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Grammar of the Shot, 2nd Edition

Book Description

Learn how to use the basic “grammar” of making films and videos in Grammar of the Shot! This book shows you in no uncertain terms what you absolutely need to know to put together your own film or video, shot by shot. Whether you are just learning how to frame a shot or if you just need a refresher, this book gives you a basic toolkit of how to build a successful visual story that flows smoothly. Grammar of the Shot begins with an explanation of the essential visual language of filmmaking-the book takes you from the basic shape of a shot, to different types to shots, to composition of visual elements within each frame. You will be given the basic building blocks essential for successful shot lighting, screen direction, 3D elements, camera movement, and many general practices that make for a richer, multi-layered visual presentation. Most importantly, you will be given crucial background information to expand your visual vocabulary and help jumpstart your career in film and video. Designed as an easy-to-use reference, each topic is covered succinctly and is accompanied by clear photographs and diagrams that illustrate the key concepts presented in the book. Simple, elegant, and easy to use, Grammar of the Shot is a staple of any filmmaker’s library.

Don't miss the companion volume, Grammar of the Edit! (9780240521206)



* A simple and clear overview of the principles of shooting...timeless information that will improve your work
* Designed as a quick reference: each topic covered in an illustrated two-page spread
* Together with its companion volume Grammar of the Edit, these little books are all the beginning filmmaker needs

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Introduction
  8. Chapter One – The Shot and How to Frame It
    1. What to Show Your Audience?
    2. Aspect Ratio
    3. The Basic Building Blocks—The Different Shot Type Families
      1. Medium Shot
      2. Close-Up
      3. Long Shot
    4. The Extended Family of Basic Shots
      1. Extreme Long Shot
      2. Very Long Shot
      3. Long Shot/Wide Shot
      4. Medium Long Shot
      5. Medium Shot
      6. Medium Close-Up
      7. Close-Up
      8. Big Close-Up
      9. Extreme Close-Up
    5. End of Chapter One Review
  9. Chapter Two – The Art of Composition
    1. Simple Rules for Framing Human Subjects
    2. Headroom
    3. Subjective vs Objective Shooting Styles
    4. Look Room
    5. The Rule of Thirds
    6. Camera Angle
    7. Horizontal Camera Angles
    8. Vertical Camera Angles
    9. High Angle Shot
    10. Low Angle Shot
    11. The Two-Shot: Frame Composition with Two People
    12. The Profile Two-Shot
    13. The Direct to Camera Two-Shot
    14. The Over-the-Shoulder Two-Shot
    15. Wrapping up the Basics of Composition
    16. End of Chapter Two Review
  10. Chapter Three – Composition—Beyond the Basics
    1. The Third Dimension
    2. The Horizon Line
    3. Dutch Angle
    4. Diagonal Lines
    5. The Depth of Film Space—Foreground/Middle Ground/Background
      1. Foreground
      2. Middle Ground
      3. Background
    6. Depth Cues
    7. The Camera Lens—The Eye in Composition
    8. The Zoom Lens
    9. Lens Focus—Directing the Viewer’s Eye Around Your Frame
      1. Pulling Focus vs Following Focus
    10. Light in Composition—Now You See It, Now You Don’t
    11. Light as Energy
    12. Color Temperature
    13. Natural or Artificial Light
    14. Quantity of Light: Sensitivity and Exposure
    15. Quality of Light: Hard vs Soft
    16. Contrast
    17. Basic Character Lighting: Three Point Method
    18. Set and Location Lighting
    19. End of Chapter Three Review
  11. Chapter Four-Putting Your Shots Together: Prethinking the Editing Process
    1. Matching Your Shots in a Scene
    2. Continuity
    3. Continuity of Screen Direction
    4. The Line—Basis for Screen Direction
    5. The Imaginary Line—The 180 Degree Rule
    6. “Jumping the Line”
    7. The 30 Degree Rule
    8. Reciprocating Imagery
    9. Eye-Line Match
    10. End of Chapter Four Review
  12. Chapter Five – Dynamic Shots—Talent and Camera in Motion
    1. Blocking Talent
    2. Camera in Motion
    3. Handheld
      1. Advantages
      2. Disadvantages
    4. Pan and Tilt
    5. Shooting the Pan and the Tilt
      1. The Start Frame
      2. The Camera Movement
      3. The End Frame
    6. Equipment Used to Move the Camera
    7. Tripod
    8. Dolly
    9. Crab
    10. Truck
      1. Steadicam
    11. Cranes and Such
    12. End of Chapter Five Review
  13. Chapter Six – Working Practices and General Guidelines
    1. Communicating with Talent
    2. Shooting a Big Close-Up or Extreme Close-Up
    3. Ensure an Eye Light
    4. Safe Action Line and Domestic Cutoff
    5. Follow Action with Loose Pan and Tilt Tripod Head
    6. Shooting Overlapping Action for the Edit
      1. Continuity of Action
      2. Matching Speed of Action
      3. Overlapping Too Much Action
    7. Shooting Ratio
    8. Storyboards and Shot Lists
    9. Always Have Something in Focus
    10. Frame for Correct “Look Room” on Shots That Will Edit Together
    11. Shoot Matching Camera Angles When Covering Dialogue
    12. Place Important Objects in the Top Half of Your Frame
    13. Be Aware of the Color Choices Made Throughout Your Project
    14. Always Be Aware of Headroom
    15. Keep Distracting Objects Out of the Shot
    16. Use the Depth of Your Film Space to Stage Shots with Several People
    17. In a Three Person Dialogue Scene, Matching Two Shots Can Be Problematic for the Editor
    18. Try to Always Show Both Eyes of Your Subject
    19. Be Aware of Eye-Line Directions in Closer Shots
    20. Understand When and How to Perform a Zoom during a Shot
    21. Motivate Your Truck In and Truck Out Dolly Moves
    22. Ways to Cross the 180 Degree Line Safely
    23. Allow the Camera More Time to Record Each Shot
    24. Allow All Actions to Complete before Cutting Camera
    25. During Documentary Shooting Be as Discrete as Possible
    26. Beware of Continuity Traps While Shooting a Scene
    27. Use Short Focal Length Lenses to Hide Camera Movement
    28. Beware of Wide Lenses When Shooting Close-Up Shots
    29. Control Your Depth of Field
    30. Slate the Head of Your Shots
    31. End of Chapter Six Review
  14. Chapter Seven-In Conclusion
    1. Know the Rules Before You Break the Rules
    2. The Reason for Shooting Is Editing
    3. Your Shots Should Enhance the Entire Story
    4. Involve the Viewer as Much as Possible
    5. Try Hard Not to Be Obtrusive
    6. Know Your Equipment
    7. Be Familiar with Your Subject
    8. Understand Lighting—Both Natural and Artificial
    9. Study What Has Already Been Done
    10. In Summation
  15. Glossary
  16. Index