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  • Writer's pictureArthur Campos Mello

The Importance and Use of Cinematography in Films

What is cinematography?

Cinematography is the use of images in films. It helps in showing the story and conveying emotions to an audience, depending on how the lighting, camera angles, framing and much more, are used. As this is one of the most crucial part of any film, there is even an Oscar category for it. Many great films have won this award or have been nominated for it. By only using photography, movies can embed meaning and theory in certain scenes.

How is it used in films?


1917 was released in 2019, and was directed by Sam Mendes. This movie is about 2 soldiers on a mission to deliver a message to a battalion that there would be an ambush over them. However, since they are in WWI, messages like these do not travel as fast as texting, like in the world today. They had to go through enemy territory by themselves to save many lives, including one of the soldier’s brothers.

The usage of cinematography in this film is pretty unique. Some people call it a “one-shot” film, since it is made for the audience to think the whole movie was filmed in only one shot, but it actually wasn’t. Small cuts were made in specific scenes to seem like it was filmed in just one take, which really adds to the immersive feeling of this Best Photography Academy Award winner. One of the most challenging aspects of filming this movie was the camera movement, as actors were in constant motion, so finding the perfect shot was necessary to portray all the difficulties the characters go through in the movie. Another important aspect was the use of lighting, and challenges to keep a good lighting on an actor's face.

When future cinematographers create films in the future, they should use this movie as an example. Its unique style tells an emotional tale of war, and it is definitely worth watching.

Blade Runner

Blade runner 2049 was released in 2017 and directed by Dennis Villeneuve. This is another Best Photography Academy Award winner, and tells the story about a cop in a futuristic Los Angeles whose job is to hunt androids.

Surprisingly enough, this film’s cinematography was also directed by Roger Deakins, the photography director of 1917. The city of Los Angeles in this film has a dark setting, with a great amount of rain and a large set of futuristic and geometric buildings. In an interview, Deakins said that he took inspiration from large cities of the real world to create the movies' landscape, such as Beijing, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. One style commonly used in this film are the wide shots. They are used to show the environment around a character and for the viewer to feel the atmosphere of this futuristic environment.

Overall, every aspect of filmmaking is very important for the viewing experience at home, or at the theaters. Cinematography is one aspect that can increase the immersion between the audience and the film, which should not be overlooked, as it helps tell the story of a movie.

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1 Comment

Michelle Trindade
Michelle Trindade
Nov 23, 2022

Congratulation! You have a very mature perception of films and shots. I really enjoy Blade Runner and its usage of wide-shots to create a sense of depth into the environment. Thanks for the amazing article!

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