Tips to Add Some Depth to your Cinematography

Image credits – Pixabay Cinematography is one of the pillars of brilliant filmmaking. One of the first things that are taught about cinematography is composition. Composition teaches students about the basic aesthetics of cinematography like, symmetry, weight, energy, color, vertices, and depth. Depth is one of the most important aspects of good cinematography. It is way more than centering the subject into the frame. It requires a good understanding of composition and finesse when it comes to holding the frame right. Creating the illusion of depth is something that cinematographers strive to do. Some of the best cinematographers are known for creating the illusion of depth using some unique and clever techniques. If you would like to add an element of depth in your films, videos, or commercials then here are some tips that can help you master this technique. Focus When our eyes focus on a certain object our view of the surrounding area changes. This effect is similar to the effect created when using shallow depth of field. When we are watching something on screen, any scene with the illusion of depth will be interpreted by our brain as actual depth. However, it must be noted that a deep depth of field does not necessarily mean a lack of depth which has been worked upon. Parallax Another great way of adding depth to your scenes is by adding aesthetic energy to it. By making a shot more dynamic you can instantly create depth. Aesthetic energy basically refers to the kinetic energy created while the camera is moving. You will notice that a static shot does not add any aesthetic energy to a scene, thereby unable to add depth of field. It is believed that a moving camera can convert an idle shot to one that captures the attention of the audience. Using a moving camera for subjects in movement creates the best effect. Perspective 2 Image credits – Pixabay Using shallow depth of field is one of the first things that we do when we first start using a camera with good lens. But when you start maturing in your role as a filmmaker or a cinematographer, you start playing with the perspective and get more creative with your shots. Perspective does not only create depth, but it also improves the aesthetic energy of a shot. By using multiple vertices you can make your shot way more dynamic. Occlusion One of the simplest ways to creating depth of field is by using the method of occlusion. Occlusion is nothing but the natural phenomenon that occurs when the objects come closer to our sight blocks the objects that are further away. This method, although pretty simple, does not occur to most especially while planning the shots pre-production.
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One thought on “Tips to Add Some Depth to your Cinematography

  1. Please please hire someone / find a volunteer who is able to talk knowledgeably about the subjects in your Nerdeo emails. I’m sure the person writing them is very enthusiastic, but that’s not enough when the result is non-sensical and as a result unhelpful. It’s also, as I said in a previous message about another poorly written piece, damaging for your brand.

    Good writing, good illustrative examples of things working / not working / common issues that inexperienced filmmakers come up against – eg. small sensors giving poorer depth of field, choice of location not designed to give a sense of depth in the frame, hand-held vs. dollies vs. steadycam- like solutions to shape the feel of a move / moment, pulling focus (with a still or moving shot) when you do have shallow depth of field, tracking with a subject or against it, shutter speeds, shutter angles to vary motion-blur / sense of motion / emotional effect of slow motion, vari-speed, unconventional compositions breaking rules of thirds to create unease or discord, lighting direction / shadows

    … In other words, specifics, not vague generalities, to get attention and buy-in and involvement from members and non-members alike.


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