Cinematic Video for Beginners – 4 Basic Tips
The term CINEMATIC is getting thrown around on the internet like rag doll lately. Everyone wants to create cinematic videos nowadays, but are not sure exactly what that even means. On youtube many creators are using slow motion & colour grading to "fake" the cinematic video feel. It's a very good start, but here are some more things you will want to consider to really pull this off like a pro.
Even if you are a complete beginner, only using a smartphone, these 4 tips will make sense to you. Dean uses one of his home grown concepts called the CM CM rule... you wont forget it.
C - Composition
Space is a very important factor in cinematography. If you think of any epic fantasy adventure movie like Lord of the Rings, you will associate these as being cinematic. Wide open landscapes are the obvious marks, but even the close up shots will have room to breathe. Make good use of your video composition rules like "Rule of thirds" & "leading lines". These will provide the space you need to pull of that cinematic film look. (Read more on Rule of Thirds) In essence cinematic shots take a bit of time to setup. Slow down before you shoot, look at the situation and take the time to set it up properly.
M - Movement
There is a spacial relationship between the camera & the subject that takes time to master. When people start filming for the first time they know that there is a connection to video and movement. As they hit record they start to flail the camera around zooming in and out... sound familiar? What they don't quite understand is that the primary movement is the subject, not the camera. Think of it like a Harry Potter painting. The frame is fixed on the wall while the subject moves around. This is how you need to start thinking. Once you have mastered the C for composition you can start to experiment with camera movement. When the camera and the subject move together, either in opposite direction or towards echother the space between them changes and this enhances the cinematic perception of the viewer.
In the movie world cinematic does not mean SLOW MOTION! It just means that the spacial relationship between the camera and the subject are dancing like in a tango at a matching speed. Think of horses running over the great plaines with a helicopter circling them. That is cinematic as can be, no slowmo there. But we don't all have access helicopters, let alone drones. A trick that people use these days to help fake cinematic movement is the use of Slow Motion. Your smartphone has the ability to film at up to 120 frames in a second which makes anything look more cinematic.
CM - Colour & Music
These two need very little explanation. A good colour grade together with great cinematic music is all you need to finish up that epic video of yours. Youtube is full of Royalty Free Music available for use. Similarly most editing programs & apps come with filters that you can apply to enhance the look and feel. In the near future I will do a tutorial on LUTs for easy colour correction on a pro level.
We have plenty more blog articles that go a little deeper in on these subjects. Also see our Online Courses for more details on how to pull this off using your smartphone.