The Visual Story: Seeing the Structure of Film, TV, and New Media

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Focal Press, 2001 - Performing Arts - 262 pages
3 Reviews
The Visual Story offers students and professionals in cinematography, production design, directing and screenwriting a clear view of the relationship between the story/script structure and the visual structure of a film or video. An understanding of the visual components will serve as the guide in the selection of locations, set dressing, props, wardrobe, lenses, camera positions, lighting, actor staging, and editorial choices.


The Visual Story divides what is seen on screen into tangible sections: contrast and affinity, space, line and shape, tone, color, movement, and rhythm. The vocabulary as well as the insight is provided to purposefully control the given components to create the ultimate visual story. For example: know that a saturated yellow will always attract a viewer's eye first; decide to avoid abrupt editing by mastering continuum of movement; and benefit from the suggested list of films to study rhythmic control. The Visual Story shatters the wall between theory and practice, bringing these two aspects of the craft together in an essential connection for all those creating visual stories.

*Encourages the filmmaker to develop a "visual vocabulary"

*Shows the filmmaker how to structure visuals, communicating moods and emotions with style and variety

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Review: The Visual Story: Seeing the Structure of Film, TV and New Media

User Review  - Gerald - Goodreads

Many professionals in the visual arts seem to know this stuff intuitively, but this is one of the few books on the subject of how the composition of an image affects the viewers' perceptions of the characters and their actions. Read full review

Review: The Visual Story: Seeing the Structure of Film, TV and New Media

User Review  - Sunil - Goodreads

Talks a lot about composition.Very informative Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Bruce Block has worked in a creative capacity on dozens of feature films, television shows, commercials, and animated films. His credits include Something's Gotta Give, What Women Want, America's Sweethearts, How Do You Know, The Parent Trap, As Good As It Gets, and Stuart Little. He is an adjunct Professor at USC's School of Cinematic Arts and is the author of the book The Visual Story.

Philip Captain 3D McNally has been a stereoscopic photography enthusiast for over twenty years and currently serves as the Global Stereoscopic Supervisor at Dreamworks Animation. He has worked as a stereoscopic supervisor on more than twenty-five productions at several studios including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Meet the Robinsons, Monsters vs. Aliens, Madagascar 3, and How to Train Your Dragon.

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