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Cinematography: Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers Paperback – Oct 9 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (Oct. 9 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240805003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240805009
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 17.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 798 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #231,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"A gorgeous piece of work that bids to become a classic text on cinematography....Few books on cinematography meld aesthetics and pragmatics as deftly as this one."
American Cinematographer

"The gorgeous illustrations bring movies to life, and the modern approach that incorporates digital as well as film means that this book can be used for years to come."
Judy Irola, ASC
Head of Cinematography
USC School of Cinematic Arts

"The book is a wonderful, well-organized and knowledgable collection of all information a cinematographer may need. I recommend it highly."
Andrew Laszlo, ASC

"This book shows that there is more to the DP than holding the light meter--he needs to understand so much more about using photography to tell a story, create a mood, evoke an emotion. No other text I know of stresses this to this extent."
Douglas C. Hart, First Camera Assistant, Instructor, and Author of The Camera Assistant

"Blain Brown has created a masterpiece. Cinematography is the best reference book I have ever seen..the theories and practices revealed here will never go out of date.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." - Rick Gerard, Creative Cow

From the Publisher

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 older tried and true methods.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
...despite the hype, this book is NOT a "great reference book" of cinematography. Instead of a thorough explanation of the craft & art of cinematography, it is instead a slim text which cursorily navigates the dual topics of technical/hardware requirements, and then briefly gestures at some of the aesthetic decisions required of good cinematography.
If you want technicals, books which cover similar territory are "Matters of Light & Depth" (Lowell), "Cinematography" & "Film Lighting" (Malkiewicz), "Placing Shadows" (Gloman/Letourneau), or even "Bare-Bones Guide" (Schroeppel -- which includes a very practical description of the 'Rule of Thirds', ie. the "Golden Mean").
If you're on a 'classical' kick, you could do a whole lot worse than "5 C's" (Mascelli), "Painting with Light" (Alton), or even "The Visual Story" (Block), which explores new media thru the lens[sic] of Eisenstein. Actually, you probably should buy "5 C's" & "Painting" anyway; they're very old, & just-recently returned to print... & in this age of accelerated obsolescence, these books might vanish again, forever.
But if you are interested in the aesthetics of cinematography, you'd do *much* better with texts such as "Cinematography: Screencraft" (Ettedgui), or with the classic "Film Art: An Introduction" (Bordwell/Thompson). In fact, after all the great reviews for "Cinematography: Image Making", I was expecting some sort of full-color/high-quality updated version of "Film Art". Nope... not even close.
IMHO, the book which best combines both worlds (technical + aesthetic) is Viera's "Lighting for Film & Electronic Cinematography".
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By A Customer on Oct. 15 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because of the glowing review it received in American Cinematographer and then soon after it was the requred book for my cinematography course at USC Film School. I have dozens of books about cinematography, and this is the only one I've ever seen that covers every aspect of cinematography.
Most books are either sort of airy, light-weight musings about aesthetics and philosophy and the other kind is strictly technical: lenses, exposure, etc. This is the one book that covers just about everything you need to know in order to be a professional cinematographer (or an amateur who knows as much as a pro).
It covers everthing from the basics to very advanced stuff and the one thing that most of my camera assistant and camera apprentice friends really like is that it covers "professional practice": the way things are done on real sets, including things like what are the responsibilties of each person: the AC, the gaffer, the grip, etc.
It has a chapter on lighting and one on creating the "look" of a film, but the one thing it doesn't go into heavily is set lighting. That is, I guess, because this author has another book about lighting (which was also a textbook in a film school course I took.) He (or she?) also says in introduction that lighting is a vast subject and there is no way to fit it into one or two chapters - it has to have it's own book.
Anyway, this book is so good, I bought some to give as Christmas presents to friends. Even the ones who are already working professional DP's enjoyed it and said they loved it. I think it is also used in some of the directing courses here at USC. The first half of the book is about the kinds of things a director needs to know as well as the DP: coverage, editorial, crossing the line, that kind of stuff.
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Format: Paperback
Believe me, this is a great book. It's filled with some highly technical and aesthetically educational information. But whoever did the editing on this potentially superlative bit of course work was either a little over eager to make a certain word count, or deluded enough to think that they could just blast a myriad of small holes in Mr. Brown's writing and no one would notice.
The last two-thirds of the book is just wonderful, filled with all the information I had hoped would be there.
The first five chapters, however, and maybe I'm missing something here, it's possible, are indiscriminately missing thoughts and ideas. The concepts appear to be developing, and then, "poof!", part of the abstract has been lifted, and we are left to fill in the missing pieces for ourselves. I doubt this is a technique for adult learning. I found myself, at times, very frustrated.
That wouldn't be so bad, but then our little under-achieving editor seems to think that one illustration will serve the purpose for multiple examples. One reference was used three times. Due credit, however: usually one of the cited examples was used correctly.
And, lastly, when subjects are listed in the index by page, it really ought to be the correct page. I'm still looking for "SED".
On the upside, the chapter on video is just about the best I've ever read: tight and accurate. Ditto on "exposure", "color theory", "controlling color", "optics" and the balance of this beneficial book, with, of course, at times, lest we forget, the occasional misdirected clarification or glaring omission.
The book is printed on great stock, the cover and the binding will certainly hold up for years. Its just an irritating shame that these initial chapters are so marred. Maybe I purchased an early edition. Let's hope that Mr. Brown's work is wildly popular so that the publishers can go back and correct their errors for subsequent editions.
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