Art Direction for Film and Video, Second Edition 2nd Edition
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It's a great little book, although at first I was disapointed with the size. I bought it to use give myself a crash course in Art Direction for my own Digital Motion Pictures. This short book was perfect: refreshed me in some area I knew a lot about, and introduced me to some conepts I was only slightly familure with and pointed out some weak areas that needs a lot of work. It sometimes reads like a glossary you find in the back of a textbook with a few spots of humor to keep the reader/me from falling asleep. What I liked the most were the few anecdotal stories (some from actual motion pictures, some from 'lets imagin' sencerios) that were used to make a point. Two nights in a row I was up until midnight reading this book and the time went by fast... It could have used a lot more detail and exsamples, getting deeper into the subject matter. If the author invests some time in writing an advanced edition; I'll be the first to order an copy.
For someone like myself when time is money, and it's hard to justify spending time on anything besides composing and rendering or money on ... this book make me happy that took a risk.
By page 30 of this 144 page book it is clear this is a book the generally outlines a process and describes more what a Production Designer does than in detail how to be a Production Designer. For instance, Stephen H. Burum, ASC has an article online described as "Recommendations for equipping the ideal student sound stage". The article is available at the American Society of Cinematographer'sWebsite in "Resources", link to "Member's Advice". That article gives a detailed description of equipment needed to create a sound stage as opposed to Olson's 1/2 page description of a sound stage on page 20-21 of his book, which does not depict the details of equipment. A later chapter on set construction supervision is just as vague, not to mention that safety issues relative to construction seem to elude his job description. This book appears for beginners who want to see if this is their type of job, a job for which they will need many more years of study! One redeeming feature of this book are quotes Olson obtained from the Production Company of Meyer/Shyer:
Real production design means that you have designed the production. If it's on stage, you design the sets, costumes, and the lighting, and you're through. If it's a movie, you have to figure out what the camera is doing. The visual components are space, line, color, movement, and rythm...The production designer has to understand what the movie is about. It's not the plot; it's what I like to call point of view-what you want the audience to feel about the movie. In Father of the Bride, we wanted the house to be a character in the movie. The house was not a backdrop; it was a part of the family like Steve Martin was...
Art Direction, Id. at Page 3
In Baby Boom the wall colors were based on Diane Keaton's complexion color and in Father of the Bride we keyed the wall colors to Steve Martin's complexion to help make the house a member of the family.
Art Direction, Id at Page 12 quoting Bruck Block.
While Olson admits this is not meant to be a detailed textbook he fails at what he intends to do with the book, "how to begin". It has no addresses to write to for information. Olson fails to show other resources that can help someone who believes, after reading this book and deciding this is what they want to do, they need a better and more detailed understanding of color and color design or anything else!