The Eye is Quicker

by Richard PeppermanThis is one of the most inspirational books I’ve read in quite some time. There are more than a few books about filmmaking in my personal library, but lately it feels as though I’m drowning in tutorials and software features. I set out to find the best book on editing, not as a series of mouse clicks, but as a way to approach filmmaking. I’m glad to say I’ve found that book: The Eye is Quicker. I was particularly delighted to discover that the author is also a teacher. It has become apparent that those who have an excellent resume don’t necessarily understand how to “pass on essential knowledge” as this author does. He makes several comments about frequent pitfalls he sees in his students and how to avoid those yourself. I truly felt like I was learning from someone with tremendous experience who genuinely wants to teach others. Take your time with this book. Soak it in. The knowledge runs deeper than the “how,” as it gets to the “why.”

[Digital] Lighting and Rendering

by Jeremy BirnThere were many times when I had to put the book down, and pick up my jaw while reading this book. It is phenomenal! This book is loaded with tips and tricks that you’ve spent weeks trying to figure out. The author explains things so well, you can’t help but understand it. He offers real, usable advice straight from his experience working in the industry (at Pixar, last I knew). Don’t hesitate on this one. (Note: there is an updated version of this book which was readily added to my wish list.)

[Digital] Cinematography and Directing

by Dan AblanGood stuff! …really good stuff. There’s a lot of highly useful guidelines in this book –clear definitions and great examples. It really focuses on a traditional art form in a digital world –something that most books don’t do. It really helps you get beyond the mouse clicks and menus of 3D programs, and encourages you to really think about the story you’re telling. Quite unexpectedly this book has influenced my photography more than any other book. It’s all about telling your story visually. I can’t think of anything negative to say about this book, but there’s something stopping me from giving it the 5th foot. I just can’t put my finger –er, toe– on it. =)

Audio Postproduction for Digital Video

by Jay RoseThis book’s only weakness is that it fails to mention specifics because the author doesn’t want to limit it to a certain piece of software. By doing that the book has a longer shelf-life and is more applicable across the board, but some parts seem too vague and ambiguous. The included CD proves an invaluable addition to the book as it allows you to hear exactly what the author is talking about. I suspect I’ll read through this one again because there is definitely a lot to learn here.

$30 Film School

by Michael W. DeanI don’t have anything positive to say about this book. No points for you, son! He spends more time explaining how to vacuum the dust out of your computer than he does talking about how to compose a shot. Maybe he should rename this book, A Complainer’s Guide to Hollywood, or perhaps, One Man’s Lust for Art. The thing that really seems deceitful to me is that the author never even went to film school, yet the title suggests that this will short-circuit the need to study at a film school. Consider this: would you read a book titled How to Become a Millionaire by an author who has never made a million dollars?