Top Styles that Changed Cinematography

Since the dawn of cinema, there have been many changes that have influenced the way we watch and appreciate . From early silent pictures to modern blockbusters, filmmakers have consistently strived to innovate and create new styles that capture our attention. This article will explore the best techniques that have changed cinematography over the years and see how they continue to shape how we experience film.

The Early Years

Early innovations in film technology

The rise of cinematography was greatly influenced by the invention of cinema cameras and other equipment during the late 19th century. It allowed filmmakers to capture moving images, revolutionizing filmmaking in terms of technical capabilities and storytelling techniques.

Impact on early filmmakers

Early filmmakers were able to take advantage of these new tools to develop their craft, using creative camera angles and shots to tell stories. These techniques helped give rise to some of the most iconic films from the early years of filmmaking, such as The Great Train Robbery (1903) and The Birth of a Nation (1915). The invention of these tools also led to the emergence of film genres such as westerns, horror films, and documentaries.

1920s and 1930s

German Expressionism

The 1920s saw the emergence of German Expressionism, a movement that sought to represent emotions through stylized visuals. This style mainly grew from the German Expressionist painters of the era, who used bold colors and dramatic lighting effects to convey mood and emotion in their artwork. These techniques would later be utilized by filmmakers of the generation, such as Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau, allowing them to create visually stunning films that conveyed powerful emotions.

Some even say that German Expressionism hugely influenced the way people communicate. Being inspired by eye-catching scenes and effects, people started sprucing up their letters with visuals. It made correspondence vibrant and more emotion-laden. Throughout the years, such communication has only enhanced. People now use thank you cards designs to express their feelings and gratitude.

French New Wave

The French New Wave was a filmmaking movement that emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This style was heavily influenced by the philosophical writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, emphasizing realism and challenging the conventions of the time. This filmmaking style was characterized by its use of innovative camera techniques, such as long takes and tracking shots, and its focus on authenticity in its portrayal of characters and life situations. This style includes Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960) and François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959).

1940s and 1950s

Italian Neorealism

Italian Neorealism was a movement that emerged during the 1940s and 1950s, which sought to portray everyday life with a greater emphasis on realism. Antonio Gramsci’s philosophical writings heavily influenced this style, emphasizing realism and moral engagement while utilizing innovative camera techniques, such as long takes and deep focus shots. These methods helped moviemakers capture ordinary people’s everyday struggles and joys engagingly and insightfully. Examples of this style are films such as Rome Open City (1945), directed by Roberto Rossellini, and Umberto D. (1952), directed by Vittorio De Sica.

Film Noir

Film noir was an American movement that emerged during the 1940s and 1950s, which sought to portray the seedy underworld of city life with a heavy focus on crime stories. This style relied heavily on shadow and low light effects to create a brooding atmosphere while utilizing innovative camera techniques, such as Dutch angles and panning shots, to create a sense of suspense. Examples of this style are films such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), directed by John Huston, and Double Indemnity (1944), directed by Billy Wilder.

Top Styles that Changed Cinematography -Film Noir

1960s and 1970s

The French New Wave Resurgence

In the 1960s and 70s, the French New Wave resurfaced. This movement aimed to challenge the conventions of traditional moviemaking with a renewed emphasis on realism. This style was heavily influenced by the French New Wave filmmakers of the previous decade while also utilizing innovative camera techniques, such as hand-held cameras and jump-cuts, to create a dynamic and jarring visual experience. Examples of this style include movies like Breathless (1960), directed by Jean-Luc Godard, and Alphaville (1965), directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

Japanese New Wave

The Japanese New Wave emerged during the 1960s and 70s. This movement strove to challenge traditional norms, using innovative camera approaches to create a more experimental form of visual storytelling. The French New Wave filmmakers and elements from Japanese culture, music, and theater heavily influenced this style. Examples of this style are films such as Yojimbo (1961) and High and Low (1963), directed by Akira Kurosawa.

1980s and 1990s

Postmodernism in Cinema

During the 1980s and 90s, the film industry saw an emergence of postmodernism in cinema, which sought to challenge traditional conventions by blending genres, blurring boundaries between reality and fiction, and utilizing innovative camera techniques to create surreal visual experiences. Examples of this style are movies such as Blue Velvet (1986), directed by David Lynch, and Reservoir Dogs (1992), directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Digital Filmmaking Revolution

During this period, the film industry saw a revolution in digital filmmaking, which allowed filmmakers to capture images and edit them digitally, making the process of filmmaking much easier and cheaper. This revolution also enabled moviemakers to experiment with visual effects and animation, creating more immersive experiences for viewers. This style includes films such as Jurassic Park (1993), directed by Steven Spielberg, and The Matrix (1999), led by the Wachowski Brothers.

2000s and 2010s

Rise of Independent Filmmaking

In the 2000s and 2010s, the film industry witnessed a rise in the popularity of independent filmmaking, allowing filmmakers to explore stories often overlooked in the mainstream film industry. This style focused on low-budget production techniques and unconventional camera angles and shots to create a more intimate experience for audiences. Examples include films such as Juno (2007), directed by Jason Reitman, and Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), directed by Benh Zeitlin.

Contemporary Developments in Cinematography

In recent years, there have been significant advancements in digital technology, which have allowed filmmakers to capture images with greater clarity and control than ever before. With drones and advanced cameras, filmmakers can create stunning visuals with better detail and precision. Besides, moviemakers can develop larger-than-life worlds for viewers to explore with the help of CGI and other visual effects.


The list of the top styles that have changed cinematography over the years is long and varied and illustrates the artistry and creativity of the people who make our favorite films. Through the innovation of these auteurs, cinematography has blossomed into a medium that allows us to explore and witness stories increasingly immersively. With each new style and technique, we discover the boundless possibilities of the visual art form, creating stunning movies and memories that will live on for generations.

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Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson is the senior news writer for TV Acute. She spends too much money on collectables and is enamored with movies, comics, and television series. She loves binge-watching and can spend hours talking about movies and TV shows. She can immerse herself into a good story no matter the genre or form and only come out from it when she's had her fill. When she's not writing, she's probably cooking or exploring new places. You can follow her daily exploits on Twitter and Facebook.

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