Cinematography is the science or art of motion-picture photography by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as film stock.
Typically, a lens is used to repeatedly focus the light reflected from objects into real images on the light-sensitive surface inside a camera during a questioned exposure, creating multiple images. With an electronic image sensor, this produces an electrical charge at each pixel, which is electronically processed and stored in a video file for subsequent display or processing. The result with photographic emulsion is a series of invisible latent images on the film stock, which are later chemically "developed" into a visible image. The images on the film stock are played back at a rapid speed and projected onto a screen, creating the illusion of motion.
Cinematography finds uses in many fields of science and business as well as for entertainment purposes and mass communication.
The word "cinematography" was created from the Greek words κίνημα (kinema), meaning "movement, motion" and γράφειν (graphein) meaning "to record", together meaning "recording motion." The word used to refer to the art, process, or job of filming movies, but later its meaning was restricted to "motion picture photography."
In descending order of seniority, the following staff is involved:
In the film industry, the cinematographer is responsible for the technical aspects of the images (lighting, lens choices, composition, exposure, filtration, film selection), but works closely with the director to ensure that the artistic aesthetics are supporting the director's vision of the story being told. The cinematographers are the heads of the camera, grip and lighting crew on a set, and for this reason, they are often called directors of photography or DPs. The ASC defines cinematography as a creative and interpretive process that culminates in the authorship of an original work of art rather than the simple recording of a physical event. Cinematography is not a subcategory of photography. Rather, photography is but one craft that the cinematographer uses in addition to other physical, organizational, managerial, interpretive. and image-manipulating techniques to effect one coherent process. In British tradition, if the DOP actually operates the camera him/herself they are called the cinematographer. On smaller productions, it is common for one person to perform all these functions alone. The career progression usually involves climbing up the ladder from seconding, firsting, eventually to operating the camera.
Directors of photography make many creative and interpretive decisions during the course of their work, from pre-production to post-production, all of which affect the overall feel and look of the motion picture. Many of these decisions are similar to what a photographer needs to note when taking a picture: the cinematographer controls the film choice itself (from a range of available stocks with varying sensitivities to light and color), the selection of lens focal lengths, aperture exposure and focus. Cinematography, however, has a temporal aspect (see persistence of vision), unlike still photography, which is purely a single still image. It is also bulkier and more strenuous to deal with movie cameras, and it involves a more complex array of choices. As such a cinematographer often needs to work co-operatively with more people than does a photographer, who could frequently function as a single person. As a result, the cinematographer's job also includes personnel management and logistical organization. Given the in-depth knowledge. a cinematographer requires not only of his or her own craft but also that of other personnel, formal tuition in analogue or digital filmmaking can be advantageous.Source : Wikipedia