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Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen (Michael Wiese Productions) Paperback – 1 Jul 1991
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Film Directing Shot by Shot offers a good introduction to the rudiments of film production. Steven D. Katz walks his readers through the various stages of moviemaking, advising them at every turn to visualise the films they wish to produce. Katz believes that one of the chief tasks of filmmaking is to negotiate between our three-dimensional reality and the two-dimensionality of the screen. He covers the number of technical options filmmakers can use to create a satisfying flow of shots, a continuity that will make sense to viewers and aptly tell the film's story. Katz provides in-depth coverage of production design, storyboarding, spatial connections, editing, scene staging, depth of frame, camera angles, point of view and the various types of stable compositions and moving camera shots. --Jake Bond
"Now that you've got a couple of shorts under your belt, why not get a little more analytic? Steven Katz's book gives a great breakdown of the fundamentals of film directing. It's not something you might want to start off by reading, but once you are ready to have your films take that next step this should be number one on your to do list. Katz breaks down film language for you so that you can learn how to speak it in your own way." - www.austinfilmfestival.comSee all Product description
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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.
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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