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Tim Tyler

Books and Movies for Newbies

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I did not get a chance to read the entire post. I am looking for a book that will help me with exposure, film stops, and how to properly use a meter. I know a lot of aspects of setting lights and I am now interested in focusing on the "Film" aspect. Can anyone recommend a book from the list?

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I really like Film, Form, and Culture w/ DVD-ROM by Robert Phillip Kolker with the accompanying DVDs, my teacher showed a few clips in school and now I'm addicted. At the time it was a cold day in Manhattan and I was just kind of salvating over the sunny palm tree lined campus it was shot on in North Carolina.


Does anyone know any good books for location lighting? I have some general books on film lighting but was wondering if you know of any that are good for lighting deserts, valleys, mountains, etc.

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i know basically nothing about this industry as a whole.

so can anyone recomend a book that is not only great for cinematography but addresses other aspects, equipment and jobs, what they do and how everything mixes together?

starting from the very beginning.



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There is a difference between a technical manual / reference guide and a textbook -- the second is meant to be read as a book, the first is meant to use for reference, though the ASC Manual does mix in articles with the charts and whatnot.


Certainly if you are a shooter, a reference guide like the ASC Manual is worth owning. When I was a film student, I picked up a used version from 1980 that was quite fun to flip through.


I find that "intermediate" level textbooks on cinematography tend to go beyond technical issues (at that point, better covered in technical manuals) and concentrate on real-world experiences of professionals. They tend to be interview books. Truth is that once you get beyond the basics of photography, most of the challenges of cinematography tend to be artistic and logistical more than technical.


Good point...A tech manual is helpful but no one would want to sit down and read it cover to cover....try the textbook style for a general overview.





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If you are looking for a book that shows easy to follow lighting set ups (put your key here and this the result, put your fill there and this is what will happen, etc) then Film Lighting by Kris Malkewicz is the one



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These books cover filmmaking topics other than cinematography


'making movies' by sidney lumet-great book on direction and storytelling


'the dark side of the screen'-Foster Hirsch-really good book on film noir's style and roots


'Rebel without a crew'-Robert Rodriguez-story of how robert rodriguez got el mariachi made on a 7k budget, and got recognized, real good 'do it yourself' tips



They're not all necessarily completely about cinematography, but very important general topics regardless of what you do behind the camera.

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Hi, I'm new here and I'll try to contribute with things that I know.


I'm actually reading "Days of the camera" of Nestor Almendros. I just have read the half of the book and I could say that is a great book because he talks about how he started doing films and he explains each one of the movies that he had done. He talks a lot about directors, producers and different ways of doing films (french one and north american).


I hope this will help someone.



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Hello there! I'm a photographer self-educating myself to become a cinematographer myself. So far I've been lurking in online tutorials/blogs getting familiar with basics of filmmaking and studying scripwriting/storytelling from books. I'm also trying to watch lots of films consciously analysing shots and technical aspects of craft.


What I'm troubled to find is knowledge about practical workflow of production - what are the typical camera angles and moves, what are some patterns I can creatively build from while shooting video? I want to start with some documentary style interviews, music videos, promotional videos progressing forward to more ambitious things like short movies.


So after this longish introduction my question is: AS for 2015 and an age of digital cinematography, have the 'bible' books changed or I should start with those oldies goldies that wers mentioned at the beginning of this thread? Also IF anyone has links to interesting knowledge available online, I'd be more than grateful IF he or she could share!


Hugs from Poland! :)

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I'd say if you are really interested in a subject, you're eventually going to read most of these books, old or not. One of my favorites is "Practical Motion Picture Photography" by Russell Campbell (1970):



Even though a lot of the practices and tools are now out of date, I'm such a fan of 1960's British cinematography that reading a textbook that quotes cinematographers like Ozzie Morris or Freddie Francis gives me some insight into how they thought and worked.


Not that I'd recommend that book as the first book on cinematography you read, you'd get confused as to what was still relevant and what was obsolete.


Any of the cinematography textbooks would give you the basics about exposure, lenses, etc. As for camera moves or lighting, there are books that deal more with the directing aspect or the lighting aspect. To some degree, you can learn that by watching movies and breaking down what you see and like into its components and then trying to recreate them yourself -- that's often the best way to learn, by doing. Then a book can tell you sometimes if you are on the right track.

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David named one of my favorite books. Others include Freddie Young's "The Work of the Motion Picture Cameraman", "Painting with Light" by John Alton, "Reflections" published by the ASC, "Film Lighting" by Malkiewicz

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Does anyone know where I can find a working 16mm camera in GOOD condition. Ive been looking high and low but most are not in use. Im open to all models as long as it shoots 16mm

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Hi- please allow me to introduce my own book just now released on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites:
Shaping Light for Video in the Age of LEDs: A Practical Guide to the Art, Craft, and Business of Lighting. c2018 by Alan Steinheimer 356 pages, extensive glossary.

Shaping Light ... [/size]is a practical, hands-on guide to lighting for video. Using a [/size]Dummies-style[/size]approach, the book explains lighting techniques through real-world examples, including recent updates on the groundbreaking use of LED lighting and wireless control options.[/size]

This book focuses on firsthand application of technical knowledge, to appeal to cinematography students and video freelancers. Beginning with simple lighting setups and progressing to more complicated scenarios, the book holds the reader’s attention with illustrative anecdotes, and links theory to real-world applications.[/size]
The book covers[/size]

  • Basic three-point lighting[/size]

  • Lighting moving actors[/size]

  • Set lighting and exposure[/size]

  • Instrument selection including the many LEDs[/size]

  • Bringing style to your lighting[/size]

  • Color temperature and the Kelvin scale[/size]

  • Exterior lighting: day and night[/size]

  • Lighting categories and genres – what to expect[/size]

  • Green-screen techniques[/size]

  • Money and budgeting[/size]

  • Electricity and electrical distribution[/size]

  • What does a grip do?[/size]

  • Case studies, with photos and diagrams[/size]

  • Career paths[/size]

  • Extensive glossary[/size]

I am hoping this fills in some of the missing blanks regarding LEDs and what it takes to be a freelancer working in lighting and grip.

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Hi everyone!

My name is Michael Lau, and I work for Sepia Films, an independent film production company based in Vancouver and LA.

As big fans of this community, we are so excited to tell you about our documentary KEEPERS OF THE MAGIC, which spotlights cinematographers such as Roger Deakins, John Seale, Gordon Willis, Vittorio Storaro, Bruno Delbonnel, and Philippe Rousselot. It is being released across the US on August 7th through VOD (US Satellite/Cable), IVoD (iTunes, Google Play, etc.) and Home Video (Amazon).

KoTM is both an homage to the great films of our time and a personal exploration of the artists that created them. It features candid interviews and intimate insights into the work of these legendary cinematographers amongst others (including Directors George Miller and Sam Mendes) as they discuss their careers and most memorable movie moments.

The film is the passion project of Vic Sarin, an eminent DP/Director in his own right, who wanted to celebrate the masters of this largely unsung art form.

You can find more information here: https://www.imdb.com...2/?ref_=nv_sr_1

And a link to the trailer here:


Our goal is to give cinematographers the recognition that they seldom receive; but to do so, we need to reach as many people as possible.

Please don't hesitate to ask any questions!


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