26 May 2017

5 C's of Cinematography

Any aspiring film makers should be aware of what enormous part cinematography and editing play in the making of a film.


Any aspiring film makers who want to be cinematographers must learn to perfect the art of photography and camerawork. It is an ongoing learning experience throughout a working life.

The five C’s of cinematography, as outlined by Joseph V. Mascelli could then be argued to be fundamental concepts essential to filmmaking. Each concept must be carefully considered when producing, shooting and editing a project to ensure the highest quality outcome. 

Camera Angles

The camera angle is vital to a stories narrative and the camera positioning helps to drive the story forward. The cinematographer must consider how the camera is positioned so the viewers can understand the relationships between the characters and the character’s relationship with their environment. Each scene must always be shot with the editing in mind so the angles cut together seamlessly.


To hold the viewer’s attention throughout the film, continuity is extremely important. To avoid the viewer becoming distracted from the storyline, inconsistencies with characters or objects that suddenly appear or disappear from one frame to the next, must be carefully considered both in production and editing.


The strength of a story often relies on how it is cut. When a film maker strings together a variety of shots, their order and sequence becomes paramount in evoking the desired effect upon a viewer. “All shots within a scene and the scenes themselves should be linked together so that their combined effect, rather than their individual contents, produces the desired audience reactions.”


The size of an object or character and the amount of space seen in a shot or frame can shape the meaning and emotion of a character and scene. Close-up, detailed shots of a subject, whether medium or extreme close-ups, are used to allow the viewer access to the intimate details of a character’s emotions. 


Often considered the main aspect of cinematography, composition plays a big part in creating a mood and thus telling a story. Lighting, colours and spacing, among other visual aspects, are crucial in the composition of an image that can leave a lasting impression on the audience. What makes this so fascinating, is how the composition reflects the cinematography style of the cinematographer and the  director and can make a film’s theme stand out.  

Being able to use camera and lighting to convey emotion, style and narrative is what cinematography is all about, and that is just one of the disciplines we aim to teach here at the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television. 

To learn more about studying Film, click here.