Citizen Kane influenced cinematography more than any other single film. Directed, written, and acted in by Orson Wells, this movie was clearly avant-garde.
- Wells devised a way to change the angle of the camera for certain effects. For instance, he had a hole cut into the floor so that the cameraman could film from under the actors such as himself as Kane, thus creating transforming the characters to giants physically in order to represent their immense power. Wells also employed a crane for certain camera shots to have the camera rise and shoot from different angles.These innovative techniques have been imitated in subsequent films, and are still utilized today.
- Wells initiated the concept of deep-focus using a large depth of field in which the foreground, middle ground, and background are all in focus. Citizen Kane is described as a "veritable textbook of this technique." The film is immersed in the use of flashbacks which hiterto had only been employed by a couple of flims.
- The use of montage to collapse time and space is another innovative technique used by Wells. For instance, in the breakfast montage, Wells collapses 16 years into 2 minutes as he has 5 vignettes which chronicle the breakdown of Kane's first marriage.
- Wells makes extensive use of sock footage to create a News on the March segment which parodies the matinee newsreels of the time.
Cinematography students study assiduously this film just as they study Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, which was the longest sound film of the time that was shot entirely in the new Technicolor, and other greats.