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   Training Review
   Setting Up Your Shots:
   Great Camera Moves Every Filmmaker
   Should Know
   Author: Jeremy Vineyard
   Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions
   Format: Instructional Book (132 pgs.)
   Topic: Cinematic Concepts

   MSRP: $19.99
   For Special Price: Click Here

   Website: Michael Wiese Productions
   Release Dates: January 15, 2000
   Review Date: February 15, 2006

   Reviewed By: Jeremy Hanke

Final Score:

It's been out for a few years, but Setting Up Your Shots is the sort of book that I wanted to make sure we reviewed here at Microfilmmaker Magazine, as it is packed with useful shots that can help inspire you to try new things with your camera and to make sure you and your DP/Cinematographer are on the same page, using the same language.

Setting Up Your Shots provides over a 100 different camera moves and editing techniques you can familiarize yourself with and showcases what popular movies have used these techniques, which in turn allows you to rewatch some of your favorites with new meaning.

With a very straightforward approach to cinematography, Jeremy Vineyard has created a book that is very simple to understand and utilize. His writing style is easy to follow and makes logical sense to any reader. The book makes use of plenty of drawings that illustrate the moves described in the book, so that you never are at a loss as what is being shown. While some folks might desire photos and screen captures rather than drawings, I actually found the drawings to be much easier to follow, as illustrations can more easily focus on just the elements you want to bring to the surface, without getting overwhelmed by all the data stored in a photograph. (Plus, the fact that these illustrations use standard storyboard layouts and symbols helps convey the usefulness of storyboards.)

Additionally, the fact that the book references a number of films that you are likely to have seen, from The Matrix to The Crow to Goodfellas, increases the ease with which you'll understand the information stored within its pages.

Depth of Information
Although Setting Up Your Shots is only 132 pages long, it's packed with useful information on camerawork and editing for almost any reader. Film students will find that this book gives them a great framework to learn about the basics of filmmaking while more experienced filmmakers will find this to be a good refresher book. Plus, it makes a great primer for the much more advanced cinematography training series like Hollywood Camerawork (which we reviewed in our October issue).

Each of the camera shots and editing techniques featured in this book, from a simple long shot to a collapsing dolly to an inventory POV to a freeze frame to a montage, has a description of what it's used to convey, what films you will see it in, and an easy to grasp storyboard picture illustrating the move or edit. Tired of not knowing what that 'cool' paranoia-inspiring zoom is that you've seen in films which involve a person's background appearing to zoom in around them? Just flip to the 'Techniques of Movement' section to discover that it is, in fact, Vertigo--a dolly zoom made popular by Alfred Hitchcock, which utilizes a forward dolly and a simultaneous pull zoom to keep a subject the same size while the background shifts perspective rapidly!

One of the elements that I especially liked about this book was the way it encourages you to think of the camera in different ways. It makes you take all the notions that we often have about cameras and kind of throw them out the window. Even though most of the films Vineyard quotes from are fairly mainstream, you'll discover many different elements of the language of camerawork that can be re-combined into all new configurations with all new meanings. It's sort of like realizing that, although there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, you can use them to form a nearly endless stream of words and sentences, each of which is different. Now, imagine what you can do if you think about more than 100 'letters'…think of how many unique 'words' and 'sentences' you can compose with those!

To further help you with this, each chapter includes cinematography and editing tests and trials for you to play with yourself to see what effects you like and find most easy to achieve. Vineyard encourages you to try so many things with camera movement and editing techniques that it's impossible to read this book and not get a few new ideas for upcoming films!

Interest Level
In addition to being easy to understand and full of information, Setting Up Your Shots stays interesting as you are reminded of camera shots that you had forgotten or are introduced to ones you might never have seen. The fact that they include multiple suggested movies with each shot encourages you to take that interest to the next level by renting some of the films you might not have seen and watching how they look.

The fact that each shot is given it's own page makes this a fast book to find a shot you liked with simple instructions on how to pull it off. This means that you'll be grabbing this book every time you want to jog your memory or illustrate an idea to your cinematographer. Because of how compact this book is, this is an excellent one to tuck into the side panel of your medium-sized camera bag and take with you as you shoot your film.

Value vs. Cost
While $20 may seem like a lot for a 132 page book, the amount of information that's been crammed into it and the ease with which Vineyard's made this information accessible makes this a great value. This contains more practical information about cinematography (and how it relates to editing) than the majority of first year film text books on the market and is substantially cheaper than the $60+ price tag on most of those text books!

Overall Comment
Whether you're a director, an editor, or just a student of film, Setting Up Your Shots is a great investment that will help you prepare for future projects in the film industry. If you're looking to get into full time cinematography, then Setting Up Your Shots provides a great primer to more advanced shooting sets like Hollywood Camerawork. No matter which way you cut it, this is a book that almost anyone in the microfilmmaking industry should own.

Depth of Information            
Interest Level            
           Value vs. Cost            
Overall Score           

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