The cinematographer must translate the ideas and emotions contained in a script into something that can be physically seen and felt onscreen, helping the director to fulfil the vision of the film. The shots may look good, but they will not serve the story until the composition, lenses, and lighting express, enhance, and reveal the underlying emotions and subtext of the story. By making physical the ideas and emotions of the story, the cinematographer supports blocking as a visual form of the story through these tools.
Rather than delve into technical training, Basic Cinematography helps to train the eye and heart of cinematographers as visual storytellers, providing them with a strong foundation for their work, so that they’re ready with creative ideas and choices on set in order to make compelling images that support the story.
The book includes tools, tables, and worksheets on how to enhance students and experienced filmmakers with strong visual storytelling possibilities, including such features as:
"The most appealing aspect of Basic Cinematography is its focus on a holistic, story-driven approach to introductory cinematography material, rather than the heavily technical explanations which dominate many text books. The author divides the discipline into useful and distinct creative processes across several chapters, illustrating each with a case study, which makes the craft easily accessible for a beginning filmmaker. The practice of cinematography involves tools and techniques that are changing at an increasingly rapid rate so this book’s emphasis on visual storytelling and creative principles is a great addition to the field that will continue to be relevant in cinematography education for many years."
Alexander Nevill, Cinematographer and Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University
"This new book on cinematography is an ideal complement to the well-known ones that are widely used in academia. It is a very tangible book that allows teachers to provide and share the essence of cinematography into the classroom for the new generation of filmmakers to realize and push their new-found skillsets to the next level."
Hans Rosenwinkel, Producer/Director/DP – Evolution Media TV and Associate Professor of Film & TV, College of Arts & Media, University of Colorado – Denver
"Inspired by the narrative of the script, the characters, and the movement of the plot, it is the cinematographer's mission to translate the script into a visual language, through images that echo both its inherent blueprint as well as what is also only hinted at… While nothing can replace hands-on, immersive experience, Lancaster’s book Basic Cinematography provides strong tools for visual storytellers… breaking down and delineating the basic elements of the language of film that inspire conscious and thoughtful choices that will allow you to find your own voice when writing with images."
Manuel Billeter, Cinematographer, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher
Foreward by Manuel Billeter
Chapter 1: Visual Storytelling Through Blocking
Chapter 2: Visual Storytelling Through Lenses and Composition
Chapter 3: Visual Storytelling Through Lighting
Chapter 4: Visual Storytelling with Camera Log, RAW, and LUTs
Chapter 5: Workflow Tools for the Beginning Cinematographyer
Afterword by Robery Buchar