The art of cinematography encompasses both the technical function of cameras, lenses, filters, and various films and the visual effects that can be achieved by manipulating all of those elements. Much of the art consists of framing and focusing images through the camera lens, and lighting scenes to achieve a director's visual expectations.
In the budding days of filmmaking with hand-cranked cameras and limited lighting sources and techniques, many motion pictures resulted in a fairly crude look by today's standards. To modern audiences, the jerky feel and highly contrasted appearance of early silent films can make them seem more like home movies than the highly conceptualized, state-of-the-art entertainment they were at the time. In some cases, this raw appearance worked to a filmmaker's advantage, as with F. W. Murnau's haunting presentation of vampire Count Orlok in the 1922 silent film
In the 1930s and 1940s, as film cameras, lenses, and lighting methods became more sophisticated, black-and-white filmmaking, classic
In modern filmmaking, the craftsmanship of cinematography and camera work are more important than ever. Astronomically expensive special effects and intensive postproduction computer wizardry only serve to highlight the art of the camera as it's used on the set in front of live actors and action.