The 10 Best Books on Cinematography of All Time for 2021

A man recommending best books about Cinematography

In this article, I’ll discuss the 10 best cinematography books that are very important for learning and understanding the cinematography world. Moreover, I will also answer some of the very popular questions that are commonly asked by people in the FAQ section.

“Cinematography, a military art. Prepare a film like a battle.”

Robert Bresson,  French film director

You must have seen many movies like Bollywood Movies, Hollywood Movies, etc., some of which you may have liked very much and some have not. You may have liked the story of some films, the music of some films, and the visuals of some films. Probably, you may have heard the people saying the cinematography of ‘X’ movie is very good.

Have you ever thought about how important cinematography is for video and image creation?

It is true that the content is the king. The more interesting the content is, the more attention of viewers it will get. But, does only a story make any film successful? No, there are many factors that make any film successful. One of the most important factors is cinematography.

If the pictures are not interesting, the film will lose the attention of the audience. Strong cinematography supports films. Cinematography is the only way to make any simple video very interesting. This is why cinematography is the most important part of filmmaking today. So, it is very important for the cinematographer to enhance their skills continuously.

The best way to improve this skill is by reading books. There are thousands of books are available now written by experts in this field. They explained all ins and outs of cinematography very comprehensively. So, you should read those books if you are really serious about cinematography.

Are you really serious about cinematography?

Let’s explore these books-

List of 10 Best Books on Cinematography

Introduction to Cinematography: Learning Through Practice

AuthorTania Hoser
Publication2018
Rating4.7 out of 5

“Introduction to Cinematography” is one of the best cinematography books that discusses almost everything from learning to practice. The book explains how the combination of skills and creativity involved in cinematography makes a great impact on people. It is the best example book that teaches how to use waveforms, false color, and zebras for monitoring light levels and meters for guiding exposure choices.



The Five C’s of Cinematography

AuthorJoseph V. Mascelli
Publication1998
Rating4.7 out of 5

Joseph V. Mascelli’s book “The Five C’s of Cinematography” is a best-selling book in cinematography on Amazon. This book is filled with very much information that essentially breaks down cinematography to its fundamentals. The book also has great guidance on video direction and production. Along with this, it describes how a story can be told in the visual medium of motion pictures with the help of camera angles, continuity, cutting, close-ups, and composition. Truly, It is one of the best books for cinematographers.



The Filmmaker’s Eye

AuthorGustavo Mercado
Publication2019
Rating4.6 out of 5

“The Filmmaker’s Eye” is a great book that basically focuses on the technique of how to use the camera effectively. It begins with an introduction to lenses explaining how they can be used to capture the light for cinematic purposes. The book will teach several methods for taking cinematic shots which is the best thing about it. Anyone with or without basic knowledge of cinematography can easily correlate themselves with this book.



Cinematography: Theory and Practice

AuthorBlain Brown
Publication2016
Rating4.6 out of 5

“Cinematography” by Blain Brown is an excellent book that is loaded with lots of examples from major films. It covers the artistic side as well as the quite deep technical elements that make it more interesting. Visual language, Visual storytelling, Exposure techniques for film and video, Optics and focus, ASC-CDL, ACES, and other new methods and Camera movement are the few topics that are explained in this book very comprehensively.



Lighting for Cinematography

AuthorDavid Landau
Publication2014
Rating4.6 out of 5

As the title suggests, “Lighting for Cinematography” is one of the best cinematography books that is a practical guide to the art and craft of lighting. The author’s real-world stories and experiences are well translated in this book so that you can get sufficient knowledge about cinematography. Moreover, it is a well-written and very interesting book that makes it easy to read and understand the book.



Film Lighting: Talks with Hollywood’s Cinematographers and Gaffers

AuthorKris Malkiewicz
Publication2012
Rating4.6 out of 5

As lighting is the most important part of the film, Kris Malkiewicz’s “Film lighting” describes every aspect of light. This book is a living and dynamic art influenced by new technologies and the changing style of leading cinematographers. In addition, this book is also good for learning about photography lighting, stagecraft, and video reference.



Painting with Light

AuthorJohn Alton
Publication1995
Rating4.5 out of 5

Painting With Light ” is a classic book by John Alton which is a wonderful introduction to the workings of the Hollywood system. Through this informative book, you will learn some essential theories that will help you to be a pro or understand cinematography. The author also gives many examples of working quickly and innovatively through this book.



Sight Sound Motion

AuthorHerbert Zettl
Publication2016
Rating4.5 out of 5

Herbert Zettl’s book “Sight, Sound, Motion” is good for understanding the art of film and video, general broadcasting, and film and television. It discusses how much sight or lens, motion or angels, and sound are important for cinematography. The author also focused on how to improve these factors effectively and make the video very engaging.



Digital Cinematography

AuthorDavid Stump
Publication2013
Rating4.4 out of 5

David Stump has explained the fundamentals of digital cinematography with the help of tools, techniques, and workflows. He has shared decades of experience, knowledge, and expertise in cinematography and the filmmaking process through this book. This book is comprehensive, easy to read, and a valuable reference for everyone in digital image and video production.



FilmCraft

AuthorMike Goodridge, Tim Grierson
Publication2012
Rating4.3 out of 5

FilmCraft” is a collaboration book of some successful directors, cinematographers, and artistic masters. The book includes in-depth coverage of the fascinating profession as well as compelling interviews that will help you to understand the hidden side of cinematography. Ultimately, it is a fantastic book for those who are wanting to read interviews of a few of the cinema’s top cinematographers.



FAQ

The combination of different shots, angles, and views is called cinematography. Technically we can say that the combination of art and craft is known as cinematography which we see in the video, screen, and TV.

Filmmaking is a process in which a person directs the film whereas, in cinematography, a person handles the camera activities. In simple terms, a filmmaker decides the story, directs actors, and responsible for the production of the film. On the other hand, a cinematographer is responsible for transforming a story into a visual form with the help of cameras.

A cinematographer is someone who transforms the vision of the filmmaker into visual reality whereas a director is someone who directs the actors on how to perform, when to perform and where to perform.

There is no doubt that film production is growing very fast. So, it is obvious that filmmakers need producers, choreographers, cinematographers for their films. As a result, their demand is continuously increasing. So, there is a good career opportunity for cinematographers.

John Schwartzman, an American cinematographer is the best cinematographer in the world. He is best known for his work on Jurassic World for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography.

There are mainly six elements of cinematography that are as follows,

  1. Camera Placement
  2. Camera Movement
  3. Short Composition
  4. Short Size
  5. Focus
  6. Lighting


Conclusion

Today, cinematography has become a crucial part of the success of the film industry. Without it, it is next to impossible for any film, web series, TV series to succeed. For a cinematographer, whether he or she is a beginner or an advanced, he or she must read these books.

I have mentioned these 10 best books on cinematography after researching a lot. You should pay attention to these books. It will greatly help in understanding the world of cinematography completely.

If this article has added any value to your life, share it with your friends so that they too can take advantage of this article and get acquainted with these best cinematography books.

Thank you.

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