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Cinematography: Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers / Edition 1

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Lavishly produced and illustrated, Cinematography covers the entire range of the profession. The book is not just a comprehensive guide to current professional practice; it goes beyond to explain the theory behind the practice, so you understand how the rules came about and when it's appropriate to break them. In addition, directors will benefit from the book's focus on the body of knowledge they should share with their Director of Photography.

Cinematography presents the basics and beyond, employing clear explanations of standard practice together with substantial illustrations and diagrams to reveal the real world of film production.
Recognizing that professionals know when to break the rules and when to abide by them, this book discusses many examples of fresh ideas and experiments in cinematography. Covering the most up-to-date information on the film/digital interface, new formats, the latest cranes and camera support and other equipment, it also illustrates the older tried and true methods.

Audience: Cinematographers; directors; videographers; students concentrating on directing and/or cinematography; aspiring cinematographers and directors.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A gorgeous piece of work that bids to become a classic text on cinematography....Few books on cinematography meld aesthetics and pragmatics as deftly as this one."
American Cinematographer

"The gorgeous illustrations bring movies to life, and the modern approach that incorporates digital as well as film means that this book can be used for years to come."
Judy Irola, ASC
Head of Cinematography
USC School of Cinematic Arts

"The book is a wonderful, well-organized and knowledgable collection of all information a cinematographer may need. I recommend it highly."
Andrew Laszlo, ASC

"This book shows that there is more to the DP than holding the light meter—he needs to understand so much more about using photography to tell a story, create a mood, evoke an emotion. No other text I know of stresses this to this extent."
Douglas C. Hart, First Camera Assistant, Instructor, and Author of The Camera Assistant

"Blain Brown has created a masterpiece. Cinematography is the best reference book I have ever seen..the theories and practices revealed here will never go out of date. This is a "must have” book for anyone claiming to be a cinematographer that hasn't got at least two Academy Awards sitting on their mantle." - Rick Gerard, Creative Cow
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780240805009
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.02 (w) x 9.98 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Blain Brown was educated at C.W. Post College; M.I.T. and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He began in New York as a commercial still photographer before starting in the film business. After working as a gaffer, be became a cinematographer doing primarily commercials and music videos.After completing his first feature film, he moved to Los Angeles where he has been Director of Photography on 14 feature films as well as national commercials, promotional films, industrials, music videos and documentaries. He has worked in many states in the U.S. as well as Mexico, Canada, India, Italy, France, the Philippines and Jordan.His experience includes 35mm and 16mm projects, as well as 24P High Def, DigiBeta, BetaSP and DV. He has completed projects as a director, editor and screenwriter; with three screenplays produced. He has also taught courses in storytelling and visual communication. As a Director of Photography specializing in features and commercials, he is now based in Los Angeles.His books include A Sense of Place; Motion Picture and Video Lighting and The Filmmaker's Pocket Reference. His work can be seen at

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Table of Contents

Cinematic technique
Subjective and objective POV
The building blocks of scenes
Character shots
The fine art of cheating
The master scene method
Plán scene
Hitchcock 's rule
Triple take or overlapping method
Conclusion:a mixture of techniques
Design principles
The three dimensional field
Forces of visual organization
Film and video composition
Basic composition rules for people
The lens and the frame
Lens perspective
Deep focus
Compression of space
Manipulating perspective
Selective focus
Image control
Motivation and invisible technique
Types of moves
Moving shots
Camera mounting
Dolly terminology
Car shots
Aerial shots
Other types of camera mounts
Motion control
Types of continuity
Continuity of content
Continuity of movement
Continuity of position
Continuity of time
The line
What establishes the line?
Screen direction
Deliberately breaking the rules
Cheating the turnaround
Other issues in continuity
Other editorial issues in shooting
Jump cuts
The six types of cuts
Light as energy
Exposure,ISO and lighting relationships
Inverse square law and cosine law
ISO speeds
Light and film
Brightness perception
Determining exposure
The tools
The Zone System
The grey scale
Place and fall
Exposure and the camera
The nature of light
Color perception
The color wheel
Hue,chroma and value
Color mixing
Advancing and retreating color
Film and video colorspace
Color harmonies &the interaction of color
Color models
Additive colors
Subtractive colors
The CIE color system
Digital and electronic color
Carbon arcs
Tungsten fresnels
Soft lights
Color corrected fluorescents
Cycs,strips,nooks and broads
Chinese lanterns and spacelights
Self contained crane rigs
Balloon lights
Portable units
Day exteriors
Origins of motion picture lighting
Film noir
Light as visual metaphor
Color temperature
Color balance of film
Correcting light balance
Light balancing filters
Correcting off-color lights
Stylistic choices in color control
Physical basis of optics
Circle of confusion
How not to get more depth-of-field
Hyperfocal distance
Frazier lens and Revolution
Lens tests
Basics of video
The video signal
The waveform monitor and vectorscope
SMPTE color bars
The vectorscope
Setting up a color monitor
Camera white balance
Analog and digital colorspace
Digital video encoding
Is it broadcast quality?
Timecode and edgecode
Video frame rate
Drop-frame and non drop-frame
Shooting High Def video
10 things to remember when shooting High Def
Lighting for High Def video
Shooting digital video
Transferring video to film
NTSC and 3:2 pulldown
Prepping for telecine
Color printing
Controlling color and contrast
How flashing works
Bleach bypass and other processes
Skip bleach
Exposure compensation in bleach-bypass
Other techniques
Cross processing
Printing negative as interpositive
Transfer from print
Filter types
Diffusion and effects filters
Contrast filters
Conversion filters
Using filters in black-and-white photography
Density filters
The shot list
The Director of Photography
The team
Camera crew
Set procedures
Sun location with a compass
Filming practical monitors
Chroma key and Ultimatte
Lighting for bluescreen/greenscreen
Working with strobes
High speed photography
Lighting for extreme close-up
Underwater filming
Professional Formats

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Rules of Cinematography for Artists

    Cinematography by Blain Brown is the definitive book on Cinematography and probably one of the only books you'll need as a reference on the subject. Not for the hobbyist, this book is not intended to read all the way through, but contains cinematographic knowledge that will be referenced repeatedly throughout a career. As an introduction to the field in an academic and artistic fashion, this book is commonly referred to as "The Bible" in my social sphere. My only complaint is that the editing in places is a little wonky, but nothing so major that you can't figure out that there was a typo. Thanks for making this Blain!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2003

    Message to the writer Mr Brwon

    I bought your book Cinematography theory and practice. althou I learned lots of new things, I am deepely disapointed because your book is full of errors. It is badly written and disorganized. I would like you to correct all the errors and reorganize the book, and send me a copy of the new version

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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