the fundamentals of filmmaking 


By Bill Kallay

Kids, or shall I say, young adults going to film school have it easy today. No longer bound by analog technology, film school students can make fancy movies with cool visual effects and surround sound. Back in the old days, oh, 20 years ago, budding filmmakers had to rely on actual film stock, film labs, magnetic film recorders, Moviola editing machines and grouchy film professors. It was very hard work, and it was very expensive just to make a short film.

In fact, one of the dreadful aspects of film school in those "old days" was being assigned reading. One had to read old, stodgy, outdated and highly inaccurate textbooks about film. Today, it's much different. Many film-related books are entertaining, colorful, and collectable.

A new book by author Jane Barnwell, "The Fundamentals of Film-making" (AVA Publishing SA), offers readers a quick and entertaining reference guide to the art of making films. If you've ever wondered what a treatment is, or what a gaffer does, Barnwell's book is a valuable addition to your personal library.

Barnwell, the Senior Lecturer at London Metropolitan University, carefully breaks down nearly every position on a film set. She lists the different departments and job titles (with their descriptions) that one would find by visiting a film set. Her writing is straight to the point and easy to read. What I enjoyed about her book was the fact that she combines references to both old and new films. Her readers aren't subjected to endless paragraphs on why "Citizen Kane" or "Birth of a Nation" were towering film achievements. They were, of course, monumental films. But she keeps the prose fresh by speaking about new films and new filmmaking techniques.

Film technology has changed drastically in the last ten years. Twenty years ago, it was laughable that serious filmmakers would be shooting with video equipment. But here we are shooting big budgeted films in high definition. Barnwell covers the technical side of film, as well. She writes about everything from lenses to sound. She's even included information on the differences between film and high definition video.

Barnwell's book is the introduction to a series of books on filmmaking. Producing, directing, screenwriting and "The Language of Film" are covered. All are available at http://www.avabooks.ch/index.php.

Barnwell has written a fine introductory guide to filmmaking. She has managed to condense a lot of information into an easy-to-read reference guide. Film students of today, you never had it so easy.             

Special thanks to Rosalind Palmer

Photo: © AVA Publishing SA. All rights reserved.



Author: Jane Barnwell

Cast: --  



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