Your guide to cinematic composition, lighting, and movement

Improve your filmmaking skills with these helpful tutorials from Tomorrow’s Filmmakers.

There are a ton of filmmaking how-to videos to learn from online, and few do it better than the folks at Tomorrow’s Filmmakers.

Your YouTube channel is full of useful information whether you’re learning how to do it operate a gimbal, Found a company, want to make your own blackboard, or learning the basics of a camera.

More recently, the team has got three issues out of his life Film course and put them online so we can look at them: Cinematic Composition, Cinematic Movement and Cinematic Lighting. While they don’t tackle everything under the sun (no video really can), the series is a fantastic introduction to getting you to think differently when it comes to tech.

Check out the videos below.

8 steps to cinematic composition

When it comes to making cinematic compositions, there are a few things to keep in mind.

As the video shows, you should think about balancing the frame, filling the frame, symmetry, a dominant subject, enough headroom, and what’s going on in the background and foreground. But as we know as filmmakers, you can toss any of these rules out the door if your story calls for it.

Mr. Robot is a great example of cameraman Tod Cambell breaking “the rules” of headroom and choosing unique compositions to tell us more about the character or story.

8 steps to cinematic lighting

Lighting is something you need to know to get far as a cameraman. Although there are more than eight steps to cinematic lighting, Tomorrow’s Filmmakers break down the importance of lighting very well in the video above. What we love about the video is how much they reinforce the idea that good lighting is more important than the camera. And that there is no need for expensive devices to create a seductive setting.

The biggest advantage is that every filmmaker should know the direction of light. It is important to position your lighting so that your subjects are keyed in the most beneficial way possible. Generally this is done with the main light 45 ° away from the camera. Even if you don’t have lighting, it’s important to position your subject in a location that creates a natural-looking picture with ambient light or sun.

8 steps to cinematic movement

No matter how many YouTube videos you watch, 4K 120p footage isn’t the only key to cinematic movement. When it comes to physically moving your camera, the general rule is, the slower the better. Even if you think you are going slowly, go slower.

Today’s mirrorless cameras are very light and, even when removed, much lighter than cinema cameras from ARRI, RED, Sony and Canon. So keep that in mind when you start moving your camera.

While Tomorrow’s Filmmaker makes some fantastic points, keep in mind that they are not dogma. For example, avoiding handhelds is a good idea for beginners, but it really depends on the story, especially if you’re making a documentary or if you’re going for a specific look.

Do you have any tips for creating a more cinematic image? Share them with the community below.

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