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Cinematography Books for Starting Out?


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#1 Jeremy Val

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 05:45 AM

Hello. I'd like to find a book on how to be a cinematographer for new people. You know, with plenty of examples, and where the writing isn't confusing for new people, like myself.

I was also wondering if there is a book for the anatomy of a film camera, or something along those lines?

Here's what I'd like to learn about:

*tungstens
*Film Stocks
*Film Processing
*Film recording cameras and formats
*Cinematography
*Lens
*Lighting
*Gripping
* Camera Accessories


You know, those kinds of things all explained thoroughly for newcomers like myself. Becuase when people start talking about these things, i have clue what they're saying: "Like, no, no. Super 35 is better than Anomorphic!" Things like that.

Any comments will be much appreciated! Thank you! :)
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 07:51 AM

I don't think you'll find everything in a single book, but you could try "Practical Cinematography" by Paul Wheeler. I haven't read this one, but looking at the index and having read other books by him, it should give you a run through the process.


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 10:55 AM

My suggestions:

Blain Brown "Cinematography: Theory & Practice"
Blain Brown "Motion Picture and Video Lighting"
Kris Malkiewicz "Film Lighting"

"Cinematography: Third Edition" by Malkiewicz and myself covers basic 16mm cinematography and lighting, so is a good intro.
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#4 Paul Maibaum ASC

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 11:48 AM

Get subscriptions to American Cinematographer Magazine and the IATSE Local 600 magazine, ICG. Articles therein cover the subjects you mention in depth.
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#5 Danny Haritan

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 07:03 PM

What everyone has said is a perfect start. Read an ASC magazine every month, and all the terms you don't understand, just google them and you'll find out what they mean.

A recent book that has helped me enormously, especially with film stocks, is Cinematography for Directors. This was recommended in this forum for books for cinematographers, so I checked it out. It goes in depth about lenses, filters, lights, grip equipment... basically everything that a cinematographer should know. And one of the most important parts of this book are quotes from professional cinematographers, where they give you quotes and an insight on how important a collaboration between a cinematographer and a director is. I highly recommend this book.

 


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#6 Austin Schmidt

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 12:02 PM

All books mentioned above are great ones that I recommend to my students when it comes to technical and aesthetic questions. I would also recommend a book that I recently published (yes, I'm hawking my own wares) that talks about the beginning stages of any cinematographer's career as they climb the film set "ladder" or navigate through film school. Many chapters focus on the business side of the job and how to mold personal passion into a viable career. It does not provide a guaranteed "How To", rather plenty of insight for every young potential cinematographer to consider as they begin their journey. Topics range from joining the union, getting an agent, film school vs the ladder, and strategies on getting yourself out there.

So You Want To Be A Cinematographer? ... Life Behind The Lens

It was reviewed by our own David Mullen as well as Blain Brown, the author of many highly regarded cinematography books.

"This book is an honest and accurate account of what many cinematographers go through at the beginning of their careers, and there are few books like it out there. Hopefully a beginner reading Austin Schmidt's personal experiences will learn what opportunities and minefields lie ahead for them and plan accordingly."
-M. David Mullen, ASC Cinematographer and co-author of "Cinematography (Third Edition)"

"It presents an excellent overview of what is involved in working as a cinematographer and what is involved in becoming one."
If you are thinking you might want to be a cinematographer, you should read this book. Once you decide it's what you want to do, then read my book."
-Blain Brown Author of "Cinematography: Theory and Practice"

While this book is a lot more than what the title implies it still addresses the questions that many students of the art of cinematography will ask. The author has written from his personal experiences in detail. While others may encounter very different experiences or situations, the basic idea is there. I know that many beginning and most experienced cinematographers will be able to relate to Mr. Schmidt's travails. For those wanting to have an insight into what awaits them in the working class below-the-line world there is a lot to be gleaned from his writings.
-Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC


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#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 12:00 PM

As far as camera anatomy goes, check out "Professional Cameraman's Handbook" by Sylvia & Verne Carlson. It hasn't been updated in years, with the passing of Verne, but is still a wealth of knowledge if you're into shooting film.

Whether or not you want to be an AC, the Camera Assistant books I think are very useful. If you want to work as a cinematographer, it's quite helpful to the camera department to understand what it is they are actually doing for you. So many hack shooters out there grow impatient because they have no understanding of why certain things take 1 minute from now vs. 5 minutes ago.


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#8 M Joel W

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:31 AM

Although it doesn't cover everything, this is bar none the best book I've read on the subject of camerawork:

 

The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video

For technical stuff (grip and electric-related, specifically), this is a fun read:

Set Lighting Technician's Handbook: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and Electrical Distribution


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#9 Brian Rose

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 03:34 PM

Those books are great to gain understanding of the technical aspects of cinematography. In addition, I'd recommend books on painting and photography. Ansel Adams' two volume set The Camera and The Negative were essential to my gaining greater understanding of just HOW I capture a scene, and paintings taught me much about light, shadow and color...Jack Cardiff was especially fond of the Dutch Northern Renaissance and the Impressionists.


