Filmmakers Handbook


The Filmmaker's Handbook - cover

Widely acknowledged as the bible of video and film production, used in courses around the world. Latest 5th Edition now available!

Written by Steven Ascher with Edward Pincus.

Updated and expanded by Ascher in 1999, 2007, 2013 and 2019. With contributions by David Leitner.

882 pages. Penguin Random House (Plume).

The Filmmaker's Handbook - Amazon bestseller

Over 400,000 copies sold worldwide!


Click for a discounted price on the

Note that Amazon incorrectly lists the book as the 2013 edition. If you buy a new book you’ll get the most recent 5th edition (2019).

The Filmmaker's Handbook - film crew

For students and teachers, professionals and novices, this indispensable handbook covers all aspects of movie making.

Techniques for making dramatic features, documentaries, and short films and videos
Shooting with DSLRs, video, film, and digital cinema cameras
In-depth coverage of lenses, lighting, sound recording, editing and mixing
Understanding HDR, RAW, Log, 4K, UHD and other formats
Learning the business aspects of funding and producing your project
Getting your movie shown in theaters, and on television, streaming services, and online


The Filmmaker's Handbook - cinematgrapher


“The bible, updated.”
The Independent

“Gold-standard technical reference book for filmmakers.” Boston Globe

“Seminal.” New York Times

“This is an essential book.” Self-Reliant Filmmaking

“If you think you know it all, The Filmmaker’s Handbook will prove you wrong. It is both teacher and reference manual. For those of us with a passion for making movies, it will become a constant companion. It is the most comprehensive book about film making that I have ever encountered. It wasn’t written in a hurry, it was written with the wisdom of a born teacher possessing a fountain of knowledge that only comes with years of experience. It is a truly impressive work, accomplished with aplomb.”
Amazon Review

“You need this book. Billed as the authoritative guide to filmmaking from fundraising to distribution, the book achieves this in clear, accessible language using current up-to-date information. It’s easy to see why this has become a standard text in many film schools. A gilt- edged investment for aspiring and beginning filmmakers and it would not be out of place in the libraries of experienced professionals either.”
James MacGregor,

The Filmmaker's Handbook - Directors viewfinder

“Simply amazing. If you have to have only one book about video production, this is it.”

“This edition of the book is awesome. I don’t know how you managed it. Such a mass of information so expertly organized and so clearly presented! Amazing.” Alfred Guzzetti, Professor, Harvard University

“I was thrilled to find your book, which is a gem. No matter what corner of the subject I poked into, looking for cogent explanations, the Handbook passed with flying colors. So please accept my admiration, appreciation
and thanks.” Pat Jackson, Professor, San Francisco State University

“Anyone who is serious about learning the language and techniques of this art, whether amateur or professional, must have this comprehensive reference.”

“Speaking as a member of the ‘figure it out yourself’ camp, I consider most technical’ reference books to be nothing more than leisure reading. This one is worth its salt. Every page is relevant and fascinating. When I find a chapter that refers to something we’ve done, I realize that every mistake we made was covered, if only we’d thought to read up beforehand.”

“I read the thing like it was the Bible for almost a full year. I have never been to film school, but the knowledge it gave me was more than enough to ‘make it’ in the industry. I honestly cannot thank you enough.” L.G.

The Filmmaker's Handbook - storyboards

“If you could only buy one book – consider this one first. I have an entire library of filmmaking books…Very few of my collection come close to this one for breadth and depth.” Kindle Customer

“I read the early edition of this book when I was a film student 35 years ago and have been relying on new editions ever since. Ascher wisely holds onto the book’s origins in film with chapters on cameras, film stock, lighting and storytelling but goes on to pull together with astonishing clarity the digital advances of our time. Digital technology changes constantly, but one has to keep up. Ascher’s clear headed explanation of HDR, RAW. log, UHD, DCPs, loudness meters and a host of other other developments (that are not always intuitive) are reliable and trustworthy go-to sources. The Filmmakers Handbook Fifth Edition also offers sage advice for young people considering filmmaking. Beware! Highly recommended, essential reading for students and professionals alike.”
James Rutenbeck, Filmmaker

The Filmmaker's Handbook - loudness graph
The Filmmaker's Handbook - Amazon bestseller

Buying through this link gives you the same discounted price everyone gets at Amazon, but the affiliate link helps support new work at West City Films!


Click for a discounted price on the

Note that Amazon incorrectly lists the book as the 2013 edition. If you buy a new book you’ll get the most recent 5th edition (2019).

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