Filmmaking Books are an important part of every filmmaker’s arsenal. Below is a list of the most popular and best sell Filmmaking Books purchased by our readers on Amazon.
Many of these are “must read” industry standard books. These are great reads for almost any level of filmmaker, so consider checking them out.
Top Filmmaking Books
Grip & Lighting Books
Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and Electrical Distribution
A must own for Lighting Technicians of all levels! The information inside is invaluable. I’ve carried a copy of this book in my tool bag for 99% of all lighting jobs I’ve ever had. This is one of the most important filmmaking books a lighting technician can own.
[Read Our Review][Buy on Amazon]
The Grip Book: The Studio Grip’s Essential Guide
Although it may not be as popular as Harry C. Box’s Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook, Michael Uva’s the Grip Book is another fantastic read for grips of all levels. Be sure to keep it in your tool bag and read it between takes! [Buy on Amazon]
Film Lighting: Talks With Hollywood’s Cinematographers and Gaffers
A great read that features discussions about lighting with various professional film industry Cinematographers and Gaffers. This book rides a fine line between technical and theoretical content. [Buy on Amazon]
American Cinematographer Manual 10TH Edition
The American Cinematographer Manual is the go to book for DOPs of all levels. The tenth edition has been completely re-imagined to reflect the technological changes that our industry has experienced over the last decade
John Alton’s Painting With Light is a great read for Film Noir Cinematography buffs. Avoid the Kindle version though! Rumour has it that it leaves quite a bit out of the book compared the the hardback version
The Five C’s of Cinematography: Motion Picture Filming Techniques
Although this book hasn’t been updated in recent years, it is still one of the best cinematography books out there. It is easily one of the most widely respected books and a must read for cinematographers who are passionate about their craft.
Motion Picture and Video Lighting on Amazon
Blain Brown’s book is another one of those highly respected, must read books. It includes a DVD that shows you the difference between many type of soft and hard lights, light placement and more. What other book comes with an in depth visual guide?!? Just for the content contained in the book itself I’d recommend it to any film student or young, aspiring DOP, but the DVD itself is what puts it over the edge in terms of value for your money.
The Filmmaker’s Eye: The Language of the Lens: The Power of Lenses and the Expressive Cinematic Image
Gustavco Mercado’s book is all about the inner workings of the basic shots that create the cinematic experience and how visuals communicate to the audience. A perfect read for filmmakers of all levels, this book is a great aid in helping you to understand shot types, why they work and the visual “rules” of filmmaking.
Cinematography: Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers and Directors
This a a wonderful read that shows so that there is so much more to being a Cinematographer than taking light meter readings! Not only do you learn about the equipment and technology used, but also the concepts that will enable you to work like a professional level Director of Photography.
Running the Show: The Essential Guide to Being a First Assistant Director on Amazon
If the Set lighting Technicians Handbook is consider the Lighting Technician’s “Bible”, this would be the Assistant Director “Bible”. Another great read for Assistant Directors, perfect for learning as much as you can about the job before getting on your first job. This is easily one of the most impportant filmmaking books an Assistant Director</ a> can own.
Film Production Management 101-2nd edition: Management & Coordination in a Digital Age
Deborah Patz’ Film Production Management 101 and her previous book Surviving Production were adopted as “the essential road map to the business and logistics of on-the-job film and television production. These books where originally developed from practical tools that Patz created for film and television career. The book includes everything from budgeting, managing the production office, script revisions, cost reporting, publicity and more. This is a must own for filmmakers of all levels!
Producer to Producer: A Step-By-Step Guide to Low Budgets Independent Film Producing
Maureen Ryan’s Producer to Producer is another must own for filmmakers of all levels. This page turner is chalk full of useful tips, examples and interviews that will inspire you to get out there and produce some good work.
Independent Film Producing: How to Produce a Low-Budget Feature Film on Amazon
Paul Battista’s Independent Film Producing is another must read. although it may not have acclaim that some of the previously mentioned books may have, it is still a great read for filmmakers.
The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers: A Legal Toolkit for Independent Producers
This book by Thomas A. Crowell Esq. (Esquire, lol seriously, that’s awesome) goes over everything from using state film tax credits, safeguarding your pitches from getting stolen, product placements to dealing with your actor’s agents.
Scheduling and Budgeting Your Film: A Panic-Free Guide
This practical and easy to follow book is a great guide to scheduling and budgeting films and all sizes. Although this book can be very helpful to the independant filmmaker, it seems to be more aimed at production managers and producers.
Film & Video Budgets on Amazon
This in depth book by the same author of Producer to Producer goes deep into feature film budgets. This is another one that isn’t really aimed at the independent filmmaker.
Getting it Done: The Ultimate Production Assistant Guide
This book was written by a working Production Assistant as a tutorial for those starting out in the industry. Getting It Done gives us some quality information on the departments of a film set, day-to-day operations, paperwork and more.
The Production Assistant’s Pocket Handbook
Another book written by a working Production Assistant, Topics include getting your first job, the basics of locking down the set, radio communication, running talent, what to bring to a set, and driving and more.
Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics
Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen
Notes on Directing: 130 Lessons in Leadership from the Director’s Chair
Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television
In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition
Outliers: The Story of Success
Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player
The DSLR Filmmaker’s Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques
The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking: An Insider’s Guide to Making Movies Outside of Hollywood
Get in contact with us if you would like to suggest filmmaking books for this list.