Redefining Cinematographic Practice

What is cinematography in the age of virtual film production?

Keywords: Cinematography, Virtual Cinematography, Ontology, Virtual Film-Making


Current discussions of cinematographic practice focus on the disruption of the art form as it is increasingly practiced in the realm of the virtual. Since Avatar (Cameron 2009) won the Oscar for Best Cinematography, a significant number of nominated and winning live-action feature films have been characterised by a heavy  component of virtual images rather than images produced by a physical camera. This research investigates how the definition of cinematography must change to reflect the current practice of the art form. The author reflects on his own cinematographic practice as well as investigating the practice of Oscar award-winning  cinematographers working within the Hollywood paradigm. Emerging from this research is a new and holistic understanding of the practice of cinematography and a contemporary definition of the art form.

Author Biography

Daniel Maddock, University of Southern Queensland

University of Southern Queensland – Australia
Dr. Daniel Maddock has a background in internationally award-winning media production and a particular interest in visual and digital literacies and the use of media in pedagogical practice. Daniel is the Australian
representative on the editorial panel for the world’s first academic journal about cinematography - Cinematography in Progress - and his PhD thesis on the practice of cinematography was nominated for the Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in PhD Research at Griffith University. Daniel’s research focuses on the form of film and creative media and how it is constructed for meaning in addition to and in support of the media’s content.
Daniel sees visual literacy and linguistic literacy as elements of a whole literacy and therefore advocates for a deeper understanding of non-literary forms of communication and expression. Daniel has also published internationally broadcast and award-winning television drama, internationally award-winning short-films, and nationally broadcast documentaries.

How to Cite
MaddockD. (2022). Redefining Cinematographic Practice: What is cinematography in the age of virtual film production?. Cinematography in Progress. Retrieved from

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