Book Review: The Green Screen Handbook (2nd Edition)

Book CoverPublisher: Focal Press

Release Date: November 15, 2014

Jeff Foster’s textbook on green screen production methods is intended to be a comprehensive educational resource for beginners. While it covers every aspect of the green screen process (the screen itself, lighting, compositing, etc.), it is quite vague and not terribly in-depth despite the wealth of photographs that provide visual examples to clarify the text. It makes for a reasonably solid introduction for filmmakers, but anyone looking for detailed instruction will have to find it elsewhere.

Review by: Devon Powell

Advertisements

Book Review: Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics (5th Edition)

Directing Cover

Publisher: Focal Press

Release Date: January 24, 2013

Michael Rabiger and Mick Hurbis-Cherrier offer young filmmakers one of the most comprehensive texts available on film directing. In fact, the book is designed for the classroom and offers all of the information that one might learn in film school (at a much lower price). Those who read and learn the information provided within these pages are bound to develop a foundational knowledge on the subject in which they can securely hang more focused and specialized information.

What’s more, the information earned here should be digested by not only those looking for a career in Hollywood but should also greatly improve the efforts of any low budget independent producers. Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics (5th Edition) earns an overwhelmingly enthusiastic recommendation.

Review by: Devon Powell

Book Review: Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign (2nd Edition)

Crowfunding Cover

Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions

Release Date: July 01, 2016

John T. Trigonis offers readers the benefit of his real world successes in the Crowdfunding arena as he walks the reader through the crowdfunding process and relays all sorts of advice along the way. Much of the information here is more generalized due to the nature of Crowdfunding. Each campaign has its own set of unique obstacles and must be handled in its own unique way. However, the book gives the reader the confidence to move forward and explains the basics in a way that will allow them to utilize this information in the way that best benefits their campaign. Those planning such an endeavor might do well to invest in this useful text.

Review by: Devon Powell

 

 

 

Book Review: The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook (American Edition)

Cover

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

Release Date: April 14, 2004

This text by Chris Jones and Genevieve Jolliffe is made up of countless interviews with people that have worked on independent films (of varying importance). The interviews were conducted with the intent of providing future independent filmmakers advice about the process of making independent films. Of course, some of the interviews are more helpful than others.

The quality of the advice often depends on the individual interviewers, as does the level of interest that the reader has while reading the text. When the book is at its best, it makes for an experience that is both enjoyable and educational. When it is at its worse, it is rather tedious and unhelpful. However, what is interesting and what is tedious will probably depend on the individual readers and what they hope to gain from the book.

The meat of the book is 701 pages in length (this isn’t counting the appendix). It is one of those books that is best digested in small bites. This reviewer found it helpful to read approximately 200 pages at a time (while reading another book between each 200 pages). The reason for this is that there are so many interviews, and a lot of them cover similar territory. Each interview stands on its own, and it isn’t the sort of book that is easily read cover to cover.

Review by: Devon Powell

Book Review: The Filmmaker’s Handbook – A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age

71nMqgsAzVL

Publisher: Plume Publishing

 Release Date: November 27, 2012

 Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus have probably written the most comprehensive book about film production for anyone that is interested in independent filmmaking. Nearly every element of production is covered in exhaustive detail, but the book is written so that it is easily understood. The only real criticism that one might have about the text is that there is so much detail, that the timid may find that they become overwhelmed. However, anyone that makes it to the end of this 790 page text will have gained a level of knowledge that can only boost their confidence, and increase their creative potential. Admittedly, this book tends to lean towards the technical aspects of the filmmaking craft. However, knowledge is power. It opens one’s mind to the creative possibilities so that they can move forward with confidence. This alone is worth the price of the book.

 Review by: Devon Powell

Book Review: The Digital Filmmaking Handbook (5th Edition)

Cover

Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR

Release Date: July 3, 2014

Once upon a time, digital filmmaking was the bastard stepchild of cinema. It allowed for a dramatic increase in independent films, but few Hollywood films were produced in the digital realm. Today, film is unfortunately nearing extinction. Nearly every Hollywood is shot using digital cinema technology, and it is becoming a popular distribution and projection method. In other words, The Digital Filmmaking Handbook could have easily been titled The Filmmaking Handbook.

When one compares Sonja Schenk and Ben Long’s text to similar texts (such as Single-Camera Video Production), this 5th edition has the obvious advantage. It covers a slightly wider range of topics, and does so in a more comprehensive manner than many other texts. It is certainly an informative guide for the beginning filmmaker, and should be a wonderful refresher for those that simply want to keep up with the advancements in technology. Teachers might also find that the text is a useful classroom tool, and the pages include various tutorials that should be ideal for certain learning environments.

Review by: Devon Powell

Book Review: Single-Camera Video Production (Sixth Edition)

Cover

Publisher: Focal Press

Release Date: June 28, 2014

Robert B. Musburger and Michael R. Ogden have written an excellent introductory textbook on single camera video production that is both helpful and easy to understand. Their text provides a general guide for future filmmakers and students that will serve as a foundation that they can build upon. The technology is discussed in an extremely in-depth manner, but their text is general enough so that the reader can apply their knowledge to the various cameras, microphones, and other technologies on the market. Each phase of production is covered (Pre-production, Production, and Post-Production) in some detail. Anyone planning a digital production in the near future should find the book helpful, and teachers should find the text to be a valuable introductory guide to the subject.

Review by: Devon Powell