Good Reading to learn film making

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by matteusclement, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #1
    So following leathal's advice here, I read the DV rebel's guide to action and I feel much more knowledgable.
    I would like to do some more reading on film making. Camera technique, screen writing, setting up locations, production crew definitions.... stuff like that.
    I have made wedding videos, music videos, promo videos but am moving to short film now.
     
  2. Babybandit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #2
    I understand you're looking for more reading materials before you start. However, might I suggest something else? Get some hands on.

    - Watch some existing films you think could help. Not just hollywood blockbusters. Expose yourself to films of different culture. French, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese! Different Genres such as Film Noir, Cyberpunk, Realism.
    - Think clearly what role you want to specialize in (You still have time to try things out)

    - Start Short. Your idea of doing a Short Film is good. However, it doesn't even have to be a short Film. As a Film Student, I would suggest creating some things like Chase Sequences or Simple action sequences first.

    Chase Sequence and Action Sequences allow for you to test many different shots, angles, editing, approaches... And most importantly, it allows you to develop your unique auteur - Which is important.

    Your Chase / Action Sequence doesn't need to have a well defined storyline (Storyline ≠ Narrative). But what it needs to do is connect with the audience. Oh, and I know I suggested a Chase Sequence or an Action Sequence, but that does not mean you will need fancy special effects for guns and mutant powers which... Isn't realistic, and might be out of your league (Which ends up destroying the sense of realism you might want to portray in your chase / action scene).

    If you're really interested in exploring more materials that will help, Youtube is a great source for camera techniques (Assuming you're into Cinematography), editing styles (If you're interested to be an Editor) and no doubt how to create good sound.

    2 Books of interest (Amazon Links)

    Rebel without a Crew
    Master Shots
     
  3. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #3
    have you read these books?

    @babybandit

    thanks for the advice. I have done shooting before and Have made shorts and sequences like you suggested. Now I am looking for something to help me produce larger and longer stories. Again, books on story boarding would be great cause I have a hard time breaking down shooting days and locations.

    have you read these books?
    I looked at the rebel with out a crew, but it looked pretty bare (the amazon "look inside me" doesn't always work well though).
     
  4. Babybandit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #4
    Yep, Our Film Department has the book and I've read it in the past. I guess it's not the best book for you as it doesn't tells you 'Low angle shot to make subject look bigger and more intimidating', it's a book where Rodriguez basically writes up about his experiences making his film... Which is no doubt something you and I will experience when making a film as well.

    Therefore the book is a great 'guide' to what will come up, and how to deal with it but not really about filming specifically.

    Another resource you can use : Our School's IB Resources. It's not a bad site.
     
  5. xStep macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Less lost in L.A.
    #5
    Just came across this book via Twitter user Nino Leitner: "Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen".
     
  6. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #6
    I agree with the "hands on" approach. Something you could try is to take a scene from an existing movie and duplicate it shot by shot. Try to match the camera angles, direction, and lighting. Edit it so that the shots match the original and then add your own music and foley. By doing an exercise like that, you'll learn much of the technical aspects without getting bogged down in the creative decisions. I recently shot the opening sequence of the Night of The Living dead and learned a lot about the process of what goes into each scene. Such as blocking shots, working with talent, continuity issues, and dealing with all the idiosyncrasies that happen on location. It was a great and somewhat humbling learning experience. I think I'm going to do another one, maybe a scene out of pulp fiction. Eventually I'll take what I learn from these exercises and apply it to my own material.
     
  7. lighthouse_man, Dec 6, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010

    lighthouse_man macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #7
    While you look for resources on the technical aspect, you have to understand that fiction is based, in primis, on two main things, story and acting. Think about it. Now don't hear me wrong, the visuals of a film are important too, but I'd watch a solid story film over a technically visual feast any day. At least these are the films that last.
    Having said that here are some recommendations,
    Story by Robert McKee
    The Visual Story by Bruce Block

    I can go on but just go through these two and then you can be ready for more.
    I'd steer away from the "Write a script in 7 days/Make a movie for 3 bucks" kind of literature. The latter type are merely motivational if anything. You can't replicate someone else's experiences unless you're also living their lives.

    And good luck, it's a tough field this one. That's what liquor is for.
     
  8. Richardthe4th macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    Below Sealevel
  9. Babybandit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #9
    Indeed, as said above, much of it is the Acting and Story. Without a good Story or Actors, no matter how good technically you are, there will still be a lack of engagement with the audience.

    BUT. If you end up Editing, Your job is 'Making the Star'. And thanks to that post above, I was reminded of a DVD that... might be useful and interesting (or it might not) which I highly recommend.

    The Cutting Edge.

    It's not a technical guide, but I believe any editor (and really, Director) should know and understand the history of editing and the many different styles of editing. The DVD explains the progression and development of film cutting to the modern film editing through interviews with many top Directors and Editors. Without a doubt, there is a sense of them flaunting their ability and the Directors flaunting their Editor's ability. But to be honest, they didn't get to where they are without their professional ability. To see into their brain how and what they think is a very beneficial thing!

    That said, I did learn a lot from the talks of different styles. Afterall, Editing isn't just a technical job, it's an art, it's a philosophy. Expand your reading and viewing to more than a technical guide, but also interviews (and not just blockbusters!). There's a lot of juicy material and ideas to be found that way.

