General information

Subject type: Optional

Coordinator: Rafael Suarez Gómez

Trimester: First term

Credits: 10

Teaching staff: 

Rafael Suarez Gómez


Specific skills
  • E5_Design and make an audiovisual product (consisting of still or moving images), taking into account both its technical and artistic aspects, in all its components

  • E7_Postproduce video using the basic tools of audiovisual editing programs (titling, color and exposure retouching, speeds, masks ...) and how to insert them into the editing process by adding digital effects

  • E8_Design the lighting needs of a space according to its characteristics and the final purpose of the product to be recorded, photography or video

  • E10_Apply processes, methods and techniques to develop creativity and innovation in audiovisual production, multimedia development and video game programming

  • E14_Acquire knowledge of the history, aesthetics, evolution and dynamics of cinema, television, radio, press, Internet and video games, how to recognize aesthetics through viewing and analysis

  • E15_Size and manage human, technical and economic resources necessary for the development of an audiovisual or multimedia project optimizing time, costs and quality

Transversal competences
  • T2_That students have the ability to work as members of an interdisciplinary team either as one more member, or performing management tasks in order to contribute to developing projects with pragmatism and a sense of responsibility, making commitments taking into account the available resources


Photography and Digital Cinematography is a subject dedicated to introducing the fundamental concepts in relation to this key aspect of the cinematographic and audiovisual universe, deepening knowledge about lighting and camera, as well as assessing the technical and aesthetic aspects of any audiovisual work.

This subject has methodological and digital resources to make possible its continuity in non-contact mode in the case of being necessary for reasons related to the Covid-19. In this way, the achievement of the same knowledge and skills that are specified in this teaching plan will be ensured. However, in the case of practical sessions, in a situation of confinement, they will be canceled so that they can be carried out in the following quarter or quarters.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students must be able to:

LO1: Work as a team and autonomously in the development of an audiovisual product, assuming the roles within the group.

LO2: Understand the technical and aesthetic elements needed to achieve the proposed emotional impact.

LO3: Stimulate and discover their abilities to relate to the professional world.

LO4: Consolidate knowledge about audiovisual narrative and the language of fiction.

LO5: Communicate personal ideas, points of view and opinions about a given topic.

LO6: Understand the role of the art director.

LO7: Develop the student's creativity.

Complementary learning outcomes are:

RAC1: Get to know different authors, movements and key works in the direction of photography and digital cinematography. 

RAC2: Understand the different narrative elements of film photography.

RAC3: Have the ability to evaluate technical and creative resources when dealing with different types of work related to the use of light and digital capture in the audiovisual.

RAC4: Encourage the study and analysis of the audiovisual as a narrative language with the intention that the student develops his critical and stylistic capacity when developing a project or evaluating others.

RAC5: Be able to work professionally when planning an audiovisual product as a cinematographer.

Working methodology

The theoretical concepts will be presented in class by the teacher, where practical exercises will also be solved and audiovisual examples will be seen that illustrate the theory in order to generate a debate in class with the participation of students.
The practices are a fundamental part of the classes, as they serve to work on the theoretical concepts taught in class on cinematographic lighting and the use of digital cinematography cameras in order to be able to carry out the work that will be requested during the course. The internships will increase with increasing level of complexity and consequently the requirement in their quality and delivery time will be affected. Therefore, the commitment on the part of the students when delivering the audiovisual materials on time is basic.

The theoretical sessions are divided into three sessions of two hours each. 

The practical sessions are 4 hours each week and will consist of a lighting and camera exercise with a specific goal and parameters.

Classroom operation

The front door will close ten minutes after the start of class and will not be accessible until after the break. The front door will close ten minutes after the end of the break. The practical classes are compulsory and it is necessary to attend a minimum of 80% to be able to be evaluated in the works of the practical part.

Notes are not uploaded to the virtual campus. Links will be posted in relation to the required readings and viewings, as well as resources for further information.

