Understanding the Cinematography of Robert Elswit

Robert Elswit is one of the most accomplished contemporary cinematographers. I go through some of his cinematography lighting and camera techniques to help you understand his unique style.

Just to be clear: Robert Elswit changes his style to suit the movies he shoots. The goal of this video and article is to drum up enthusiasm and a yearning to learn more.

Warning: I do not claim this knowledge is 100% accurate. Just think of it as an endorsement of his work. If you want accuracy, look someplace else.

2 replies on “Understanding the Cinematography of Robert Elswit”

  1. Hey Sareesh,

    I was hoping to get some clarification about Elswitt’s contrast ratio. You mention at 2:37 that Elswitt lights to a contrast ratio of 2 to 1 stop or 3 to 1 stop, but the ratios look much deeper than that to me. The scene from There Will Be Blood has a huge contrast ratio – it looks like 8:1 or 16:1 for a 3 to 4 stop difference between key and shadow. Are you noting the difference in stops, or saying Elswitt typically lights to a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio?

    Great videos! Just looking for a little clarification on that part.

    Thank you!


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