Digital Filmmaking by Mike Figgis


Digital Filmmaking by Mike FiggisProduct: Digital Filmmaking by Mike Figgis

Subject: Digital Filmmakers Handbook

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Language: English

Length: 176 Pages

Price: $12.54 ( Retail )

Cheapest Place to Buy:

Our Rating: 9 out of 10

I stumbled upon Digital Filmmaking by Mike Figgis about six months ago after coming across a short quote by Figgis himself:

Mike Figgis Quote

Figgis was relatively unknown to me but this inspiring and straightforward view really caught my attention. So my next step was to pick up a copy of this digital filmmakers handbook and find out more about the authors viewpoint and techniques.

After finishing the book I decided to write this review about my experiences with it. I will be covering it’s pros AND it’s cons and where to find the best deal when you buy it online.

By the end of this review you should have a good idea as to whether Digital Filmmaking by Mike Figgis is the right guide for you.

Digital Filmmaking by Mike Figgis – Product Overview

This publication is an essential back-pocket reference for the digital-film enthusiast. Instead of throwing 500 pages of complicated technical terminology at you it concentrates more on offering simple advice from an established director with something to say.

The author Mike Figgis manages to teach the reader effectively through personal examples from his own career. These examples cover the subjects of:

  • The Shooting Process
  • Lighting Techniques
  • How to Handle Actors in The Correct Manner
  • Framing
  • Cameras And Camera Movement
  • Audio Engineering For Film
  • The Editing Process

Mike Figgis at Work

Mike Figgis has worked as an artist, a musician and an actor and is the creative mind behind the Oscar winning Nicolas Cage film Leaving Las Vegas. He has an extensive knowledge on all aspects of filmmaking due to the fact he has been in front of AND behind the lens.

He is currently working at the European Graduate School in Switzerland as a professor of film studies – he knows his stuff!

The Good & The Bad

The Pros:

  • Short, concise and easy to read
  • Figgis states the case clearly and effectively with personal examples from his own career
  • Fantastic starting point for students to the craft of filmmaking
  • Reinforces the fact that there is no barrier to creating a film ( budget, equipment and crew )
  • Attention to detail on every subject
  • Gives you the confidence to go out, grab any camera and just film!
  • Practical tips act as a great point of reference

The Cons:

  • Some readers have complained about the book coming across as to general
  • In early chapters it felt like Figgis was reminiscing about older filmmaking methods

Who is This Book For?

Whether your goal is to make independent low budget movies, or simply to put your video camera to more use than just birthdays or summer holidays – this is the book for you!

The author makes a point of encouraging you to give it a go no matter what your previous experience. This book is aimed at directors, film students or people who are just thinking about having a go.

Our Final Opinion on Digital Filmmaking by Mike Figgis

There’s no need to worry about being overpowered by technical jargon – this book reads like an informal chat in the pub with a successful director/producer. I wouldn’t say it lacks detail – it’s just a compact, no-nonsense digital filmmakers handbook.

Mike Figgis seems to have a really interesting and insightful writing style that keeps the reader gripped without ever overpowering them. I especially liked the way that the book handled how game changing digital video cameras and computer editing are to amateur filmmakers.

Digital Filmmaking by Mike Figgis is a low cost handbook that will fill independent filmmakers with renewed confidence. It’s only 176 pages long which makes it a great reference guide to carry around from shoot to shoot.

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I hope you enjoyed this review and if you have any questions about the book or want to leave your own personal review, leave a comment in the section below.


  1. Great review! As an amateur/hobbyist film maker this book sounds right up my alley! I have never heard of Mike Figgis before now but, I will definitely be picking this title up! I am especially interested in what he has to say about lighting techniques and framing as these are area that I struggle with.

    • I hear you there – I used to have terrible problems with the lighting side of things – it’s actually more of an art form than a technique 🙂
      Hope this book manages to point you in the right direction!

