Movie Study: Cinematography

Cinematography is the science or art of motion-picture photography by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as film stock.[1] as per wiki

I did not even bother this part of a film when I was young. As long I’m satisfied watching the film and I was moved then that’s it. However, as I grew older and became a film critic. This part of a film is now making it relevant to me. I just realized how bad watching in betamax/VHS tape days. I just realized how you can tell 80’s/90’s or even the present time, the film you are watching is in the current era or not.

However thanks to technology, you can use the old style of cinematography to appreciate the old school filmaking. One great example was the Artist! I mean at first, I thought it’s a lost film of the 1940’s or 1950’s but when I discovered it was directed just recently, I was shocked and said, wow this is a classic! The cinematography used for this film made it more silent classic movie style. How about QT’s films? Oh how about his least famous Death Proof. Even he failed in the screenplay department but the feel of the movie was really from the grindhouse era right?

Sometimes cinematography helps to raise the value of the film or sometimes, it can make worse. There were a lot of films that cinematography was bad, it looks like they just put CGI on it. A good example was Gods of Egypt, I mean it’s almost a good movie but due to the bad screenplay plus english cast in a Egyptian story plus you add that very bright cinematography, it’s a waste of time. I don’t know why it looks expensive but the feel was not.

A good example that a cinematography can really helps a film was the last one I watched. It’s Seklusion. A pinoy horror film which really failed it’s writing at the end (I don’t know why it won best screenplay at MMFF) but it’s cinematography was great. It gave that WWII feeling plus the details were clear, some scenes were mixed correctly, I mean, from the dream or nightmare scenes and the real scare scenes. Due to this technical advantage, the film was not really bad. Without this plus, the movie will be very bad.

Cinematography I think is a big investment in a film. I know that a film you can make it or look good if you have the right cast, screenplay, music or if your film is Sci fi then get good CGI team. But cinematography still you need to invest to make your film looks good. You can use great cameras like the RED or Alexa cameras. Plus it’s not only a great camera you need, but don’t forget the operator of the camera, the cinematographer. I think the only director who also been a great cinematographer was Stanley Kubrick. Even his just a weak link but not all the time, his screenplay.. But his cinematography is genius. Perfect. God like. hahaha

Barry Lyndon? Its boring and dragging for most parts but why it became a classic.. Most of the scenes were shot beautiful as you are looking a oil painting. I don’t know how he did it but I think with his vast experience with the camera, (he’s a cinematographer/camera artist first before becoming a director).. The film is one of the best looking cinematography in film history. Wow, it’s just so mesmerizing plus very on spot shots. Great example? The night dinner scene. That’s simply brilliant.

Thanks to the documentary Side by side, its here, it discussed which is good for the future of cinema. Film or digital film? This film discusses that then I realized that cinematography should give importance in making a film. As long it’s right on the subject or theme of the film, you can’t go wrong with it plus it should be consistent. Plus it should look like it was made 7 days.

Enteng 10 looks like that. O sorry, most of our films. Oh Lord. hahahaha

I think, this is the part that Philippine Cinema should invest. Few directors/companies does this except for the low budget flicks. But most of the proclaimed box office films, it has bad cinematography. Wow. They earn big yet they don’t invest.

Well, hmmmmm I’ll search more films that has great cinematography. Can you give one? =)


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