Basic Cinematography: A Creative Guide to Visual Storytelling

1st Edition

Kurt Lancaster

Published May 3, 2019
Textbook - 281 Pages
ISBN 9780815396451 - CAT# K344915

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The cinematographer must translate the ideas and emotions contained in a script into something that can be physically seen and felt onscreen, helping the director to fulfil the vision of the film. The shots may look good, but they will not serve the story until the composition, lenses, and lighting express, enhance, and reveal the underlying emotions and subtext of the story. By making physical the ideas and emotions of the story, the cinematographer supports blocking as a visual form of the story through these tools.

Rather than delve into technical training, Basic Cinematography helps to train the eye and heart of cinematographers as visual storytellers, providing them with a strong foundation for their work, so that they’re ready with creative ideas and choices on set in order to make compelling images that support the story.

The book includes tools, tables, and worksheets on how to enhance students and experienced filmmakers with strong visual storytelling possibilities, including such features as:

  • Dramatic script analysis that will help unlock blocking, composition, and lighting ideas that reveal the visual story
  • Ten tools of composition
  • Psychological impact of lenses, shot sizes, and camera movement
  • Six elements of lighting for visual storytelling
  • What to look for beneath the "hood" of cameras, including using camera log, RAW, and LUTs
  • Dramatic analysis chart and scene composition chart to help plan your shoots
  • Case studies from such visually cinematic shows and documentaries as Netflix’s Godless, Jessica Jones, The Crown, and Chef’s Table, as well as examples from classroom exercises
  • Features insights from the DP of Jessica Jones, Manuel Billeter, and the DP of Chef’s Table, Adam Bricker.


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