Photographic Imaging

Subject is not scheduled Not scheduled

Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
311PIN exam 3 2 hours (45 min) of instruction per week, 54 to 69 hours of self-study English summer

Subject guarantor

Name of lecturer(s)


The practice of still-photography and cinematography is becoming more a branch of applied science and less an empirical craft; therefore, it is increasingly necessary to base the practice on a thorough understanding of photographic materials and processes rather than on rule-of-thumb methods. In a sense, the craft has been simplified by advances in the production of more satisfactory new materials and equipment and the development of new and better methods, but the very diversity of these materials and the tremendously increased scope of modern photography and cinematography combine to demand a more thorough knowledge of fundamentals than was formerly necessary.

1. Light concept – electromagnetic spectrum, visible part of the spectrum, light generation, natural phenomena – sunlight, skylight, man-made sources, incandescence, luminescence.

Measurement of light quality – color temperature, limitation to color temperature, the technical specification of light sources – tungsten, flashtubes, fluorescent, adaptation of human visual system.

2. Filters – general filter information- glass filters, gelatin filters, acetate filters, filters for black and white photography, filters for color photography, mired system for light source conversion. Color meters – types of color temperature meters, evaluation of color temperature with respect to photographic materials, practical tests with light sources and filters.

3. Measurement of light intensity – light detection, light units, basis of photometry – inverse square law, cosine law, photometers – illuminance photometers, luminance photometers.

Properties of objects – index of reflection, index of transmission, optical density, psychometric tone scale and its relation to indexes of reflection, Weber-Fechner law, concept of average gray.

4. Sensitometry – basic instruments, modulators - intensity and time scale, shutters, different types of sensitometers, sensitometric curve, different types of emulsion, influence of ripening, distribution and size of the grains, laboratory processing, gradient, interpretation of sensitometric tests, speed systems – ASA, DIN – ISO, practical speed testing, testing objects and their properties, practical experiments.

5. Densitometry – definition, basic types of densities, relation between diffuse and specular density, contact and optical printing, densitometers – primary and secondary measurement of the optical density, color densities – integral and analytical densities, equivalent neutral densities, types of densitometers.

6. Image structure and evaluation – shape and distribution of the grains, graininess and granularity, Selwyn´s law, modulation transfer function, adjacency effects in processing, acutance and sharpness, resolving power.

7. Relation between object and optical image – parameters influencing illumination in the film plane, lens aperture, stop numbers, effective stop numbers, extension tubes, magnification. Calibration of photometers – calibration of luxmeters, calibration of spotmeters, useful formulas – calculation of exposure illumination.

8. Setting the correct exposure – methods used for setting the correct exposure with illumination meters and luminance meters, relation of luminance to scale of indexes of reflection. Practical testing.

Learning outcomes

Students should be acquainted with different methods of light measurement and how to relate the results with respect to the properties of photographed objects to film stock. The aim is to learn different correct ways of exposing photographic materials used in cinematography or still photography.

Prerequisites and other requirements



Resources B and E are recommended for overall data and information

A. Student Filmmaker’s Handbook, Eastman Kodak Company, 1990

B. American Cinematographer Manual, Nineth Ed., Hollywood,

C. IES Lighting Handbook, Reference Volume, Illuminating Engineering Society of NA, 1984

D. Michale J.Langford: Advanced Photography, The Focal Press, 1972

E. W.F.Berg: Exposure - Theory and Practice, The Focal Press, 1968

F. D.J.Corbett: Motion Picture and Television Film, 1968

G. Ralph M.Evans: An Introduction to Color, John Wiley and Sons, 1948

H. R.W.G.Hunt: The Reproduction of Colour, Fountain Press, London, 1967

Evaluation methods and criteria

Central to the course is how well students can apply the material presented in practice, tackle practical problems connected with measurement of light, sensitometric testing and set the correct exposure. The course grade will be calculated as follows:



Further information

No schedule has been prepared for this course

The subject is a part of the following study plans