actor Cameo actors

director Screenwriter Film

Executive producer Line producer

Below the line


Unit production manager Production coordinator Production accountant Assistant director Script supervisor Script coordinator Casting director Production assistant Location manager



Production design

Production designer

Art director

Costume designer Hairdresser Make-up artist Set decorator Property master / mistress ("props")

Visual Art

Matte painter Illustrator Scenic design


Cinematographer / Director of photography Camera operator

Focus puller Clapper loader Steadicam


Best boy (electrical) Lighting technician

Key grip

Best boy (grip) Grip Dolly grip


Director of audiography Production sound mixer Boom operator Utility sound technician Dialogue editor Re-recording mixer Foley artist Composer Music supervisor Music editor Orchestrator


effects supervisor Visual effects supervisor


Animator Visual effects Modeling Rigging Layout artist


Acting coach Dialect coach Movement director Choreographer Extra Talent agent Actor (voice) Cast member Stand-in Acting instructor Stunt double Stunt performer


editor Sound editor Colorist Animator Technical director

Visual effects

Visual effects editor Compositor Computer-generated imagery Rendering

Authority control