Mini Book review: Setting Up Your Shots

Matt Kelland (he of Short Fuze and Moviestorm fame) lent me a book the other day called Setting Up Your Shots (Jeremy Vineyard & Jose Cruz, Michael Wiese 2000, ISBN 0-941188-73-6, buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk). It’s a fantastic book for a filmmaker, covering over a hundred classic shots and camera moves.

The great thing about it is that, to accompany Vineyard’s excellent and non-nonsense descriptions of each shot, professional storyboard artist Cruz has provided an illustration of the technique in use. Each shot is also accompanied by two or three examples from classic films, showing the technique in use. The chances are high that you’ll have seen at least one of the films mentioned, so you’ll be able to say “Oh, that bit.”

If you’re an experienced filmmaker, much of the information in this book won’t be news to you, but it’s presented in such a clear and concise manner that it may well cause you to think differently about the common shots that you use every day. Whether you’re learning or revising from this book, though, having such a comprehensive manual of classic camera techniques on your desk can only benifit your filmmaking. I’d recommend this book to all of you, no matter your experience or filmmaking style. Setting Up Your Shots is fabulous stuff (and stupidly cheap, too!).

Other books in the series include Cinematic Storytelling(Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk) and Setting Up Your Scenes (Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk). I’ve got them all on order, and they’ll have a prominent place on my bookshelf as soon as they arrive.