on September 7, 2011
Upon opening the book, it is obvious this book was printed as cheaply as possible. There are many typos in the text, and after reading a page once, the page will fall out of the binding. I'm now halfway through the book and have half a textbook and half a ream of paper.
Instead, look for a version printed on glossy paper. This version doesn't have any of the same problems as this version.
This book is almost a scam with how much they charge for such an unacceptable printing quality. Do not purchase!
on August 11, 2010
I just bought a new copy of the book directly from Amazon for a class, but it didn't come with the CD. The Amazon description does not mention a CD (however, under the "Editorial Review" heading, the CD is noted as optional, whatever that means), but the book says that it comes with a free CD (page xix). The CD is required for my class so I contacted Amazon today and I'll update this comment after I get their response. The CD is also available for purchase through the publisher website for about $25, but I don't want to pay that if it is supposed to be free with the book. This is the ninth edition of the book, but the eighth edition of the book is also available on Amazon with the CD explicitly in the description.
Update: Amazon replaced the book for free with no hassle, but the second book did not include a CD either. Apparently, Amazon direct does not include the CD, so if you need the CD, don't buy it from them. I'll be getting a refund and I'll be emailing other sellers to see if they sell the book with the CD.
on January 21, 2012
I know that this review will not affect the students that have to purchase the book for a class, so I am instead hoping that professors will read this review and pick a different textbook for their class. As such, I will go in depth to show exactly where are my grievances.
As a senior in college that always reads the textbook, I can honestly say that this book is by far the worse book I have ever purchased. Rather than have you just take my word for it, I will break down exactly what is wrong with this book and then give you examples.
First, the binding of this book is the worst I have ever experienced. I started with a book and, by the end of the semester, I had a ream of worthless paper. Every time I turned the page, it ended up falling out. When I pay for a book, especially a textbook that cost $75, I expect for it to last a lifetime. I know that I will not use this book in my future career, but it should last longer than one read through. Sometime I hadn't even read the pages yet and the ones from farther in the book would fall out. Such a waste of money.
My grievances did not stop here. Occasionally, the text will run off the page and leave the reader wondering what happened to the sentence. Excellent examples from my book are in chapter 4, pages 123, 129 and 131, and chapter 3 page 113. The margins are so off on this page that the writing at the top does not start until an inch down the page and it ends up running off the bottom. This happens a few other times in the book.
Also, the fonts will randomly change in the book. Sometimes, this happens in the middle of a paragraph and will last a few pages. On page 202 it seems like the book randomly starts to become double spaced and then the next page it goes back to normal. There were also a few times in the book where the font would suddenly become a few sizes smaller and then last that way for a few paragraphs or pages. I couldn't find this a second time in different areas, but I showed it to a few people when I read it the first time and even they couldn't believe the lack of revision and double checking. The only example I could find was on page 93 where there is normal font, but the sentence continues on page 94 where the font decreased. On this page, the font randomly changes size but then returns to normal on the following page (number 95).
Now to talk more about this lack of double checking. Many times the paragraphs have not been indented. For example, on pages 100-101, there are three paragraphs that have not been indented. Page 7 has zero indented paragraphs. There are also spelling errors like page 6 "The fi lmakers" This continues throughout the book. This lack of unity actually detracts from the reading of the book.
Finally, the worst part of the book which severely detracts are the spelling errors. The spelling errors create problems with comprehension for the reader. I can literally quote the book and then fail a test because the spelling errors happen for some of the major subjects of the book. For example, on page 236 we learn about the 180 degree system... except the book wrongly calls it "Spatial Continuity: The 18 degree system." If I put 18 degree system on my test, then I will fail. This is a huge concept in the chapter and will undoubtedly be tested but still contains spelling errors. Also on page 58: "Very often people think of 'farm' as the opposite of something called 'content.'" Farm? Oh, you mean form. Yeah, the major concept that you are just now introducing to the students is misspelled. Even the quotes seem odd, like page 231 from Dziga Vertov needs to have its grammar checked. If you quote a foreign speaker, you could at least make sure he uses correct grammar or you could paraphrase him.
All of these spelling errors and continuity problems causes the reader to lose focus. That is the opposite of what a textbook should do. Sometimes, I would end up getting a pen and start marking the spelling errors or grammar problems. I would easily find 20 errors per page and I am not even a English major nor am I a grammar Nazi. I am a Spanish and Zoology major and these errors are readily apparent. These are the reasons why this textbook should not be assigned for any class. Please, for the sake of your future students, pick a book that does not contain problems like this. Sure the content is fine, but the grammar, spelling and style errors detracts from the book to a point where learning is just not possible.
on August 20, 2010
This page isn't entirely clear whether the textbook comes with a CD or not but I can clear that up for you right now: It doesn't. Which is very strange because in the opening pages of the book it states that all new copies of the book come with the CD-ROM. The CD-ROM is essential for students because it has scenes with commentary that you can't access on the McGraw website. I'm sure it has other things too.
Anyways, the CD CAN be purchased separately on Amazon and they are receiving copy's of them on August 22, 2010. Here is the link to the CD page:
It's $22.81 and if you signed up for the student Amazon Prime thing that's going on you can get unlimited free two-day shipping until your prime status expires. This method saved me about $25 from buying it directly from my College. I'm really hoping Amazon gets their copy's on time, because if they don't I'm kind of screwed for school.
The only reason I gave this four stars is because the top-right corner got heavily bent while in shipping so I'm pretty bummed about that. Also, this page doesn't really specify whether this textbook comes with the CD or not. Hopefully people will read the reviews. =]
Other than that, it's a fine book.
on January 10, 2011
I've just received this book and have read about 70 pages so far, and I honestly don't think I've gone one page without seeing a spelling/typesetting error. I can't judge the content as I'm new to the subject area, but for a grammar and spelling stickler like me, constantly stumbling over mistakes is getting a bit annoying. I'm surprised this could pass through any editor's hands and be published with such frequent mistakes, so my only answer is that it wasn't edited.
That being said, as far as I've read, the information is abundant and always supported by real-world cinema examples.
on September 18, 2013
I bought this before realizing there is a newer, 10th edition out. If you're using it for college, you'll need the newer one. On its own, however, the 9th edition is quite nice if you are just interested in film analysis.
on June 14, 2014
This was a requirement for my first film class, but older editions without the online code are cheap enough now that I'd recommend it even for a reference or a summer read for someone who loves movies or film making.
It covers editing, photography, filming, lighting, set, acting, directing, roles on a film set, industry basics...everything.
I even bought a new copy as a gift for an art-loving friend and she LOVED it.