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Cinematography: Theory and Practice, 3rd Edition

Book Description

 The world of cinematography has changed more in the last few years than it has since it has in 1929, when sound recording was introduced. New technology, new tools and new methods have revolutionized the art and craft of telling stories visually. While some aspects of visual language, lighting and color are eternal, shooting methods, workflow and cameras have changed radically. Even experienced film artists have a need to update and review new methods and equipment. These change affect not only the director of photography but also the director, the camera assistants, gaffers, and digital imaging technicians.

Cinematography: Theory and Practice covers both the artistry and craftsmanship of cinematography and visual storytelling. Few art forms are as tied to their tools and technology as is cinematography. Take your mastery of these new tools, techniques, and roles to the next level with this cutting-edge roadmap from author and filmmaker Blain Brown.

Whether you are a student of filmmaking, just breaking into the business, currently working in the industry and looking to move up to the next level, or an experienced professional who wants to update their knowledge of tools and techniques, this book provides both a basic introduction to these issues as well as more advanced and in-depth coverage of the subject.

The companion website features additional material, including lighting demonstrations, basic methods of lighting, using diffusion and other topics.

Topics Include:

  • Visual language
  • Visual storytelling
  • Continuity and coverage
  • Cameras and digital sensors
  • Exposure techniques for film and video
  • Color in-depth
  • Understanding digital images
  • Waveform monitors, vectorscopes, and test charts
  • Using linear, gamma, and log encoded video
  • Image control and grading on the set
  • The tools and basics of film lighting
  • ASC-CDL, ACES and other new methods
  • Optics and focus
  • Camera movement
  • Set operations
  • Green screen, high speed and other topics

