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Introduction to Cinematography: Home

Introduction to Animation & VFX

Introduction to Cinematography

Search this guide as a starting point for your research into cinematography.

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Journals and Articles

American Cinematographer

Magazine which educates filmmakers and others about the art and craft of cinematography.

Cineaste Magazine

Established in 1967, Cineaste is a quarterly magazine which offers a social, political and aesthetic perspective on cinema. Their feature articles provide in-depth analysis of trends, genres and productions, with a stylistic emphasis on readability. Contributors are asked to consider sociopolitical context, artistic aspects of the topic and filmmaker intent. Cineaste publishes interviews with directors, performers, writers, composers, producers, distributors, technicians, or anyone else involved in the creative or business side of filmmaking.

Filmmaker Magazine

Filmmaker is a quarterly publication magazine covering issues relating to independent film, currently published by the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP). Each year Filmmaker publishes its '25 New Faces of Independent Film' list, showcasing independent film's emerging talent. The list typically contains directors, producers, actors and animators.

Film Quarterly

Film Quarterly is devoted to the study of film, television, and visual media. It publishes scholarly analyses of international, Hollywood and independent films, including documentary and animation. The journal also revisits classic cinema, examines digital media, reports from film festivals, reviews recent academic publications, and sometimes explores video games and emergent technologies.

ICG : International Cinematography Guild Magazine

The International Cinematographers Guild represents the most talented camera professionals in the world. The technicians and artisans in our union are the creators of the visual images on the big screen, the television screen and our computer screen.

Cinemontage: Journal of the Motion Picture Editors Guild

Features detailed interviews with international, Hollywood and independent film and television editors on topics like restoration, editing for different genres, workflow, sound mixing and much more. CineMontage also reports on news, union developments and post-production software, plus publishes retrospectives and articles on editing history.

Focus

Quarterly journal of the Australian Cinematographers Society. Features technology reviews; editorials; and detailed interviews with cinematographers and other camera operators about particular projects.

Journal of Film and Video

The Journal of Film + Video is published by the University Film & Video Association and focuses on scholarship in the fields of film and video production, history, theory, criticism, and aesthetics. Article features include film and related media, problems of education in these fields, and the function of film and video in society.

MovieMaker Magazine

MovieMaker’s content is directed at independent cinema's audiences and artists. It features a mix of interviews, criticism, DIY techniques, festival coverage, distribution and financing tips, behind-the-scenes indie “war stories” and reviews of classic Hollywood actors, directors, cinematographers, producers, screenwriters and editors.

RealTime

Available in its entirety online, RealTime magazine is Australia’s critical guide to national and international contemporary arts. Its scope covers experimentation in performance (e.g. live art, theatre, dance, music and sound) and photomedia (e.g. film, video, interactive media and hybrid arts). Find weekly-updated reviews, previews, interviews, opinion pieces, festival reports and multimedia content.

Screen Director

The newsletter of the Australian Director's Guild includes detailed interviews and masterclasses with Australian and international filmmakers. Past articles have covered topics including restoration, VR storytelling, stunt work and the ADG awards. Check out their podcast as well.

Sight & Sound Magazine

Published monthly by the British Film Institute (BFI), Sight & Sound has been reporting on the best in cinema since 1932. Features interviews with acclaimed directors, film reviews, first looks, retrospectives and more. Every decade, Sight & Sound asks an international group of critics and directors to vote for their ten greatest films of all time.

Variety

Variety is one of the oldest major American entertainment magazines. A great source for expert film, TV, digital, music and theatre business news, analysis and insights.

Videomaker

Popular magazine focusing on the technical side of production and post-production, including video editing and audio production, for novice and expert videographers. Surveys and reviews new technology and equipment, teaches production techniques, and shows how to get the most out of your equipment. The Videomaker website also contains a wealth of information on editing techniques and video tools.

Documentaries, lectures & Videos

Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)

The vision and technical wizardry of Jack Cardiff, whose career spanned 70 years, helped elevate cinematography to an art form. His life and work is explored through interviews, film clips and anecdotes.

Contemporary Cinematographers on Their Art by Pauline B. Rogers

The 12 interviews in this book cover almost all aspects of cinematography: pre-production planning, post-production, special effects, aerial photography and second unit. Each interview gives a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the most popular shots in film and television were lit and captured. Technically and philosophically oriented, this book explores the tools, trends, personalities, and professional achievements of contemporary cinematographers.

Masters of FX: Behind the Scenes with Geniuses of Visual & Special Effects by Ian Failes

Through interviews with 16 special effects pioneers, the author explores the making of memorable film sequences. The book highlights the shift from practical to digital magic and gives explanations for some of the secrets behind cinema's fantastical creations.