No activity or delivery will be evaluated if it is not delivered within the established dates.

This course, due to the situation generated by COVID, some of the large group sessions will be done either online or in hybrid format: face-to-face and online (via streaming). This will allow students to rotate to face-to-face classes, respecting the maximum number of students per classroom imposed by the distance measures. When they are not in contact, they will be able to follow the class online from home.

With regard to internship sessions in smaller spaces (such as laboratories, studios or sets), where appropriate, work will be carried out simultaneously in several spaces in order to ensure that the conditions established by the safety protocols are met.


T1. Cinematographic photography direction

This content works on the position of the director of photography within the audiovisual industry, the light sources that can be used, as well as camera accessories.

1.1. Components of the department

1.2. Lighting sources

1.3. Camera: accessories, mounts and filters

T2. Work the light

This content works on the fundamental concepts for working with light in an audiovisual production.

2.1. Direction, Contrast, Texture, Color, Continuity.

2.2. Composition

T3. Image formation and control

This content works on the fundamental concepts in the technical field to control the correct capture of an audiovisual image.

3.1. The human eye and the visible spectrum

3.2. Optics: optical characteristics and concepts

3.3. Image exposure

T4. Photochemical and Digital

This content works on the most outstanding features of the two main formats for capturing a cinematic image.

4.1. The photochemical image

4.2. The digital image

T5. Digital parameters

This content works on the fundamental digital parameters for capturing images today, such as the different resolutions for film and television or color depth and especially compression formats.

5.1. Basic digital parameters: spatial resolution, color depth, temporal resolution, color subsampling, transfer flow, compression.

T6. Pre-production of the director of photography

This content works on the basic elements for pre-production within an audiovisual product as a cinematographer.

6.1. Pre-production agenda

6.2. Locate

6.3. Camera tests

6.4. Lighting schemes

T7. Digital image recording and training

This content works on the parameters that are related to the formation of the digital image.

7.1. Digital cinematography cameras

T8. Cinematographic lighting styles

This content works on and analyzes cinematographic lighting in different periods from students' oral presentations.

8.1. Primitive lighting: from natural light to theatrical light

8.2. Expressionist enlightenment and its influence

8.3. Classic or rule lighting

8.4. Modern European lighting and its influence

8.5. Current lighting

Learning activities

The learning activities are separated into groups:

Readings and viewings
Technical articles dedicated to the study of photography direction will be provided in specific films that will be used for viewing.

These activities are related to competences E14, G3, G4 and G5 and learning outcomes RA2, RA4, RA5, RA6, RAC1, RAC2, RAC3 and RAC4.

Photography direction practices
The practices dedicated to the direction of photography will be aimed at making use of all the components that are part of this task, with special emphasis on lighting. The practices dedicated to the digital cinematography part will be aimed at making use of all the components that are part of this task, with special emphasis on camera tests and their correct use in terms of digital parameters depending on the objective of the product.

1. Basic elements: lighting material

2. Camera tests

3. Exterior Day

4. Photography and painting

5. Sensations

6. Continuity in interiors

7. Advertising

8. Night outside

9. Cinematographic lighting styles

10. Practical exam: cinematographic references

The practical exam consists of the shooting of a sequence by the class groups where the group and individual competencies of each of the participants will be assessed according to their position on the camera and electrical equipment. The result must be related to one of the readings taken throughout the course. 

These activities are related to competences E10, E15, E5, E7, E8, G2, G4, G5 and T2 and learning outcomes RA1, RA2, RA3, RA4, RA6, RA7, RAC3 and RAC5.

Guided activities and workshops
Activities will be carried out in relation to aspects of the theoretical syllabus: working on the light and pre-production of the cinematographer. Some of these sessions can be performed on set or outdoors. It will be duly informed throughout the course.

