Cinematography can be broken down into six main camera elements:
- Field of View
- Camera Angle
- Camera Moves
- Zooming In and Out
- Depth of Field
Field of view is the cone of what can be seen from the camera angle. The different shots that make of FOV are extreme long shot, long shot, medium shot, close-up and extreme close-up. For this genre of cinematography, you will most likely be using extreme long shot. This shot allows you to showcase landscape scenes while the characters appear very small.
A transition does what it says it does; it connects one shot with the another. You can use different types of cuts. For example, a straight cut basically swiftly moves you between one scene and the next while fade causes your scene to move from one color to a next.
When creating landscape photography, you camera angle should be at eye level. This makes your audience feel like they are actually there and observing the scene. If your camera angle is too high, it could cause your audience to become uncomfortable.
As far as camera movement goes, you should stick with panning. This is where you gently survey your scene with your camcorder. This shouldn't be jerky or too fast. This could cause your audience to become sick.
Constantly zooming in and out should be avoided as well no matter what type of film that you are creating. It has a dizzying effect on everyone who is watching your film.
The depth of field is the section of a shot that is in focus. When shooting landscapes, you want a large DOF. You can determine DOF by judging the distance to your subject (i.e. mountain), the focal length (how well your lens focuses on or disperses light) of your camera lens and the relative aperture (where light is admitted into your camera).
While these hints will help you take amazing cinematography, if you are serious about the craft, it may do well to take a few classes. It will help you sharpen your skills and give you more practice into perfecting your craft.
Practice any time that you get the chance. Even if you think you've gotten good at capturing great landscape cinematography, practice will make you even better. Plus, you'll love getting out there and playing around with your equipment. I guarantee it.