A few weeks ago, Scott Berman, an editor for Focal Press, approached me with a newly published book called DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Video written by Kurt Lancaster. He said he wanted to send me the book in exchange for an honest review. I told him I would be more than pleased to do so.
First off, let me just say that the DSLR film making community in general, really needs a book like this. I was very pleased to find material in DSLR Cinema that benefits both seasoned film makers and newcomers to film making. I thought I’d give you a quick review and mention some parts of the book that really stood out for me.
DSLR Cinema gives a very good, over-all look at film making using the latest DSLR cameras. It covers topics from composition and camera movement and even provides some case studies from experienced DSLR shooters. It covers technical topics that delve into tweaks that can be made in-camera before you shoot and also explains how you can be more creative with your script. Several examples of scripts are even provided for you. Overall, I was pretty amazed at the diverse range of topics that the author managed to cover.
Kurt Lancaster covers a lot of ground in only 286 pages. One of my favorite things about the book is that he refers to real-life short videos that have been circulating on video sites like Vimeo and have become well-known references in the film making community. In a way I feel like he is giving back to the DSLR film making community. He takes these examples and breaks them down, depending on the subject he is addressing, and really gives the reader an understanding of what is going on in both what we see and possibly how the process and production took place. He gives some very good tips and insights to help you as a film maker craft the same type of look, feel, sound, etc when attacking your own production.
So what is this book missing? A volume for each topic presented (lol). DSLR Cinema is written in such a way that you can easily get involved in a single aspect of film making and want to take the next step and delve in even deeper into audio, editing, or color grading. For me personally, I would have liked to see more about color grading in this book…maybe in another printing ; )
If you are new to film making with a DSLR camera and are looking for a place to get started, or if you are a seasoned film maker and just want to add some knowledge to your experiences, DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Video is a great place to start that will give you solid information that you can put into practice immediately.
NOTE: DSLR Cinema (this site) will be giving away a copy of this book as one of the prizes in its first ever, bi-annual film contest beginning at the start of 2011.