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Recommended books, ask for your input
  • I started new section in our FAQ :

    Already added few books.

    And want to ask you to post your favourite books here, so I could add best ones.

  • 78 Replies sorted by
  • " The filmmaker's eye" I really liked this book, for beginners (great for me), it shows you examples of well known movies, points out all the basics from type of shot to lighting and choice of lenses.

  • definitely Tarkovsky's "Sculpting In Time"

    Pudovkin, V. I. 1958: Film Technique and Film Acting. Translated and edited by Ivor Montagu. London : Vision Press Ltd

    Eisenstein, S. 1949: “A Dialectic Approach to Film Form” in Film Form: essays in film theory. London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

    Bordwell, D. 1985: Narration in the Fiction Film. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

    Robert McKee "Story" (a must have for screenwriters)

    Campbell, J. 1949: The Hero with a Thousand Faces. New York: Meridian Books

    Bazin, A. 1967: What is Cinema? 2 Vols., Translated by Hugh Gray. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press

    Felinni "Felinni on Felinni"

    Deleuze "Cinema" & "Cinema 2"

    Hill and Church Gibson "Oxford Guide to Film Studies"

    Weis & Belton "Film Sound"

    "Oxford Dictionary of Media and Communication"

  • @kronstadt


    I think I must add another requirement.
    Book must be available online, so people who become interested could read it in short time.

  • This is a good book, not sure if its been mentioned:

    DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Video by Kurt Lancaster

    Video-capable DSLR cameras give filmmakers a quality previously impossible without high-end cinema cameras. Exploring the cinematic quality and features offered by hybrid DSLRs, this book empowers the filmmaker to craft visually stunning images inexpensively. You can learn to think more like a cinematographer than a videographer, whether shooting for a feature, short fiction, documentary, video journalism, or even a wedding. "DSLR Cinema" offers insight into different shooting styles, real-world tips and techniques, and advice on postproduction workflow as it guides you in crafting a film-like look. Case studies feature an international cast of cutting edge DSLR shooters today, including Philip Bloom (England), Bernardo Uzeda (Brazil), Rii Schroer (Germany), Jeremy Ian Thomas (United States), Shane Hurlbut, ASC (United States), and Po Chan (Hong Kong). Their films are examined in detail, exploring how each exemplifies great storytelling, exceptional visual character, and how you can push the limits of your DSLR. It gives inside perspective from a master class of DSLR shooters. It has emphasis on visual technique related to great stories. It covers the progression from the fundamental tools needed by DSLR shooters to advanced techniques. It offers a wide array of technical information: composition, lighting, camera movement, lenses, audio, postproduction workflow, and more. Lavish, full-color illustrations showcase real world examples from real DSLR videos.

    I'll admit DSLR Shooters sound a bit silly and I would not say its the best book ever but it does provide beginners topics with concentrated knowledge with good theoretical and visual presentation.

    I second the " The filmmaker's eye" i've got a digital copy, but would also like the hard copy for the bookshelf.

  • Case studies feature an international cast of cutting edge DSLR shooters today, including Philip Bloom (England), Bernardo Uzeda (Brazil), Rii Schroer (Germany), Jeremy Ian Thomas (United States), Shane Hurlbut, ASC (United States), and Po Chan (Hong Kong).

    If you ask me, stay away from any guys who advertise themselfs as "DSLR shooters".

  • I highly recommend: 'Cinematography: Theory and Practice' by Blain Brown. This is an excellent book, in my opinion.

  • "The Film Director's Intuition" by Judith Weston

    "What Is Cinema" Vol. 1 & 2 by Andre Bazin

    And REQUIRED reading for artists in any medium: "Letters To A Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke

  • Painting with light by John Alton. Alton was one of the best cinematographers of all time. Check his work on the early films of Anthony Mann, like T-Men and Raw Deal. Preface by Scorsese.

    On filmmaking by Alexander Mackendrick. Mackendrick was the director of classics like "Sweet Smell of Sucess" and "The Ladykillers". This book is a compilation of the classes he gave at CalArts. Preface by Scorsese and James Mangold (one of his students).

