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This is an excellent book for beginners and those who want to get the fundamental concepts of video editing.

Book Review: The Little Digital Video Book, Second Edition by Michael Rubin

You have just purchased a digital video camera and now you are confused on how to work it. Most of the time when you purchase one of these, it isn't months, or even weeks before you need it, it is usually a day or two before the event. It is usually because you have found that your old one is no longer working, or there is something coming up that you want to capture and you are under a deadline.

Now you have this new, complex piece of equipment, and you need to figure out how it works in a hurry. You don't want to spend time drudging through jargon and software editing manuals. Enter The Little Digital Video Book. This little book was written just so you could get up to speed fast. This book contains 240 pages divided into seven chapters.

Chapter 1, "The Basics," start off by hoping that you have not yet purchased your camcorder or editing system, but if you have, not to worry, you will still be able to use what you have. This chapter is divided into two parts: your tools, and your process. Your tools include the camera, recording media, computer, software, and other tools. Next is your process. This goes into preparation, shooting, editing, and finishing.

Chapter 2, "Your Camera," begins with the basics of your camcorder. Not all of the fancy things that it is capable of, but rather the primitive capabilities: turning on/off, rewinding, finding the menu, etc. Once done, you will get your first "Assignment" – a blindfold test. What you have to do here is, with a blindfold on, is show that you can completely work your camera. You will also learn about logging and labeling your tapes and how to work with your timecodes.

Chapter 3, "Shooting," assumes that you are now comfortable with your camera, and are ready to shoot. This chapter goes over terms and concepts that are associated with shooting to edit. As you get more practice, you will better be able to anticipate what you need to do in the field. Here you will learn about how to shoot, building structure in your shots, camera shots, coverage, and framing and design. You will also learn about lighting, sound, and what to shoot. There are more assignments as well.

Chapter 4, "Organizing Your Video," is one of the most important aspects because it is how you can find your shots. Sure it's tedious and boring, but not nearly as bad as spending hours trying to locate things you know you have when you need them. If you have a tapeless camcorder, it makes it even more important. Here again you will work with logging and record keeping.

Chapter 5, "Getting Ready to Edit," will examine what it means to edit a video. Most people can shoot, but don't really have an intuitive sense of how to edit video. Add to that, the fact that many video editing software packages are not always intuitive. You will learn here about the fundamental techniques and terminology of video editing. You will see how to set up an editing bay, choosing what to edit, and other tips to make your film a success.

Chapter 6, "Editing," is where it all comes together. After all the preparation, the shooting, and the organizing, your output really depends on the editing. In this chapter you will learn and work with the concepts of video editing. You will examine some approaches to editing, work with sound, create a master tape, and work with titles and special effects. Chapter 7, "Finishing Up," now looks at DVD creation, posting to YouTube, copyright law, and the next steps you can take.

I liked The Little Digital Video Book because it is simple, to the point, and really targets the beginner in the world of video production. It doesn’t talk down, but rather gets to the topic at hand. The focus is more on techniques than on product choices, something that seems to happen too much in beginner books.

What I like even more in The Little Digital Video Book is that there is a lot of content about shooting, and the proper way to shoot, what you need to look for, and how to organize for the future. Then there is a lot of time and thought put into editing as well. I think that The Little Digital Video Book is an excellent book for beginners and those who want to get the fundamental concepts of video editing. I highly recommend this book.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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