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Grammar of the Shot, 3rd Edition

Book Description

Tell effective visual stories by utilizing the "grammar” of film and video with this elegant, modular reference. See what you absolutely need to know to put together your own film or video, shot by shot. Whether you're just learning how to frame a shot or simply looking for a refresher, Grammar of the Shot gives you a toolkit to help you build a successful visual story that flows smoothly.

Understand the basic building blocks essential for successful shot lighting, screen direction, 3D elements, camera movement, and many general practices that make for richer, multi-layered visuals. Expand your visual vocabulary and help jumpstart your career in film and video. Get ample examples and further instruction on the new companion website.

Designed as an easy-to-use reference, Grammar of the Shot presents each topic succinctly with clear photographs and diagrams illustrating the key concepts. Simple and easy to use, Grammar of the Shot is a staple of any filmmaker's library.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Introduction
  8. Chapter One – The Shots: What, How and Why?
    1. What to Show Your Audience?
    2. Choosing Your Frame
      1. Aspect Ratio
      2. Further Exploration – A Brief History of Aspect Ratios
      3. Further Exploration – Why We Might Like Widescreen so Much
    3. The Basic Cinematic Building Blocks – An Introduction to Shot Types
      1. Long Shot/Wide Shot
      2. Medium Shot
      3. Close-Up
    4. The Extended Family of Basic Shots – The Powers of Proximity
      1. Extreme Long Shot/Extreme Wide Shot
      2. Very Long Shot/Very Wide Shot
      3. Long Shot/Wide Shot/Full Shot
      4. Medium Long Shot/Knee Shot
      5. Medium Shot/Waist Shot/Mid
      6. Medium Close-Up/Bust Shot
      7. Close-Up
      8. Big Close-Up (UK)/Choker (USA)
      9. Extreme Close-Up
    5. Why Do We Even Have Different Shot Types?
    6. Pulling Images from the Written Page
      1. Scripts and Script Breakdown
      2. Shot Lists
      3. Storyboards
    7. Phases of Film Production
    8. Let’s Practice
    9. Chapter One – Review
      1. Chapter One – Exercises & Projects
      2. Chapter One – Quiz Yourself
  9. Chapter Two – The Basics of Composition
    1. Simple Guidelines For Framing Human Subjects
    2. Headroom
    3. Subjective Versus Objective Shooting Styles
    4. Look Room/Nose Room
    5. The Rule of Thirds
    6. Camera Angle
      1. Horizontal Camera Angles
      2. Vertical Camera Angles
    7. The Two-Shot: Frame Composition with Two People
      1. The Profile Two-Shot
      2. The Direct-to-Camera Two-Shot
      3. The Over-the-Shoulder Two-Shot
      4. The Dirty Single
      5. The Power Dynamic Two-Shot
    8. The Three-Shot
    9. Wrapping up the Basics of Composition
    10. Chapter Two – Review
      1. Chapter Two – Exercises & Projects
      2. Chapter Two – Quiz Yourself
  10. Chapter Three – Composition – Beyond the Basics
    1. The Illusion of the Third Dimension
    2. The Use of Lines
      1. The Horizon Line
      2. Vertical Lines
      3. Dutch Angle
      4. Diagonal Lines
      5. Curved Lines
    3. The Depth of Film Space – Foreground/Middle Ground/Background
      1. Foreground
      2. Middle Ground
      3. Background
    4. Depth Cues
      1. Overlapping
      2. Object Size
      3. Atmosphere
    5. The Camera Lens – The Observer of Your Film World
      1. Primes vs Zooms
      2. The Prime Lens
      3. The Zoom Lens
      4. Lens Perspective
      5. Lens Focus – Directing the Viewer’s Attention
      6. Pulling Focus or Following Focus
    6. Chapter Three – Review
      1. Chapter Three – Exercises & Projects
      2. Chapter Three – Quiz Yourself
  11. Chapter Four – Lighting Your Shots – Not Just What You See, but How You See It
    1. Light as an Element of Composition
    2. Light as Energy
    3. Color Temperature
      1. Color Balance of Your Camera
      2. Natural and Artificial Light
      3. Correcting or Mixing Colors on Set
    4. Quantity of Light: Sensitivity
    5. Quantity of Light: Exposure
    6. Quality of Light: Hard Versus Soft
      1. Hard Light
      2. Soft Light
    7. Contrast
