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GRAMMAR OF THE FILM LANGUAGE Paperback – 1 Nov 1991

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: SILMAN-JAMES PRESS; New Ed edition (1 Nov. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 187950507X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879505070
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Unequivocally the best reference for shots and blocking. Strickly for the professional director and cinematographer; this is a highly technical book. I refer to this book during my prep for each film, and no matter how many times I have read it, I am always reminded of something dynamic and valuable. Each page has storyboard drawings that show camera position, screen direction, and sequence of cuts. Also shown are dolly moves and character movement. These diagrams are accompanied by clear and detailed commentary. The book is organized with the most basic coverage at the beginning, and each chapter thereafter presents increasing complexity of blocking. The shots presented are all from actual films, a factor that gives the material and the book an aliveness and vitality. Some of these films are complete unknowns, others are classics. Yet the source is inconsequential; what is amazing is that Mr. Arijon has essentially put into this book every possible combination of camera placement and character arrangement that has ever been done in cinema. Every director I have shown this book to has immediately gone out and gotten their own copy for reference. Anyone planning to direct or shoot a film will find this book an invaluable contribution to their ideas and creativity.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an extremely comprehensive, yet straight forward piece of work. As a teacher in Further education my experience tells me that no one book can be definitive in facilitating learning, however, to use a well work phrase "if you only ever buy one book on directing...buy this publication"!
I have bought a number of books on the art of film making, most are jumbled and incomplete in their advice. Mr Arijon's book is superb, in most areas he profers the reader with a myriad of filming techniques accompanied with good clear diagrams.
This is the only book I have read that offers clear intricate diagrams that actually help you stage shots, both simple and difficult.
The advice is clear and useful. My advice for the amateur and seasoned filmaker is to have a copy of this book on your shelf along with "setting up your shots" by Jeremy Vinyard. This demonstrates camera moves which are also very important and useful to underrstanding the art of directing and editing.I am not an easy person to please. So get yourself a copy of this book and Go make a film!
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Format: Paperback
Whilst flawed, this is the only fully comprehensive book on how to place the camera. It gives exhaustive examples on all sorts, e.g. two person dialogue, three person conversation, four or more person , editing patterns for static dialogue scenes, screen motion, motion inside the screen, motion into and out of shot, player a moves towards player b, using master shots to cover motions on the screen, players move together, other types of motion (e.g. circular, vertical, dynamic stops), panning camera, travelling camera, cranes, zooms, action scenes, using zones of action, film punctuation. It's only flaw is that the diagrams were made by someone who sometimes prefered drawing unclothed women in totally unprovocative scenes next to clothed men. If you can get past the thing that this book is not politically correct, and you want to make films and TOTALLY want to understand camera blocking - you ABSOLUTELY cannot find a better book. This is the ONLY filmmaking book i would buy again if i lost it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unexpected art is a predominent feature of this book, if you like to look at scantily dressed girls you will not be disappointed. As to its purpose, and ignoring the blue pencil of censor, it is filled with so much information as to be overbearingly detailed. As to multiple cameras being cut as in 1-3-3-2-4-3-5-2-2-1-4 as a standard, I really fail to see that one sequence is any better than another, for it all depends upon who is talking or what you wish to imply or be perceived by the viewer. However, if you have the stamina to read it from cover to cover, it will leave you with at least ten years of experience ... but you will have aged. Times have changed and film grammar is abused beyond the pale today, as the kids have uploaded so much rubbish to YouTube and the like that we have lost the knowledge of recognising right from wrong, the attitude being 'who cares anyway'. This book is for the professional film maker, so, if your aspirations don't rate that high, don't buy it. It will make you realise just how poorly our filming standards really are today, save but a few.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw this book 27 yrs ago in hard back borrowed it as a student filmmaker.. It allowed me to see how shots are made up, how they fit and why, it contains examples from the masters like David Lean, Hitchcock, Spielberg and many many more - Seriously I cannot recommend it enough!! Don't think about it buy it!!!
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up some time ago knowing nothing about it really. Since then (as a film maker) I have looked at it for inspiration and confirmation about how and where to place a camera. It's been said else where but I agree, if I lost this book I would 100% get another one.

The book is technical and complex, and unless you are planning an epic, or have to tell a complicated story from multi changing camera angles I wouldn't bother.

If you are serious about the craft of camera work, and I mean serious, then get a copy for your shelf.

O'h one word of warning, the illustration are a bit non PC and outrageous at times. You would't get them published if you wrote the book today(this book was published 1st in 1976), but don't let that put you off too much.
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