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Rick Gerard reviews Cinematography: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers

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Rick Gerard reviews Cinematography: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers
A Creative COW "Real World" Book Review


Rick Gerard reviews Cinematography: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers

Rick Gerard Rick Gerard
Gerard Production
Roseville, California, USA

© 2003 Rick Gerard and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Article Focus:
Rick Gerard takes a close look at Cinematography: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers by Blain Brown. This is his third book and for the aspiring or experienced cinematographer – the best reference book Rick has ever seen.

Click here to order this book from the Dairy Store at Creativecow.netBlain Brown has created a masterpiece. Cinematography: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers is his third book and for the aspiring or experienced cinematographer – the best reference book I have ever seen.

Anyone that aspires to this highest art of story telling should have this book on their shelf. He writes "At the heart of it, filmmaking is shooting, but cinematography is more than the mere act of photography. It is the process of taking ideas, words, actions, emotional subtext, tone and all other forms of non-verbal communication and rendering them in visual terms." Through both verbal metaphor and pictorial example he takes the keys to this art from their hiding place under the bed and hangs them right there on the peg on the kitchen wall. All you have to do is take them down and apply them.

Learning the language of visual art is more than just learning the difference between subjective and objective camera angles, or knowing what the director means when he says he wants “a choker.” When you have finished the first chapter you will have a good enough handle on the terms a director and cinematographer bandy about on the set to sound like a pro. By the time you get to the fifth chapter “Cinematic Continuity” you will have been exposed to enough graduate level theory and practice to start you on the road to mastery of the form. I especially enjoyed Blain’s explanation and examples of continuity in chapter five. MTV has had such a profound effect on new filmmakers that many of us from the ‘OLD School’ have a tendency to wonder what’s going on sometimes. There is such a lack of “continuity” in so many of the montage sequences you see now days that it was refreshing to see so much time and space dedicated to such an important part of storytelling.

The next section of the book moves through every technical aspect of filmmaking from Exposure to Set Operations and Formats without ever forgetting to explain and theorize on the relationship between technique and story.

Frames from films directed by Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick and Akira Kurosawa are used and analyzed not as a model for their style of filmmaking but as examples of controlling every part of the frame to achieve an effect. As Mr. Brown says: “not only do they serve as excellent examples of framing, composition, use of lens, blocking and color, but more importantly you know that nothing in the frame is an accident – it is easier to follow the choices that they made in order to serve the story."

Though some of the tables and explanations in the technical sections of this book may become outdated as technology changes, 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. Well done Mister Brown. Well done.



I give Cinematography: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers five cows for all camera junkies, and four and a half cows for everyone else that is interested in the movies.

Rick Gerard






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