  2. Great review. I do love it when experts in any field open up and give hints and tips to the less knowledgeable (ie: me). And in particular when they do it in a down to earth, straightforward and easy to understand way, instead of flabbergasting us with technical jargon. I see how one of the points he covers is how to deal with the actors. Because of course it’s not all about lighting and editing. Handle an actor the wrong way and it could ruin everything 😀
    In your ‘Cons’ section I really can’t see what people would complain about. But let’s face it, if the book was too detailed that would be a problem too…. And of course he’s going to reminisce about older filming techniques – because that’s what we’re all going crazy for right now. Whether it’s film or photos, we all have ‘those’ apps that alter them from perfect focus and colour to make them look like they’ve been in a shoebox under the bed for 38 years 😀
    Tell me this though….. have you done any film making yourself? I imagine after reading this book you couldn’t help yourself 🙂 Great post. Well done.

    • Hi Jyl,
      Yes I have done my fair share of filmmaking over the years – indie films mostly. I don’t often get the chance to be involved these days due to website commitments but I will definitely be returning to it at some point 🙂

  3. Hey there Chris.

    Always good when something new comes to your attention, like this book, If I had the chance I would love to make my own film and direct it. I’d need a little help from other people though. Did this long ago at school & loved it.

    Anyways, what attracts me to the book is how you reviewed it as being easy to read in a no-nonsense way like we can have a detailed chat from Mike Figgis himself over a beer.

    Because I’m not interested in film-making jargon, I would just like to be creative with my imagination and just shoot a film. This looks the perfect guide.

    Like the idea of being able to get all the equipment necessary to make a film in hand luggage on a flight. Nowadays with low-cost airfare, the world is your film location without carrying too much.

    The advent of digital media has shrunk everything down in size and it’s now more affordable, portable and professional.

    This book seems to give it to you straight without baffling the reader with technical know-how. I’m sure Mike Figgis can teach us how digital film-making is done on a down to earth level in simple layman’s terms.

    All the very best,


    • Hi there Pete!
      It’s nice to hear that you are planning to get back into the filming business – what took you so long LOL!
      The book is a excellent guide that covers all aspects of modern filming – I have read it at least 3 times now and I always pick up on something I missed first time around 🙂

  4. nice article here on how to make a film on your own. I really think i will have to get this book and read it. I will like to try and equip myself with the skills of making a movie some day.

    From what you say it is an easy to understand book. so i hope to equip my self with the skills within the shortest possible time

    But I will like to find out if the shipping is done to all countries across the world?

    • Hi Fidel,
      From what I can gather Amazon covers most countries but maybe if you could give me your exact location I could give you a more direct answer 🙂
      I would think you’d be covered by some Amazon demographic ( surely? )

  5. Nice site! I am not familiar with digital filmmaking at all, however, your review was very informative and actually peaked my interest! You offered some great pointers and it’s evident you have a passion for this niche! Great article and the resource you recommend is relative and seems like a great resource.

  6. Great review of this book. The digital age is such a fascinating field, both in film and music. This review tells it like it is. For the novice, a book full of technical jargon is overwhelming and a paraphrase annoys the gurus. It is great that Mike Figgis has pulled together a manual that will benefit all readers.
    How long have you been dabbling in the industry?

    • Hi Funkydunc ( awesome name by the way! )
      I’ve been dabbling in the industry since I was about ten – I don’t get to do so much these days as the website takes a lot of my time up 🙂

  7. Wow those are some inspirational words on film making from Figgis. I do not know this guy but I have seen him before and I can’t disagree with your review on this product. I am into shooting fun videos with my mates but I think this page has changed my ideas already and I look forward to acquiring that book.

    • Great stuff Cedric – hope this book manages to point you in the right direction 🙂

  8. Your review for Digital Filmmaking by Mike Figgis looks pretty good with all the great pros and the two cons. For me personally the two cons would not matter, not knowing a great deal about film production and the industry having a book that keeps it engaging is great.
    Its always great when you can learn by keeping it simple rather than getting to technical. The book sounds like a good place to get started into filming.

  9. With digital cameras available on so many devices these days, including mobile phones, anyone can start filming anything at any time. We have probably all seen the shaky and sometimes blurred results of people trying to film video footage for the first time. I can include myself in that group. Using more expensive equipment doesn’t mean the results will be any better unless you understand the basics. This book sounds great for hints and tips not only on the filming aspect but also on the editing aspect which is daunting for those new to it. Nice review, thanks for sharing.

