Features and Columns · Movies

The Beginner’s Guide to Camera Aperture

Here’s a look at how filmmakers weaponize camera apertures and what makes them such an essential storytelling tool.
Blade Runner Eye and camera aperture
Warner Bros.
By  · Published on September 22nd, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores an introduction to camera aperture.

It is poetic, if not a tiny bit creepy, how film cameras physically mimic the human eye.

One of the more obvious similarities, at least aesthetically, is aperture. A camera aperture is a shutter-like mechanism that, like our pupils, controls how much light passes through a camera’s lens. Just as our pupils expand and contract to let more or less light in, the size of the aperture affects the area in focus and the amount of light passing through it. Much as the size of our pupils affects depth perception, camera apertures are the principal element that manipulates depth of field — as well as focal length, bokeh, and more.

Filmmaking is as much a technical discipline as a creative one. And this is perfectly encapsulated in the dual role of the aperture: both as an essential photographic mechanism and as a means to support visual storytelling techniques. The video essay below offers a thorough tutorial on the basic mechanics and the visual storytelling made possible with camera aperture.

Watch “Ultimate Guide to Camera Aperture — What is Aperture & the Exposure Triangle Explained [Ep 1]“:

Who made this?

StudioBinder is a production management software creator that also happens to produce video essays, which tend to focus on the mechanics of filmmaking itself, from staging to pitches and directorial techniques. You can check out their YouTube account here.

More Videos Like This

Related Topics: ,

Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.