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Five C's of Cinematography
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2003
I first read this book in 1965 when it came out and I was a film student. It was the single most helpful book on filmmaking I came across (John Alton's "Painting with Light" is great also, on cinematography). This is the grammar book of the language of classical cinematic style. It sets out the rules used by generations of directors, cinematographers and editors for expressing drama, feelings and ideas. Here is the standard Hollywood style -- which audiences have become so used to that it virtually disappears. What's interesting to me is to break those rules, and this book gives you lots of places to begin. Essential.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2004
The 5 C's of Cinematography cover camera angles, continuity, cutting, close-ups and composition. This book is an technical power-house that is clear, descriptive and easily understood to one who frequently watches movies and has a visual mind. It explains the psychology of the eye and how we are trained and use to watching movement and cuts. It promotes off the cuff method of filming as well as standard composition to not confuse and distract the audience. A must buy, this is the best film book on the market.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2002
If you're like me and you've sifted through dozens of books on film technique that were about anything but, you can stop searching. "The Five C's of Cinematography" is not only well-written but virtually everything in it is essential to learning good film technique. Most authors of these types of books either don't completely understand the medium, aren't interested in sharing their wisdom or are just looking to make a quick buck. Mascelli delivers all the goods. He provides the best explanation of the axis line I've ever read and his diagrams are simple, yet very helpful. This is a guy who clearly wanted to share his knowledge. You can throw out all your other filmmaking books. "It's gold, Jerry! Gold!"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2001
I've read several reviews on this book and none of them mention the first thing that struck me about it - the dense, convoluted, heavy and generally biblical writing style ! Get to the point, Mascelli ! However, this broad-based and totally off-hand criticism of the entire book hasn't stopped me giving it five stars ! Why ? Because, overall the book is very well structured, and FULL of information. The style is part of his view of the world of film-making and his frequent trips round the houses take us to the many places that we need to visit in getting to know that world. I just wish that all the off-topic information had been broken down into separate chapters and presented as individual reading topics. But then it would be "The 50 Cs" and a very different book from Mascelli's ! No, I rate this book very highly as it is. I picked it up at a time when I couldn't even see a cut-on-action, never mind see why it was used, what the alternatives might have been, etc. I had previously read somewhere that "the camera should depict the action, not become part of it", yet never found a book which taught this as a method. I hoped that an "old-school" book might do that, and the "5 Cs" doesn't disappoint. Through it, I've finally started to "get" what film-making is about and, as I'm sure another reviewer has said, I'll probably never look at films the same way again. Besides, if someone thinks they're interested in film-making, this book is a good test. If they can't make their way through Mascelli's Mountain of Words, they're never going to succeed in getting a film made ! On the other hand, I only read it because I was stuck on a train for long periods of time, so maybe something easier to read would be of value. To a prospective reader, I'd say that this book is invaluable. You may never make a film they way this book describes, but you WILL need to know why not ! Do what I did - read it, then read it again and make notes, lots of them !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 1999
As an amateur just starting to get serious about turning my "home movies" into something people actually WANT to watch, I searched for a long time to find an introductory book that not only told you HOW to do things, but WHY you should do them.
After many disappointments, I found this book. While some of the references (script girl is particularly amusing) are very dated, the text mainly covers technique and avoids technology.
The illustrations and printing style point quite obviously to the book's mid-60s origin. An introduction by someone who remembers what it was like to shoot film in 1908 and knew D.W. Griffith personally should tip you off immediately that this book is something special. Still, the illustrations are clear and help illustrate the text's points very well.
In spite of what many recent amateur (and professional) film makers think, technology does not make your film good, it just makes it easy. TECHNIQUE makes it good. And that's what this book teaches in a very clear, readable, and understandable way.
Very highly recommended if you've had your fill of general introductory texts and are looking for real instruction and explanation for how to actually MAKE a film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2001
The five C's: camera angles, continuity, cutting, close-ups, and composition. This book takes the filmmaker through understanding exactly what goes into getting the best image imaginable onto film. The true treasure of this book is that is was written long ago enough that the author does not feel bound to polical writing: in this authors world there are black and white rules of what is acceptable and unacceptable. While "creative-types" may find his insistance on what can be done insulting to their vision, I think we can all agree that if you are going to break the rules, it is important to know them. If you read this book and study it, then you will KNOW the rules and UNDERSTAND when, why, and where you need to break them. It is a delightful read, filled with information, and though written in the 1960's... the concepts are timeless and very applicable to filmmakers in the 2000's. Buy it and enjoy it! Best Wishes....Jason
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This book was written in 1965, yet none of it's information is out-of-date. This book covers the basics of cinematography which is the art of motion picture filming. It's very easy to read and all terms are defined and explained by the author before being used so it's easy to understand.
The author organizes everything you need to know about shooting films into five categories that start with "C", so it's simplified and easy to remember. It doesn't matter if you're a filmmaker, a cameraman, or even a still photographer this book is worth the read. Also, if you edit video in Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro and are pretty much clueless, the chapter on cutting will be of great value to you.
This book is more about philosophy than any technical information about cameras or types of film. After reading this book you'll have a better understanding of how to communicate a story to people with the moving picture.
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on May 22, 2002
If you're like me and you've sifted through dozens of books on film technique that were about anything but, you can stop searching. "The Five C's of Cinematography" is not only well-written but virtually everything in it is essential to learning good film technique. Most authors of these types of books either don't completely understand the medium, aren't interested in sharing their wisdom or are just looking to make a quick buck. Mascelli delivers all the goods. He provides the best explanation of the axis line I've ever read and his diagrams are simple, yet very helpful. This is a guy who clearly wanted to share his knowledge. You can throw out all your other filmmaking books.
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on July 7, 2002
After buying a few books that were not what I was looking for. I decided to order The Five c's of cinematography. What a book! It taught me everything that I need to know...The rules don't change, and that this book tells you those rules. Like Mascelli says, "To Break the rules, you must first learn them". After reading only the first section, I shot a matrix movie called "The Men" useing the things I learned from the book, everybody noticed a difference, and that was just from reading one chapter! This book is a safe buy, and will make your movies great.
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on January 22, 1999
There's no getting around the fact that sequences and shot selection make any motion picture or video work. But, rather than learn the basics and apply them, folks jump to jazzy stuff like helocopter shots or talking hardware spec's. This book talks about shots, sequences all in with a focus on what to shoot and how it cuts together.
Basic techniques are directly applied in a practical fashion. Use it to get a solid grounding before getting stars in your eyes.
Great for new cinematographers and news videographers
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