Book Review: The Filmmaker’s Guide to Digital Imaging

Posted on by Larry

Dig_ImageAuthor Blain Brown does not lack for courage. In his book, The Filmmaker’s Guide to Digital Imaging: for Cinematographers, Digital Imaging Technicians, and Camera Assistants, Brown walks the fine line between explaining technology and getting lost in the science behind the technology.

As he writes in his Introduction: “There are two ways to approach being a digital filmmaker: you can either work constantly to learn everything you can about cameras, sensors, software and techniques, or you can just say ‘I push the red button to record….'”

Brown’s book takes the first option, providing detailed, illustrated explanations of the technology behind creating digital images. “It’s a whole new world for cinematographers, camera assistants, and postproduction artists,” Brown writes. “New equipment, new methods, and new technologies have to be learned and mastered.”

His chapter list illustrates what I mean:

Brown doesn’t waste time setting up the problem. He assumes to want to learn. So, he jumps right into the deep end of the pool in chapter one explaining how image sensors work. Rather than being intimidating and boring, it is enlightening to finally understand the strengths and weaknesses of each sensor and how each camera manufacturer wrestles to create the best images possible.

I especially enjoyed the chapters on how a digital image is created, measurement and codecs; but each chapter has value. The book is carefully researched with an impressive list of contributors, including Adam Wilt and Graeme Nattress, two people that I hold in extremely high regard.

This is not a book that you rush through; the subject matter is technical and the answers are precise. But this is a book that provides answers, with clear illustrations, to your technical questions about digital imagery. You don’t read this book for its plot, you read it when you want to understand what the heck is going on inside your camera.

If learning how digital image technology works, understanding how to make it work better and holding your own in technical discussions are important you, then you will really enjoy this book.

Personally, I’m looking forward to finishing it.

– – –
The Filmmaker’s Guide to Digital Imaging:
for Cinematographers, Digital Imaging Technicians, and Camera Assistants

Blain Brown
Focal Press, 2015
295 pages

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.

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