A cinematographer is one photographing
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

 with a motion picture camera (the art and science of which is known as cinematography
Cinematography is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography...

). The title is generally equivalent to director of photography (DP), used to designate a chief over the camera and lighting crew
Film crew
Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew positions.A film crew is a group of people hired by a production company for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture. Crew are distinguished from cast, the Actors who appear in front of the camera or provide voices for...

s working on a film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The term "cinematographer" has been a point of contention for some time now; some professionals insist that it only applies when the director of photography and camera operator are the same person, although this is far from being uniformly the case. To most, "cinematographer" and "director of photography" are interchangeable terms. Sometimes, however, the term "director of photography" can refer to the person who supervises the photography in a videotape
A videotape is a recording of images and sounds on to magnetic tape as opposed to film stock or random access digital media. Videotapes are also used for storing scientific or medical data, such as the data produced by an electrocardiogram...

d television production. For example, Larry Boelens
Larry Boelens
Larry Boelens was an American television lighting consultant, gaffer, electrician, second unit photographer, and director of photography...

's credit on the Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov is a Soviet and American dancer, choreographer, and actor, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he defected to Canada in 1974...

The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St...

was "director of photography", although the production was shot on video.


In the English system, the director of photography is called the lighting cameraperson, and has responsibilities that differ from those of the camera operator to the point that the lighting cameraperson is consulted, but has no final say over more purely camera operating-based visual elements such as framing. This system means that the director consults the lighting cameraperson for lighting and filtration and the operator for framing and lens choices. The lighting cameraperson is responsible for lighting the set, and the visual look of the film. The term DP or DOP is now widely used in the UK. "DOP" is used as an acronym to describe the director of photography, in Canada and equally in UK.

In the American system, however, the rest of the camera department is subordinate to the DP, who, along with and next to the director, has the final word on all decisions related to both lighting and framing.

The cinematographer selects the film stock
Film stock
Film stock is photographic film on which filmmaking of motion pictures are shot and reproduced. The equivalent in television production is video tape.-1889–1899:...

, lens
Photographic lens
A camera lens is an optical lens or assembly of lenses used in conjunction with a camera body and mechanism to make images of objects either on photographic film or on other media capable of storing an image chemically or electronically.While in principle a simple convex lens will suffice, in...

, filters, etc., to realize the scene in accordance with the intentions of the director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

. Relations between the cinematographer and director vary; in some instances the director will allow the cinematographer complete independence; in others, the director allows little to none, even going so far as to specify exact camera placement and lens selection. Such a level of involvement is not common once the director and cinematographer have become comfortable with each other, the director will typically convey to the cinematographer what is wanted from a scene visually, and allow the cinematographer latitude in achieving that effect.

Many American cinematographers have gone on to become directors themselves.

Barry Sonnenfeld, originally the Coen brothers DP, has gone on to have success as a director.

Societies and trade organizations

An elite group of American cinematographers are members of the American Society of Cinematographers
American Society of Cinematographers
The American Society of Cinematographers is an educational, cultural, and professional organization. It is not a labor union, and it is not a guild. Membership is by invitation and is extended only to directors of photography and special effects experts with distinguished credits in the film...

, or A.S.C.; this organization represents the upper echelon of talent and is dedicated to the advancement of cinematography. Membership is by invitation only. Equivalents in other countries include the Canadian Society of Cinematographers (C.S.C.), the British Society of Cinematographers
British Society of Cinematographers
The British Society of Cinematographers was formed in 1949 by Bert Easey, 23 August 1901 - 28 February 1973, the then head of the Denham and Pinewood studio camera departments.The stated objectives at the formation of the BSC were...

 (B.S.C.) and the Australian Cinematographers Society
Australian Cinematographers Society
The Australian Cinematographers Society is an Australian organisation established in 1958 for cinematographers to meet and discuss the issues that affected them...

 (A.C.S.) Members of these organizations are entitled to put designatory letters after their names (e.g., M. David Mullen
M. David Mullen
David Mullen, A.S.C. is an eminent Japanese born cinematographer famed for his photography on Twin Falls Idaho, Northfork, Akeelah and the Bee and The Astronaut Farmer...

, ASC).

There are other similar organizations in many countries, including Argentina, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany, India, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Spain and Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...


In some countries, cinematography
Cinematography is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography...

 is a unionized field. In America, cinematographers (directors of photography, camera operators, camera assistants and still photographers) are represented by the International Cinematographers Guild
International Cinematographers Guild
About the International Cinematographers Guild:The International Cinematographers Guild represents approximately 6,000 members who work throughout the United States, Canada and the rest of the world in film and television as Directors of Photography, Camera Operators, Visual Effects Supervisors,...

, Local 600, a division of the labor union International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE. In Canada, they are represented by IATSE Locals 667 (Eastern Canada) and 669 (Western Canada).

Noted cinematographers

See :Category:Cinematographers and Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work in one particular motion picture.-History:...

See also

  • Camerimage
    The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography CAMERIMAGE is a festival dedicated to cinematography and its creators cinematographers.The first seven events were held in Toruń, Poland. The next ten events were held in Łódź...

  • Cinematography
    Cinematography is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography...

  • Filmmaking
    Filmmaking is the process of making a film, from an initial story, idea, or commission, through scriptwriting, casting, shooting, directing, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a theatrical release or television program...

  • Indian cinematographers
    Indian cinematographers
    India has many regional film centres: Bollywood, the largest, in Mumbai, producing films in the Hindi language; Kolkata, for films in Bengali; Hyderabad--For Telugu Films, Bengalooru,for Kannada films, Chennai, for films in Tamil, Kerala for films in Malayalam, etc...

  • List of film formats
  • List of motion picture-related topics

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.