Grammar of the Shot: 4th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Grammar of the Shot

4th Edition

By Christopher J. Bowen

© 2018 – Focal Press

308 pages | 200 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138632226
pub: 2017-07-13
Hardback: 9781138632219
pub: 2017-07-13

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The newly-revised and updated fourth edition of Grammar of the Shot teaches readers the principles behind successful visual communication in motion media through shot composition, screen direction, depth cues, lighting, camera movement, and shooting for editing. Many general practices are suggested that should help to create rich, multi-layered visuals. Designed as an easy-to-use reference, Grammar of the Shot presents each topic succinctly with clear photographs and diagrams illustrating key concepts, practical exercises, and quiz questions, and is a staple of any filmmaker’s library.

New to the fourth edition:

  • an expanded companion website at, offering downloadable scenes and editable raw footage so that students can practice the techniques described in the book, and instructional videos showcasing examples of different compositional choices;
  • new and expanded quiz questions and practical exercises at the end of each chapter to help test readers on their knowledge using real-world scenarios;
  • updated topic discussions, explanations, illustrations, and visual examples.

Together with its companion volume, Grammar of the Edit, the core concepts discussed in these books offer concise and practical resources for both experienced and aspiring filmmakers.

Table of Contents

1. The Shots: What, How and Why?

2. The Basics of Composition

3. Composition – Beyond the Basics

4. Lighting Your Shots – Not Just What You See, but How You See It

5. Will it Cut? Shooting for Editing

6. Dynamic Shots – Subjects and Camera in Motion

7. Working Practices and General Guidelines

8 Concluding Thoughts

About the Author

Christopher J. Bowen has worked within the motion media industries for over 18 years as a cinematographer, editor, director, and educator. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Film Production and Visual Media Writing at Framingham State University. He is also an Avid Certified Instructor, Creative Director of his own media production company, Fellsway Creatives, and author of the companion text, Grammar of the Edit.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Film & Video
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General