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The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age Paperback – September 4, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Seminal.”
– New York Times
 
"Gold-standard technical reference book for filmmakers."
-Boston Globe
 
“The bible – updated.”
- The Independent
 
"This is an essential book."
-Self-Reliant Filmmaking
 
"You need this book. Billed as the authoritative guide to filmmaking from fundraising to distribution, the book achieves this in clear, accessible language using current up-to-date information. It's easy to see why this has become a standard text in many film schools. A gilt-edged investment for aspiring and beginning filmmakers and it would not be out of place in the libraries of experienced professionals either."
-James MacGregor, Netribution.co.uk
 
"This edition of the book is awesome. I don't know how you managed it. Such a mass of information so expertly organized and so clearly presented! Amazing."
-Alfred Guzzetti, Professor, Harvard University
 
“Anyone who is serious about learning the language and techniques of this art, whether amateur or professional, must have this comprehensive reference.”  
- Bookviews 
 
“Speaking as a member of the 'figure it out yourself' camp, I consider most 'technical' reference books to be nothing more than leisure reading. This one is worth its salt. Every page is relevant and fascinating. When I find a chapter that refers to something we've done, I realize that every mistake we made was covered, if only we'd thought to read up beforehand.”
- Genericfilms.com
 
"I was thrilled to find your book, which is a gem. No matter what corner of the subject I poked into, looking for cogent explanations, the Handbook passed with flying colors. So please accept my admiration, appreciation and thanks."
-Pat Jackson, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University; Emmy-winning Supervising Sound Editor

About the Author

Steven Ascher is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who has taught film at Harvard and MIT.

Edward Pincus has taught film courses at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Revised edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452286786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452286788
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Very well written.
Jon_Poland
I recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about digital and film production and post production.
jon
I read this book when i'm stuck with something because it has everything.
jingo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ken Randall on June 14, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have an entire library of filmmaking books - this one book (esp. the 2008 update) is fantastic - covering every aspect of filmmaking - and not just the technical stuff - even working with actors, directing and some basics of film theory. Of course it is best at the technical side - including HD production and post production editing. Very few of my collection come close to this one for breadth and depth.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Benson on December 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of books on cinematography, and this is by far the finest I've seen.
This is an extremely well written, comprehensive book on ALL aspects of film making.
The authors have obviously worked very hard on this book, and it shows. For example, there are EXTENSIVE cross references throughout the book like: "before you read this you should read pages 22-25". This kind of cross referencing takes a lot of time to do accurately.
The cost is a real STEAL for the amount of information in it. In my opinion it is the only book you need on cinematography. If you don't think so, at least read this first. I think all your questions will be answered.
I can't recommend it highly enough.
Daniel O. Benson
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The Blood of Roses on June 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I would encourage anyone from amateur (photographers committed by passion) to professional (photographers committed by career choice) to include within their ongoing study curriculum source material covering cinematography. And, this book should be first on their reading list! It is a perfect compendium of technique, theory, equipment and practice.

What impresses me is how much more deeply the authors explain basic concepts, beyond what you find in most of the regular digital photography books currently on the market; and, the explanations are so succinct. Take, for instance, when discussing depth of field and distance compression and expansion in perspective, the choice between changing the camera to subject distance or changing focal lenght to control the size of the subject in the frame, pages 142 to 146, makes an enormous difference in the way the image will look. It is explained that,

" ... as the camera is moved closer, the relative size of foreground and background objects increase at different rates. [...] Perspective may be thought of as the rate at which objects become smaller the farther they are from the camera."

This isn't your ususal dslr concept of camera to subject distance and its effect on the still image, but it goes a great deal further to better conceptualize, visualize and help dslr photographers understand how to consciously and intelligently compose scenes to communicate subject character and thematic content. The authors then go on to explicitly demonstrate this concept through comparing and contrasting different photographs, and diagrams.

Another instance of this succint and analytical style of writing is near by, between pgs.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Valued guest on October 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Filled with information that is useful and applicable in every aspect of filmmaking. Almost every film class I have taken recommended it. I did not think i needed it but after buying it I don't even need a bible anymore. It is the perfect book to use when a technical or production problem occurs.

A MUST BUY.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Andersen TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
For those who love films but don't really know what's involved in their getting made, this is an excellent guide. Of course, it's even more indispensible for those who hope one day to make a film but aren't currently involved in the business. I emphasize "business" here because this isn't really a guide to the art of making films; you could imagine a similar book called "The Entrepeneur's Handbook: A comprehensive guide to establishing your own business in the age of the internet" and it would cover the same types of topics. For a guide to the art of filmmaking/directing, my favorite book is "Film Directing Fundamentals" by Nicholas Proferes. But for the practical and day to day and big picture of the business of filmmaking, "The Filmmaker's Handbook" is Indispensible: an excellent and thorough introduction and guide to the processes, the people, the arrangements, the contracts, the details that go into making films, especially independent films.

I required this book as one of the textbooks for my film history course on "American Independent Film" because it seemed to me there was no better way to indicate to students how much is involved in getting films made. It's a very helpful piece of the course and gives students a perspective that they wouldn't get from my own emphasis on film theory and criticism.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Vonder Embse on May 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have enjoyed reading this book. It is the nuts and bolts of film making. It is a step up from a technical manual, but it does gloss over the feel and philosophy of filmmaking. I would recommend this book to serious independent filmmakers. It is probably too basic for professional filmmakers and too technical for shooting home-movies. This really nails that middle ground.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jon_Poland on September 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just read it cover to cover (skimming the parts on older technology, like 16 and 35mm film - everything is digital now) and it was extremely helpful. I've written four screenplays and have been contemplating producing one of my low-budget shorts. I knew next to nothing about filmmaking and this was a deep dive into all aspects of the craft. Very well written. I started with the book, How to Shoot Video that Doesn't Suck, which makes for a good companion to this (and is lighter reading). I plan to reread both.
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