Cinematography – Theory and Practice – Book Summary

It’s the summary of the book – Cinematography – Theory and Practice.

Chapter 1 – Writing with Motion

The term “Cinematography” is from the Greek roots meaning ‘writing with motion’.

When we create a film project, one of our primary tasks is to create a visual world for the characters to inhabit. The visual world is an important part of how the audience will perceive the story; how the audience will understand the character and their motivation.

Random choices do not help you tell your story.

Conceptual Tools of Cinematography:

  • Frame
  • Lens
  • Light and Color
  • Movement
  • Texture
  • Establishing
  • POV (Point-Of-View)


Choosing the frame is a matter of conveying the story, but it’s also the question of composition, rythm and perspective.


Every lens has a ‘personality’ – a flavor and an infection it adds to the image. There are many factors: contrast & sharpness for example, but by far the most influential aspect of a lens is focal length: how long or wide the lens is.

Light and Color:

Light and color enables cinematographers to make film reach at a gut, emotional level.


Changing the color and contrast of the picture, desaturating the color of the image, filters, fog and smoke effects, rain, using unusual film stocks, various printing techniques, and so on.


Movies are one of the few art forms which employ motion and time, with the like of dance.


Establishing is the ability of camera to reveal or conceal information; letting the camera reveal the information is usually more cinematic way of getting information to the audience than dialog or voice over.


Having the camera see something in much the same way as one of the characters would see it: to view the scene from character’s point of view.

Chapter – Camera Movement

  • Camera placement is a key decision in storytelling. More than
    just “where it looks good,” it determines what the audience sees and
    from what perspective they see it.