When it comes to movie making, cinematography is the most important part. It involves the activity of getting the movie on celluloid film. In the early days of movies there was no sound in motion pictures. Therefore, the concentration was focused entirely on the picture. As such, it was the director who operated the camera also. But with the development of technology, adding sounds to movies became possible.
When artificial lighting became the norm, the camera had to be operated by a different person. This signaled the birth of cameramen for movies. The celluloid films were also improved in quality. Films with low speeds of ISO 50 to the high speeds of ISO 800 became available. This provided the cinematographers to capture scenes in very poor lighting conditions when they were doing the filming in locations other than studios.
While the quality of films improved, the formats also increased in number. This enabled cameramen to choose the format they wished. 8 mm, 16 mm and 35 mm were the formats available. For movies it was the 35mm format that was being used most often. Improved film laboratories also were established. This enabled the cinematographers to obtain films with high-resolution in order to achieve better quality with their films.
Different kinds of filters used in shooting offered the facility of creating different effects with both black and white and color films. Filters consist of two pieces of glass and a light-sensitive material filling the space between them. Yellow, blue and UV filters were often used.
Another asset that became available for cinematographers was the camera lenses. The wide-angle and telephoto lenses were made available for them to create various effects with cameras. Later, the macro lenses became available to make things easier.
With the manipulation of the lens aperture and the distance of focus, the cinematographers today are able to change the depth of field. Though a camera focuses just one plane, with increased depth of field cinematographers are able to focus their cameras on objects that are located in a bigger depth.
Traditionally, cinematography involved only recording motion pictures on celluloid film but modern trends have evolved where digital cameras are being used in the creation of video films. Therefore, modern-day cinematography involves the digital photography also. With digital cameras you have the possibility to create various effects in addition to recording the motion pictures. There are highly advanced digital cameras at the disposal of cinematographers today.