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Cinematography books


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#1 Yaron Dahan

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 07:02 PM

I'm looking for any books on cinematography that might be a useful starting point for educating myself as much as I can. I'm already a still photographer, so I don't need anything too basic. I'm planning to go to film school, but I would like to supplement my knowledge as much as possible. Any suggestions for good cinematography or lighting books? I've been browsing ebay, and there are so many, it's hard to tell. Even any ideas as what NOT to buy would be helpful.

Thanks
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#2 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 08:35 PM

There is a rec'd list on the right hand side of this page that says "shop for cine books here..." click and enjoy! I've read Blain Browns' books and found them quite good. A little expensive ($50) but they are printed on heavy stock with color throughout.
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#3 rufian84

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 02:59 AM

I'm looking for any books on cinematography that might be a useful starting point for educating myself as much as I can. I'm already a still photographer, so I don't need anything too basic. I'm planning to go to film school, but I would like to supplement my knowledge as much as possible. Any suggestions for good cinematography or lighting books? I've been browsing ebay, and there are so many, it's hard to tell. Even any ideas as what NOT to buy would be helpful.

Thanks


For my introductory cinematography class at NYU we used The book "CINEMATOGRAPHY" by Kris Malkiewicz and for Studio Lighting we used "FILM LIGHTING" by the same author. I heard also that in the undergraduate program they use "THE FIVE C'S OF CINEMATOGRAPHY" by Joseph V. Mascelli. The ASC Manual is a must, this the the one you'll go to for everything.

Try doing some AC work also. That's the best training in my opinion.
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#4 Jason Debus

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 12:44 PM

There's some great books here:

http://cinematograph.../shop/books.asp
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#5 Morgan Peline

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 08:38 PM

If you have the money, buy everything that seems relevant.

Also in MHO. I think you would probably learn more about lighting and operating by doing just that; lighting and operating. ACing helps alot but it's probably better to do it yourself rather than watch others do it while you load mags.
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#6 Vivian Zetetick

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 07:01 PM

As a student of cinematography myself, I have to recommend Blain Brown's Cinematography: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers. It covers a wide range of common technical and aesthetic challenges, and it's up to date. You are sure to experience Deja Vu while reading the book if you have been reading these message boards for a while, and it's no surprise that the author thanks at least one frequent cinematography.com contributor -- David Mullen -- in the afterward. I especially liked the chapter on experimental lab processes (skip-bleach, ENR, etc) and also the chapter devoted to color control, which has always been a daunting subject for me. My only criticism of this book is the quality of the photo illustations. Though well chosen, they are unworthy of the book, and many of them are exceedingly low-resolution. Also, the primitive 3D diagrams, though they get the author's point across loud and clear, could be a bit more inspiring. Still, it's nice to see someone using Peter Greenway's film "The Draughtman's Contract" as an example of intelligently designed cinema instead of some mainstream Hollywood film.
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#7 Gerry Mendoza

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 09:05 PM

If you have the money, buy everything that seems relevant.

Also in MHO. I think you would probably learn more about lighting and operating by doing just that; lighting and operating. ACing helps alot but it's probably better to do it yourself rather than watch others do it while you load mags.


I had four years of corporate video experience. I wrote, produced edited and shot on the old D30s. I started all over again and worked in the lighting department and I learned a lot from some great and very patient gaffers. I understand budget + concept = executable concept. That includes the DOP. If you don't get your day because you're spending hours moving three lights. The movie won't get completed. Simultaneously, I started camera assisting. I operated for an award winning french cinematographers who came up the ranks in the camera department. He operated for the top three cinematographers in France in the late 50's.

Not to say that other dops weren't successful in "just doing that" but i've seen them struggle as they were learning. Sure about a decade later their filmography and body work have grown as their reputation. I just can't agree with this. Yes there is only so much you can learn as a crew member at some point you have to start exposing that negative. My set experience rounded out what I didn't learn in film school and the aspiring directors that I met on set gave me my shot at cinematography. My imdb credentials does not reflect my true filmography. Where a person can best learn and progress cannot be defined so black and white there are gray/grey areas and it varies from person to person.
Looking back, I'm glad I worked on those big budget movies because I was able to utilize those tricks in my early jobs when I didn't have toys or the experience.
On my first music video. I loaded the mags. I did the live tie in to power the set. I showed my very green crew how to assemble the jib arm. I'm not saying I'm god. But I can make a very precise equipment list, make deals for the rentals and my crew and I have a great time on set and we can move efficiently because I've done their jobs in the camera, lighting and grip department.
When you're working with award winning veterans you are on the best film school in the world. And I also went to film school.






If you have the money, buy everything that seems relevant.

Also in MHO. I think you would probably learn more about lighting and operating by doing just that; lighting and operating. ACing helps alot but it's probably better to do it yourself rather than watch others do it while you load mags.