Table of Contents

  1. Coverpage
  2. Halftitle
  3. Titlepage
  4. Copyright
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. Writing with Motion
    1. Writing with Motion
      1. Building a Visual World
    2. The Visual Language of Cinematography
      1. The Frame as Definition
      2. The View of the Lens
      3. Color and Light
      4. Visual Texture
      5. Movement
      6. Establishing
      7. Point-of-View
      8. Detective POV
    3. Putting it all Together
  8. Visual Language
    1. More than Just a Picture
    2. Design Principles
      1. Unity
      2. Balance
      3. Visual Tension
      4. Rhythm
      5. Proportion
      6. Contrast
      7. Texture
      8. Directionality
      9. The Three-Dimensional Field
      10. Depth
    3. Overlap
      1. Relative Size
      2. Vertical Location
      3. Left/Right
      4. Linear Perspective
      5. Foreshortening
      6. Chiaroscuro
      7. A tmospheric Perspective
    4. Forces of Visual Organization
      1. The Line
      2. The sinuous Line
      3. Compositional Triangles
      4. Horizontals, Verticals, and Diagonals
      5. The Power of the Edge: the Frame
      6. Open and Closed Frame
      7. Frame within a Frame
      8. Balanced and unbalanced Frame
      9. Positive and Negative Space
      10. Movement in the Visual Field
    5. The Rule of Thirds
    6. Rules of Composition for People
      1. Headroom
      2. Noseroom
      3. Other Guidelines
  9. Language of the Lens
    1. The Lens and the Frame
      1. Foreground/Midground/Background
      2. Lens Perspective
    2. Wide Lenses and Expansion of Space
      1. Deep Focus
      2. Compression of Space
      3. Manipulating Perspective
      4. Selective Focus
    3. Image Control Atthe Lens
      1. Filtration
      2. Lens Height
      3. High Angle
      4. Low Angle
      5. Dutch Tilt
  10. Visual Storytelling
    1. Visual Metaphor
    2. Telling Stories with Pictures
    3. Lighting as Storytelling
    4. Film Noir
    5. Light as Visual Metaphor
    6. Light and Shadow / Good and Evil
      1. Fading Flashbulbs
      2. Visual Poetry
  11. Coverage & Continuity
    1. What is Cinematic?
      1. A Question of Perception
      2. Visual Subtext and Visual Metaphor
      3. The Frame
    2. Static Frame
    3. The Shots: Building Blocks of a Scene
      1. Wide Shot
      2. Establishing Shots
      3. Establishing the Geography
    4. Character Shots
      1. Full Shot
      2. Two Shot
      3. Medium Shot
      4. Close-ups
      5. Over-the-Shoulder
      6. Cutaways
      7. Reaction Shots
      8. Inserts
      9. Connecting Shots
      10. Pickups
      11. Transitional Shots
    5. Invisible Technique
    6. The Shooting Methods
      1. The Master Scene Method
      2. Coverage
      3. Overlapping or Triple-Take Method
      4. In-One
      5. Freeform Method
    7. Montage
    8. Involving the Audience: Pov
      1. The Fourth Wall and POV
    9. Continuity
      1. Shooting For Editing
      2. Thinking about Continuity
    10. Types of Continuity
      1. Continuity of Content
      2. Continuity of Movement
      3. Continuity of Position
      4. Continuity of Time
    11. The Prime Directive
      1. Screen Direction
      2. The Action Axis
      3. These Are the Rules—But Why?
      4. What Establishes the Line?
      5. The Purpose of screen Direction
      6. Directional Conventions
      7. Exceptions to the Rule
      8. Reverse
      9. Turnaround
      10. Planning Coverage
    12. Cuttability
      1. The 20% and 30 Degree Rules
    13. Other Issues of Continuity
      1. Moving Shots
      2. Going Through a Door
      3. Entering and Exiting Frame
      4. Neutral Axis to Exit Frame
      5. Three Shots
      6. Keep the Nose Out
      7. Prop Continuity in Coverage
      8. Eye Sweeps
      9. Chase Scenes
      10. Cutaway Eyeline Continuity
      11. Eyelines in Over-the-Shoulder Coverage
      12. Eyelines for a Seated Character
      13. Ots and Inserts
      14. Moving Action
      15. Group Shots
    14. Introductions
      1. The Place & The Geography
      2. The Time
      3. The Characters
    15. Other Editorial Issues in Shooting
      1. Jump Cuts
    16. The Six Types of Cuts
      1. The Content Cut
      2. The Action Cut
