Know Your Camera
Take the time to study your camera, this means figuring out all the functions such as focus and aperture. I know it sounds boring, but you can’t be a great cinematographer if you don’t know how to really use your camera and all of its functions. Once you’ve mastered it all and know it like the back of your hand when it comes to filming something you won’t run into any problems that you don’t know how to fix.
It’s VERY important to practice as often as you possibly can. Make movies with your friends or film random things at home, mess around with the lighting and different frames, etc. By doing this you will be able to sort of critique yourself and you’ll start to develop a “feel” for what will works/look best. Another way you can practice is by studying your favorite films and see how professional cinematographers used their lighting, frames, etc. then try to mimic those same techniques in your own work.
Rule of Thirds
Just like in photography the rule of thirds applies to cinematography. Most cameras have a grid option that’ll bring up vertical and horizontal lines which cross each other, splitting the image on the camera screen into 9 sections and you follow the same rules as you would in photography. Which is making sure that your subject you’re videoing isn’t centered and place anything of visual interest at the intersections of the lines or on the lines, this will give a better composition.
As mentioned lighting definitely has a huge part in cinematography. A cinematographer needs to know how, when, and where to apply lighting to tell the story properly. You, of course, need to make sure that you that your subjects are visible and lit, the real challenge is making the lighting speak in a way that your characters can’t. It can be tricky but if you just play around with it and practice, you will get the hang of it eventually and, just as if you were painting, you’ll know when you’ve got it just right.
Videography can be tricky and a hard thing to learn but if you push through the difficult times it becomes fun and you’ll always be learning new things like angles, new lighting setups, etc. If you are just a beginner at this all then hopefully these lighting and other tips helped you out.
If you know of any other video tips feel free to share in the comments! Oh, but if you decide it is too hard to get your head around check out our list of free video & audio sites.