Cinematography theory and practice 2nd edition - Brough to you by Mohamed Roshdy, the egyptian filmmaker

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There’s more to being a DP than holding a light meter! With this book as your guide, you are on your way to learning not only about the equipment and technology, but also about the concepts and thought processes that will enable you to shoot professionally, efficiently, and with artistic mastery. A leading book in the field, Cinematography has been translated into many languages and is a staple at the world’s top film schools. Lavishly produced and illustrated, it 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 classic tried and true methods. Topics include: . Concepts of filmmaking . Language of the lens . Cinematic continuity . Lighting for film, digital, and HD . Exposure . HD cinematography and shooting . Shooting in HD . Image control and filters . Bleach bypass processes . Lighting as storytelling . Shooting special effects . Set procedures and other issues Brought to you by Mohamed Roshdy, the Egyptian Filmmaker. Book url: Join my official page:

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  • imagemaking for cinematographers & directors

    theory and practicecinematography

    second edition

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  • imagemaking for cinematographers and directors

    theory and practicecinematography

    blain brown


  • Focal Press is an imprint of Elsevier 225 Wyman Street, Waltham, MA 02451, USA The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, OX5 1GB, UK 2012 ELSEVIER INC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Details on how to seek permission, further information about the Publishers permissions policies and our arrangements with organizations such as the Copyright Clearance Center and the Copyright Licensing Agency, can be found at our website: This book and the individual contributions contained in it are protected under copyright by the Publisher (other than as may be noted herein). Notices Knowledge and best practice in this field are constantly changing. As new research and experience broaden our understanding, changes in research methods, professional practices, or medical treatment may become necessary. Practitioners and researchers must always rely on their own experience and knowledge in evaluating and using any information, methods, compounds, or experiments described herein. In using such information or methods they should be mindful of their own safety and the safety of others, including parties for whom they have a professional responsibility. To the fullest extent of the law, neither the Publisher nor the authors, contributors, or editors, assume any liability for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions, or ideas contained in the material herein. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Brown, Blain. Cinematography : theory and practice : image making for cinematographers and directors / Blain Brown. p. cm. ISBN 978-0-240-81209-0 1. Cinematography. I. Title. TR850.B7598 2012 778.5--dc22 2011010755 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. For information on all Focal Press publications visit our website at 11 12 13 14 5 4 3 2 1 Printed in the China

  • cinematography


    contents Introduction xiii

    The Scope of this Book xivTitles and Terminology xiv

    writing with motion 1Writing with Motion 2

    Building a Visual World 2The [Conceptual] Tools of Cinematography 4

    The Frame 4The Lens 6Light and Color 8Texture 9Movement 10Establishing 10Point-of-View 10

    Putting It All Together 11

    shooting methods 13What Is Cinematic? 14

    A Question of Perception 14Visual Subtext and Visual Metaphor 14

    The Frame 15Static Frame 15

    Cinema as a Language 16The Shots: Building Blocks of a Scene 17Establishing the Geography 18Character Shots 20Invisible Technique 27

    The Shooting Methods 27The Master Scene Method 27Coverage 28Overlapping or Triple-Take Method 29In-One 30Freeform Method 30Montage 32

    Involving The Audience: POV 33

    visual language 37More Than Just a Picture 38

    Design Principles 39The Three-Dimensional Field 41

    Forces Of Visual Organization 45Movement in the Visual Field 51The Rule of Thirds 51

    Miscellaneous Rules of Composition 51Basic Composition Rules for People 52

    language of the lens 53The Lens and the Frame 54

    Foreground/Midground/Background 54Lens Perspective 54Deep Focus 56Selective Focus 61

    Image Control at the Lens 63Lens Height 64Dutch Tilt 66

  • vi

    visual storytelling 67Visual Metaphor 68

    Telling Stories with Pictures 68Lighting As Storytelling 69

    Film Noir 69Light As Visual Metaphor 70

    Light and Shadow / Good and Evil 71Fading Flashbulbs 72Visual Poetry 75

    cinematic continuity 77Shooting For Editing 78

    Thinking about Continuity 78Types of continuity 78

    The Prime Directive 81Screen Direction 81Turnaround 85

    Cheating the Turnaround 87Planning Coverage 87

    Cuttability 88The 20% and 30 Degree Rules 88

    Other Issues In Continuity 89Introductions 95Other Editorial Issues In Shooting 96

    Jump Cuts 96The Six Types Of Cuts 98

    The Content Cut 98The Action Cut 98The POV Cut 99The Match Cut 100The Conceptual Cut 101The Zero Cut 102

    lighting basics 103The Fundamentals of Lighting 104

    What are the Goals of Good Lighting? 104Exposure and Lighting 107

    Some Lighting Terminology 108Aspects Of Light 110

    Hard Light and Soft Light 110Direction 113Intensity 114Texture 115Color 115

    Basic Lighting Techniques 116Back Cross Keys 116Ambient Plus Accents 117Lighting with Practicals 117Lighting through the Window 118Available Natural Light 118

    Motivated Light 120Day Exteriors 124

    Fill 124Silks and Di!usion 124Open Shade and Garage Door Light 124Sun as Backlight 125

