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Digital Filmmaking Paperback – April 17, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Now there is no reason to prevent anybody from making a film. The technology exists, the equipment is much cheaper than it was, the post-production facilities are on a laptop computer, the entire equipment to make a film can go in a couple of cases and be carried as hand luggage on a plane.' Mike Figgis"

About the Author

Mike Figgis's films include Internal Affairs, Miss Julie, Time Code, and Hotel. He received an Oscar nomination for Best Director and Best Screenplay for Leaving Las Vegas.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st American Ed edition (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571226256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571226252
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #794,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Torres on August 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
In regards to an early criticism of Figgis's advice on lighting, one has to understand that Figgis is NOT unique in his suggestion of using "practical," available lighting. Figgis has served as D.P. on his movies, pre-digital. He shot Leaving Los Vegas, which had a national release. Many D.P.s adhere to starting from no kit lights first, which is possible thanks to Kodak coming out with faster and lower grain celluloid stock. So you can hate the ideas of Figgis, but the guy has made studio and independent films, and prefers independent. You can't marginalize him- he directed Internal Affairs, Richard Gere and Andy Garcia's better film.

If you want a job in the industry, this is NOT a book for you. People fail to understand that the film industry is a business of self employment. You want to write and direct? Well, write and direct- make your movie. Someone else won't make the movie for you. If you DO want to make your own movie, Figgis does well to give you the lay of the land, as well as the pitfalls due to the politics of "real" 35mm movies. This is a fast read that'll get you going enough to make your movie. Some pointers may not make much sense until you've had the experience (specifically the scripting flexibility pointers. Simplify and distill the IDEA of the movie, and scenes, and at the very least your movie will carry through. It's easy to spend 10 takes on a dolly move and forget the scene is about one line.) Alright. Gotta get going on my movie. A good read to get you going. Not the end all be all, but a building block to start from. And don't dismiss him. He's worked his way up the filmmaking ladder, and made this CHOICE to remain digital. Why? Freedom.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mike Figgis's little guide is both inspirational and handy, full of insights into and practical information regarding the nature of the new digital cinema. It can be compared to Sidney Lumet's "Making Movies" for its simple and authoritative reflections, with the difference that Sidney Lumet is a fine spokesperson for the directorial task of injecting personal vision into the old studio system of making movies, while Figgis shows how the realities of the new digital technologies make it possible to bypass some of the well worn traditions and develop new and liberating approaches to making films. What is nice, though, is that Figgis is not interested in novelty for its own sake. Rather than get the latest gear, he advocates finding a camera and tools that work for you and then getting to know them well and customizing them for your own needs. He has excellent advice about lighting, and encourages an approach that explores and takes advantage of the visual potential of digital video rather than attempting to imitate the look of film. He discusses all of the aspects of filmmaking: lighting, sound, directing actors, developing stories, postproduction and editing, distribution, and shows how each of these has changed or ought to change under the influence of digital filmmaking technology. While you can find much of the same advice elsewhere, what makes Figgis's book worth having is the way he ties such insights to his own personal experience and story. It would be hard to come away from the book without capturing his enthusiasm for the potentials of digital cinema. In fact, I find it hard to believe that anyone could read this book without wanting immediately to pick up their own cameras and make something.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. L. Messina on February 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Here's a test all film students should consider. If they could step back into the days of silent film could they make something worthwhile or possibly lasting? In this era of increasing technology gains one has to wonder how much we've replaced good story telling with expensive and complicated gimmicks. I've read time and again how often seasoned directors meet film students who haven't made a single film because the students feel the barriers are too high. They seem impeded by the question of how they could possibly make a movie without multi-million dollar backing, a small army of staffers, an assortment of the most advanced and expensive 35mm cameras, not being located in Hollywood, and so and and so forth. Figgis and other directors are quick to point out that these are mere excuses, but Figgis goes further to show what can be done with very limited means and the benefits in doing so.

Figgis's strongest points are efficiency and experience/filmmaking knowledge. He admits his handling of the crew is akin to a great General's strategic buildup before a great seige, but such is necessary to fight the enemy of the wandering budget, lagging shoot schedule and apathy that sabatoges inexpesive attempts at great film. To his credit he's tried enough equipment to conclude he can get his visual point across with much less than most and even argues that the big budget set-up is really a trap that sucks the energy out a production. Any common movie goer can't help but agreee that the 'big release' is a big gamble that doesn't always pay off and has led to a very risk-averse cinematic atmosphere.
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