6 Rules Every Cinematographer Should Know

Great cinematography can elevate an average video far above its station, and conversely, poor cinematography can damage an otherwise great picture. In this video, Mark Bone goes through the six most important rules that he believes every cinematographer and Director of Photography ought to know.

I have precious little practical experience in cinematography and even less as a Director of Photography. Nevertheless, a lot of these tips are universal to all pursuits with a camera. In fact, the very first tip Bone offers is one that resonates with me in almost everything I do. I will simplify it to: just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

As your arsenal of techniques and tricks grows as a photographer, you are tempted to employ them more often. It can get to the stage where you overcomplicate everything you possibly can just to use what you have learned. This can lead to messy and confusing visuals, losing a lot of your original intention. In this video, Bone uses the example of moving the camera during shots simply because you own a gimbal. One of the best examples of this in photography is always shooting at your widest aperture, just because you own a quick lens. That is, shooting every image at f/1.4 because you have a lens that shoots at that. Instead, you ought to look at what you want to achieve with the shot and how much of the scene is necessary to it.

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