7 Tips for Achieving Hollywood-Level Cinematography on Your Next Project

Cinematography has been referred to as the silent director due to the fact that so many people are unaware of how much work and skill goes into it. If you want your film to be the best it can be, you need to start with a cinematographer who is willing and able to do what it takes to make your vision come alive through his or her lens. Before you begin filming, take advantage of these tips on how to achieve Hollywood-level cinematography on your next project to ensure that your movie truly leaves an impression!

1) Light

When shooting outdoors, it’s best to use a light source with a color temperature close to daylight. If you’re shooting indoors and have the option of using natural light, don’t forget that there are many different times of day to shoot. Midday is not always the best time because the sun is too high in the sky and can create unflattering shadows on your actors’ faces.

2) Framing

Framing is one of the many factors that contribute to the overall look and feel of a video. It’s one of those things you don’t notice until it’s done wrong, but it makes such a big difference.

3) Depth of Field

Depth of Field is one of the most important cinematographic elements to understand. It’s also one of the hardest to master. The depth of field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in an image that appear acceptably sharp. By manipulating this distance, you can control what parts of your shot are in focus and which are out of focus.

4) Action/Reaction

  1. Use a variety of lenses. Sometimes you want to use a wide-angle lens and other times you might want to use a telephoto lens, so make sure you have the right gear for each shot.
  2. Make sure your focus is sharp by putting an object in the foreground and something in the background that is smaller than it, but still visible.

5) Focus

  1. Keep the camera moving.
  2. Use a wide-angle lens as often as possible.
  3. Shoot in low light situations whenever possible to give your footage an eerie, moody feel.
  4. Pay attention to foreground and background elements that create depth and interest.
  5. Utilize practical lighting techniques when filming indoors or outside during broad daylight hours.
  6. Create focal points by highlighting key objects of interest (e.g., windows) with spotlights or other directional lighting sources such as reflectors and kino-flo tubes.
  7. Frame shots creatively—don’t just let the camera linger at eye level; shoot from below, above, inside corners and around tight corners.

6) Location, Location, Location

Often, the location you choose to shoot your video can make or break your project. But what do you look for when choosing a location? You should think about the following:

1) What is the vibe of the location? Would it fit with what I’m trying to convey in my video?
2) Is there ample natural light?
3) Is there easy access to power outlets and Internet connection points?
4) Is there enough room to place equipment?

7) Sound

Finding the right people to work with: You are only as good as the people you are working with and a cinematographer cannot do it alone. When looking for people to work with, I always look for three things: competence, creativity, and chemistry. Competence is a must because if they can’t do their job well, then the end product will suffer.


It’s possible to achieve a cinematic feel without breaking the bank. These seven tips will help you get started in the right direction.

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