- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (September 2, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0240814932
- ISBN-13: 978-0240814933
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,810,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shooting Movies Without Shooting Yourself in the Foot: Becoming a Cinematographer 1st Edition
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"I think this is wonderful book for all of us jack of all trades filmmakers out there..In hindsight I am sure my foot wishes I had read this book before I shoot my first feature. -Dusan Sekulovic, Director
"[It] tells the about the reality of filmmaking from a Cinematographer's perspective.his/her thoughts and the thoughts of those on the set, the challenges, and the intellect necessary for learning from mistakes and solving problems. -Michael A Hofstein, Director of Photography
"Finally-An Actual, Working Hollywood Director of Photography Shares his 'Inner-Door' Secrets of the Craft. This is a hard-hitting, no-holds-barred, fantastic 'Shooter's Guide' from a top professional in the Business. Call it-'The 'Hollywood Rules' for Up & Coming Directors-of-Photography'!! -Dave A. Anselmi: Director, Producer, and Instructor, PracticalMysticProductions.com
"Anderson is able to take some very complex concepts and meld them into a easily digestible dose of information that even a reader with little or no knowledge about the topic can easily understand and learn from." -Joey Goodsell, University of Southern Mississippi
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My recommended resources for lower-budget productions include:
The Digital Filmmaking Handbook <-- Get this one. It's all-in-one comprehensive, and amazing. Far more practical/useful/universal information here on how to make a film if you're part of a limited-budget production, and want a thorough resource.
DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Large Sensor Video Cameras <-- This one's also good, and focuses on the role of the camera work using dSLR's. Lots of good tips here as well.
I fancy myself a semi-professional still photographer and walk the line between hobbyist and qualified (having provided images for various publications throughout the years). I've dabbled in independent film as often as my work schedule has allowed and even wrote/directed a few pieces I've been pretty proud of. I've long felt that still photographers have a wide variety of useful literature (especially periodicals) at their disposal while videographers are typically left to their own devices. In fact I've often found myself taking techniques such as lens selection, light metering, and depth of field mastery found in the plethora of still photograph magazines I read and doing my best to apply them into the realm of motion-picture making. This works for the most part, until concepts such as framing moving subjects, positioning lights so that they aren't visible in pans, and deciding whether the situation calls for a dolly or Steadicam shot come into play. Then suddenly (as I have no formal training in video photography), I find myself improvising, relying upon instinct and oftentimes, just hoping for the best.
Enter Shooting Movies by Jack Anderson. Coming in at 349 pages, this tome manages to pack about as much information in as any college course I'm aware of, and possibly even more in terms of life-experience shared.
The author approaches the plethora of useful information presented with a casual, almost conversational style that immediately lays to rest fears of becoming overloaded. In fact by the book's conclusion it becomes painfully apparent that cinematographers (or perhaps more accurately, directors of photography) aren't given near enough recognition in general. I had never heard of Mr. Anderson prior to having picked up this book and truly that's a crime in and of itself.
But let's discuss the nitty-gritty of the book itself and the material contained within. The prose itself is clearly geared toward an aspiring professional cinematographer with proper reference given to the motion picture industry unions, the proper chain of command on a production, and the step-by-step process of being interviewed for the job right on through production. I bring this up only because some of the indie films I've worked on were a far cry from the actual process of putting together a major motion picture. As such some of the information here wasn't pertinent to my needs but interesting nevertheless.
The author devotes chapters to studying the script, equipment selection (from lighting to camera bodies, lenses to tripods, nothing is left to wonder)- Interestingly there are many pages devoted to the pros and cons of using film cameras versus a digital equipment and though Mr. Anderson professes a bias toward the film side (and discusses the attributes of various film stocks accordingly), he manages to present some level-headed arguments to each side of the coin.
Surprisingly, this book relies minimally on photographs, instead slipping a few black & white captures about to demonstrate points of the text as needed. Particularly interesting to me were the movie stills and the scanned call sheets from actual films (in this case Starship Troopers). I can't accurately express the hours I spent studying this information in awe that with so many individuals involved in a single day of shooting, that films ever get completed at all.
Perhaps most useful to aspiring cinematographers is the style by which Mr. Anderson breaks all of the information at hand down. He literally separates his chapters into a virtual schedule of the entire process from beginning to end. His 37-chapters span four parts (Preproduction, Production, Postproduction and Technicalities) and are written in such a manner where just about every possible concern (from first day jitters to worst case scenarios like a botched shot) is both presented and reasoned out. It's clear that this is an individual who learned by actually doing rather than simply studying and the ability to capitalize on his experiences is a constant throughout the book.
In all, I would be lying if I said this particular book was targeted to the type of filmmaking in which I dabble and the amateur camcorder user looking to spruce up clips of the kids' birthday parties will also probably be a bit out of their league but that doesn't mean this isn't an absolutely fascinating look at the process of filmmaking for anyone and everyone. However, it's the true cinematography student/ apprentice/ wannabe who will get the absolute most out of this work. Thanks to an absolute wealth of practical knowledge coupled to a presentation that takes what could easily be construed as a very stressful job and breaks it down into a whole bunch of easily digestible chunks, this should really be required reading at the university level.