      3. The POV Cut
      4. Executing a Subjective POV
      5. The Match Cut
      6. The Zero Cut
  12. Color
    1. Color Terminology
      1. Color Temperature: The Balances
      2. Warm and Cool
      3. White Balance, Black Balance, and Black Shading
      4. Magenta vs. Green
    2. The Cie Diagram
    3. Gamut
    4. Video Color Spaces
      1. Rec.709 and Rec. 2020
      2. DCIP3
    5. Ampas Aces Color Space
    6. The Matr
    7. Ten Numbers: Asc-Cdl
    8. Aces: What it is, What it Does
      1. The Stages
      2. ACES Terminology
      3. The Transforms
    9. Color Balance with Gels and Filters
      1. Conversion Gels
      2. Light Balancing Gels
      3. Color Correction Gels
    10. Correcting Off-Color Lights
      1. HMI
      2. Industrial Lamps
      3. Color as a Storytelling Tool
  13. Cameras & Aensors
    1. The Digital Signal Path
      1. Digital Signal Processor
    2. HD, HD+ AND UHD
      1. HD Recording
      2. Post High-def
    3. Raw Vs. Baked in
      1. RAW Camera Signal Path
      2. Viewing Stream
      3. Definitions
    4. Digital Negative
      1. Chroma Subsampling
    5. Pixels
      1. Resolution
      2. Photosites
      3. Pixels and Photosites Are Not the same Thing!
    6. Digitizing
    7. Olpf
    8. Digital Sensors
      1. CCD
      2. CMOS
      3. Other Types of Sensors
      4. 3-Chip
      5. Making Color from Black-and-White
      6. Bayer Filter
      7. Demosaicing/DeBayering
      8. Color Interpolation
      9. What Color Is Your Sensor?
    9. How Many Pixels is Enough?
      1. 5K for 4K
    10. Shutters
      1. Spinning Mirror
      2. Rolling Shutter and Global Shutter
    11. Sensor Size and Depth-of-Field
    12. ISO in Digital Cameras
    13. Noise
    14. IR and Hot Mirror Filters
    15. Bit Rate
      1. Bit Depth
      2. Frame Rates
      3. The Film Look vs. the Video Look
      4. Film Cameras
  14. Measurement
    1. The Waveform Monitor
      1. External Sync
      2. Types of Display
    2. Color Bars in Detail
      1. Using the PLUGE in Monitor Calibration
      2. Monitor Probes
      3. Legal and Valid
    3. Hue/Phase
    4. The Vectorscope
    5. Using the Vectorscope on the Set
      1. Color Bars on the Vectorscope
      2. White Balance/Black Balance
      3. Gamut
    6. Video Test Cards
      1. The Deceptively simple Neutral Gray Card
      2. The Gray Card and Color Balance in Film and Video
      3. Why Isn’t 18% Gray Also 50%?
    7. Calibration Test Charts
      1. DSC Labs Test Charts
      2. The One Shot
      3. The X-Rite ColorChecker
      4. ChromaMatch & screenAlign
      5. Skin Tone
    8. Measuring Image Resolution
  15. Exposure
    1. Exposure Theory
      1. What Do We Want Exposure to Do for Us?
      2. Controlling Exposure
      3. Change the Bucket
    2. The Elements of Exposure
      1. Light
      2. F/Stops
      3. Shutter Speed/Frame Rate/Shutter Angle
    3. The Response Curve
      1. Underexposure
      2. Overexposure
      3. Correct Exposure
      4. Higher Brightness Range in the Scene
    4. Two Types of Exposure
      1. How Film and Video Are Different
      2. We’ll Fix It in Post
      3. The Bottom Line
      4. Exposure in shooting RAW Video
      5. Video Exposure
    5. The Tools of Exposure
      1. The Incident Meter
      2. The Reflectance Meter
    6. A Different World of Exposure
      1. Setting Exposure with the Waveform Monitor
      2. F/Stops on the Waveform
      3. The 18% Solution
    7. Exposure Indicators in the Camera
      1. Zebras
      2. Histogram
      3. Traffic Lights and Goal Posts
      4. False Color Exposure Display
      5. Arri Alexa False Colors
    8. Strategies of Exposure
      1. Don’t Let It Clip, but Avoid the Noise
      2. Texture & Detail
      3. The Dilemma
    9. Using Light Meters
      1. Meter the Key
    10. Using the Waveform Monitor
      1. Placing Middle Gray
      2. Start at the Bottom or Start at the Top
      3. Expose to the Right
    11. Zebras
    12. The Monitor
    13. Know Thyself and Know Thy Camera
    14. Blackmagic Camera Exposure Advice
    15. HDRX
  16. Linear, Gamma, Log
    1. Dynamic Range
    2. Linear Response
      1. An Ideal and a Problem
      2. Linear as Scene Referred
      3. The Classic S-Curve in the Image
