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Showing 1-10 of 36 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 61 reviews
on January 30, 2012
Being someone new to DSLR cameras and video, this book contains a lot of information that is immediately useful. The information is presented clearly, and easy to grasp. Within its limited number of pages, the book hits a lot of relevant topics, albeit with limited depth. The book frequently references Canon cameras, but most of it applies to all DSLR cameras that shoot video. As camera technology changes so fast, some of the information is already obsolete.

The title suggests that the book will explain how to achieve a "film look" with video. The book provides some information on how to avoid the prickly sharp look of video, but ultimately the "look" people may want goes far beyond camera settings, lenses and lighting. To achieve a genuine "film look", I believe the study of cinematic techniques is crucial.
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on March 28, 2011
Kurt Lancaster has assembled a step by step guide to Digital SLR film making emphasizing how to achieve the look of film and setting high standards in the process. As a professional still photographer with an audio back ground, I have been searching for a book that cuts to the chase. This does it.
As a Nikon user for the past 25 years and having recently moved to Canon's 5d Mk II to take advantage of its incredible still and video capabilities, this book was the perfect 'short course' on the Canon's video modes and the steps necessary to obtain the best look this camera has to offer.
The book begins by assuming the reader has some basic knowledge in the field, it goes on to cover everything from creating custom presets to transcoding footage and color grading as well as many other aspects of production and post. I also appreciated the encouraging words sprinkled through out relating to our endeavor as film makers to pursue our own individual style.
A variety of short films shot using DSLRs by some of the top directors and DPs in the DSLR movement are used to illustrate topics - these high quality videos were easily viewed on vimeo. Analysis of the techniques used to create these shorts gives an in depth look into a host of other areas in the film making process.
Excellent section on gear choices as well, very specific and current.
I'd spend 10 times this much on a workshop and probably retain half the info, the best $35 I've invested in a while.

A well thought out and great resource. The right book at the right time! Thanks Kurt.
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on January 9, 2011
This is not a general film technique guide. It's not a book on lighting, sound design, the business of film, editing style, or cinematography.
What it is is a book on using DSLR cameras to shoot film.
And in that regard, it covers every nook and cranny that you can expect from a volume on the topic. From selecting equipment, to using it correctly, to processing, editing, and presenting your work, Kurt Lancaster brings together a guide that covers chapter by chapter the technical elements of professional filmmaking on a DSLR in a way that is clear to even those without any technical background in filmmaking. From lighting to lenses to recording sound when using a DSLR rig, the book devotes a chapter to each element of your camera's pre-production experience. Latter chapters are devoted to case studies of particular films shot with SLR cameras. Although these don't offer as much technical advice, they present a variety of ways that an SLR camera can be used to a director's and DP's advantage. The last chapter is a helpful buyers guide that covers different choices of equipment for different budgets.
You may want to check out other guides on filmmaking if you're just starting out, particularly on specific topics like cinematography, screenplay development, or editing. But from the hardware side, if you're thinking of using a DSLR for filmmaking, this is not only an excellent guide in that area but also one of the most clearly and well written books for film technique that I have ever read.
And if you already have a video capable SLR camera, there is little reason not to pick this volume up. It was written with you in mind.
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on April 7, 2011
This book I found incredibly comprehensive and inspirational. I do animation, compositing and editing in the Los Angeles, Hollywood area. I had just purchased the Canon 60D along with the Canon 17-55 lens, and wanted to get up to speed on many things pertaining to the Dslr craze. While I am experienced in the area of post, my experience behind the camera needed help. This book does a good job of explaining everything: neutral settings, ISO settings, proper frame rates, apertures, lighting temperatures, lighting setups, exposure, blocking, etc. -all to give the best chance of getting that film look. It also goes into great detail on Lighting setups, audio, post and color grading techniques. Lancaster references many industry professionals who share their personal experience. They talk of techniques they use in their own projects, and then lancaster gives a direct link online to view what you've been reading about. The book mainly emphasizes the 5D MKII, and to a lesser extent the 7D, but I found most all the info to be applicable to my 60D. He and the contributors are always citing certain equipment from cameras, to lenses, to ND filters, and software. I am always looking to improve my gear collection, and I was hoping to find something specific on a tripod. Low and behold I turned the page, and discovered a whole section on gear, ranging from low to high level setups. You can search around all day on the internet, but I feel like everything is here in one consolidated location, that you can always refer to. A fun and inspirational read, and definitely worth the money.
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on April 15, 2011
I'll get the main "criticisms" of sorts out of the way first. The main issues I had have more to do with marketing and audience than the actual information in the book. The book is geared more towards auteur-type directors and filmmakers than anyone else. As a professional cameraman, I was hoping this book would be tailored more towards using these new cameras for cinematography purposes. These are cameras after all, and the visual end should be the main emphasis. To be fair, roughly 60% of the book does this, and does it well. I know there are other books and guides out there that do this, I just feel like the book might have been a little more clear as to whom it is primarily targeting, as one could infer - as I did - that it was mainly targeted toward shooters, not directors.

