The term cinematographer is derived from cinema photographer, and means someone who photographs with moving film. Sometimes referred to as the director of photography (DP or DoP), the cinematographer is responsible for capturing the film image as required by the script, under supervision of the director.
In large productions the cinematographer does not usually operate the camera, but directs and works closely with the camera operator and other camera staff. In some cases, especially smaller productions, the cinematographer and camera operator are the same person.
Note that some people take the term cinematographer to explicitly mean a director of photography who also operates the camera, but most people have a looser interpretation.
The cinematographer may be involved with location scouting, and will assist with planning lighting, film, shot composition, etc. How much creative control is given to the cinematographer depends on the director. Sometimes the cinematographer will be given complete control over camera functions and composition, in other cases the director will make all the decisions and the cinematographer is only required to make them happen.
The cinematographer may review processed film and make adjustments if necessary.
- An in-depth knowledge of camera functions, lenses, lighting and other cinematography skills
- An understanding of photographic composition and design
- Computer skills are necessary for many editing and other related tasks