DV Filmmaking from Start to Finish

October 1st, 2009 Auscam, Books & Publishing, Tech

From the O’Reilly Digital Studio series comes this comprehensive guide that talks about (as the cover promises) everything from planning to distribution.

In O’Reilly’s signature style, the layout is fresh and uncluttered and it makes going through what looks like a large tome deceptively simple and comfortable. It sets out a clear goal — to be about tools and technique rather than software. The introduction tells the oft-told story about how desktop publishing didn’t make us all designers, a cautionary tale about how the ease of DV filmmaking equipment won’t make us all directors.

But author Aronson, a media scholar, assumes you’re making films for an audience, and he makes reference to work from that of Ridley Scott to veteran Warner Bros animator Chuck Jones in doing so.

It reads like a lot of other books you might have read on being a great filmmaker, explaining the terminology of an extreme close up versus a long shot and which boom mike is best for a particular set-up. But each section gives you a feel for what you’re in for doing so in the digital world, and they’re not tacked-on subchapters either, the text drilling right down into explaining the digital approach.

The books also assumes you’re working more or less on your own, or at least are in charge of every aspect of your film. When it comes to the editing, the introductory chapters explain non linear digital editing on systems such a Final Cut Pro but there are also sections on creating still images in a program like Photoshop, an artistic approach to still images and creating titles and supertext.

The books rounds off with a chapter on selling yourself and your work. There’s advice on finding the right film festival and making sure you have a killer business card, and the DVD inside the back cover contains original and finished files mentioned in the exercises throughout the book so you can follow along.

Like many O’Reilly books, it assumes a certain level of knowledge, but the barrier to entry (like digital video itself) is low. It’s well worth the money and could conceivably be a beginners’ DV bible.

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