- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (August 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0240812093
- ISBN-13: 978-0240812090
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 10.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 137 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cinematography: Theory and Practice, Second Edition: Image Making for Cinematographers and Directors (Volume 1) 2nd Edition
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"The main purpose of this book is to introduce cinematography/ filmmaking as we practice it on a professional level. It includes the basic introduction to the essential concept of visual storytelling and more. Cinema is a language and within it the specific vocabularies and sublanguages of the lens, composition, visual design, lighting, image control, continuity, movement, and point-of-view. Learning these languages and vocabularies is a never-ending and a fascinating life-long study."--NeoPopRealism Journal
"A gorgeous piece of work that bids to become a classic text on cinematography....Few books on cinematography meld aesthetics and pragmatics as deftly as this one." --American Cinematographer
"The gorgeous illustrations bring movies to life, and the modern approach that incorporates digital as well as film means that this book can be used for years to come." --Judy Irola, ASC. Head of Cinematography, USC School of Cinematic Arts
"The book is a wonderful, well-organized and knowledgable collection of all information a cinematographer may need. I recommend it highly." --Andrew Laszlo, ASC
"This book shows that there is more to the DP than holding the light meter--he needs to understand so much more about using photography to tell a story, create a mood, evoke an emotion. No other text I know of stresses this to this extent." --Douglas C. Hart, First Camera Assistant, Instructor, and Author of The Camera Assistant
"Cinematography is a skillfully written guide to the technical craft and artistry of cinematography for today's cinematographers and directors. It presents each aspect of cinematography in precise language to help all filmmakers better understand the complexities with which the cinematographer engages during every moment of every shot. -Michael Hofstein, Director of Photography
"Blain Brown's book is a necessity for anyone who is starting out or still working in the media acquisition industry. -Don Lampasone, Producer/Editor/DP/VFX Artist (Austin, TX)
"[Cinematography] is a comprehensive, muscular, and authoritative guide to what cinematography means: [it] refreshingly addresses the why's with greater emphasis than the how's. A tourist's phrasebook and fluent speaker's aide memoire of the language and practice of making films. -Phil South, Writer, Film and Creativity Coach (http://goingdownwriting.wordpress.com)
"There's more to being a DP than holding a light meter! With this book as your guide, you are on your way to learning not only about the equipment and technology, but also about the concepts and thought processes that will enable you to shoot professionally, efficiently, and with artistic mastery. A leading book in the field, Cinematography has been translated into many languages and is a staple at the world's top. Lavishly produced and illustrated, it covers the entire range of the profession. The book is not just a comprehensive guide to current professional practice; it goes beyond to explain the theory behind the practice, so you understand how the rules came about and when it's appropriate to break them. In addition, directors will benefit from the focus on the body of knowledge they should share with their Director of Photography."--InternetVideoMagazinecom
About the Author
Blain Brown was educated at C.W. Post College; M.I.T. and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He began in New York as a commercial still photographer before starting in the film business. After working as a gaffer, be became a cinematographer doing primarily commercials and music videos.After completing his first feature film, he moved to Los Angeles where he has been Director of Photography on 14 feature films as well as national commercials, promotional films, industrials, music videos and documentaries. He has worked in many states in the U.S. as well as Mexico, Canada, India, Italy, France, the Philippines and Jordan.His experience includes 35mm and 16mm projects, as well as 24P High Def, DigiBeta, BetaSP and DV. He has completed projects as a director, editor and screenwriter; with three screenplays produced. He has also taught courses in storytelling and visual communication. As a Director of Photography specializing in features and commercials, he is now based in Los Angeles.His books include A Sense of Place; Motion Picture and Video Lighting and The Filmmaker's Pocket Reference. His work can be seen at www.BlainBrown.com.
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This may just be a personal peeve of mine but the repetition of images is also annoying. Either use a different image or point out all the unique characteristics of a certain picture within the paragraph it's being discussed, otherwise it feels like the author only had the rights to the same two dozen images which is in no way adequate for a book whose primary purpose is to describe a visual art.
Overall it presents the information in a fairly understandable manner, but if I'd had an option in books I would have gone with an alternative.
The truth is that both solutions are wrong. All he really had to do for the sunlit photo was to flag or scrim the highlight off of the man's bald head, and bounce light into his eyes, which were going too dark, with a reflector. For the shot of the man under the awning, there needed to be bounced light (or even direct light) on the man's face to define it and give it some color, and a backlight to separate it from the background. But he doesn't suggest either of these solutions. Why? Is the art of lighting just to stick an actor somewhere and hope that the light looks good on their face? I don't recognize that sort of lighting as an "art." That's totally amateur. Any real D.P knows how to use his tools: lights, reflectors, bounce cards, flags, scrims, diffusion, etc. He doesn't just stick someone somewhere and hope for the best.
Another group of photos shows what the author claims is a shot that is correctly exposed, a shot that's underexposed, and a shot that's three stops overexposed. He also shows the negative for each of these types of exposures to the right of the photos. To my eye, the shot he claims is correctly exposed is about two stops underexposed, and the shot he claims is three stops overexposed is only one stop overexposed. The lighting on the two figures in the photo is uneven, and in the shot he claims is correctly exposed one of the people is going very dark, so that we are losing most of the detail in his face. In other words, only the highlights are correctly exposed. Then he makes the error of stating that the overexposed shot has a thick negative, "which is really hard to get a good print from." Well it's well-known that a thick negative gives you the best prints, which is why cinematographers used to overexpose negatives by two-thirds of a stop on purpose. So this is an obvious error. Plus, why is he using such an unevenly lit shot anyway? It's not as if one person was in shadow on purpose, for dramatic reasons. It's two people sitting down side-by side, but the actor on the shadow side has darker skin and is not filled in. So the lighting looks like an error too. There would actually be no way to expose this shot correctly for both of the actors.
I leafed through some more of the book, and saw more shots ranging from mediocre to awful that he he used to represent good lighting, and more bad solutions to cinematography problems, and I had had enough. I couldn't return it fast enough. If you want to learn how to light, read "Painting with Light" by John Alton.