Film Lighting: Talks with Hollywood’s Cinematographers and Gaffers

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Newly revised and expanded, Film Lighting is an indispensable sourcebook for the aspiring and practicing cinematographer, based on extensive interviews with leading cinematographers and gaffers in the film industry
Film lighting is a living, dynamic art influenced by new technologies and the individual styles of leading cinematographers. Reporting on the latest innovations and showcasing in-depth interviews with industry experts, Film Lighting provides an inside look at how cinematographers and film directors establish the visual concept of the film and use the lighting to help tell the story. Using firsthand material from experts such as Oscar-winning cinematographers Dion Beebe, Russell Carpenter, Robert Elswit, Mauro Fiore, Janusz Kaminski, Wally Pfister, Haskell Wexler, and Vilmos Zsigmond, this revised and expanded edition provides an invaluable opportunity to learn from the industry’s leaders.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reissue edition (December 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671766341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671766344
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces

Customer Reviews

This is must reading for those interested in cinematography.

29 people found this helpful.
 on November 18, 1997
By Michael Frediani
Kris Malkiewicz has assembled some of the finestcinematographers and gaffers in the world to create a must-have bookfor all aspiring and working Directors of Photography. This book is both technical and creative in description of design and technique. From Nestor Almendros, ASC to Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC and other contemporary greats in-between–the reader learns lighting of sets, close-ups, background plates and much more. Both soft-light and hard-light techniques are covered too. Reading the meter is discussed by Caleb Deshanel, ASC who states, “Basically I use the meter after I have finished lighting” to Malkiewicz who states, “a caucasian face has about 35 percent reflectance, but a black face reflects less than 16 percent.” He goes on to explain the proper technique for exposing dissimilar facial colors with reflective metering. The late James Wong Howe, ASC and Jordan Cronenweth, ASC are quoted describing their day-for-night techniques. All in all this book covers the basics and beyond and has served me well as a reference book that I consult from time to time, and recommend to others.

Not just a dull technical book . . . very interesting . . .

11 people found this helpful.
 on February 25, 1999
By hblee@cstone.net
I am an aspiring D.P., interested in lighting and camera operation. This book gives a good insight to the relationship between D.P. and director. It does not give dull “how to set up lights,” but provides some interesting information provided by some outstanding cinematographers, many are members of ASC. I found it to be an excellent read.

A definate must read for cinematographers and directors

6 people found this helpful.
 on October 23, 2001
By Michael P. Terrell
I am a director and found this book to be really intersting. I really enjoyed hearing advice and techniques from a collection of accomplished cinematographers and gaffers. Too many books just merely point out that there are many ways to approach lighting a scene. This actually shows how different people choose to light particular scenes.

Not for the beginner

3 people found this helpful.
 on May 19, 2009
By Anthony
As an amateur seeking to grow in professional production, this book was a great transitional piece. LOVED IT. Keep in mind that I was already familiar with lighting terms and techniques. This just helped me to polish my technique and better understand which lights do what etc….

The Short: A good general book that covers a large swath of different DP’s ideologies…

One person found this helpful.
 on September 25, 2014
By M. ewing
More Detailed:

Oldie, but a goodie

2 people found this helpful.
 on April 6, 2010
By David Coleman
If I had known it was written in 1986, I might not have purchased and read this book. That would have been a big mistake. Obviously, technology, imagers and instruments have changed since then, but the important things discussed herein by so many experienced cinematographers haven’t. Collaborating with designers, working with directors, working with different budgets, and practical examples of lighting are still applicable. The number and bona fides of the contributors make this an advanced course in film and video lighting.

A Must Read

 on September 22, 2013
By J. Plannette
This book explains what film lighting does and why it’s an art. All the great cinematographers and gaffers of the last thirty years get together and talk about lighting a scene. The idea that there are many ways to do the same thing is fascinating.

Fantastic, Absolutely Fantastic

 on September 23, 2012
By Sin Cohen
As a Gaffer by trade, I love this book. Fantastic mixture of technical information, an accurate industry attitude, and great volume of ‘slang’ compiled over many years of film making.

Excellent real life DP book…

 on August 6, 2012
By aroundlsu
This book has excellent interviews with all the top cinematographers in Hollywood. This is a current and modern cinematography book that uses terminology that’s actually used on set. Be careful with many of the other cinematography books which teach theory and film school techniques which unfortunately don’t really apply in the real world.

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