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Notes On Cinematography

·6 mins
Book Notes Nonfiction Art Flim Philosophy
Table of Contents


  • An actor in cinematography might as well be in a foreign country. He does not speak its language
  • Two types of film: 1) those that employ the resources of the theater (actors, direction, etc. ) and use the camera in order to reproduce; 2) those that employ the resources of cinematography and use the camera to create
  • Rid myself of the accumulated errors and untruths. Get to know my resources, make sure of them.
  • The point is not to direct someone, but to direct oneself.
  • An image must be transformed by contact with other images, as is a color by contact with other colors. A blue is not the same blue beside a green, a yellow, a red. No art without transformation
  • Cinematographic film, where the images, like the words in a dictionary, have no power and value except through their position and relation
  • On two deaths and three births. My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected onto a screen, come to life again like flowers in water
  • Create is not to deform or invent persons and things. It is to tie new relationships between persons and things which are, and as they are
  • You will guide your models according to your rules, with them letting you act in them, and you letting them act in you.
  • In a mixture of true and false, the true brings out the false, the false hinders belief in the true. An actor simulating fear of shipwreck on the deck of a real ship battered by a real storm - we believe neither in the actor, nor in the ship nor in the storm
  • You shall call a fine film the one that makes you think highly of cinematography
  • Your film - let people feel the soul and the heart there, but let it be made like a work of hands
  • What no human eye is capable of catching, no pencil, brush, pen of pinning down, your camera catches without knowing what it is, and pins its down with a machine’s scrupulous indifference.
  • Don’t run after poetry. It penetrates unaided through the joins (ellipses)
  • every art there is a diabolical principle which acts against it and tries to demolish it. An analogous principle is perhaps not altogether unfavorable to cinematography
  • Someone who can work with the minimum can work with the most. One who can with the most cannot, inevitably, with the minimum
  • Hide the ideas, but so that people find them. The most important will be the most hidden.
  • The movements of the soul were born with the same progression as those of the body
  • CINEMA seeks immediate and definitive expression through mimicry, gestures, intonations of voice. This system inevitably excludes expression through contacts and exchanges of images 19and of sounds and the transformations that result from them.
  • Impossible to express something strongly by the coupled resources of two arts. It is all the one or all the other
  • Things made more visible not by more light, but by the fresh angle at which I see them.
  • A thing that has failed can, if you change its place, be a thing that has come off.
  • Retouching the real with the real
  • Make yourself homogeneous with your models, make them homogeneous with you
  • Your film must resemble what you see on shutting your eyes.(You must be capable, at any instant, of seeing and hearing it entire. )
  • If a sound is the obligatory complement of an image, give preponderance either to the sound, or to the image. If equal, they damage or kill each other, as we say of colors.
  • There is nothing to expect from a CINEMA anchored in the theater
  • Theater and CINEMA: alternation of believing and not believing.Cinematography: continually believing
  • Two sorts of real: (1) The crude real recorded as it is by the camera; (2) what we call real and see deformed by our memory and some wrong reckonings.Problem. To make what you see be seen, through the intermediary of a machine that does not see it as you see it. "
  • When you do not know what you are doing and what you are doing is the best - that is inspiration.
  • Your camera passes through faces, provided no mimicry (intentional or not intentional) gets in between. Cinematographic films made of inner movements which are seen.
  • Shooting with the same eyes and the same ears today as yesterday.Unity, homogeneity.
  • Do not use the same models in two films.(1) One would not believe in them.(2) They would look at themselves in the first film as one looks at oneself in the mirror, would want people to see them as they wish to be seen, would impose a discipline on themselves, would grow disenchanted as they corrected themselves
  • The real is not dramatic. Drama will be born of a certain march of non-dramatic elements.
  • Things too much in disorder, or too much in order, become equal, one no longer distinguishes them. They produce indifference and boredom
  • Quantity, enormity, falsity of means yielding place to simplicity and rightness. Everything brought back to what suffices you.
  • Create expectations to fulfill them
  • Your camera catches not only physical movements that are inapprehensible by pencil, brush or pen, but also certain states of soul recognizable by indices which it alone can reveal. 53o
  • CINEMA, radio, television, magazines are a school of inattention: people look without seeing, listen in without hearing
  • See at once, in what you are seeing, what will be seen. Your camera does not take things as you see them.(I t does not take what you make them mean.
  • Ten properties of a subject, according to Leonardo: light and dark, color and substance, form and position, distance and nearness, movement and stillness
  • Hollow idea of “art cinema”, of “art films. " Art films, the ones most devoid of it.
  • I know your handwriting well enough, without your having to sign your name.*
  • It is from being constrained to a mechanical regularity, it is from a mechanism that emotion will be born. To understand this, think of certain great pianists.
  • Ideas gathered from reading will always be bookish ideas. Go to the persons and objects directly.
  • MASTERPIECES. The masterpieces of painting or sculpture, such as the Gioconda or the Venus of Milo, have so many reasons for being admired that they are admired for both the good and the bad ones. CINEMA masterpieces are often admired only for the bad ones
  • Do not try, and do not wish, to draw tears from the public with the tears of your models, but with this image rather than that one, this sound
  • Do not try, and do not wish, to draw tears from the public with the tears of your models, but with this image rather than that one, this sound rather than that one, exactly in their place

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