Considering Effect of Movie Setting on Cinematography

When making a movie, there are critical concerns for your project and movie settings is an important one. The quality of your published copy should determine the settings you choose, but an important consideration that will be affected is cinematography.

What Are Movie Settings?

Movie settings deals with file elements, namely file type, bit rate, display size, aspect ration and frames per second. File type includes WMV, AVI and the like. Bit rate determines how much information is used to record your data. Display size is the number of pixels wide by the number of pixels high. Aspect ratio is the ratio of the width by the height (a 4:3 ratio is standard, and 16:9 is widescreen.) Frames per second is how many individual "pictures" flash by each second (standard television is 30-frames per second.) Each of these will affect your final image. Consider these when you think about what you will record with your camera, that is, the cinematography.

When you're thinking about movie settings and cinematography, think in these terms:

    What is my purpose?
    What is my content?
    What do I want to do with it?

Why Am I Doing This?

The purpose of your project is important regarding your cinematography, which is affected by movie settings. Are you editing together clips from family movies? That is, basically non-complex images for recording moments. These are movie types that need less information-intensive files. The files are typically smaller. These smaller files are more easily shared online or compressed into DVDs. On the other hand, if you are making an intense video with more motion within the frame (either motion within the frame or motion inflicted on the frame by way of camera moves,) that will necessitate more digital info to make for a smoother video.

What Type of Movie Is It?

With an intense motion video-for instance, a short thriller as an example of your filmmaking abilities, it will use more data. That is, if your camera moves quickly, following characters or there is a lot of action within the frame, for that to be smooth you'll want to record with maximum bit rate and a wide-screen ration. Conversely, if you have two characters talking in a static position over candlelight, there is probably not much physical motion within the frame. Therefore, it's more efficient to use lower settings.

Where Should This Go?

Are you sending the file to a relative to share your daughter's first birthday? If so, you can use settings that don't eat up data space. This is really useful for sending files, as larger files are harder to send through the internet. However, if your project is a reel to secure work in the entertainment industry, you'll want to make sure it is top quality. Give them your best.


After you've given your project all these considerations (before you shoot), recognize also that some formats don't burn to DVD as easily, while others may or may not be friendly as far as sending over the internet. Do your homework. Check your options before and make the best decisions for your project.