    • Yeah Neil,
      More and more people are looking to the cheaper alternatives now for creating indie films – sometimes the results are quite astonishing!
      Hope you enjoy your time with the book 🙂

  10. Hi Chris,
    Great article. I did not know about Mike Figgis.
    I always wanted to learn how to film . This book seems to be very helpful. Do you think I should try first the book and then buy the equipment or both of them at the same time? I have two children and would love to film them .
    I also have passion for animals and I think it would be a nice idea to make some films

    Thank you for this awesome blog

    • Hi Daniella,
      Well I think it’s best you have some sort of equipment in place before you try getting into the ‘guts’ of this book. The technical side of things will require you to try certain methods out 🙂

  11. Hi Chris
    nice article a real insight to filming from a real expert for people starting out. There are many books out there and for some who want to further their career in filming this is a good review. It throws further light on what you must do to achieve success.

  12. I am interested in the process of film making but not in doing one myself. From the quote you mentioned of the author, Tim Figgis, I can see why you’d want to check out the book.

    I find it fascinating how technology has developed and how you are able to make films with your laptop. I hope that means there will be more good quality amateur films, as I do believe they will add more spices compared to the usual bigger ones.

    PS: I just checked around your blog, footages films sounds like an interesting genre… will look at it… tomorrow because it’s nigh-time, lol.

  13. Everything is becoming simpler these days. Making a film became easier. We all already have cameras, laptops, and many more equipments to do many things.
    I was shocked when I saw Periscope App that was released by Twitters. It made our smart phones like a TV station. I can just film anything live on it and anyone from the whole world can watch it.
    This book can help me do short videos. I am not planning to make a movie, just short and good videos are enough 🙂

  14. wow now i dont have to search all over for Mike Figgis when i can come here and learn alot about him and also the prices on this site is unbelievable not to mention this makes it much easier to read and understand more about him in the field of digital film making. With this site and I can learn even more thank you 😀

    • Great stuff Mitch – great to hear that you are learning something here! Good luck with your filmmaking efforts!

  15. This is a great review on what looks like a pretty good product for film makers and aspiring ones a like. The cons are sound, but different users will be looking for different things. A bginner for example would do well to have a book on general stuff or fundamentals that they could go back to.

    • Are you saying you are a beginner then Chris? This book actually covers ALL aspects of digital filmmaking ( including the general stuff! ). 🙂

  16. Hi Chris
    I always wanted to make short films.My friends and are intrigued and excited about this prospect and would certainly welcome any help.
    This book could be just the thing that we need to boost our with confidence into the direction of filmmaking.We have been having some trouble with audio work and the editing.I think this book will come in handy.
    So glad I came across your article.
    Thank you very much.

    • That’s great news Roopesh – I hope this book ends up being just what you and your friends were looking for! 🙂

  17. Good article here on how to make a film on your own. I really think i will have to get this book and passed it as a gift to my friend who’s into filming on Christmas Day

    Judging from your reviews, it seems like a “dummy guide” to filmaking. Should be easy to handle for him?

    I’m situated in Singapore would shipping be avail here?

    • I wouldn’t say a dummies guide really – you do need a sort of basic grasp on what your doing beforehand! 🙂

  18. Hi Chris,

    I actually bookmarked this as a short dream of mine is to make my own independent travel series. Little tripe down the meekong river by slow boat travel and food, living with locals and have locals make traditional food

    I have the equipment already (Nikon) few extras like UV light required and perhaps this book learn about shooting techniques and handling (ameteur) actors.

    How indept does the write go in terms of editing techniques?

    • It covers a lot of editing methods Derek but it stays strictly within the digital domain!

  19. I don’t know much about filmmaking, so this was a particularly interesting one for me. I give you props for making the content so concise, yet so easy to understand for someone like me who isn’t familiar with a lot of what is out there in this niche. I may consider picking myself up a copy of this so i can learn more, thanks a lot for the review!

    • No problem Steven – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read the article! 🙂

  20. Wow, what an awesome website! I especially liked the info on how to make your own low budget horror film!!!! haha, I definitely will be trying that one out! Thanks for creating a site that sheds light on one the classic forms of art – film! Very interesting information !

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