How to get the Cinematic Look: Creating Depth

Learn how to achieve the cinematic look with these simple principles on how to create more depth in your shots. Featuring the PolarPro Basecamp mattebox and Variable ND filter system.

The question I get the most is; “how can I achieve that cinematic look?”. While there isn’t one straight answer, there’re several tips that can definitely help with that.

A cinematographer is a person who thinks about the visual aspect of a camera shot. Yes that includes the framing, but it’s a lot more than that.  It’s the way the camera moves, how the lighting looks, the colors used in a shot. It’s everything that helps tell the visual story.

In the video above I talk about one aspect of cinematography which is to create depth. Creating depth is one of the basic things you can do to get that ‘cinematic look’. Not all tips and tricks always for for every situation, but it sure is where everyone should start with.

Red Cinema Camera - PolarPro Basecamp
The PolarPro Basecamp on the RED Cinema Camera

PolarPro Basecamp

Having a shallow depth of field is one of those things that makes your shots look cinematic. But when going outside the first thing you do is pinch down the aperture which results in an ugly video look.

Here’s where Neutral Density filters come in. There’re fixed ND filters and variable filters. There’re screw-on filters, which go directly to your lens or larger filters that slide into a mattebox. Such a mattebox is of course much more versatile as you get a sun hood, a flag and you can rotate filters (for gradients).

The downside is that matteboxes are bulky. But that’s not really the case with the Basecamp. It’s very compact and it connects directly to your lens. Definitely worth checking out!

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