These activities are related to competencies E10, E15, E5, E7, E8, G2, G5, and T2 and learning outcomes RA1, RA2, RA3, RA5, RA7, RAC2, RAC3, RAC4, and RAC5.

Oral presentations
Students will carry out analysis work that will end with the oral presentation of specific aspects of photography in film genres and digital film cameras. 

These activities are related to competences E14, G3, G4 and G5 and learning outcomes RA3, RA4, RA5, RA7, RAC1, RAC2, RAC3 and RAC4.

Autonomous practices
Practical work carried out by students in groups as work of the subject and carried out outside school hours.

These activities are related to competences E10, E15, E5, E7, G2 and G5 and learning outcomes RA1, RA2, RA3, RA5, RA7, RAC2, RAC3, RAC4 and RAC5.

In case of confinement, they will change evaluative aspects related to the practical projects, which will be adapted to pre-production work. The following changes will apply:

- Practices of direction of photography: Its realization online would imply the utilization of different systems of software for the realization of practices that extend the training in appearances of preproduction applicable in a future to productions.

- Directed activities and Workshops: Its realization is conditioned to the possibility to realize of physical form. Possible changes will involve more work in the pre-production phase.

- Autonomous practices: Its delivery is conditioned to the realization of the practices along the course. In the event that it cannot be carried out normally during the first quarter, its nature will change and it will focus on different aspects of pre-production.

Evaluation system

The evaluation of the subject is continuous and is based on practical and theoretical work:

- Theoretical works (Guided activities, oral presentations, readings and viewings): 20%

- Practical work (Practices of direction of photography and digital cinematography): 50%

- Final exam: 30%

Rules for evaluation

The subject evaluates the theoretical and practical knowledge with an equal percentage due to the character of the subject. In this sense, to make an average, both the named and the theoretical part (Theoretical works and Final Practical report) and the practical part (Practical works and result of Final Practice) will be taken into account. In this sense, it is necessary to have a 4 in each part to be able to have a final average.

Beyond these two major blocks, the following should be considered:

- No grade below 4 will average. In the case of the final exam, it is necessary to get a minimum grade of 5 for it to average.

- It is necessary to attend 80% of practical sessions so that the deliveries related to the practical part of the subject do average.

- No work submitted after the deadline is accepted.

- Missing spelling, grammar and layout will be noted, and may lead to the suspension of a work. More than 15 misspellings involve suspense.

- Plagiarism involves suspending any work with a 0. A second plagiarism by the same student involves the suspension of the subject without the right to recovery.

- There is no recovery for the internship part of the subject. If the average is less than 4, this means the suspension of the subject.

- The recovery of the theory part will consist of an exam. Only marks of 5 or higher will allow this part to average with the mark obtained in the practices (as long as the mark of the practices is equal or superior to 4).

- Active participation in class is considered absolutely necessary and will be taken into account for the final grade of the course.

In case of confinement, they will only change evaluative aspects related to the characteristics of the practical projects with a greater emphasis on the pre-production phase. Also the practical exam will be replaced by a written work that involves the elements treated throughout the course.



Brown, B. Cinematography: theory and practice. Oxford: Focal Press, 2012.

Stump, D. Digital Cinematography. London: Focal Press, 2014.

Schaefer, L. Masters of Light. Madrid: Plot, 2005.


AAVV. American Cinematographer Manual. Hollywood, CA (USA): The ASC Press, 2004.

Alekan, H. Lights and Shadows. Paris: La Cinemateque Française, 1980.

Samuelson, D. The technical manual of cinema. Andoain: Film and Video School, 1998.

Carrasco, J. Cinema and digital television: technical manual. Barcelona: Publications of the University of Barcelona, ​​2010.

Pank, B. The Digital Fact Book. 2008

Landau, M. Lighting for cinematography. Oxford: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.

Ettedgui, P. Directors of Photography. Barcelona: Océano, 1999.

Ballinger, A .. New cinematographers. Madrid: Ocho y Medio, 2004.