Cinematography is one of the most important parts of film making. Often described as visual storytellers, cinematographers play a very vital role in the final outcome of a movie on the screen. He guides the cameras during the filming and handles the complexities of lighting, human nature, special effects, cameras, optics, and composition. They are technically and artistically well trained. Cinematographers perform the job of visual manifestation of the ideas expressed by the director. Cinematographer decides what are the right camera angles to use, what should be the size of the shot, how to bring intended effects and how to highlight aesthetics in the movie etc. He does many other functions. A cinematographer is a crucial cog in the movie making wheel.
A cinematographer works according to the size and scope of the project. If it is a small project or a documentary of small scale, he will be not just a camera operator but also the editor and safety officer. He will decide the exact composition of the scenes and plan the shots accordingly. A professional cinematographer is also required to handle assistants, lighting crews and camera operators. This is a popular career choice. One can find quality professional cinematographers in television studios, production companies, independent film companies and advertising agencies. The demand for his services is directly proportional to his work experience. Most of the cinematographers are self-employed and work on a project to project basis.
To become a cinematographer, one needs to join courses in videography and camera operation or related field offered by several schools, community/junior colleges, universities and vocational schools. Many private specialized institutions also offer good courses in this field. He should be creative, imaginative and should have a good eye. A cinematographer also needs to be aware of latest technical equipments and cameras in this field. He can begin his career as film and video editors, assistant cameramen, cameramen and grips.
A career in cinematography is a popular career choice. The job can pay very well. Those with good portfolio and experience can do very well as cinematographers.
Various prestigious institutions in India offer courses in cinematography. Courses are offered at diploma, degree and certificate levels. One can also find several short term courses ranging from 3 months to one year, conducting classes for cinematographers. The course curriculum imparts knowledge on subjects like camera and lighting, sound recording, electronic cinematography, photography optics, study of still and movie cameras, production design, lighting & exposure and other related topics. The minimum qualification for these courses is passing of 10+2 examination or a graduate degree from recognized board. A cinematographer must be proficient in all the aspects of camera handling such as, movement, camera shots, composition, angles, film stock, filters and lighting.
Institutes imparting knowledge in the field of cinematography are:-
Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
Chennai Film School, Tamil Nadu
Satyajit Ray Film Institute, Mumbai,
Center for Research in Art of Film and Television, Delhi,
Digital Academy, Mumbai,
Asian Academy of Film & Television, Noida
Prasad Film and TV Academy
Whistling Woods Institute, Mumbai
IDC, IIT Bombay