A cameraman or camerawoman (the current preferred term is ‘cinematographer’) does more than just record images. That activity is certainly a key aspect of the job, but it’s only part of the profession. As a cinematographer with a keen feel for visual composition, you leave your mark on the artistic style and substance of the film. You work closely with the director, production designer, VFX coordinator and producer and often also work with the editor and the sound designer.
How is an object shown on the screen? Where is the light coming from? How do you make sure that the actor is shown to his best advantage? You focus on all the aspects that influence the image: light and colour, form and motion. Using visual resources like framing, lighting, shots, lenses and camera movements, you tell the story that needs to be told, whether it’s documentary or fiction.
Whether you opt for documentary or fiction, you ensure that all the vital ingredients are combined in your visual approach: sound design, editing, production design and visual effects (in fiction productions). You need to be able to listen well to others, while remaining unafraid to contribute your own vision. On film days, you’re present on the set to be contacted as needed. Finally, after shooting wraps, the process moves on to digital post-production, and you’re essential there too – not least for the final audiovisual processing.
The Cinematography specialisation trains professionals who work with the rest of the crew to evoke a synthesis between sound and images.