06 December 2011

Book recommendations for the aspiring DSLR filmmaker

Books to self educated about film, cinematography and DSLR's.

5 Books to check out if you are looking to learn cinematography techniques to build your creative eye or want to learn how to maximize you DSLR and the equipment you need to create great digital films.
I have been on a fast track trying to learn and grow my digital film abilities. I don't even want to say video, as this is looking forward to a cinematic look in what I want to create. A video is a straight shot with no adjustment to create a feel.  These books can help that feel by showing how to work through the process and how to use your equipment to get what you want.

Filmmakers Eye: learning (and breaking) the rules of cinematic composition / Gustavo Mercado

This book details composition used in cinema based on shots from close up, medium, long, to canted emblematic, and abstract to name only a few. They then cover how to break the rules of all those shots. It also covers when to use things such as a steady cam, dolly, or crane to emphasis a scene.

Cinematography : theory and practice : image making for cinematographers and directors / Blain Brown
This book covers what you need to know as a cinematographer. Things like what lenses to use, exposure composition, lighting, color, to the elements of story structure. A great book to learn about visual language and visual storytelling. This book also covers many technical aspects of the camera and lighting.

DSLR Cinema : Crafting the Film Look with Video / Kurt Lancaster
This is a great book for the person just beginning to dive into Video/Film with a DSLR. This book was my starting point. It drops you into the pool covering composition, lighting, picture styles, audio, and even building you gear based on a budget. This book covers a lot of gear, but on the downside, in a year or so, with all that is changing, this could be outdated as it can be gear specific down to brands.
The Digital Filmmaking Handbook / Sonja Schenk and Ben Long
This book cover everything from writing and scheduling to planning a shoot, to editing gear and software into editing sound, creating titles and effects. This book is not software specific in regards to editing, but rather about techniques you can use to achieve a great look in your filmmaking. This book is also not camera driven in regards to just a DSLR. It covers a variety of video camera solutions.

From Still to Motion: A photographer's guide to creating video with your DLSR / James Ball
This book is great for those moving from a Photographer to a video roll. It is geared toward the photographer and the DSLR. The book is simple broken up into 5 parts: A new way to tell a story, Cinematic lighting, gearing up for motion and sound, post production, and creative explorations. The book seeks to show you how you to look differently at the situation from photography to achieve the goal of film. Since you are not lighting for a single moment in time, but rather a extended amount of time while things in your composition change.

I recommend checking these books out at your local library or bookstore to see what will fill your needs for moving to a better understanding of digital film. If you have other books you would recommend for film, video and cinematography, for those striving to expand their scope, please leave them on our comments.

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