Cinematographers or Director of Photography (DP/DOP): Job, Career, Salary, Scope

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A Cinematographer or Director of Photography (sometimes shortened as DP or DOP) is the chief of the camera and light crews working on a film, television production, or other live-action piece and is responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The study and practice of this field are referred to as Cinematography.

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What is the job of a Cinematographer or Director of Photography (DP/DOP)?

A Cinematographer or Director of Photography (DP/DOP) is responsible for the development, look and feel of the images which make up the final film. Cinematographers work closely with directors, the camera crew, and the lighting department to get the right frame, lighting, and mood for a film or TV program.

A Cinematographer’s job is to express the story of the screenwriter and the vision of the film director onto film. Cinematography consists of stirring up emotions of happiness, sadness, laughter, and fear. Exceptional camera work and lighting are put together by a cinematographer to enhance emotions and form the essence of cinematography.

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A cinematographer has a crucial role in the production of a movie or video. With the help of the art department, cinematographers craft images from scratch and use specific tools to make sure the images are meaningful and drive a story home.

They have an artistic perspective and a unique vision for what they are creating. This, combined with their extensive knowledge of cameras, composition, and lighting, brings their vision to fruition.

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Career as a Cinematographer

A career as a cinematographer includes a fine understanding of the technology and if you have coordination, energy for photography, and heaps of creativity, then this vocation is a certain shot for you.

With the expansion in the quantity of highlight, commercial and narrative film creation organizations, and new TV channels being propelled each other day, cinematographers have massive job openings.

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The educational background of the aspirants who want to nurture their career in Cinematography is as under –

  1. He or she must be a Graduate in any stream to apply for various diploma courses in Cinematography.
  2. Some of the cinematography programs require 10+2 qualified candidates provided they possess some certification in the same field.
  3. Apart from the academic qualification, the aspirants must possess a creative vision and good eyesight. He or she must have certain other attributes like passion towards work, orientation, interpersonal skills, potential to work independently, great imagination, foresightedness, etc.
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Salary of a Cinematographer

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Cinematographer’s earnings vary, depending upon location, experience, and employment specifics. In the United States, an average salary of $40,000 per annum is paid to a cinematographer. However, some jobs pay six-digit salaries. Cinematographers tend to make more money working for motion pictures rather than working for the television industry.

In India, a cinematographer who has just joined the industry is paid Rs.84,000 to Rs.100,000 per year. As the cinematographer becomes more experienced, his/her salary rises to Rs.480,000 to Rs.600,000 a year. The salary also depends upon the project on which the cinematographer is working on.

Career scope as a Cinematographer

The art of Cinematography is not just limited to the making of fictional movies. Science and technology is a wide area where the use of cinematography plays a pivotal role. Moreover documentaries and non-fictional series are becoming famous off late and there is huge scope as a Cinematographer.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the need for cinematographers will only increase in the coming future with the expanding entertainment industry and the globalized network that is forming.

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