Cinematography is the art and technique of capturing motion pictures on camera. It involves capturing the visual aspects of a movie and the use of different techniques to tell the story. There are several factors that determine the quality of a movie's cinematography.
Composition is one of the most important elements of good cinematography. A well-composed shot can convey a story or mood in a way that dialogue alone cannot. A skilled cinematographer considers the placement of actors, objects, and backgrounds within the frame. A well-composed shot is visually pleasing and adds to the overall impact of the movie.
Lighting is another key element of good cinematography. A cinematographer uses lighting to set the mood and atmosphere of a scene. The use of natural light or artificial light can greatly impact the look and feel of a movie. For example, a scene lit by candlelight will have a vastly different mood than a scene lit by bright fluorescent lights.
Camera movement is also an important aspect of good cinematography. Camera movement can be used to create tension or drama, to follow a character, or to show a change in perspective. Camera movement can also be used to create a sense of flow and continuity within a movie. The use of different types of camera movement, such as tracking shots, panning shots, and crane shots, can greatly impact the look and feel of a movie.
The use of color is another important aspect of good cinematography. Color can be used to set the mood, to establish a time period, or to create a sense of place. A skilled cinematographer considers the use of color in each shot, and how it impacts the overall look and feel of the movie.
Finally, the use of special effects and visual effects can greatly impact the quality of a movie's cinematography. The use of computer-generated imagery, green screen technology, and other visual effects can greatly enhance the visual impact of a movie. However, it is important to use special effects and visual effects in a way that complements the story, rather than detracting from it.
In conclusion, a movie's cinematography is a combination of several elements, including composition, lighting, camera movement, color, and special effects. The quality of a movie's cinematography can greatly impact the overall impact of the movie, and a skilled cinematographer considers each of these elements in each shot. According to the American Society of Cinematographers, "Cinematography is a blend of art and craft, a mix of intuition and mathematics, and a fusion of technology and storytelling."