Useful Books & Materials

The following is a list of books and resources that may be of use to you.  There is no order of preference in the following links.

Disclaimer:  For sake of ease the links below lead to Amazon pages for each of the products.
This is not an endorsement of Amazon or any of their affiliates.
No financial gain will be brought to any of the Understanding Cinema blog administrators should you purchase from Amazon after clicking through from this site.
Please  consider supporting your local bookseller when purchasing any of the following books.  Thank you.

On Film-making by Alexander Mackendrick

A superb book on the craft of film-making by the director of Whisky Galore, The Man in the White Suit and many other classics.  Mackendrick taught film making at the California Institute of The Arts for many years.  His book is particularly interesting in relation to story and story telling through film as a visual medium.

The Story of Film by Mark Cousins

Mark Cousin’s book is a unique resource detailing the development of film from the days of the Lumiere Brothers all the way up to 2011.  It’s a comprehensive read, which is both informative and entertaining.  It is also available as a 5 disc DVD box set.  The Story of Film: An Odyssey [DVD]  Schools in Edinburgh should have access to this box set for free from their own resources.  It’s totally invaluable.

The Visual Story: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, TV and Digital Media by Bruce Block

This book is useful for gathering your thoughts on the visual construction of the images in your film, and how it relates to the story you want to tell.  It is particularly strong on space and what affect objects in the lens have on the viewer.

In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing by Walter Murch

This entertaining book introduces a philosophy of editing.  The light, conversational tone allows it to get some very powerful ideas across.

Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know by Jennifer Van Sijll

Through the course of 17 chapters, this book covers a lot of things that you’ll find out you knew, but had never thought about, and many more that you were not aware of at all.  A very useful book for a classroom resource.

Magic Hour: A Life in Movies by Jack Cardiff

A very entertaining account of a life spent behind the camera photographing some of the greatest films in the history of cinema.  The book is accompanied by a film documentary, where you can see a lot of his work in the flesh.  The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff, Cameraman

Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen by Steve Katz

A book full of useful information on how shots are practically achieved.

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

One of the most complete books on the film making process you will ever read.  An account of Lumet’s decades long career told through technical and practical details of each of the core elements of the film making process.  The section on the train leaving the station in Murder on the Orient Express is captivating, it reads like a thriller, leaving you on the edge of your seat and yet imparts a fine series of practical points, too.  There is a talking book version of the text, which makes for gripping listening.

Clapper Board

When filming a clapperboard is vital.  It lets you know where you are and which scene is which with ease when you get in to an editing session.
It’s also a very useful role for someone to perform in a classroom situation.
The Clapperboard Operator is another role for your students to perform, that requires concentration and skill.

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2 thoughts on “Useful Books & Materials

  1. Thanks for that, I’ve ordered a couple of these books and the clapperboard will keep us organised, the groups will love using it

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