Free books on filmmaking

22 Free Filmmaking and Film Editing Books to Read Online

Read or download these free filmmaking and film editing books online (in the PDF format). Getting knowledge from experts in the filmmaking industry is so much easier today.

If you are looking for free filmmaking books and guides online, take a look at these 20+ books that you can download as PDF files. The books range from filmmaking manuals to guides on film editing.

I spent some time searching for such filmmaking books on the Internet and identified these free files as interesting and useful. I only selected PDF files that are accessible directly, without anything to give in return. You can click through the links below and read the PDF versions of the filmmaking books online or download to your computer.

Here is what I did with these filmmaking books. I have a separate folder Filmmaking Books on my computer, where I downloaded the below books. I also have a shared Dropbox folder on my computer and my tablet. I added these PDF files to the Dropbox folder and can read the books on my tablet, when I have a minute.

With all that said, I am not a free book hunter. I encourage you to buy filmmaking and film editing books to help their authors and writers by respecting the copyright. My assumption is that the below free filmmaking books are accessible for educational purposes.

Free Filmmaking Books

All these free books will open as PDF files in a new window. As of this writing, they were all accessible. This may not be the case when you read this article.

I also made sure the PDF files were clean: my anti-virus was happy with all the books from my list, when I downloaded them.

The order of these books is random. If you want to have the paper copy of the book, you may head to Amazon, search for the book’s title, and buy the book online. If you want to read more reviews about the book of your choice from the list, go to Goodreads, search for the books, and check the ratings.

Free Books Ready to Download

Here is my list of free filmmaking books. Check the book, click on the links, and save the book to your computer or read it online.

Making Movies Manual

This is a comprehensive manual to get started with filmmaking. It has some quizzes to check on how well you understood the material from the book. Download the PDF book here.

In The Blink Of An Eye

This iconic filmmaking book is a must-read for any film school student or starting filmmaker. Download the full book here.

Rebel Without A Crew by Robert Rodriguez

It’s a great book for starting creators and indie filmmakers. You will not be able to download it for free, but you can read the full book here.

The Filmmaker’s Handbook by Sonja Schenk and Ben Long

The fourth edition of this popular filmmaking handbook is another useful source of filmmaking knowledge. Download it for free here.

The Technique of Film Editing by Karel Reisz and Gavin Millar

This second edition of the popular book on film editing is packed with details, techniques, and examples about editing. Download the full book here.

Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts by Susan Hayward

You have it all in this book: auteur theory, black cinema, British new wave, feminist film theory, war films, and beyond. Download the full book in PDF here.

Understanding Movies by Louis Giannetti

The author of this book on filmmaking covers all the aspects of what a good film is about. From history of cinema to editing techniques, you will find them all in this book. Download the full book here.

On Directing Film

This is just a chapter on constructing a film. Short, but very insightful. Download it here.

Fine Cuts: The Art of European Film Editing by Roger Crittenden

This book is packed with personal stories from the famous European film editors. Download the full version in PDF here.

On Film Editing by Edward Dmytryk

This book is an introduction to film editing and film construction. Even though it was written in 1984, it includes a good amount of valuable tips and techniques. Download the full version in PDF here.

Art of the Cut: Conversations with Film and TV Editors by Steve Hullfish

Here we’ve got Chapter 10: Documentary. Even though it’s just a part of the book, the chapter will be insightful for documentary filmmakers. Download Chapter 10 for free here.

The Film Sense and Film Form by Sergei Eisenstein

This is the English version of the popular book by the Soviet filmmaker and film teacher. His teachings from the 1920s-1930s are part of the famous Soviet film school of that period. Sergei Eisenstein alongside Lev Kuleshov were two remarkable filmmakers and film experimenters from that generation. Download the full book in PDF here.

The Alfred Hitchcock Encyclopedia by Stephen Whitty

If you want to learn more about the period when Hitchcock was creating his pieces of filmmaking art, this encyclopedia has all the information you need. Download the full PDF here.

The Essential Reference Guide for Filmmakers

This detailed guide from Kodak covers several important filmmaking area: production, post-production, distribution and exhibition. This educational piece include over 200 pages of useful stuff for beginning and seasoned filmmakers. Download the guide in PFD here.

The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video

Ok, this is a must-have book for any videomaker. This book by Tom Schroeppel is recommended to all film school students. You can download the PDF version of this book here. I’d suggest you print it out and refer to it when needed.

The Art of the Storyboard: A Filmmaker’s Introduction

That’s another keeper. This book by John Hart will provide a lot of insight about storyboarding and beyond it. Download the PDF of the full book here.

Improvising Cinema: Film Culture in Transition

If you like European cinema, this book can help you get some insight into the circles of the cinema from the old continent. Download the PDF of the book here.

Expanded Cinema

This book is interesting because it goes deep into the evolution of film and filmmaking: from the old days to computerized production. Get the PDF version of this book here.

Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film

This free book talks about movies. It covers a bunch of areas you will find interesting: ways of looking at films, film form, form and content, fundamentals of film forms, cinematic languages, and much more. Access the PDF of this book here.

Free Articles and Ebooks

I have some more free articles and self-published filmmaking ebooks that you will appreciate. They are all again free downloadable PDF files.

Cutting Rhythms in Chicago and Cabaret

This short article talks about the editing style and techniques used in these two shows. Download the PDF file here.

Editing and Cognition Beyond Continuity by Karen Pearlman

This is a serious article about the processes that go into film editing. Download the PDF here.

PremiumBeat’s Filmmaking 101 eBook

PremiumBeat released a filmmaking ebook a couple of years ago. This free PDF includes over 100 articles on filmmaking from the site. Download it here.

Cinematography Techniques: The Different Types of Shots in Film

This free 16-page PDF from Videomaker will provide some basic information about the different types of shorts in film.

Final Thoughts

I believe that practicing filmmakers and film editors should find time to read. Whether it’s specialty articles or books, reading helps you learn and remember useful concepts and techniques that you can try in your creative work.


Here are a couple of free guides that you will also appreciate downloading:

If you are ready to build your own collection of hard cover filmmaking books (paper books are still cool!), consider buying these best filmmaking books.

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