      1. Low-key Lighting
      2. High-key Lighting
    8. Color
    9. Basic Character Lighting: Three-Point Method
      1. Contrast Ratio or Lighting Ratio
      2. Motivated Lighting – Angle of Incidence
      3. Front Lighting
      4. Side Lighting
      5. Lights from Behind
      6. Lights from Other Places
    10. Set and Location Lighting
    11. Controlling Light – Basic Tools and Techniques
    12. Light … and the Light Years of Learning
    13. Chapter Four – Review
      1. Chapter Four – Exercises & Projects
      2. Chapter Four – Quiz Yourself
  12. Chapter Five – Will it Cut? Shooting for Editing
    1. The Chronology of Production
    2. Matching Your Shots in a Scene
      1. Continuity of Performance
      2. Continuity of Screen Direction
    3. The Line – Basis for Screen Direction
      1. The Imaginary Line – The 180 Degree Rule
      2. “Jumping the Line”
      3. The 30 Degree Rule
      4. Reciprocating Imagery
      5. Eye-Line Match
    4. Chapter Five – Review
      1. Chapter Five – Exercises & Projects
      2. Chapter Five – Quiz Yourself
  13. Chapter Six – Dynamic Shots – Subjects and Camera in Motion
    1. Subjects in Motion – Blocking Talent
    2. Presentation Speed – Slow Motion and Fast Motion
      1. Slow Motion – or Overcranking
      2. Fast Motion – Undercranking
    3. Camera in Motion
      1. Handheld
      2. Pan and Tilt
      3. Shooting the Pan and the Tilt
    4. Equipment Used to Move the Camera
      1. Tripod
      2. Dolly
      3. Steadicam
      4. Cranes and Such
    5. Chapter Six – Review
      1. Chapter Six – Exercises & Projects
      2. Chapter Six – Quiz Yourself
  14. Chapter Seven – Working Practices and General Guidelines
    1. Slate the Head of Your Shots
    2. Communicating with Talent
    3. Safe Action/Safe Title Areas
    4. How to Manually Focus a Zoom Lens
    5. Always Have Something in Focus
    6. Control Your Depth of Field
    7. Be Aware of Headroom
    8. Shooting Tight Close-Ups
    9. Ensure an Eye Light
    10. Try to Show Both Eyes of Your Subject
    11. Be Aware of Eye-Line Directions in Closer Shots
    12. Follow Action with Loose Pan and Tilt Tripod Head
    13. Shooting Overlapping Action for the Edit
      1. Continuity of Action
      2. Matching Speed of Action
      3. Overlapping Too Much Action
    14. Storyboards and Shot Lists
    15. Aim for a Low Shooting Ratio
    16. Frame for Correct “Look Room” on Shots that Will Edit Together
    17. Shoot Matching Camera Angles when Covering a Dialogue Scene
    18. Ways to Cross the 180 Degree Line Safely
    19. Place Important Objects in the Top Half of Your Frame
    20. Be Aware of the Color Choices Made Throughout Your Project
    21. Keep Distracting Objects out of the Shot
    22. Beware of Continuity Traps While Shooting a Scene
    23. Use the Depth of Your Film Space to Stage Shots with Several People
    24. In a Three-Person Dialogue Scene, Matching Two-Shots can be Problematic for the Editor
    25. Zooming During a Shot
    26. Motivate Your Truck-In and Truck-Out Dolly Moves
    27. Allow the Camera More Time to Record Each Shot
    28. Allow Actions to Complete Before Cutting Camera
    29. Use Short Focal Length Lenses to Reduce Handheld Camera Shake
    30. Beware of Wide Lenses when Shooting Close-Up Shots
    31. Shooting a Chromakey
    32. Shooting B-Roll, 2nd Unit, and Stock Footage
    33. Shooting a Talking Head Interview
    34. During Documentary Filming, Be as Discreet as Possible
    35. Chapter Seven – Review
      1. Chapter Seven – Exercises & Projects
      2. Chapter Seven – Quiz Yourself
  15. Chapter Eight – A Few Words of Advice
    1. Know the Rules Before You Break the Rules
    2. The Reason for Shooting is Editing
    3. Your Shots Should Enhance the Entire Story
    4. Involve the Viewer as Much as Possible
    5. Take Pride in the Quality of your Work and your Set Etiquette
    6. Know Your Equipment
    7. Be Familiar with Your Subject
    8. Understand Lighting – Both Natural and Artificial
    9. Study What Has Already Been Done
    10. In Conclusion
  16. Appendix A – Helpful Resources for the New Filmmaker
  17. Appendix B – Essential Crew Positions for Motion Picture Production
  18. Glossary
  19. Index