The Five Pillars of Cinematic Exposure and How to Correctly Use Them

The five pillars of cinematic exposure are not all created equally, neither are they equally weighted. Here is how you use each, which should be avoided when altering exposure, and how many people get it wrong.

Video is still an area I'm actively seeking every morsel of knowledge I can find. While there are huge overlaps with photography with terminology, equipment, and fundamentals, there is enormous depth to video creation which photography holds no bearing on.

Recently, YouTuber and cinematographer, wolfcrow, surveyed his viewers to find out how they choose to alter exposure in their videos. Most replied in the same sort of way you'd expect photographers to answer: aperture. While that can be a perfectly effective method with stills, it becomes a different beast in video where scenes and angles need to have synergy in look, feel, and color. For the most part, wolfcrow suggests, a videographer or cinematographer ought to be looking at staying around the same depth of field to give a sense of cohesion between scenes and angles.

The famed exposure triangle quickly becomes — for all intents and purposes — locked to cinematographers, and instead, the triangle becomes a star, adding ND filters and lighting as new points. It is at these two points that the alteration of exposure ought to be made where possible, opting to keep the scene's consistent depth, the camera's native ISO, and calculated shutter speed based on the fps of the video, in tact.

Log in or register to post comments