5 Cinematography tips that will make you a better filmmaker!

Just about every filmmaker is consistently on the hunt for cinematography tips. Always looking to do better, to do more, and to be different. The bad news? There can be a lot of ‘bad’ cinematography tips out there if you’re not sure where to look for them. The good news? We’ve rounded up five awesome ones for you right here. Convenient, isn’t it?


  1. Building a Mood From Light

For nighttime shots, it’s a good idea to ‘build’ off your practical. A practical is a source of light in the scene you can actually see, like a lamp, computer screen, etc. This allows the viewer to know where the light in the scene is coming from. Getting mysterious with your light can seem artsy, but it can really pull your audience away from the scene if they’re not sure where the source of light is coming from. And, if no one is captivated by your scene, well…


  1. Give it a Spin

Want to go crazy (okay, not too crazy) with your camera? Try placing it on a smooth rotating device, so you can quickly and seamlessly go back and forth between two objects or characters. When done correctly, it can really make the viewer feel like they’re a part of the scene. When done incorrectly, it can make them want to throw up, so make sure to give it some practice!

Become a Better Filmmaker. Join us on Facebook!

Give Me Skills
  1. The Ol’ Hidden Camera Trick

Okay, it’s not really a trick, but the idea of putting your camera inside something to get a shot can be really useful. It doesn’t have to feel like a creepy ‘spying on you’ scenario, either. You can use this technique to give a different point of view; perhaps of an animal in a cage, a person underground, etc.


  1. Fill it Up

Adding separation between your subject and the background is important. To do this effectively, you can add a fill light to really contrast the two. If you’re going for a darker, moodier look, ditch the fill light, and instead add a second practical. Don’t be afraid to get creative with different light sources, as long as they can fit the mood you’re going for, and contrast the subject from the rest of the scene.


  1. Position Yourself Above and Below

Try getting a bird’s eye view of a shot, or a shot from below. Eye-level shooting isn’t ‘so last year’ or anything, but changing a viewer’s perspective can really make a huge difference in a scene. Use these different perspectives in practical ways – down low for a child or animal, or up high for over the shoulder looks.

Keep in mind that any kind of ‘cinematography tips’ article could end up being thirty pages long. There are so many subtle tips and tricks out there you can put into practice, so get started (and get comfortable) with these tips on your next shoot, and you’re bound to see a difference right away.


Looking for more? Read Broken Slate’s: Top 10 Mistakes Beginner Filmakers Make

Take me there!