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on 20 November 1999
Shot-by-Shot is a compilation of essential mise-en-scene basics for film directors and cinematographers. At first glance, much of the information is obvious to anyone with basic directing experience, but the apparent simplicity is deceiving. As a tutor at the National Film and Television School, I have found it useful for advanced apprentice filmmakers--if you have imagination, it will help you prepare for making decisions about staging, camera position and crossing the line.
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on 26 April 2004
If you are a casual reader looking for a glossy book with colour photo'sof film sets, lighting, SFX and cameras etc, this is not for you. Ifhowever, you are a serious film student (or practitioner) and you want adetailed insight into how a motion picture idea is conceived and developedinto a workable project, then you need to make this part of your readinglist.
This is a thorough overview of the visualisation processes needed to takeyour project from an idea to a solid plan for production. As well ashelping you to develop your visualisation skills, it also has a goodtechnical overview of important techniques such as establishing lines,continuity, pacing etc.
There are examples (with original storyboard art) taken from someprominent films and directors to help you understand the reasoning behindthe way certain scenes were designed and executed.
The intangible or emotive aspects of creating a film are well covered...i.e. using camera angles and different focal lengths and POV's for helpingto describe the relationships between characters and what they are feelingor experiencing.
This is not a technical manual for lighting or how to use certain types ofcameras etc. These subjects are best covered in detail in seperatepublications.
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on 1 July 1999
When I entered college to recieve a bachelor's degree, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do. I ended up choosing a degree in acting, but have since wondered if that was the wrong choice. In the last year of college, I became interested in film direction, but felt it was to late to pursue that career. Mr. Katz's book has changed my mind. In less than one week, I learned more about the technique of film direction than I ever learned in numerous film, and television classes. This book was easy to read, yet not easy in subject matter. It challenges the reader to visualize the subject matter, and to work out common problems in his/her head. It uses an extensive study of soryboarding from both classic and fictional films to easily illustrate his technique. Although Mr Katz uses a pretty set theory of film mechanics, he does challenge the reader to experiment and to create new and exciting art. This book is a must for beginners in the film industry, and I have a hunch that advanced artists could learn a lot from it too.
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on 28 August 1997
Film Directing Shot by Shot is a step back from the filmmaker's lens. This book is a praise of preplanning shots and putting them together in the filmmaker's head. Steven D. Katz has presented a great resource not laden with hard technical terminology limited to the professional.
Katz explores the graphic design of a shot, presenting alternate examples of shot layout side by side. The author encourages seeing shots on the storyboard and how they play together, seeing the movie as static pictures before any film is spent. As he explains: "look at each sequence as a complete statement. Developing an intuitive sense of the overall perceptual effect of a sequence is one of the skills necessary for visualization." (pp 160) He offers traditional process but encourages experimental methods where appropriate.
I was pointed toward the book as an art professional interested in filmmaking. Having read other film preproduction books this has been the best so far.
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on 6 March 2006
This book is one of many I have read on film making. I am a self taught independent professional film maker and I wish I had bought this book first. It's title says it all. It is very well written, well researched, worth the money. Get 'Grammer of the Shot' while you are at it.
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on 16 February 2004
This catologue of filmmaking terms has become one of the best books I own. When I recieved it as a gift at Christmas, I thought I'd read a chapter before I went to bed but ended up reading for hours into the morning. An excellent guide for arranging camera angles, storyboards and shot sequences alike.
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on 6 July 2011
Not a bad book, but could do with a new edition. As this was written in the 90's there are some large chunks of info regarding the use of computers for editing/visual effects/story boarding that are almost cringe worthy.

On the plus side, many of the techniques talked about are timeless, I definitely learned a few things while reading it, and began to consider other things which I thought I already knew - which is always a good sign. I gained a better understanding of looking at a number of shots in sequence and working out their effect. It is nicely illustrated; personally I think some of the story boards are worth the admission price alone; and gives a good overall view of the roll of the director. However, I feel that it only brushed the surface on the some subjects that interested me, and went into detail on other areas that I found less interesting (thought this is obviously personal taste.)

In short, I don't think this is the best book on directing out there, but it is certainly not bad.
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on 14 June 2005
This book is an essential guide for those beginning work in the film industry, particularly those who want to understand the basics of directing, editing, camera work and storyboarding.
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on 29 March 2011
The author never goes straight to the point and he spends lines telling you stories instead of telling facts! It really makes you bored because you soon realize that all he said in 3 or 4 pages is what can be said in 1 single sentence.
The concepts are explained and organized badly. I would say it needs to be re-edited.
Unless you are new to filmmaking, this text won't be so much useful.

Anyway the stationary and moving camera and the "A and Q patterns" section are definitively better and more interesting. At that point he rushes to tell you more wasting less time.

All you "REALLY NEED" is a pencil and a highlighter. Go thought the text and underline the important concepts which are useful, discard the "BLA BLA BLA" rubbish pages that is only there to make the book thicker but doesn't take you anywhere..
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on 3 December 2015
This book is amazing! As a student who is passionate about the film industry and hoping to get in to the industry, this book has given me a very strong and valuable foundation before starting university next year and has helped me improve in my filmmaking skills. It doors cover a lot of theory in the book but it explains it in such a way that makes turning it in to practise so easy! I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who seriously wants to get in to the film industry.
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