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on 21 April 2006
There is a huge amount of information in this book. It is very clearly and logically laid out with sections on, for example, space, framing, editing, locations, wardrobe, music, camera movement, editing, transitions. The key point is how all these elements can be used to support the story, and guide emotional responses.

I had already made two short films when I discovered this book, and it was a revelation to understand the logic behind many of the things I had done intuitively. It has also broadened my awareness of many other elements to consider in the cinematic storytelling process.

One of the great aspects of this comprehensive book is that it can be dipped into at will. There are a hundred different conventions, all illustrated with examples from real films, and often with the screenplay printed alongside. Every time I pick it up I learn something new. I recommend it to all directors who believe that a great story, cinematically told, is the end goal of all our filmmaking efforts.
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on 8 April 2011
If you have a basic appreciation that directors create their shots to help 'tell the story' but aren't quite sure about how they actually do it, then this book should make lot of sense. It contains examples of how to use directing techniques with cameras, lenses, props, sound and even wardrobe and more to tell the story cinematically.

Each technique includes real world examples and even screenplay extracts to help you understand the need for using the technique as well as how to apply it. But it doesn't waffle unnecessarily. Each example is concise and to the point.

I have found this to be like a 'Directors toolbox' of ideas and techniques and after just 10 minutes of reading I am already thinking of my own shots in a very different way. The concepts are simple, but very effective and easy to understand.

Some of the ideas are really quite interesting such as one example of an over dinner conversion between two parties who are about to start an affair. A tracking shot was used to shift from one side of the man's face to the other, essentially showing us his 'good side' then his 'bad side' as he shifts from happily married man to contemplating the affair. It's ideas like these that make this more than just a reference book - it's a fun, informative and inspiring read to anyone seeking to better understand the techniques used by professionals to tell stories cinematically.

This book covers a lot of essential ground such as composition, editing, pacing, sound effects, transitions, wardrobe, camera motion, lighting, colour, lens choices and so on.

Definitely recommended.
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on 14 July 2011
It's just not enough to shoot a scene and say you did this way "because it just felt right." It is essential to great filmmaking to know WHY the shot works, WHEN to use it and WHAT impact it is going to have on the arc of the story. Van Sijll's book, CINEMATIC STORYTELLING is a must read for directors and cinematographers. The volume is a clear, concise and fabulous tool with great shot by shot explanations, including examples from the most important films. Buy this book.
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on 4 July 2007
The written content of the book itself is very useful, however, the quality of the stills taken from the films they are describing is terrible.
This is a book about film and yet all of the reference pictures are black and white (even when they are talking about colour) hard to see, bad quality.

The book should be reprinted with better quality photos. No doubt about it.
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on 15 April 2012
I purchased this book to help me with my university dissertation about camera techniques. There are 100 different techniques in the book, each of which has examples from popular films with screen shots. Yes, as stated in other reviews, the screenshots are in black and white, but I honestly don't feel that it matters. Besides, if you really want to see them in colour then watch the films!! Each section then discusses the dramatic value of each of the 100 techniques, this is the part that I found most useful, and caused me to purchase the book in the first place.

I am so pleased with this book and it has helped me out a lot with my dissertation. Great book and great value for money!
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on 3 January 2010
The content in the book is excellent and presented in a concise and easily accessible manner. I had the entire book read quite quickly and I feel I will be constantly referring back to it over the years.

I would disagree with the previous comments on the poor image quality. The black and white images and their relatively small size is not sufficient for examining the colour composition of shots etc. However, I think the author intended for the reader to watch/rewatch the movies and make reference to the scenes as illustrated in the book.
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on 29 June 2008
I just finished the book, it has a lot of interesting information that I haven't seen in other books. it can get a bit boring at a time as it seems to reuse some movies a bit too much..
I have to agree with one of the other readers that the images could have been a bit better..
I had one problem with the book.. It misses the last 4 pages for some reason (it is a brand new copy), maybe even more, but item 99 and 100 are missing from my copy of the book..
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on 8 August 2013
As someone who is interested in film making, I found this book fascinating. It covers a wide range of techniques and provides multiple examples. Some I was already aware of, but some that I had not encountered before. It details concise information about each technique with illustrative examples. It is odd that the images are not in colour, especially as some of the techniques are about it. It did encourage me to revisit several films, appreciating them anew.
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on 20 May 2009
If you've ever asked yourself, whilst planning your film, something like, "How would I represent the passage of time?" or "How can I enhance the emotion of the scene in post-production?" then you'll probably find this book very useful. It's clearly written and has stills from well-known films to illustrate the author's points. In addition to this, for many of the examples, the author has provided an extract from the script of the scene in discussion, so you can see what all of this is supposed to look like in writing as well as on screen.

This book covers almost all aspects of filmmaking which has to be taken into consideration individually to demostrate their effectiveness (eg. lighting, sound, camera angle, colour, pacing and so on). However, I found even as I was reading that I could see how diffent combinations of these techniques would have made the films I have worked on previously, more exciting or emotive.

I'm only halfway though and I feel that the knowledge I've gained from only reading half of the book will prove invaluable as I pursue a career in the film industry. The only thing that stopped me giving this book 5 stars was, as mentioned previously by other reviewers, the lack of colour in the illustrations. The images were not as poor as I was expecting, however, as another reviewer pointed out, poor image quality in a book that deals with a visual medium is weak.

Other than that, a great title and I would recommend it to film students, buffs and makers.
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on 1 November 2012
If you are starting out learning about how to film effectively this is a good book to buy. I've been filming for over 4 years now and bought this book to refresh myself on the theory of film. I do agree that the pictures could have been in colour and possibly newer examples used but this is not a major problem at all.
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