Cinematography 101: What is Cinematography?

Taught By:

Mike Symonds

Description:

RocketJump's Creative Director Mike Symonds delves into the building blocks of what cinematography is, and how we can start to learn the language of cinema. Here's a hint: anyone can learn!

Lesson Plan

Cinematography might seem intimidating, but there is actually an underlying language to cinema that we inherently understand, whether we realize it or not! And once you understand the different rules of cinematic language, you can start implementing them, flipping them, breaking them, and using them purposefully and meaningfully. In this video essay, RocketJump's Creative Director Mike Symonds delves into the building blocks of what cinematography is, and how we can start to learn the language of cinema.

And here's a hint: anyone can learn!

Wondering about all the films we referenced? Here's the full list in chronological order:

  1. A Radio Picture Opening
  2. Paramount Pictures Opening
  3. MGM title Opening
  4. The Arrival of a Train (1896)
  5. Martin Scorsese: Big Questions (2012)
  6. Spellbound (1945)
  7. Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)
  8. The Matrix (1999)
  9. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  10. Vertigo (1958)
  11. Behind the Scenes of J Edgar (2011)
  12. Fast and Furious (2009)
  13. Furious 6 (2013)
  14. A League of Their Own (1992)
  15. The Neverending Story (1984)
  16. Behind the Scenes of The Avengers (2012)
  17. The Mirror (1975)
  18. Mad Men (2007-2015)
  19. Castello Cavalcanti (2013)
  20. The Ten Commandments (1956)
  21. Music video for Lionel Richie's "Dancing on the Ceiling" (1986)
  22. Music video for Alanis Morissette's Ironic" (1995)
  23. Billy Madison (1995)
  24. Behind the Scenes of Furious 7 (2015)
  25. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  26. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
  27. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  28. Citizen Kane (1941)
  29. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  30. The Master (2012)
  31. Marie Antoinette (2006)
  32. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
  33. Look Whos Talking Too (1990)
  34. The Shining (1980)
  35. Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix (2005)
  36. Arrested Development (2003-2013)
  37. Psycho (1960)
  38. Jaws (1975)
  39. Up (2009)
  40. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  41. Finding Nemo (2003)
  42. The Man with Two Brains (1983)
  43. Innerspace (1987)
  44. Halloween (1978)
  45. Jurassic Park (1994)
  46. Fargo (1996)
  47. No Country For Old Men (2007)
  48. The Graduate (1967)
  49. Howard's End (1992)
  50. Young Frankenstein (1974)
  51. Goodfellas (1990)
  52. District 9 (2009)
  53. Twilight Zone: The Howling Man (1960)
  54. Children of Men (2006)
  55. Interstellar (2014)
  56. The Tree of Life (2011)
  57. The Iron Giant (1999)
  58. Inception (2010)
  59. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
  60. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)
  61. Mission Impossible III (2006)
  62. WALL-E (2008)
  63. HALO Cinematic (2001)
  64. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  65. Indiana Jones Temple of Doom (1984)
  66. Cast Away (2000)

And here's some extra credit for you: watch your absolute favorite movie, but with the sound off. Try and make note of the different angles and movements are used in your favorite scenes.

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