    Scorsese on Scorsese. Eastwood on Eastwood. Both by Michael Henry Wilson (Cahier du Cinema).

    Directing the film: film directors on their art by Eric Sherman. Really good compilation of interviews organized by topics. Featuring a great selection of directors, from old masters to modern filmmakers of the 70's. No Christopher Nolan or Aronofsky shit in here.

    Hitchcock/Truffaut. This is a classic. Nothing I can really say.

    I have a few more to recommend, trying to remember...

    @kronstadt selection is absolutely terrific. Watch out for the english translation of Bazin What is Cinema, heard some criticism about it... Don't know if is the edition he pointed out.

  • American Cinematographer Manual. The best technical reference. More definitive charts, tables, and graphs than you will ever need.

  • Cinematography; Theory and Practice - BEST cinematography book imho The Book of the Dead - Focuses on directing, horror films and technique's

  • 'Film Directing shot by shot' - Steve Katz. A treasure trove.

  • 'The Art of Dramatic Writing' - Lajos Egri

    Not that any book is going to teach you how to write fiction, but Egri does a great job breaking down what make the greats (Ibsen, Shakespeare) great. It's really the non-fiction that's helped make me a better screenwriter.

    p.s. there's a really poorly edited (English) version in print so make sure you read reviews and get a good copy.

  • "In the Blink of an Eye" by Walter Murch.

  • The best and most practical books I've ever got were both 'Master Shots' editions.

    They are more like a reference books on how to shoot specific scenes/scenarios with certain motivation in mind, always explained with a popular movie scene. Exellent!

  • I'll second "The Filmakers Eye"! It's a great reference book that's pretty current with examples.

  • In the order of the books I read.

    "Light Science and Magic" the 4th edition. Undoubtedly the best lighting book.

    "The Creative Digital Darkroom" It doesn't really teach how to become Lightroom/Photoshop wizard overnight. I like.

    "Within The Frame" Kinda unnecessarily wordy, but good.

    "The Filmmaker's Eye". Very easy to read. And pleasant to learn about the filmmaker's eye. Really like the concepts behind close up shots.

    "Master Shots Volume 2: Shooting Great Dialogue Scenes" This is a technical book with lots of case studies about camera angle and movement. A lot of multi camera techniques.

    "Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers" This book got high appraisal. I placed an order a month ago... Still waiting!!!

    All relatively cheap and easy to read. BTW I prefer paperback copies. Color looks better on real papers I think.

  • "Masters of Light"; a series of interviews with master cinematographers, conducted by other cinematographers. Fascinating....

    Vittorio Storaro's "Writing with Light" -- VERY expensive (could run into the thousands) and much of the text is impenetrable; he has very strange theories about light and dramatic content. But absolutely one of a kind.

    For a lighter fare, non-technical memoirs: Josef von Sternberg's "Fun in a Chinese Laundry" and Michael Powell's autobiography, "A Life in Movies".

  • Here are my picks - for a traditional film approach...

    MAKING MOVIES by Sidney Lumet - (start here!)


    FIVE C's OF CINEMATOGRAPHY by Joseph V. Mascelli


    PROFESSIONAL LIGHTING HANDBOOK by Verne Carlson & Sylvia E. Carlson


    FILMMAKER'S HANDBOOK by Steven Ascher & Edward Pincus

    I believe that all are available online via both Barnes & Noble and Amazon

  • I highly recommend the master shots editions pointed out by @stip and Film directing shot by shot mentioned by @mrbill.

  • And what about beginners books, something with concentrated knowledge with good presentation?

    Like one book for people with no phot background, and one for good photographers?

  • "Cinematography" by Kris Malkiewicz is the best beginners' book out there. The 3rd edition, co-written by the great teacher M. David Mullen, adds some good digital info, but the older editions (often available used for cheap) have much of the good stuff already.

  • "mi último suspiro" Luis Buñuel