Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Book Review: "Set Lighting Technician's Handbook" by Harry C. Box

Yeah, that's right. The guy's name is Harry Box. Get it out of your system and then continue reading.

Okay, back to business. This is a book that is very good for what it is, but which may not necessarily be exactly what you're looking for. If you are indeed a set lighting technician, and you are learning or want to specialize in the technical side of lighting sets...then you have struck gold.

This book breaks down the various tools of the trade, describes the technical nuances of the equipment and principles in a digestible manner, and if you read attentively, you should walk away with a good understanding of electricity as it applies to the set, the organizational structure and chain of command involved in a shooting day, and some valuable tips that will enhance your efficiency and professionalism in this area of filmmaking.

However, a lot of people may be purchasing this book as an introductory guide to the artistic and mood-based elements of cinematography and set lighting. If this is your goal as you stock you library, then be notified that you still stand to benefit from having this book in your arsenal, but that those elements of the field are not the strong point (nor are they the intended aim) of this particular book.

There is a good (but fairly cursory) discussion on Lighting Objectives and Methods that will address these aspects of cinematography. But these are largely supplemental considerations to how you, as a set lighting technician, can better do your job as a technical professional. Nonetheless, in filmmaking, the technical cannot succeed without the artistic...and the artistic cannot succeed without the technical. So you had best verse yourself in both to some degree.

Harry Box is a... Quiet, class. Harry Box is a sound professional with good, experientially-based advice. Provided that you are purchasing this book for the appropriate reasons, it has the JC stamp of approval. You can visit his IMDB PROFILE to check his credentials for yourself.

Below is a link to the book where you can peruse the first few pages for yourself and, of course, draw your own conclusions...

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