Duties and responsibilities of Director of Photography

By Rahul Nair
In Cinematography
Mar 8th, 2015

Some of the duties and responsibilities of a Cinematographer are listed here in no particular order:

1. Reads the script to understands the story, so as to get an idea of what may be involved in the shooting of the film.

2. Work with the Director, Production Designer, and Set Construction Supervisor to determine the look of the film and how the sets will be designed and constructed.

3. Assist the Director in translating the screenplay into visual images.

4.Attends production meetings to discuss the script and make any suggestions to help the production run smoothly.

5. Attends location scouts with the Director, to determine the locations suitability for filming.

6. Chooses camera, lenses, filters, film stock, and any other camera equipment that may be needed.

7. Recommends the camera rental house to use for renting equipment.

8. Recommends the grip and lighting equipment rental companies to use for renting equipment.

9. Recommends the laboratory that will process the film.

10. Discusses with the lab any anticipated special processing needs for the production.

11. Supervises any camera tests that may be necessary or arranges for them to be done.

12. Supervises any film tests that may be necessary or arranges for them to be done.

13. Supervises any lighting, costume, and makeup tests or arranges for them to be done.

14. Hires or recommends the members of the camera crew, the Gaffer, and the Key Grip.

15. Works closely with the Production Manager or Production Coordinator to determine the size of the camera, grip, and lighting crews.

16. Works with the grip and electric crews to determine the type and quantity of equipment needed for each department.

17. Maintains the photographic quality and continuity of the production.

Duties and responsibilities of Director of Photography
18. Sets the camera position, camera angle, and any camera movement for each shot based on the Director’s request.

19. Oversees any photographic special effects shots in collaboration with the Effects Supervisor.

20. Selects the lens and filter’s required for each shot.

21. Determines the correct exposure (t-stop) for each shot.

22. Works with the Director when lining up and matching action and screen direction from shot to shot.

23. Works with the Camera Operator to set the composition for each shot based on the Director’s request.

24. Determines if the shot will require a dolly or crane move.

25. Plans and supervises the lighting of all scenes, working closely with the Gaffer and the electrical crew.

26. Maintains the continuity of lighting from scene to scene.

27. Supervises the crews for all cameras in use on the production.

28. Supervises each technical crew while on stage or location.

29. Specifies the laboratory instructions for developing and processing of film.

30. Views dailies with the Director and other production personnel.

31. Supervises the color timing of the final version of the film.

32. Supervises the transfer from film to videotape or digital medium.

33. Provides exposure meters and other necessary tools associated with performing the job.


Rahul Nair loves everything about Cinema, Photography, Cinematography and likes Journalism.