101 Essential Tips: VideoThe Art of Editing Wedding VideosYourCam-Canon
Mark Shapiro (1996, SRS Productions, 8030 La Mesa Ave. #112, La Mesa, CA 91941; 60 min., $30)
The latest in Mark Shapiro's YourCam series of instructional tapes focuses on all of the buttons, bells and whistles that you'll find on Canon's consumer line of camcorders. Using the ES5000 (Canon's first camcorder with eye-control technology), Shapiro covers all of the basic controls in a simple, step-by-step fashion.
Most of the footage on the tape consists of close-up shots of the camcorder in a studio setting, delineating the various buttons, switches and controls found on the camera body. Also discussed are battery-usage problems, lighting situations, triggering special effects and using Canon's eye-control system. Precious little footage is devoted to shots of people using the camera in ordinary situations; a little more in this area would have helped make the tape more approachable and easier to watch.
Though this tape and others in the series do carry some of the tell-tale signs of cottage-industry video--wrinkled bedsheet backgrounds, less-than-perfect narration, overuse of transition effects, etc.--they nonetheless serves as an excellent introduction to camcorders for beginners. The brand-specific approach is a good one, as it teaches novice videographers about the specific camcorder they're holding in their hands, rather than some generic camera that doesn't exist. 3