In addition, the intended audience seems to be more on the beginner, low budget side. I don't mean to sound elitist when I say that, we've all been there! I simply mean that the most comprehensive information is found in the chapters about filmmaking basics, and that the book doesn't really touch on truly high-end filmmaking gear, despite the "high-end" recommendations. Redrock, Manfrotto, and Zacuto make some nice pieces of gear to be sure, but they aren't in the motion-picture class of Chrosziel, OConnor, Sachtler, or Arri, for example (certainly not in price!). I realize completely those manufacturers are out of range for most people that this book targets, but a distinction should be drawn between levels of gear that includes the high-end professional standards, for comparison's sake if nothing else. (For further reference, I will point out that B&H Photo's HDSLR educational series and Vincent Laforet's gear pages on his blog do this very well and I would highly recommend them).

On the positive side, the book is very detailed and comprehensive with regards to the best ways to optimize these cameras. The information on exposure techniques, focusing issues, filtration, and audio are very informative and well broken-down. The "case studies" section is very interesting as it brings together diverse filmmakers in terms of subject matter and their professional emphasis to demonstrate how flexible these cameras are. The author was very smart to pick the brains of some heavy-hitters of the industry (George Lucas, Shane Hurlbut, Greg Yaitanes, Rodney Charters) who have embraced these cameras and why they chose to do so. They serve not just as teachers, but sources of inspiration for filmmakers of all experience levels.

The bottom line is this book could have been a bit more clear in terms of who it is marketed towards, but for what it is, the information and structure is spot on and is a good reference point as well. Everyone can learn something from this book. Good job!
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on July 3, 2011
Overall, I enjoyed this book and the information it offers, though the author tends to repeat key concepts. I also think he spent too much time creating gear combinations for different budgets - low, mid, and high. Better to just explain what a certain accessory can do for filmmaking, perhaps point out a range of manufacturers, and then let the reader decide on their own. Or, just explain the gear and leave the shopping to the many gear-centric blogs that inundate the web.

Despite sounding a bit like a Canon sales pitch, there are some good tips to be had, and it's nice to have them all available in a searchable format on my Kindle. I preferred reading the ebook on my laptop so that I could immediately jump out to the many Vimeo-hosted videos linked in the text.
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on November 30, 2010
In the past 3 months, I have purchased close to 24 different books on DSLR camera HD recording. This is an exceptional book with direct hands on recommendations for how to craft that mystic "35mm film look". It is packed with excellent insight and practical information that will immediately improve your skills. I have actually read some of the chapters a number of times and keep finding additional "golden nuggets". Love the executive summaries at the end of each chapter and the tips and techniques spread throughout the book. The equipment configuration discussions are excellent and I hope they keep the book current with new versions as more support equipment becomes available. At the moment, this is one of the top three DSLR books available and a must have book at that!!!
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on December 14, 2010
Kurt Lancaster has put together a comprehensive review of how to use your DSLR to create video with a definite film look. In fact, he sets the standard of DSLR filming. I like the many check-lists that prepare the reader for most eventualities when using a DSLR instead of a Prosumer Camcorder. He systematically addresses all aspects of production and post-production and gives some great examples of shorts filmed on DSLRs which can be viewed on the Publisher's Website. The detailed analysis of the making of these shorts is very helpful in understanding planning, design and other production issues when shooting with a DSLR. He also includes lists of equipment packages one might want to consider.
Not everyone is as excited about DSLR cinema as Kurt, and several camera manufacturers are already developing Prosumer Camcorders with substantially larger sensors that should be able to give the same "filmic" look as DSLRs. True, these camcorders will be much more expensive than DSLRs. However, the great advantage of a DSLR is its small size that allows one to record video in point-and-shoot style. By the time you have added a JuicedLink pre-amp that allows you to add a mic or two and/or lavalieres and suppress the automatic gain control of the DSLR, and after you've added a matte box for your filters, you got a substantial rig. Talent often prefers DSLRs because they are less intimidating. The future will show whether the DSLR develops into a shooting style of its own, or whether the DSLR will be useful in addition to a souped-up camcorder.
What I found most helpful was the discussion of the colorspace in the DSLR and the rationale for its adjustment both before shooting and in post production.
This is a very thorough and knowledgeable discussion of DSLR filming.
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on December 16, 2010
If you are caught up in the new wave of HDSLR video, especially the Canon EOS line, this book is absolutely invaluable. Covers answers to issues I couldn't find anywhere else. Not only is there nuts'n'bolts help with gear and what you need, but there are case studies of short films showing details to guide your productions. There are chapters on Exposure, Lighting, Composition, Camera Movement, Lenses, Audio, and Post-production.
You won't find anything here specific to Nikon cameras - the authors couldn't find anyone using them for video. (It seems Nikon has completely missed the boat to this new technology.), but there is plenty here if your DSLR shoots video no matter what's on the nameplate.
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on March 7, 2011
Love this book. I went a DSLR workshop where I learned composition, but was somewhat lost on HOW to use my DSLR. "What's an f-stop, aperture, iso speed. etc" I thought to myself. This book answered that for me and so much more. By using examples and drawing from early-adopters of the DSLR revolution, I felt confident in what I was learning because it gave the HOW and the WHY some filmmakers do what they do.

I find I turn to this book OFTEN for a refresher on things such as settings, picture styles, etc. It even has a CHEAT SHEET at the end of the book before you set up for a shoot. AWESOME!

I HIGHLY recommend this book if your an wedding/event/aspiring filmmaker.
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