I had four years of corporate video experience. I wrote, produced edited and shot on the old D30s. I started all over again and worked in the lighting department and I learned a lot from some great and very patient gaffers. I understand budget + concept = executable concept. That includes the DOP. If you don't get your day because you're spending hours moving three lights. The movie won't get completed. Simultaneously, I started camera assisting. I operated for an award winning french cinematographers who came up the ranks in the camera department. He operated for perhaps the top three cinematographers in France in the late 50's.

Not to say that other dops weren't successful in "just doing that" but i've seen them struggle as they were learning. Sure about a decade later their filmography and body work have grown as their reputation. I just can't agree with this negativity with on set experience. Yes there is only so much you can learn as a crew member at some point you have to start exposing that negative. My set experience rounded out what I didn't learn in film school and the aspiring directors that I met on set gave me my shot at cinematography. My imdb credentials does not reflect my true filmography. Where a person can best learn and progress cannot be defined so black and white there are gray/grey areas and it varies from person to person.
Looking back, I'm glad I worked on those big budget movies because I was able to utilize those tricks in my early jobs when I didn't have the toys or the experience.
On my first music video. I loaded the mags. I did the live tie in to power the set. I showed my very green crew how to assemble the jib arm. I'm not saying I'm god. But I can make a very precise equipment list, make deals for the rentals and my crew and I have a great time on set and we can move efficiently because I've done their jobs in the camera, lighting and grip department and I know their challenges.
Politely is a given. Respect is earned.
When you're working with award winning veterans you are on the best film school in the world. And I also went to film school.
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#8 Morgan Peline

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 09:45 PM

Where a person can best learn and progress cannot be defined so black and white there are gray/grey areas and it varies from person to person.


I suppose you're probably right. A mixture of the two is a very good option.

I'm probably going through that hindsight thing thinking about what I would do if I had my time back knowing what I know now.

In my late twenties I decided to change careers from my boring sales and marketing office job, after my French and Business Management degree and become a cameraman. So I did two years of cinematography at a film school. During those two years I did all sorts of different jobs on student films including director, editor, dp, gaffer, electrician, focus puller and clapper loader. After I graduated I then worked in television for four years as a camera trainee and 2nd unit clapper loader.

It's true that the first year of work was quite a shock to my system, I had no idea what efficiency, and the 'right way to do something' meant until I became a 'professional' camera trainee in the real world. Some of the focus pullers I worked with were like British Sergeant-majors...boxes had to be placed on the camera truck in size order etc. One of the tv dramas I did was a six month job in the middle of winter from November to April, half of the time when not in the studio standing on cold snow covered hillsides in the North of England. We were shooting about eight pages a day on 16mm, sometimes doing two location moves a day. Eventually it got to the point where I realised that I had forgotten about my ultimate aim of being a DP in orfder to become a professsional loader. I had been so busy I hadn't shot anything myself in 3 years. So I decided to jump ship before it was too late and do an extra two years of cinematography at the National Film School here in England. Some 100 short films, 4 television dramas, two features and a few animations; 'Bob The Builder' and 'Pingu' later, and graduation looming next year, I suppose somewhere along the line I have also learnt as a student and a professional (3rd and 2nd) AC. So I do understand set etiquette and logistics and have most likely picked up a few tricks without noticing. And I've seen a few big toys that I would have never done had I not worked on bigger budget productions. So I absolutely understand where you are coming from.

But I suppose my point is that once you start working regularly, it's easy lose sight of your ultimate aim and just become comfortable earning money as an AC or whatever and forget about being a DP if you don't keep your eye on the ball. I'm very lucky to have had some wonderful, very experienced teachers (e.g. Brian Tufano BSC, Stuart Harris, Paul Wheeler BSC and Billy Williams BSC) here at the film school but what I find most interesting is that all of them consider the best way to learn is to do, make mistakes, and then do again.

So yes a combination of the two types of learning; a mix of professional and student learning is a very good way to get there.
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#9 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 10:07 PM

But I suppose my point is that once you start working regularly, it's easy lose sight of your ultimate aim and just become comfortable earning money as an AC or whatever and forget about being a DP if you don't keep your eye on the ball.


Great point. I had the same experience. I moved to LA to pursue a career Above-the-Line and managed to accidently fall into a career as an AC. Not that I didn't have some great experiences and learn a lot about production from that vantage point, but too many years later did I realize what was happening. Life is short so maintaining focus on what you really want to do is very important to achieving a fulfilling life.
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#10 Jamie McIntyre

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 12:50 AM

I read a very useful book 'Cinematography: Theory And Practice' - Blain Brown.

Whack it in amazon and it will pop up!

It's a VERY good book.

:)
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Visual Products