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FYS: Cellphone Cinematography (2021)

A guide for students in professor Amy Gerber-Stroh's class, created by Librarian Maryke Barber

OneSearch: Search for Books, Articles, Films & More

Source Recommendations

Make sure your list of 5 sources has:

  • reliable sources
  • variety

Reliable = sources written by people who are really knowledgeable about film; either because they have significant experience making films, or studying films (or both). Your best bets for sources are those published in journals, magazines or blogs created for the film industry (film professionals or film journalists writing for the industry), or scholarly journals created to study film. Try to avoid listicles, factoids, and low-quality blogs created purely for entertainment. 

Variety = your 5 sources include a couple of different types from this list:

  • Film review;
  • Books or articles about a film director or DP;
  • Interviews with a film director or DP;
  • Books or articles about a specific film genre or type.

Final Recommendation: do not get stuck on only looking for articles about one specific film. You can also write about that film by learning more about the film's director and DP, including other films they have made, so you can compare and contrast their work across different films. Or, you can learn more about the type or genre of film, and then write about how your film either fits, or is different from, that type/genre.

Search Examples


  • Biographical information
    Search by name. If too many results, try adding the word biography or limiting to reference sources only.
  • Critical information
    Example of search: Mira Nair criticism (good for finding books); Mira Nair review (good for finding articles)
  • Interviews
    Example of key word search: Spike Lee interview


Film Genre and Style:

​Example of key word searches: fantasy films ; magic realism and (film* OR cinema OR motion picture*)

How To Search

AND, OR, & NOT (also known as "Boolean operators") help you combine search words, to find what you are looking for. Watch this video to find out how it works:

Adapted from the materials created by The University of Auckland Library, NZ. This video is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.

Smart Searching Tips

Create a list of key words, and try different key words in your searches:

Who, what, where, when....topics, names and places are all good key words, so are titles, events or historical periods, genres/styles/other categories, expert terms.
Add to your list by looking for:

  • Subject terms in OneSearch and other databases.
  • related terms (producer - filmmaker)
  • synonyms (woman - female)

No results? Search more broadly: 

Try your search using fewer terms, or change to broader terms: for example, use the term film festivals (broad), instead of just Sundance Festival (narrow).

Too many results? Narrow down by adding something:

Try combining  search words, using "and" in between: close-up and focus

Search Tools

Combine your terms using "AND":

cinematographer and montage and speed

Use the *  (asterisk) wildcard, to search several terms at once.

direct* = directing, director, directors, etc.

Use quotation marks to enclose a phrase:

"camera lens"