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102 Reviews
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you could only buy one book - consider this one first
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...
Published on June 14, 2008 by Ken Randall

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars If you don't know anything already about film production, or just got out of film school....
Then this is the book for you. For me, this was not such a great purchase, and felt mislead by the positive feedback on this book, but then, maybe I should stop looking in books like this, expecting to learn something new.
Published 11 months ago by Adam D. Vargas


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you could only buy one book - consider this one first, June 14, 2008
By 
Ken Randall "Ken" (North Carolina, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (Paperback)
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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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UNBEATABLE. Perfect in all regards, December 2, 2007
By 
Daniel Benson (Klamath Falls, Oregon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (Paperback)
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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeper Than The Usual Fare of Still Photography Books, June 4, 2009
This review is from: The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (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. 151-153, concerning applying focusing to the image and determining depth of field:

"In the ideal (theoretical) lens, there is only one subject plane in focus-everything in front of or behind this plane is out of focus. In the case of the portrait, if the man's eyes were exactly 10 feet from the camera, his nose and ears would be out of focus. Fortunately, with real lenses the area that looks in focus is more generous. A zone (called the depth of field) extends from in front of the subject to behind the subject, delineatiing the area of acceptable sharpness (see Fig. 4-8). In other words, the depth of field is the zone, measured in terms of near distance and far distance from the camera, where the image appears acceptably sharp."

Illustration follows to assist the visualization. These are just a couple of examples of the analytical and clear vision with which the book in its entirety has been written. These are the kinds of explanations for which I have been searching; and, no doubt, which you would welcome in lieu of sitting in a classroom listening to a professor lecture.

I bought this book after browsing at Borders for something to help me understand how to use cinematography techniques to produce still photos that look more cinematic. I got lucky that night! But you will find even more luck getting it from Amazon, since the price may be about half of what I paid at Borders. It's a great deal to get so much expert guidance for Amazon prices!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of the business of filmmaking, July 4, 2009
This review is from: The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I actually feel like I can make a decent film now, September 28, 2013
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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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nuts and Bolts of Filmmaking, May 28, 2009
This review is from: The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the comprehensive manual for the begining filmmaker, December 27, 1998
By A Customer
I used this book years ago in film school, and it was a great learning tool. It teaches every aspect of the filmmaking process. Even more exciting is the fact that this book is being completely revised for March 1998. The new revision will cover everything up to the inclusion of digital techniques in cinema. This book is a must-buy for the beginning filmmaker!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filmmaker's Handbook: AWESOME!, September 24, 2010
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So, I bought this book out of interest in cinematography. I've been making videos at my church for a while, but I was never really BEHIND the process. I was either an actor, director, or writer for the video while my friend did the camerawork and editing. This always kind of bothered me; there were certain things that I wanted in the video, be it a shot or effect, and it sometimes didn't come across. This frustrated me to the point where I knew I needed to learn about cameras and stuff- I knew almost nothing about cameras (Our church's Canon XL2 at first to me looked like it was written in Chinese or something). So, I went to Amazon, found, and bought this book.

I did read it ALL the way through- it took a while, but my, oh my was it worth it! This really does start from the beginning- learning how the video and film image is produced and tweaked in the camera itself; then to other factors like lighting, the lens and the shot; and all the way to editing and distribution. After the first three chapters, I was able to figure out EVERYTHING on that XL2- EVERYTHING. It felt so liberating actually shooting, lighting, and editing my first video- and it looked the way I wanted it to!!! No more hoping that it turned out OK; now I have a complete grasp of the videomaking process.

This book has even further sparked my passion for making videos- I realized that now that I know what the GAIN on a camera is, how to change my depth of field, and other stuff I didn't know before, I'm actually good at it- with some practice of course. I'm taking the first out of four TV Production classes my high school has to offer (really recommend it to anyone if your school has it!). I walked into class a week after school started, due to schedule conflicts, and already knew what the notes were for what we had already been taught and more! One kid actually complimented me on how much I knew!!! I really have to thank this book; it's given me the tools that I needed to grow as a cinematographer and filmmaker.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have for Filmmaking, August 21, 2013
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I enjoyed this book. It is a large book full of information about filmmaking from beginning to end. It may not be as interesting if you're an experienced filmmaker because it does cover a depth of simple information. But if you're new, this will deepen your knowledge and you'll soak up the information like the eager filmmaker you want to be. This would be a must have for beginning filmmakers and I often suggest it to people interested in any aspect of filmmaking. I'm a filmmaking student and this book had just as much information, if not more, as my required textbook for filmmaking class that cost $154 (Filmmaking Production Techniques).

Highly recommend. This book is a much better deal.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any filmmaker, October 2, 2013
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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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The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age
The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age by Edward Pincus (Paperback - September 4, 2007)
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