    3. Film Gamma and Video Gamma
      1. Video Gamma
      2. The Coincidence
    4. Rec. 709
      1. Studio Swing Levels, Full Range, and Legal Video
    5. Gamma Control In Traditional HD
      1. Knee Control
      2. Black Stretch/Black Gamma
    6. Another Approach
      1. Hypergamma/Cinegamma/Film Rec
      2. Sony Hypergamma terminology
      3. Gamma in RAW Video
    7. The Inefficiency of Linear
    8. Log Encoding
      1. Superwhite
      2. What You See Is Not What You Get
      3. Log and RAW—Two Different Things
    9. Proprietary Log Curves
      1. Sony S-Log
      2. Arri Log C
      3. Canon-Log
      4. Redcode
      5. Red Log
    10. 18% Gray in Log
      1. Variation in Log Curves
  17. Image Control & Grading
    1. At the Dit Cart
      1. What Happens at the Cart Doesn’t Stay at the Cart
    2. Color Correction and Color Grading
    3. Controllers and Control Surfaces
    4. Control Parameters
      1. Lift/Shadows
      2. Gamma/Midtones
      3. Gain/Highlights
      4. Curves
      5. Log Controls
      6. Log Offset Color and Master Controls
    5. Exporting and Reusing Grades
    6. Luts and Looks
      1. LUT Formats
      2. Proper Use of LUTs in Color Correction
    7. Viewing Luts
      1. LUTs and Looks: What’s the Difference?
    8. Controlling the Image in Front of the Lens
    9. Camera Filter Types
      1. Diffusion and Effects Filters
      2. Contrast Filters
      3. Neutral Density Filters
      4. Effects Filters and Grads
    10. Converse Filters
      1. Camera Lens Filters for Color Correction
      2. Warming and Cooling Filters
    11. Contrast Control in Black-And-White
      1. Polarizers
      2. IR Filters
  18. The Tools of Lighting
    1. The Tools of Lighting
    2. Color Balance
      1. Color Rendering Index
    3. Daylight/Tungsten Sources
      1. LED Lights
      2. Remote Phosphor LEDs
      3. HMI Units
    4. Xenons
    5. Tungsten Lights
      1. Fresnels
    6. Open Face
    7. Pars
    8. Soft Lights
      1. Barger Baglights
    9. Color-Correct Fluorescents
    10. Other Types of Units
      1. Softsun
      2. Cycs, Strips, Nooks, and Broads
      3. Chinese Lanterns and Spacelights
      4. Self-Contained Crane Rigs
      5. Ellipsoidal Reflector Spots
      6. Balloon Lights
      7. Handheld Units
    11. Day Exteriors
      1. Controlling Light with Grip Equipment
    12. For More Information on Lighting
  19. Lighting Basics
    1. The Fundamentals of Lighting
    2. The [Conceptual] Tools of Lighting
      1. The Attributes of Light
      2. Hard vs. Soft
      3. Full Range of Tones
      4. Color Control and Color Balance
      5. Shape
      6. Separation
      7. Depth
      8. Texture
      9. Mood and Tone
    3. Exposure and Lighting
    4. Some Lighting Terminology
    5. Working with Hard Light and Soft Light
      1. Hard Light
      2. Soft Light
      3. Direction
      4. Avoiding Flat Front Lighting
      5. Light from the Upstage Side
      6. Backlight and Kicker
      7. Intensity
      8. Texture in Lighting
      9. Color
    6. Lighting Techniques
      1. Ambient
      2. Classical Lighting
      3. Bringing it through the Windows
      4. Practicals and Motivated Lighting
    7. Basic Principles of Lighting
      1. Back Cross Keys
      2. Ambient Plus Accents
      3. Lighting with Practicals
      4. Lighting through the Window
      5. Available Natural Light
      6. Available Light Windows
      7. Motivated Light
      8. Carrying a Lamp
    8. Day Exteriors
      1. Fill
      2. Silks and Diffusion
      3. Open Shade and Garage Door Light
      4. Sun As Backlight
    9. Magic Hour
  20. Optics & Focus
    1. The Physical Basis of Optics
      1. Refraction
      2. Focal Length and Angle of View
      3. F/Stop
    2. Focus
      1. Mental Focus
      2. Circle of Confusion
    3. Depth-of-Field
      1. How Not to Get More Depth-of-Field
      2. Hyperfocal Distance
      3. Nodal Points
      4. The Rear Nodal Point and Special Effects Shots
      5. Zooms and Depth-of-Field
    4. Macrophotography
    5. Exposure Compensation in Macrophotography
      1. Depth-of-Field in Close-Up Work
      2. Calculating Depth-of-Field in Close-Up Work
      3. Close-Up Tools
      4. Diopters
      5. Extension Tubes or Bellows
      6. Macro Lenses
