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Advanced Cinematography - TFT00049H

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  • Department: Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Matt Brannan
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

Cinematography has been at the forefront of technological change in the film and television industries in the last decade.  This module is designed to prepare students to work flexibly and knowledgeably in an industry where that change will continue.  In particular, students will have an aesthetic and technical grounding in visual storytelling, developed with the skilled use of the department’s RED and Sony cameras and lenses.  The module emphasises the central importance of composition and lighting in cinematography, and students will be expected to put the cameras, lighting and grips available to them to full creative use in different settings.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

* To provide an essential grounding in the principles and practice of digital cinematography, and similarities and differences between it and conventional film-based cinematography.

* To provide a grounding in the principles and practice of lighting for film and digital cinematography

* To provide students with a framework for understanding the disciplines of photographing actors and documentary contributors.

Module learning outcomes

Students will be expected to demonstrate:

An understanding of how digital cinematography has evolved, preserving or reproducing some key aspects of celluloid origination; and how new aesthetics and techniques are emerging as digital technologies advance

An ability to apply the principles of composition, camera movement, and staging and blocking of action, actors and documentary contributors

An ability to make creative and appropriate lens choices, whether using prime, zoom or certain specialised lenses

An ability to apply camera settings and other controls (including matte boxes, filtration, non-standard shutter speeds and angles) to achieve certain 'looks' and in-camera effects

An ability to light interior dramatic scenes in different fictional genres, and to light documentary sequences in observational and more formal film- and programme-making styles

An ability to translate screenplays, storyboards and shot lists into completed sequences

An ability to interpret the instructions and 'vision' of the director, and to communicate with other members of the camera department and to lighting, grips and other crew, both verbally through common industry terms and through the development of documents such as lighting plans, look-up tables (LUTs) and other visual references.


Task Length % of module mark
2500 Word Essay
N/A 65
Group Project
N/A 25
Peer Assessment
N/A 10

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
2500 Word Essay
N/A 65
N/A 35

Module feedback

Students will receive verbal feedback for the formative assessment and written feedback for assessments in Wks 8 and 10.

Indicative reading

Key texts indicated in bold:

Holben, J (2015) Behind the Lens, London: Focal Press

Stump, D (2014), Digital Cinematography, Burlington: Focal Press

Elkins, D (2009), The Camera Assistant's Manual, Amsterdam and London: Focal Press

Alton, J (1995) Painting with Light, Berkeley: University of California Press

Bailey, J (2008-) John's Bailiwick [Blog] Los Angeles: ASC

Brown, B (2008) Motion Picture and Video Lighting, Oxford: Focal Press

Ettedgui, P (1998) Cinematography Screencraft, Hove: RotoVision

Fauer, J (2005) Cinematographer Style, Vols I & II, Los Angeles: ASC Press

Malkiewicz, K, (1992) Film Lighting: Talks with Hollywood's Cinematographers and Gaffers, New York: Simon & Schuster

McCarthy, T (1993) Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography [DVD] Los Angeles: ASC

Wheeler, P (2007) High Definition Cinematography, Oxford: Focal Press


The following films are indicative of those that will be screened in this module:

Fargo (Roger Deakins)

Saving Private Ryan (Janusz Kaminski)

Delicatessen (Darius Khondji)

The English Patient ( John Seale)

Taxi Driver (Michael Chapman)

Manhattan (Gordon Willis)

Paris, Texas (Robbie Muller)

Easy Rider (Laszlo Kovacs)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Haskell Wexler)

Reds (Vittorio Storaro)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.