    Lighting For High Def Video 126

  • cinematography


    lighting sources 129The Tools of Lighting 130Daylight Sources 130

    HMI Units 130Xenons 135

    LED Lights 136Tungsten Lights 136

    Fresnels 136PARs 138

    HMI PARs 140Soft Lights 140

    Barger Baglights 141Color-Correct Fluorescents 142Other Types of Units 142

    Softsun 142Cycs, Strips, Nooks and Broads 143Chinese Lanterns and Spacelights 143Self-Contained Crane Rigs 144Ellipsoidal Re"ector Spots 144Balloon Lights 145Handheld Units 145

    Day Exteriors 145Controlling Light with Grip Equipment 145

    For More Information On Lighting 146

    HD cinematography 147High Def and Standard Def 148Analog and Digital Video 148

    Analog 148Digital Video 149

    Types of Video Sensors 150Three-Chip vs Bayer Filter Sensors 150

    Digital Video 151Standard Def 151High Def 151

    Shooting Formats 1522K, 4K and Higher Resolution Formats 152

    Digital Compression 152RAW 154

    Monitoring On the set 155The Waveform Monitor and Vectorscope 156

    Waveform Monitors 156The Vectorscope 156

    Video Latitude 157Clipping 158Video Noise and Grain 159

    The Digital Intermediate (DI) 159The Video Signal 160

    Interlace Video 160Progressive Video 160NTSC and ATSC 160Colorspace 161

    SDI 162Setting Up A Color Monitor 162

    Monitor Setup Procedure 162Camera White Balance 164

  • viii

    Digital Video Encoding 165Is It Broadcast Quality? 166Do It in the Camera or in Post? 166

    The Decision Matrix 16710 Things to Remember When Shooting HD 167

    Timecode and Edgecode 168Video Frame Rate 168Drop-Frame and Non-Drop-Frame 16829.97 Video 169How Drop Frame Solves the Problem 170To Drop or Not to Drop? 170

    Timecode Slating 170Tapeless Production 171

    Metadata 171Tapeless Work"ows 171

    Digital File Types 172Container Files: Quicktime and MXF 172

    Compression and Codecs 173Intra-frame versus Interframe Compression 173Bit Depth 173

    MPEG 174Other Codecs 176

    The Curve 177Controlling the HD Image 179

    Gain/ISO 180Gamma 180Black Gamma/Black Stretch 180Knee 180Color Saturation 180Matrix 180Color Balance 180

    exposure 181Exposure: the Easy Way 182

    What Do We Want Exposure to Do for Us? 182Controlling Exposure 182The Four Elements of Exposure 183The Bottom Line 185How Film and Video Are Di!erent 185Two Types of Exposure 185

    Light As Energy 186F/Stops 186Exposure, ISO, and Lighting Relationships 186

    Inverse Square Law and Cosine Law 187ISO/ASA 187

    Light and Film 188The Latent Image 189Chemical Processing 189Color Negative 190Films Response to Light 190

    Densitometry 191The Log E Axis 193

    Brightness Perception 194Contrast 194

    Correct Exposure 197Higher Brightness Range in the Scene 198

    Determining Exposure 198

  • cinematography


    Video Exposure 198The Tools 199

    The Incident Meter 199The Re"ectance Meter 200

    The Zone System 200Zones in a Scene 203

    The Gray Scale 203Why 18%? 203Place and Fall 205Reading Exposure with Ultraviolet 207

    Exposure and the Camera 207Shutter Speed versus Shutter Angle 208

    camera movement 209Motivation and Invisible Technique 210

    Basic Technique 211Types Of Moves 212

    Pan 212Tilt 212Move In / Move Out 212Zoom 213Punch-in 214

    Moving Shots 214Tracking 214Countermove 214Reveal 214Circle Track Moves 215Crane Moves 215Rolling Shot 216

    Camera Mounting 216Handheld 216Camera Head 216Fluid Head 216Geared Head 216Remote Head 216Underslung Heads 216Dutch Head 217The Tripod 217High-Hat 217Rocker Plate 217Tilt Plate 218

    The Crab Dolly 218Dolly Terminology 218Dance Floor 219Extension Plate 219Low Mode 219Front Porch 220Side Boards 220Risers 220Steering Bar or Push Bar 220

    Cranes 220Crane/Jib Arm 221Crane Operation 221Non-booming Platforms 222Camera on a Ladder 222Remote on Cranes 222Technocrane 222Cranes on Top of Cranes 222

    Car Shots 223

  • xCamera Positions for Car Shots 223Vehicle to Vehicle Shooting 223

    Aerial Shots 224Mini-Helicopters 224Cable-Cam 224

    Other Types Of Camera Mounts 224Rickshaw, Wheelchair and Gar#eld 224Steadicam 225Low-Mode Prism 225Crash Cams 225Splash Boxes 225Underwater Housings 226

    Motion Control 226

    color 227Color In Visual Storytelling 228

    The Nature of Light 228The Tristimulus Theory 228Functions of the Eye 229

    Light and Color 230Basic Qualities of Color 231

    The Color Wheel 232Co