Masters of Light by Dennis Schaefer; Larry Salvato; John Bailey (Foreword by)

Through conversations held with fifteen of the most accomplished contemporary cinematographers, the authors explore the working world of the person who controls the visual look and style of a film. This reissue includes a new foreword by cinematographer John Bailey and a new preface by the authors, which bring this classic guide to cinematography, in print for more than twenty-five years, into the twenty-first century.

More Contemporary Cinematographers on Their Art by Pauline B. Rogers

This sequel to Contemporary Cinematographers on Their Art offers in-depth conversations with some of the most important cinematographers working in film, television and commercials today. It includes younger cinematographers who have recently made their mark as well as icons of this craft. The conversations cover all aspects of cinematography from pre-production planning to post-production, special effects, underwater photography, and second unit.

New Cinematographers by Alexander Ballinger

New Cinematographers features the work of six major contemporary cinematographers whose vision defines the way films look today. Extended studies of each cinematographer's work - fully illustrated with stills, lighting charts and storyboards - shows how they translate their aesthetic vision into the actual filmed work.

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (2011)

One of cinema's most admired and influential special-effects gurus, legendary movie magician Ray Harryhausen has enthralled film goers with his wild and creative visions, with over 60 years of groundbreaking screen wizardry under his belt.

Side by Side (2012)

Investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation. Includes interviews with James Cameron, David Fincher, George Lucas, David Lynch, Robert Rodriguez, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh and other filmmakers. Includes film clips and archival footage.

Special Effects by Pascal Pinteau

Spanning a century of film technology from the early innovations of George M li s to the most recent Matrix films, a tribute to the use of illusion in movies features interviews with thirty-seven international special effects masters and more than 1,000 illustrations, in a volume complemented by a list of recommended DVD films.

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1992)

An illuminating history of predominately American cinematography and cinematographers using comments from 27 prominent cinematographers together with extensive use of film sequences (from 125 films). They talk about how and why they photographed certain films and trace the great breakthroughs in the history of cinematography. Includes interviews with Nestor Almendros, John Alonzo, John Bailey, Michael Ballhaus, Stephen Burum, Bill Butler, Michael Chapman, Allan Daviau, Caleb Deschanel and more.

Books

Virtual reality cinema : narrative tips and techniques

"Award-winning cine-maVRicks Eric R. Williams, Carrie Love and Matt Love introduce Virtual Reality Cinema (also known as 360-video or cine-vr) in this comprehensive guide filled with insider tips and tested techniques for writing, directing, and producing effectively in the new medium. Join these veteran cine-VR storytellers as they break down fundamental concepts from traditional media to demonstrate how cine-VR can connect with audiences in new ways. Examples from their professional work are provided to illustrate basic, intermediate and advanced approaches to crafting modern story in this unique narrative space where there's no screen to contain an image and no specific stage upon which to perform.

Cinematography: Theory and Practice by Blain Brown

While some aspects of visual storytelling, lighting and colour are constant over time, shooting methods, workflow and cameras have changed radically. These changes affect cinematographers and technicians, but also the director. This book and its companion website cover everything from visual languages to continuity to lighting methods, with both introductory essentials and advanced content.

FilmCraft: Cinematography by Mike Goodridge & Tim Grierson

As chief collaborators with the directors on a film, cinematographers are artistic masters in their own right. In Cinematography, sixteen of the world’s greatest “painters of light” share their insights, anecdotes and technical achievements through a series of exclusive interviews. Fascinating for both film fans and practitioners, this book is the perfect companion for anyone who wants to stand on the other side of the camera, with some of the greatest film artists of our time.

Mastering Multi Camera Techniques by Mitch Jacobson

From a basic two-camera interview to an elaborate 26 camera HD concert film, this comprehensive guide presents a platform-agnostic approach to the essential techniques required to set up and edit a multi-camera project. Actual case studies are used to examine specific usages of multi-camera editing and include a variety of genres including concerts, talk shows, reality programming, sit-coms, documentaries for television, event videography and feature films.

Cinematography by Patrick Keating (Editor)

This text provides a comprehensive overview of how the field of Cinematography has evolved from the early silent film era to the digital imagery of today. Learn how films come to look the way they do, and how the way a film is shot shapes audience reactions.

Master Shots Vol 1: 100 Advanced Camera Techniques to Get an Expensive Look on your Low-Budget Movie by Christopher Kenworthy

Master Shots gives filmmakers the techniques they need to execute complex, original shots on any budget. Develop a strong style and learn techniques to respond to on-set changes. Even when the clock is ticking and the light is fading, the techniques in this book can rescue your scene, and make every shot look like it cost a fortune. illustrated samples from great feature films and computer-generated diagrams provide absolute clarity.

Master Shots Vol 2: 100 Ways to Shoot Great Dialogue Scenes by Christopher Kenworthy

Learn 100 ways to shoot dialogue, with examples from popular movies showing how to set up your camera and move your actors to give each scene drama, clarity, and energy. Avoid boring talking heads, and make your dialogue look as good as it sounds.