      7. Snorkels and Innovision
      8. Specialized Lenses
    6. Lens Extenders and Filter Factors
    7. Lens Care
    8. Back Focus
  21. Camera Movement
    1. Camera Movement in Filmmaking
      1. Motivation and Invisible Technique
    2. Basic Technique
    3. Types of Moves
      1. Pan
      2. Tilt
      3. Move In/Move Out
      4. Zoom
      5. Punch-in
    4. Moving Shots
      1. Tracking
      2. Countermove
      3. Reveal with Movement
      4. Circle Track Moves
      5. Crane Moves
      6. Rolling shot
    5. Camera Supports for Movement
      1. Drones
      2. Handheld
      3. Stabilizer Rigs
      4. Camera Heads
      5. The Tripod
      6. High-Hat
      7. Rocker Plate
      8. Tilt Plate
      9. The Crab Dolly
      10. Dolly Terminology
      11. Car Shots
      12. Camera Positions for Car Shots
      13. Vehicle to Vehicle Shooting
      14. Aerial Shots
    6. Other Types of Camera Mounts
      1. Steadicam
      2. Rickshaw, Wheelchair, and Garfield
      3. Cable-Cam
      4. Crash Cams
      5. Splash Boxes
      6. Underwater Housings
    7. Motion Control
  22. Set Operations
    1. Making It Happen
      1. The Director of Photography
    2. The Cinematographer’s Tools
      1. Gaffer Glass
      2. Laser Pointer
      3. Director’s Viewfinder
      4. Digital Still Camera
    3. The Shot List
      1. Putting the Order Together
      2. Reading the Script
      3. Talking to the Director
      4. Location Scouts and Tech Scouts
    4. Coordinating with Other Departments
    5. The Team and the Order
      1. The Page Turn
      2. Tests
      3. Camera Crew
      4. Operator
      5. First AC Duties
      6. Second AC
      7. Loader
    6. DIT
      1. DIT Workflow
      2. Simple Data Workflow
      3. Advanced Workflow
      4. Digital Loader/Media Manager
      5. Utility
    7. Camera Crew Reports, Equipment & Tools
      1. Camera Reports
      2. Camera Assistant Tools and Supplies
    8. AC Prep
    9. Camera Prep Checklist
    10. The Team
    11. Lighting Technicians (Electricians or Sparks)
      1. Grips
      2. Other Units
    12. Set Procedures
      1. Block, Light, Rehearse, Shoot
      2. The Process
      3. Room Tone
    13. Set Etiquette
    14. Set Safety
      1. Lighting, Electrical, and Grip
      2. Crane Safety
    15. Slating Technique
      1. Verbal Slating
      2. Tail Slate
      3. MOS Slating
      4. Slating Multiple Cameras
      5. Timecode Slates
      6. Jamming the Slate
      7. What to Write on the Slate
      8. When to Change the Letter
      9. The European System of Slating
      10. Pickups, Series, and Reshoots
      11. VFX
      12. Bumping a Slate
      13. Insert Slates
    16. Finding the Sun
  23. Data Management
    1. Data Management
    2. Basic Principles
      1. Cover your Rear
      2. Standard Procedures
      3. Maintain Your Logs
    3. Procedure—Best Practices
      1. Locked and Loaded
      2. Get Your Signals Straight
      3. Always Scrub
      4. Three Drives
      5. Do Nor Drag and Drop
    4. Logs
    5. File Management
    6. File Naming
    7. Download/Ingest Software
      1. ShotPut Pro
      2. Silverstack
      3. Double Data
    8. Proprietary Data Management Software
    9. External Recorders
    10. Hard Drives & Raids
      1. RAID
      2. Transfer/Shuttle Drives
    11. How Much Storage Do You Need?
  24. Technical Issues
    1. Shooting Greenscreen/Bluescreen
      1. Lighting for Greenscreen/Bluescreen
    2. Dimmers
      1. Dimming LEDs
      2. Dimmer Boards
      3. Working with Strobes
    3. High-Speed Photography
    4. Lighting for Extreme Close-Up
    5. Effects
      1. Smoke
      2. Fire
      3. TV and Projector Effects
      4. Day-for-Night
      5. Moonlight Effect
    6. Water EFX
      1. Rain
    7. Lightning
    8. Gunshots
      1. Safety with Guns
      2. Explosions
      3. Time-Lapse Photography
      4. Time Slicing
    9. Transferring Film to Video
    10. Framing Charts
    11. Flicker
      1. Virtual Reality
  25. About the Author
    1. Dedication
    2. Acknowledgments
    3. About the Website
  26. Bibliography
  27. Index
  28. Appendix—film formats
    1. Aspect Ratios
    2. Widescreen
      1. Alternatives to Anamorphic
    3. 3 Perf
    4. 2-Perf Techniscope