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Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen [Paperback]

Steve Katz
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 31 1991 Michael Wiese Productions
A complete catalogue of motion picture techniques for filmmakers. It concentrates on the 'storytelling' school of filmmaking, utilizing the work of the great stylists who established the versatile vocabulary of technique that has dominated the movies
since 1915. This graphic approach includes comparisons of style by interpreting a 'model script', created for the book, in storyboard form.

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Film Directing Shot by Shot offers a good introduction to the rudiments of film production. Steven D. Katz walks his readers through the various stages of moviemaking, advising them at every turn to visualize the films they wish to produce. Katz believes that one of the chief tasks of filmmaking is to negotiate between our three-dimensional reality and the two-dimensionality of the screen. He covers the number of technical options filmmakers can use to create a satisfying flow of shots, a continuity that will make sense to viewers and aptly tell the film's story. Katz provides in-depth coverage of production design, storyboarding, spatial connections, editing, scene staging, depth of frame, camera angles, point of view, and the various types of stable compositions and moving camera shots.


""Now that you???ve got a couple of shorts under your belt, why not get a little more analytic? Steven Katz??'s book gives a great breakdown of the fundamentals of film directing. It??'s not something you might want to start off by reading, but once you are ready to have your films take that next step this should be number one on your to do list. Katz breaks down film language for you so that you can learn how to speak it in your own way."" -

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A boring, lifeless book. Aug. 18 2003
By A Customer
This book was going to be required reading for a storyboarding class I'm teaching this fall. It was the book used by the teacher who last taught the class. After reading it, I've switched the required reading to "The Five C's of Cinematography."
This book lists shot type after shot type, page after page, but doesn't get into the reasoning of choosing one shot over another. As far as the how, where, when, and why goes, this book ignores the "why."
This book wastes many pages in the beginning telling the reader that storyboards are important. Of course they are! That's why I bought the freakin' book! This space could have been used to explain the difference between camera lenses and focal qualities, which are referred to constantly but never properly defined.
What I was expecting from this book was a good overview of the movie planning process. Instead, it is a mind-numbingly boring list of the different shots that could be used in film. Also, the quality of the author's storyboards that are used to illustrate the book do not fill me with optimism about the effectiveness of the book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all March 4 2004
By A Customer
If you're expecting, that you will learn how to direct actors or get dramatic an unique performances with this book you're wrong, this book it's about visualizing, how to move the camera, why, continuity styles, storyboarding, etc,
It is an excellent tool for the film & videomaker, you can use it for quick reference, if you're shooting a conversation, it explains, how you can do it without breaking the axis..
If you're starting to study film, let Steven Katz, be your teacher, and make your first shorts knowing how to doing them right
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars visualization is the point June 16 2003
i disagree with the comment that katz missed the point. The title of this book denotes a focus on visualization. While a director must wear many hats, this book focuses on one specific area. Cinematic Motion, another. To say that the book does not focus on directing actors seems to miss the point entirely.
I found this book very useful. As a begining filmmaker, it is easy to fall into patterns early - the same sorts of shots for the same basic reasons. But this book made me reconsider a lof of this. Also, the sections on blocking were very good. Managing the 180 line in complex action can be confusing, especially for beginners, but this book broke down different solutions and made them easy to understand.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in creating visuals for film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Buy for film makers May 12 2004
This reference is worth the money. I learned everything I needed to know about setting up shots for my first two films from this book. Diagrams, pictures, instructions. Wonderful!
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3.0 out of 5 stars misses the point March 24 2003
By A Customer
What Steven Katz seems to forget is that it is also the director's job to work with actors. The director can have a varied level of control over the framing and composition of the shots, but the most critical part of the director's job is ensuring that the performances accomplish the goals of the film. A director must work with actors, but if you rely solely on Katz's book, it is a director's most important job to supervise the physical production and visualization. Visualization is critical, especially in a medium like film, but Katz ignores the bigger issue. After all, the visualization of a piece is ultimately a collaboration between the director, the cinematographer, and the designers, but the actors rely on the director exclusively to hone their performances. This is a useful (though extraordinarily boring) book, but unless you need a long lecture on the importance of visual planning (for Katz, this means storyboarding,) don't expect this to help you understand direction, and directing actors, any better.
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When I entered college to recieve a bachelor's degree, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do. I ended up choosing a degree in acting, but have since wondered if that was the wrong choice. In the last year of college, I became interested in film direction, but felt it was to late to pursue that career. Mr. Katz's book has changed my mind. In less than one week, I learned more about the technique of film direction than I ever learned in numerous film, and television classes. This book was easy to read, yet not easy in subject matter. It challenges the reader to visualize the subject matter, and to work out common problems in his/her head. It uses an extensive study of soryboarding from both classic and fictional films to easily illustrate his technique. Although Mr Katz uses a pretty set theory of film mechanics, he does challenge the reader to experiment and to create new and exciting art. This book is a must for beginners in the film industry, and I have a hunch that advanced artists could learn a lot from it too.
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Film Directing Shot by Shot is a step back from the filmmaker's lens. This book is a praise of preplanning shots and putting them together in the filmmaker's head. Steven D. Katz has presented a great resource not laden with hard technical terminology limited to the professional.
Katz explores the graphic design of a shot, presenting alternate examples of shot layout side by side. The author encourages seeing shots on the storyboard and how they play together, seeing the movie as static pictures before any film is spent. As he explains: "look at each sequence as a complete statement. Developing an intuitive sense of the overall perceptual effect of a sequence is one of the skills necessary for visualization." (pp 160) He offers traditional process but encourages experimental methods where appropriate.
I was pointed toward the book as an art professional interested in filmmaking. Having read other film preproduction books this has been the best so far.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I Love it! Cheap price, No damage, Great book!
Published 5 days ago by Chunxiao Yu
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good book
Very good for basic film making theory. This is one of the few top seller among the film theory books.
Published 22 months ago by Sanjid Anik
5.0 out of 5 stars Shot by Shot
If you are new to film and don't know much about setting up shots and directing a film, you may be a little daunted by a lot of the technical details here. Read more
Published on Oct. 6 2011 by Michael Merlin
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst Writing Ever
This book as a requirement for one of my courses in university, and what can I say - I have never had more regrets buying a book. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2011 by Student
3.0 out of 5 stars Far from complete
A competent text in regards to the visualization of camera placement and movement required of directors. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Katz takes simple concepts and makes them seem confusing
This book really gets you thinking about shot design and blocking, but Katz uses four times as many pages as he should. Katz takes simple concepts and makes them seem confusing.
Published on Sept. 21 2003 by JP
3.0 out of 5 stars The book fell apart.
The technical content was okay but the publisher needs to fire its quality control department.
Published on Oct. 24 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear and easy
a companion for "cinematic motion" from same writer. Easy to understand, b&w illustrated fundamental book for novice filmmakers.
Published on Oct. 9 2002 by Cem Gül
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