Master Shots Vol 3 The Director's Vision: 100 Setups, Scenes, and Moves for your Breakthrough Movie by Christopher Kenworthy

A highly visual exploration of the best shots, moves, and set-ups in the industry. This books reveals the techniques behind each shot's success, so they can be adapted to your scenes.

Lighting for Cinematography: A Practical Guide to the Art and Craft of Lighting for the Moving Image by David Landau

Good pictures require good lighting, no matter how fancy the camera is. A film's story could be the greatest ever told, but if its shots are poorly lit viewers will assume it's amateurish and not take it seriously. This book covers topics like lighting for movement, working with windows, night lighting, the three planes of action, and lighting for documentary. Every chapter includes stills, lighting diagrams and key advice from professionals in the field, as well as exercises to help the reader put into practice what was covered.

The Filmmaker's Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition by Gustavo Mercado

Mercado's beautiful book reveals the inner workings of cinematic shooting, demonstrating how visuals communicate with an audience. Gain a deeper understanding of the role each shot plays in the larger narrative scheme of your film, and the technical requirements necessary to achieve powerful and memorable images. Loaded with full-color examples, this focused, easy-to-reference guide shows you how to become an eloquent visual storyteller through smart, expressive choices for every shot.

Writing with Light: Images & Words by Vittorio Storaro

A three volume collection of writings, images and philosophical musings representing Storaro's 30 year filmography. The first volume, In Journey with Light, looks at the emotional quality evoked by different types of lighting. Chromatic Emotion examines the power and meaning of colour. The Equilibrium of Elements considers what the author describes as 'natural elements of life' (e.g. conscious/unconscious, water, fire, energy). Also includes a DVD with film examples.

Digital Cinematography by David Stump

Cinematographers need to master the arts of lighting, composition, framing and other aesthetic considerations, as well as the technology of digital cameras, recorders, and workflows, and must know how to choose the right tools to get the job done. This text focuses primarily on the tools and technology of the trade, looking at how digital cameras work, the ramifications of choosing one camera versus another, and how those choices help creative cinematographers to tell a story.

The VES Handbook of Visual Effects by Susan Zwerman & Jeffrey A. Okun (Editors)

This award-winning handbook is one of the most complete guides to visual effects techniques and best practices available. This new edition has been updated to include the latest industry-standard techniques, technologies and workflows. The Visual Effects Society (VES) tasked the original authors to update their areas of expertise, including in stereoscopic moviemaking, colour management, facial capture and the Digital Intermediate. They have also added detailed chapters on interactive games and full animation.

Painting with Light by John Alton

Few cinematographers have had as decisive an impact on the cinematic medium as John Alton, best known for his highly stylized film noir classics. First published in 1949, this book remains a powerful statement on the art of motion picture photography and provides unrivaled insight into the workings of postwar American cinema. In non-technical language, Alton explains the job of the cinematographer and how lighting, camera techniques and location choices determine the visual mood of film.

Screencraft: Cinematography by Peter Ettedgui

Cinematography is a unique venture which aims to unravel for the first time the multi-layered language of film-making, by exploring the fusion of crafts which combine to create the most important art form of the 20th century. The cinematographers featured in this book encompass three generations of filmmaking and represent a diversity of film cultures. What they have in common is the contribution they have made to a universal cinema heritage and the fact that their work has helped to expand -- if not revolutionize -- the language of film.

Cinematography: A Guide for Filmmakers and Film Teachers by Kris Malkiewicz & M. David Mullen

Since its initial publication in 1973, Cinematography has become an essential guidebook for filmmakers. With a combined fifty years in the film and television industries, the authors lay clear and concise groundwork for basic camera techniques, before covering more advanced techniques in post-production, digital editing and overall film production.

The Five C's of Cinematography: Motion Picture Filming Techniques Simplified by Joseph V. Mascelli

With the aid of hundreds of photographs and diagrams, this classic guide clearly and concisely presents the essential concepts and techniques of motion picture camerawork and the allied areas of filmmaking that they interact with and impact. Branching out from 5 subject areas - camera angles, continuity, cutting, close-ups and composition - Mascelli provides a detailed, practical course in visual thinking. The book includes dicussion of cinematic time and space; compositional rules; point-of-view; camera height and angle; master scenes; types of editing; and screen direction.

In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing by Walter Murch

Starting with the question 'Why do cuts work?', Murch examines the aesthetics and practical concerns of cutting film, covering subjects like continuity versus discontinuity; dreaming versus real life; and emotional cues for a cut. In this second edition, Murch reconsiders and revises his original meditation on digital editing in light of rapid technological changes.

Websites

Roger Deakins : On Cinematography (2017)