When filming scenes for movies, television, or instructional or educational videos, a cinematographer fills a key role. He or she acts as the eyes of the director, typically working with that person to figure out what the vision of the film should be. The cinematographer then brings this vision into being by choosing the different ways and techniques the filmed or video project will be shot.
Cinematographers will typically have to process a great deal of information. Depending on the type of project they're shooting, they will typically have to be completely familiar with the script, and will work extensively with the director on any themes or tones. Many directors will specifically set certain parts of scenes to be filmed, and the cinematographer's job is to essentially film what he or she sees. However, the cinematographer must also take into account lighting, angles, and the number of cameras to be used.
Persons interested in this career typically seek a degree in cinematography or related discipline from an accredited university. A cinematographer may then put his or her skills to work immediately on small-scale projects. However, to work in television or movies, it is normally necessary for a person to acquire practical experience. This is done by working with second units as a camera operator or a similar position that works directly under a cinematographer on a set. This is a job that typically requires both work in a studio and on location, and it may have irregular hours, depending on individual contracts.