MP5027 - Cinematography

What will I learn on this module?

This Module further develops and embeds concepts introduced at Level 4, building on your knowledge of visual language. Cinematography describes the art of photography and camerawork in filmmaking, not just capturing pretty pictures. Cinematic storytelling manipulates our emotions, revealing character and plot - sometimes without our immediate knowledge. An audience may not be consciously aware of the cinematography techniques being employed – but can feel they have meaning. Cinematography exists in context and its only purpose is to serve the material at hand. There are 6 main components related to Cinematography. As well as being technical, these can be used as part of an aesthetic and creative design, to make your audience ‘feel’ and experience films in a deeper way.

• Camera Placement
• Lens Selection
• Movement
• Composition
• Lighting
• Colour palette
These components are all inter-related and the possibilities are infinite – but all fall within this framework. This module will explore and explain how to incorporate these components in aesthetic terms, with a view to enhancing your visual work. This knowledge can then be applied to enhance all your subsequent films.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn by engaging with a combination of workshop and practical exercise sessions, supported by project feedback and critique sessions; in addition to reading the suggested texts, which will support and enhance your practice-based learning. You will also learn by applying the material discussed in a practical way to your own filmed exercises and projects. Workshop sessions include lecture material to contextualise the relevant approaches. Analysis and discussion of relevant film clips are also used to explore the module’s key content. These sessions will enable the tutor to discuss the key dynamics of Cinematography in relation to the project briefs and module context in an in-depth manner. The sessions are structured to reflect the core issues and themes of the module. Your tutor will frame the content of each session and outline the aim and outcomes. Tutors begin the project sessions with the clear parameters of the content together with the definitions and considerations that will enable you to negotiate the practical work while developing a critical understanding of the key principles to deliver effective productions. Tutorial sessions help to guide and advise each specific project throughout production as well as offering formative feedback on the materials and process. Guided project work creates an experiential environment on which tutors can offer insight. Lecture materials, seminar guidelines and module information will all be available on the eLearning Portal.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your tutor will demonstrate and explain the relevant techniques and cinematographic principles, while also providing detailed and specific formative feedback and encouragement on your own practical application of these principles as the module progresses. Further one to one tutorials can be arranged outside of teaching time also. Your tutor will be available to provide verbal feedback on your tests and planning process as the module progresses. You will also receive detailed written feedback on your final summative submissions, which will identify in detail the strengths and areas that could be improved in future work. You will also be offered the opportunity to receive further verbal feedback following this formal assessment, so that you can follow up any concerns you have regarding your critical development and future learning. The module will also incorporate assessment preparation discussion, with advice on how to approach not only the practical elements but also how to write up the critical analysis of your final project which will form the basis of the supporting materials in your final submission. Furthermore, the module tutor will offer set office hours for academic support. Lecture materials, seminar guidelines and module information will all be available on the eLearning Portal.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles that govern modes of cinematography

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and practices of the camera department

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. Evidence a critical engagement with your practice in context

4. Demonstrate proficiency in creating images that are of a high technical and aesthetic standard

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5. Evidence that you value collaborating with others, by (for example) working constructively, sensitively and ethically in conjunction with people from various socio-cultural backgrounds and with divergent skill-sets

How will I be assessed?

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT: To prepare you successfully to undertake the summative assessment(s) on this module, formative assessments will be set by the module team. These may take the form of in-class tasks or projects, developmental activities undertaken between classes, or learning exercises/activities set over a longer period. Feedback (written and/or oral) will be provided to help you learn from, reflect on, and develop in light of these formative assessments.

Summative feedback will be given on submission of the portfolio at the end of the semester, which addresses all of the MLOs.

The final portfolio should contain exploratory practical exercises, filmed research and test material culminating in a short, filmed scene supported by a written evaluation of 2000 words. This evaluation should outline your research, your practical tests and methodology. The completed scene and supporting portfolio should demonstrate an understanding of colour palette, movement, lighting and composition to communicate a feeling, idea or emotion.





Module abstract

Similar to all of the key craft skills required to make effective films, Cinematography is an intriguing fusion of technical knowledge and aesthetic sensibility. In combination, these aspects can be applied creatively to deliver a deeper, more meaningful experience for the audience. Delivering a portfolio of camera department exercises, including shot composition, lighting and camera movement, students on this module will become familiar with the processes, thinking and approaches that underpin the Director of Photography role. You will learn about the importance of lighting, camera placement, colour palette, composition, and lens selection. These cinematographic elements are tools and their careful use should inform audience perception of plot and character, as well as capturing beautiful looking pictures. Building through a series of creative exercises, the module will develop your understanding of not only the relevant filmmaking workflows, but also how to employ these skills creatively and effectively as a visual storyteller.

Course info

UCAS Code P315

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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