Making mistakes is an inevitable part of our learning process. Still, it’s good to learn how to avoid them, so we can grow and make our work better. Nerris Nassiri from Aputure shares five biggest mistakes all beginner cinematographers make. But to be honest, photographers will recognize themselves in some of these, too. Did you make them when you were still new to cinematography/photography as well?
1. Shooting wide open all the time
As a photographer, I plead guilty to this one. When I first bought a (relatively) fast lens, everything was shot at f/1.8 at first. Sure, a soft and blurred background can look nice, but it doesn’t fit every scene. You can add a lot more narrative depth to your story if you add a little bit of light and stop down the aperture.
2. Not knowing your camera’s native ISO
The lowest ISO isn’t always the right choice because different formats have different native ISO. Nerris gives two examples: when you shoot in S-Log, your base or native ISO will be 1600 or 3200, depending on the version. When you’re on a camera like Canon 5D Mark III, your native ISO will be 160. So, do some research before you shoot so you can set the ISO properly.
3. Thinking that three-point lighting is all you need
The three-point lighting is the basic lighting setup, probably the first one we all learned. But, don’t think that the key light, fill light and backlight are all you need for lighting the scene. It’s usually just the first step. You also need to think about accent, ambient, and practical lighting in order to utilize creativity within the entire scene and add more interest to the story.
4. Forgetting about the negative fill
Although it sounds contradictory to the previous point, it is “just as important to take away the light as it is to add it,” as Nerris explains. When there’s too much light, it can make your scenes look flat and unnatural. The negative fill can add more depth to your image and assist the narrative.
5. Always following the rules
The rules are there for a reason and you definitely should learn them. But, you should also learn when to break them in order to tell your story better. Nerris talked about five composition rules of filmmaking and how and why to break them before. So, know the rules, but also don’t be afraid to break them if it will help you tell the story.
So, did you make any of these mistakes when you were still a newbie? If you like, you can share your most common mistakes with us in the comments below.