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Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?

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Irene Tamayo
Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 17, 2008 at 5:41:26 am

Hi! I'm a beginner cinematographer, and i'm trying to learn from movies that i really like by trying to analyse particular scenes and how they were made. However, it gets hard sometimes to figure out all the stuff they were using or the idea they had in mind. I was wondering if there are any books by proffesional cinematographers that explain how they built up certain lightings, compositions, etc.?
I don't care who's the author or what particular movie is analysed as long as it's good.

Thanks in advance and sorry for my english if i made any mistakes (i'm spanish!)

Irene


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Rick Wise
Re: Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 17, 2008 at 6:32:49 pm

It's great you are studying the films themselves. Rather than books, you might try a subscription to the American Cinematographer Magazine. You can subscribe to a print edition or an online edition: http://www.theasc.com/store/home.php?cat=263 Every issue has at least one article about "how we did it" often included detailed diagrams.

But all the reading in the world will do little for you until you get hands on.

You may want to consider film school.

You may want to just start working in movies, whether on video or film. Try to find work at the lowest post you can get -- a PA, or assistant craft service person, anything. Try to make yourself really useful, no matter how menial the job. Work your way up.

Or you may want to just start shooting your own movies, even with the cheapest consumer camera you can find. Learn to read and use the light that's already there -- and to put your actors in "good" available light. Start adding a very few lights of your own, etc. Work your way into more complex and complete productions.

For books, in the few film classes I teach, my students read and work from two by Blain Brown: Cinematography, and Lighting for Film and Video (second edition.)

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Irene Tamayo
Re: Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 18, 2008 at 11:08:34 pm

Thanks a lot for the recommendation. I'll get those two books and some more that are on the list.

I did consider film school for a while. Since i've already been in college for 6 years (a biology major, nothing to do with this), i couldn't imagine myself 4 years more stucked in class. I looked for intensive courses (half a year, one year long...) and i found some interesting ones but i realise there's no way i'm affording that kind of prices. In Spain there is not much, not very good, and still expensive. So there you go, that's why i started learning by myself.

Anyhoo.. i do have some friends working in the bussiness and very soon i'll be working for them, we've alredy arranged it. But still, i would like to do my best even if i'm just starting (probably the hands-on experience itself would teach me a lot more if i already know the basics), so doing my best at the time is watching films and reading books!

The ACS magazine it's great. I'm not yet subscribed but i borrow my friend's once in a while. I may do that too.

Thanks again for answering

Irene


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Rick Wise
Re: Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 18, 2008 at 11:21:32 pm

There's one more book to consider, that I just ran across: The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video, by Tom Schroeppel.

Sounds like you are well on your way.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Richard Herd
Re: Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 12:18:25 am

That's the book I used in Jonathan Fung's class at AAU, SF. And, since I already had a BA, my BFA at AAU, SF took 2 years, 66 units.



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Rick Wise
Re: Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 6:42:18 pm

So, Richard, what do you think of the book?

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Richard Herd
Re: Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 7:22:50 pm

I like the book a lot. I don't have it handy at the moment, but from memory: it starts with still photography. All those examples should be shot (in my opinion) on reversal stock, E6 processing. It's really important to know the relationship between the shutter and the aperture. Then in the cinema sections the shutter angle and frame rate will make much more sense.

There really is a difference between "exposing a frame" and "snapping a photo." Plus, there's lots of shots and camera moves from which a visual language is created. Eventually, all the shots for a given scene will be handed over to an editor. This book really explains how to accomplish consistency, which for me, when the editor says, "This is really consistent photography," then that is the best compliment I can hear.

It's an interesting read all by itself, but for those interested in actually shooting, I highly recommend it and (in addition to shooting E6), also buy a light meter, and use it for the shooting (like the Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III). Measuring the light is the only way to achieve consistency, and the Sekonic is at a great price point.



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Richard Herd
Re: Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 7:27:24 pm

PS AAU, SF was worth every single penny: hard work and long hours, but worth it!



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Rick Wise
Re: Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 19, 2008 at 7:53:51 pm

Richard, your strong words about the San Francisco Academy of Art University are great to hear. I teach grad lighting there, and from time to time grad Cine 1. Almost all of us have "day jobs" making movies in various forms, so we know whereof we speak. My experience is that every instructor puts a huge amount of work into making our classes really worth while. Your feed back is heartening.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Rick Wise
Re: Books by proffesional cinematographers about particular sets?
on Dec 21, 2008 at 8:05:00 pm

Here's one more book for your list: New Cinematographers, by Alexander Ballinger. Lots of diagrams and photographs. $35.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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