Basic things to know about Cinematography (5 C’s)

Basic things to know about Cinematography

This article is to make you understand who a cinematographer is and the 5 C’s of cinematography. It is very simple and straightforward, it is something that everyone in the field of filmmaking must know and practice in order to be a professional.

Who Is A Cinematographer 

A cinematographer simply refers to a professional who handles the camera in times of shooting video recording and even camera settings for excellent results. 

It is the duty of the cinematographer to read and understand the script, discuss with the director, go to locations, plan shots and camera movements in order to get a good production.

Below are some of the qualities of a good cinematographer;

  • The cinematographer must be able to work under pressure
  • He or she must be creative and have sharp listening ears
  • Must be someone who does research and watches other films to improve personal skills.
  • A good cinematographer  must be someone who always accepts corrections

What Is Cinematography 

Basic things to know about Cinematography

Cinematography simply refers to the act or process of using motion pictures to tell a comprehensible story. It is done through a camera. Some of the major things that contribute to the quality of visuals in filmmaking are Light and sound which are very important.

Lightning in Cinematography helps the camera to get clear and authentic shots and sound helps in giving more information to the viewers, the sound includes the dialogue and the background soundtrack to set up a particular mood in a scene, this is mostly done during Post production (Editing)

5 C’s Of Cinematography 

Cinematography revolves around the techniques of capturing motion pictures in order to tell stories. There are basic things a cinematographer must know and apply when it comes to filmmaking which are known as the 5 C’s OF CINEMATOGRAPHY.

It is impossible for a film to be perfect or standard without the application of the 5 C’s of cinematography, they are all that makes up a film one way or the other.

Below are the 5 C’s of cinematography;

  • Composition
  • Camera angle
  • Continuity
  • Close-ups
  • Cutting 


Composition in filmmaking is very important; it has to do with how the cinematographer frames the objects or subjects on screen. 

This simply deals with how things are positioned on the screen, such as the actor, the buildings or props and any other thing that appears on that scene. Without camera composition we wouldn’t have enjoyed so many films we watch on screen today. Camera composition helps to separate each element on-screen helping us to identify each one of them including the character.

Composition is something you should study in particular you should make further research because there are so many things attached to it the 11 rules that governs composition in filmmaking, such as;

  • The rule of third
  • Dept
  • Leading lines
  • Symmetry
  • Leading and headroom

And others…

There is lots more to know about composition when it comes to filmmaking…

Camera Angles 

This refers to the angles at which the camera is being positioned in order to capture an event, character or characters in a scene. Camera angles help to beautify shots of a film, it helps to add meaning to the film. 

A film will just be a normal film without creativity if camera angles techniques are not applied. We are the different camera angles when it comes to shooting or filmmaking such as;

  • Low angle
  • High angle
  • Dutch angle


Continuity simply refers to the sequential matching of a shot of action to the next shot of a scene in a film. It deals with arranging the shots in order to avoid jump cuts or in order to avoid jump cuts or lack of uniformness.

Example; a close-up shot of Samson blinking his left eye, the continuity should be a long shot of Samson still blinking his left eye so that the two shots match.

An Extreme long shot of Sandra eating rice with her left hand should continue with a medium shot of Sandra eating rice with the same left hand, that is continuity.

Continue  basically balance and match  one shot of an action to the next shot to make the film smooth and comprehensible. 

Close Ups

This refers to using very close shots to the objects or subjects in order to show details. They are  called close-up shots, it can be a medium close-up or a very tight close-up, they all review the emotions or the mood of the characters in a film.

Close-ups help in giving a film depth, it adds quality.


This is mostly done during the editing or post-production; it deals with the arrangement of varieties of shorts in order to capture the attention of the viewers.

Cutting has to do with the change from one shot to the other, this change usually relates with each other or matches with each other. The beauty and depth of a story lies in how it is cut or arranged. Action films require high-level technique of cutting. cutting makes the FILM.

Basic things to know about Cinematography

Below are some of the types of camera shots in cinematography

  • Longshot
  • Extreme long shot
  • Medium shot
  • Close up shot
  • Extreme close-up shot
  • P O V – point of view
  • O V S – over the shoulder shot

Long shot

Longshot is a type of chart that shows the subject object or character’s whole body from head to toe. It is mostly used to show the costume of the character or the movements of the character.

Extreme Long Shot (ELS)

This is a type of shot that shows the subject or characters and the whole environment from a far distance. The camera is being placed very far away from the subject. This is mostly done to show the character and the buildings in the environment or the activities going on in the environment.

Medium Shot (MS)

Medium-shot is the type of shot that shows half of the character or subject’s body. It shows from the head to the waist of the character, sometimes even from the head to the knees.

Close Up Shot (CUS)

This is the type of shot that shows the character of subjects in a very close range in order to show emotions, mood or to reveal a very important information. 

Extreme Close Up (ECS)

This is the type of chart that shows the character or the subject very tight and close. A Shot of the two eyes blinking or a sweat dropping from someone’s face is an example of an extreme close-up shot.

Point Of View (POV)

This is the type of shot that shows what the character is seeing; it represents the eyes of the character. It beautifies films by capturing the attention of the viewers.

Over The Shoulder (OTS)

This is the type of shot that is used when two people are having a conversation, it is captured from one person’s shoulder to the other.


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