What is cinematography

Cinematography - An Approach

Cinematography is a word created from the ancient Greek words "Kinema", the one Movement, shock, inner excitement referred to, and "Graphe", that To draw, to paint or Write means.

Cinematography is an art form unique to film. It requires a unique form of photography with original aesthetic principles. From a technical point of view, it adds a third dimension to the two-dimensional photographic image, in that it can record an image that changes over time and is thus able to depict the chronological sequence of an event, a movement.

The term is based on movement and yet cinematography goes far beyond just writing down movement. In the origin of the word, it does not denote the mechanics of the apparatus, but the retention of an inner movement, the writing down of an emotion or a thought. (Rolf Coulanges) The deeper, actual task of cinematography is to give the film a sense of the sum, through the sequence of images - be it in a plan sequence, within each individual shot, or through the sequence of several shots which transcends individual images and corresponds to the intentions of the cinematographer and the director. 1

Cinematography is a process of creativity and interpretation that leads to the co-authorship of an original work, in contrast to the mere unreflected, uncritical depiction of an external event. Cinematography is not a subcategory of photography; rather, photography is one of many artistic skills that the cinematographer uses - in addition to other physical, organizational, managerial, interpretive and image-influencing techniques - to bring about a coherent, coherent process that is ostensibly used to record moving, photographic image sequences. On a deeper level, the cinematography creates contexts of meaning, feelings and ultimately an interpretation of reality through artistic expression. The aforementioned technical and organizational parameters must follow this purpose.

The cinematography has, beyond the photographic level and the temporal component - which need to be designed equally - a higher level of content. Sequences of events must therefore be recorded appropriately, mainly with regard to the content to be transmitted, and the respective actions in front of the camera must be coordinated and choreographed with the camera movements. Fundamental, cinematographic decisions have to be made as to whether the camera follows the scenic action or moves autonomously, whether it describes, reacts or acts. The lighting, the structure of the scenery and the perspective not only have to take into account the requirements of the moving objects, the moving camera and the resulting changes in the image sections, but ultimately always those of the statement that is to be made.

Johannes Kirchlechner 2013

Sources: Greek dictionary of philosophy; ASC; Rolf Coulanges

1Rolf Coulanges explains: This becomes clearest in the plan sequence; its characteristic consists only indirectly in the movement on the rail, on the crane or with the steadicam. All movement is carried by a feeling for space, time and the development of thought; the moment with which this inner movement arises is the experience of space and the change in perspective by shifting one's own point of view, which can also be understood literally. The "Kinema", the inner movement, is not limited to its realization in the plan sequence. Movement also occurs between fixed settings when they are put together in a sequence, because pictures react to one another in their sequence whenever they have an inner connection with one another.