    Oh, and if you really want to spend on something really amazing : Visions of Light

    They're both great DVDs, but I'd start with the first one as it's much Cheaper.
     
  10. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #10
    thanks guys

    thanks everyone.
    I will have a look over the x-mas break.

    cheers!
     
  11. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #11
    Rebels!!!

    So I just finished Rebel with out a crew as well as the DV rebel's guide and MAN AM I PUMPED!
    These are two great books if anyone is wondering.

    Rebel with out a crew is more of a "you can shoot a movie if you really want to" feel good story that is from someone who did it and doesn't pull any punches.

    The DV rebels guide is great. Sure it highlights action movies, but it's really about any movie in general. How to prepare, how to light, how to color. It's pretty great.
     
  12. xStep macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Less lost in L.A.
    #13
    I'm currently reading an older book; Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro. The early chapters discuss the language of film making, different types of shots, when to use the types, and editing patterns for different types of film. This all within the first 3 chapters. The rest looks to be about using FC. I was given the book and am only interested in the first 3 chapters, for now.

    The author has done several books and it looks like he carried over those first few chapters into Apple Pro Training Series: The Craft of Editing with Final Cut Pro.
     
  13. JuiceyJuice macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #14
    The books I can recommend:

    Story by Robert McKee
    Screenplay by Syd Field
    The Filmmakers Handbook by Steven Ascher
    Master Shots by Christopher Kenworthy

    Cinematography: Theory and Practice by Blain Brown is decent, but it mainly just goes over the terms and definitions within cinematography, and never really goes over how they should be applied

    It all depends on what you want to do within film. Write? Direct? DP? Edit?

    Photography books are always good if you want to learn about light, composition, and how lenses affect the picture. I'd actually receommend photography books first if you plan to DP or do the filming yourself.
     
  14. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #15
    Just finished the cutting edge. great stuff.
     
  15. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #16
    I'll second Policar's recommendation of The Bare Bones Camera Course book for a beginner. Conveys concepts very simply, a good primer. Also available from author's site:

    http://www.tomschroeppel.com/BBad.htm

    If only the directors of a few SyFy shows had read this...
     
  16. Policar, Jan 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011

    Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #17
    Thanks for the link! I didn't know new copies were still available.

    It's a ridiculously good book, word-for-word by far the best technical primer on filmmaking. It's comprehensive and very practical; yes, some of the information is extremely obvious (to the extent that we all know the relationship between f-stops, focal lengths, ISO, depth of field, compression of space, etc. 100 times over if we've ever worked with video, but then again the author only wastes like two pages on that) but the chapters on intangibles. particularly the chapter on composition, are remarkable in their clarity and organization and so I'd recommend this book to anyone, irrespective of his or her experience level. It's $10 and takes a half hour to read. Just buy it.

    As for screenwriting, that's a whole other story (pun intended) but Story is good (if at times inane) and Screenplay is the old standard but really it's a 30-page basics of screenplay structure packet and then the same information repeated ad nauseum for the remainder of the text. It and Story are rather redundant and Story is much better. But if you don't want to read a lot, just read the first few chapters of Screenplay. Don't be surprised if you know it all already, though. The book has developed the vocabulary of screenwriting so it's kind of like reading Freud: if you're interested enough in the subject matter to read the book you already know roughly what you're getting.

    These are other books on film I've read parts of and found useful. All of the following have some worthwhile information (more than I can say about the vast majority of film books):

    http://www.amazon.com/Film-Art-Intr...6162/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294175709&sr=8-1

    Purely theoretical/academic, but the standard of neoformalist film analysis.

    http://www.amazon.com/Film-History-...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1294175927&sr=1-1

    The complement of the above.

    http://www.amazon.com/Directing-Act...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1294175943&sr=1-1

    As with most books on filmmaking, the first thirty pages are all you really need to read. And some of the axioms outlined here are optimistic: "never do a line reading," really? But it's very good if rather conceptually simple.

    http://www.amazon.com/Film-Directing-Shot-Visualizing-Productions/dp/0941188108/ref=pd_sim_b_4

    Also extremely basic (I haven't gone to film school yet, but apparently this is the first book most schools assign), but I've never read another book on this subject that's even remotely useful, so I recommend this one. I would only recommend this book to very inexperienced beginners, but I'm a beginner, so there are bits of it I find useful.
     
  17. Babybandit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #18
    I'm glad you liked it! I hope it helps you spawn some great works in the future (And I look forward to it!) :)
     
  18. JuiceyJuice macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #19
    I'd have to disagree with this. Both Story and Screenplay are quite good books, and the ideas that are repeated are on purpose: to remember.

    It's not like whole chapter are repeated, there are three or four short paragraphs that are repeated probably in every chapter, to show importance. You can't get away with just reading "the first few chapters" as each chapter explains something new.

    The difference between the two books in my opinion, is that Story feels like you are sitting in on a lecture with a professor (who might seem like an ****** sometimes) and Screenplay feels more like a conversation with someone. Both are great though, and pretty similar in actual content.

    The best way to learn though is simply READ REAL SCREENPLAYS. They can be found with a simple search on Google. The Coen brothers have all of their scripts available on their website too. And of course just watch as many movies as you can. I try to watch at LEAST one a day, in addition to reading books or screenplays on my breaks and lunch at work.
     
  19. matteusclement thread starter macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #21
    when do I get to film ;)

    I'm going to be reading for the next year LOL.
     

Share This Page