Cinematography for Directors

Tal Lazar

Cinematography for Directors

Tal Lazar
4h 33m
8 modules (view curriculum)

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  • Total Time:

    4h 33m


Working with a cinematographer is a skill which every Film and TV director or producer needs to master. What do they need to know to do their job best? What decisions are made by the director and what by the cinematographer, and how to make these decisions? How to lead a technical team without being a technical master yourself? This course will take you to the heart of your own story. You’ll learn how to find and communicate the core of what your images need to express, and make decisions like where to place your camera and what lens to use. You’ll learn to harness the immense power of narrative perspective, move the camera purposefully and lead your team confidently in making these decisions.



How do we extract or find the essence of a scene and communicate it subtextually instead of just delivering information? Moving images require the director to interpret the screenplay and know what exists between the lines - that is what images are meant to deliver to the audience.


Moving images communicate ideas to an audience without the use of words. How do they do that? Once the subtext has been identified, practical techniques bind visual decisions with the story so that your audience fully understands the ideas you are trying to convey.


Narrative perspective is probably the most powerful storytelling technique when using a camera to tell stories. What are the different kinds of perspectives and when to use one or the other? How do these decisions affect the most fundamental decision with a camera - where to place it? The video demonstrates the use of narrative perspective so that you can harness its power in your own films.


Giving your characters a voice is important, but should you move away and observe them from afar? When should you switch a perspective and how is this done with the camera? How do you create a scene with multiple perspectives? All this and more in this video.


Lens choice is a decision that has a big effect on how your audience relates to the events on screen. And yet, many directors know very little about lenses and as a result, exclude themselves from one of the most important creative conversations when making a movie. Learn the different characteristics of lenses that matter to you and the vocabulary needed to participate and dictate choices with this important tool.


A lens is more than its focal length. There are many secret tools inside a lens, and we explore just some of them. How to use the aperture for more than just brightness? What is flare and how to control it? Is sharpness really important? And what are anamorphic lenses?


We dive into how compositions are created and hidden secrets known only to visual artists. Advanced use of color and how the eye sees it, hidden lines that hint where one should observe inside an image, and much more.


When should the camera move, and when should it stay still? How do we rely on memory and past experiences of the audience to tell a story? What are common conventions, like the rule of thirds and short siding, and how are they used in films?

About the Educator

Tal Lazar

Cinematographer, Producer, Educator

3 Courses

Tal Lazar is a cinematographer and educator whose courses are taught at leading film schools such as Columbia University, the American Film Institute and Sundance Institute.

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