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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
When I entered college to recieve a bachelor's degree, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do. I ended up choosing a degree in acting, but have since wondered if that was the wrong choice. In the last year of college, I became interested in film direction, but felt it was to late to pursue that career. Mr. Katz's book has changed my mind. In less than one week, I learned more about the technique of film direction than I ever learned in numerous film, and television classes. This book was easy to read, yet not easy in subject matter. It challenges the reader to visualize the subject matter, and to work out common problems in his/her head. It uses an extensive study of soryboarding from both classic and fictional films to easily illustrate his technique. Although Mr Katz uses a pretty set theory of film mechanics, he does challenge the reader to experiment and to create new and exciting art. This book is a must for beginners in the film industry, and I have a hunch that advanced artists could learn a lot from it too.
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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The main problem with this book is that it suffers from either being too in depth and far beyond a beginners book or at other times is far too rudimentary. That said, its strength is that it is one of the only books on directing that actually takes you through shot composition, different lenses, and the cinematic achievement that can be created by various devices ranging from cranes to simple editing techniques. Overall, I feel that I learned some new things from this book, but at the same time - after having read it cover to cover - it just doesn't strike me as a great reference book... as I had hoped it would be.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 1997
Format: Paperback
Film Directing Shot by Shot is a step back from the filmmaker's lens. This book is a praise of preplanning shots and putting them together in the filmmaker's head. Steven D. Katz has presented a great resource not laden with hard technical terminology limited to the professional.
Katz explores the graphic design of a shot, presenting alternate examples of shot layout side by side. The author encourages seeing shots on the storyboard and how they play together, seeing the movie as static pictures before any film is spent. As he explains: "look at each sequence as a complete statement. Developing an intuitive sense of the overall perceptual effect of a sequence is one of the skills necessary for visualization." (pp 160) He offers traditional process but encourages experimental methods where appropriate.
I was pointed toward the book as an art professional interested in filmmaking. Having read other film preproduction books this has been the best so far.
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was going to be required reading for a storyboarding class I'm teaching this fall. It was the book used by the teacher who last taught the class. After reading it, I've switched the required reading to "The Five C's of Cinematography."
This book lists shot type after shot type, page after page, but doesn't get into the reasoning of choosing one shot over another. As far as the how, where, when, and why goes, this book ignores the "why."
This book wastes many pages in the beginning telling the reader that storyboards are important. Of course they are! That's why I bought the freakin' book! This space could have been used to explain the difference between camera lenses and focal qualities, which are referred to constantly but never properly defined.
What I was expecting from this book was a good overview of the movie planning process. Instead, it is a mind-numbingly boring list of the different shots that could be used in film. Also, the quality of the author's storyboards that are used to illustrate the book do not fill me with optimism about the effectiveness of the book.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I wish I had this book before storyboarding on my first feature film years ago. While teaching storyboarding classes in Savannah and Toronto I searched online and was always dissapointed with the few and poorly written books available for Storyboarding until I found this one. Its awsome! It covers all topics of storyboarding and other relative areas in filmaking to help the storyboarder understand film terms, filmic language, and what their place is in production.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I wish I had this book when I was in 6th form. If I had, the last 5 years of my life could have been very different. Unfortunately, I only got hold of this book 6 months ago, and quickly read it cover to cover.
I'm not going towrite an in depth review, but I will tell you the 2 most important things that this book deals with...
1) Shot composition/storyboards
2) Blocking
It tells you everything they don't have time for when you take media studies in your senior high school years. It quickly gets past the basic information about shot types etc, and then takes you WAY BEYOND into a far more in depth and professional level, the kind of stuff you pay tens of thousands for in a film school.
The book is that...good.
If you only ever buy 1 book on filmmaking/directing, this is the one to get. I'm not kidding.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you're expecting, that you will learn how to direct actors or get dramatic an unique performances with this book you're wrong, this book it's about visualizing, how to move the camera, why, continuity styles, storyboarding, etc,
It is an excellent tool for the film & videomaker, you can use it for quick reference, if you're shooting a conversation, it explains, how you can do it without breaking the axis..
If you're starting to study film, let Steven Katz, be your teacher, and make your first shorts knowing how to doing them right
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is the only one I have found that goes extremely in depth into shot composition. Great book. However, if you are looking for a book that will take you step by step into how to acctually produce the movie, this isnt what you are looking for. This book is all about properly translating your vision to the screen, what works and what doesnt. Overall, this book was an amazing resource.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
A competent text in regards to the visualization of camera placement and movement required of directors. At the very least, it will aid you in communicating with the various people necessary to make films. However, this book falls far short of being a complete manual for a film director. It fails to address basic directing principles, such as the director's roles in shaping performances for the screen and breaking down the script emotionally. The latter being an essential step in "visualizing from concept to screen." Using this book as a resource as a director is fine, but make sure you supplement it with other texts, such as "Directing Actors" by Judith Weston. Do not buy this book assuming you are getting a comprehensive guide. If it's a more comprehensive guide you seek then I would recommend Michael Rabiger's "Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics."
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
After reading this book from front to back I can safely say that this book is an institution. I picked it up practically knowing nothing and walked away with a wealth of information. Excellent storyboarding techniques and the chapters on composition and staging dialogue sequences are invaluable. Katz's illustrated and highly informative writing is simple and fun to read also very interesting. A must read for any serious aspiring filmmaker.
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