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#10 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 03:57 PM

If you want to check out Super-8 for starting out check this thread and the info. The book is now available on Amazon US and directly from the publisher smile.gif

Earlier thread on Super-8 section: link there
post-18818-0-36401700-1306341082.jpg


Super 8: Film Handbook for the Digital Age

Table of content:

01. Let’s get started – 17 insider tips for absolute beginners
02. Inventors and their creations – A tangle of film formats
03. You can’t avoid theory completely – What’s inside a movie camera?
04. Let the fun begin – Choosing the right camera
05. The agony of choice – Which film for your camera?
06. Camera ready, film loaded – Shooting with Super 8
07. Follow the doctor’s orders – Keep your camera running and running and running
08. Doing it yourself can be fun – Dazzling development!
09. From analog to digital – Scanning Super 8
10. Snip, snip – Cutting, splicing and viewing
11. The real thing – Choosing the right projector
12. Fit for the future – Film care and storage
13. Submit your film – Super 8 festivals and competitions
14. Labs, Shops and Internet sites from – The Super 8 Universe
15. Super 8 Market – Small format shopping




 
 


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#11 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 04:46 PM

Of course there's FAR more to know about Cinematography then the technical aspects. What good is knowing how to do something without having the opportunity to use your skills? For that, I recommend my own book, "What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood." Knowing how the industry truly works and how every other department interacts with the DP is essential to doing your job well and building a successful career.

http://realfilmcareer.com/?page_id=41


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#12 Liam Howlett

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:03 AM


Hello. I'd like to find a book on how to be a cinematographer for new people. You know, with plenty of examples, and where the writing isn't confusing for new people, like myself.

I was also wondering if there is a book for the anatomy of a film camera, or something along those lines?

Here's what I'd like to learn about:

*tungstens
*Film Stocks
*Film Processing
*Film recording cameras and formats
*Cinematography
*Lens
*Lighting
*Gripping
* Camera Accessories


You know, those kinds of things all explained thoroughly for newcomers like myself. Becuase when people start talking about these things, i have clue what they're saying: "Like, no, no. Super 35 is better than Anomorphic!" Things like that.

Any comments will be much appreciated! Thank you! smile.gif


Cinematography: Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers and Directors
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#13 Jeremy M Lundborg

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 12:06 PM

Any of these books have specific examples of images and the correlating lens?
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#14 Matthew French

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:12 PM

I was just wondering if there are any books out there that are specifically catered towards camera operating? I have Cinematography: Theory and Practice which has some great sections on camera placement and the theory of shot composition (character relations etc.).

cheers
ph34r.gif


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#15 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:38 AM

"The Negative," and "The Camera" by Ansel Adams. No one has mentioned "The Five C's of Cinematography." Never mind the books. Get yourself a manual focus, manual exposure SLR, some slide film, and start shooting. The answers come much easier when you look through a viewfinder!


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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:42 AM

There's a new edition of "Film Lighting" that just came out.


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#17 Darrell Ayer

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:57 AM

A fantastic new resource I just finished is "Shooting Movie without Shooting Yourself in the Foot." One of the best books on the responsiblities of a cinematographer. I also found 5 C's to be lacking, you can all of that info in Malkiwicz's (with a little help from Mr. Mullen ASC) Cinematography and more...

http://provideocoali...lf_in_the_foot/


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#18 George Ebersole

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:12 PM

The best book is working for free. On the job training.

And don't get fooled into hanging out with crew people who do drugs. Lots of middle aged grips go that route, or get arrested or worse.

Be on time, be professional, don't anything personally, just do your job or whatever it is people tell you. You'll learn tons more that way than by reading a text from Focus Publications.

I had all of the little books with the slate cover on them. Everything from gels to scrims to cameras to dollies, etc. I never read a single one.

Hope that helps.
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#19 Sundar Raghavan

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 11:59 AM

In addition to above books mentioned ,I would also recommend Basic Photographic Materials And Processes By Nanette Salvaggio.. I Just Glanced The Whole Book , It has very good and deep explanations about many things- Light , Exposure , Optics ,Sensitometry, Color , Tone Reproduction , Filters Etc.. If u want to get strong in theoretical part i highly recommend this book...Rather Than Other Books Which explains only the practical part we need ,this book explains everything with deep science behind every aspects of Photographic materials .. But though some dragging unwanted explanations are also there in this which we need to skip.. But Overall a great book With lots of information .



Thank You,
Sundar Raghavan.


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#20 Jack Aversano

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:34 AM

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Not lick of of cinematography in it. Invaluable non the less IMHO.....


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Technodolly

Pro 8mm

Quantum Music Works

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS