How is math used in the film industry?

It can be any type of math that is used in the film/movie making industry (film/digital/animation).
I think film recording takes a lot of prepping to measure distances and stuff because of the way the specific camera works.
How do the cinematographers use math to complete a movie.
Ps. It can be any type of math,
Sources appreciated.


  • DanielMorgan
    DanielMorgan Posts: 324 Just Starting Out
    edited May 2012
    Well, that's a very difficult question to answer. You see , Filmmaking is heavily dependent on science and technology, so it is inherently dependent on math in every aspect of production. Cameramen, cinematographers, lighting crews etc, use math to determine the timing of camera movement, exposure lighting balance, F-stop measurements,lens perspective, . I mean , there are so many sectors to the film industry and with each sector is another facet of maths, e.g the simulation of gases, liquids and combustion for scientific reasons [mathematical modelling] quickly translates into the ability to make animations of smoke, water and fire. I mean to be honest every creative act or interpretation of nature requires some sort of calculation.
    Sorry that's not a very specific answer, but you're question is so open that its very difficult to give a specific answer.
  • ok! Thank you for the help!
  • Keegan
    Keegan Posts: 287 Just Starting Out*
    The level of math isn't going to be that high, though. Most everything is based in Classical Mechanics, Optics and maybe some Electromagnetism which is, for the most part, standard algebra (solving for variables) and a lot of trigonometry.
    If you're looking at things like pyrotechnics you'll have to know a lot of more advanced math. For things like thermodynamics and decay you'll need more on the calculus side of things.
    I hope that helped add on to what Daniel was saying.
  • jax_rox
    jax_rox Posts: 19
    As has been said the relative 'level' of math is not huge, but it's used in most facets whether it's Producers using it for budgetting, ADs using it for scheduling, the Production Office using it for accounts and payment, on set with the Cinematographer caluclating light loss of an ND filter or light loss from a gel in front of a light, a Gaffer knowing electronics and the maths associated with that, an AC adding and subtracting lengths while he pulls focus etc. etc. etc.
    Even in Post Production there's Math everywhere. No, it's not any more difficult than high school maths, but it's still used pretty much the entire time.
  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Posts: 5,255 Staff
    Animation is all about timing, which comes down to calculating the duration of a specific movement, then determining the number of frames, based on a given framerate, which the movement will take. This was much more critical, and more prevalent, when traditional hand-drawn animation was the norm, but even in computer animation timing still has to be calculated, often starting with live action plates of reference footage.
  • madmanking
    madmanking Posts: 5
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