Viewfinder: The Confusion Solution

The Confusion Solution

We regularly receive letters from subscribers concerned that Videomaker is too complicated. Confused by acronyms like A/B roll, PCM audio and BNC, these readers believe making video must be easier than our magazine says it is.

True, making video is easy–but you get what you pay for. Twenty four million people have video cameras, but only 90,000 read Videomaker. Does that mean that 23,010,000 people aren’t making video? No, it means that the video that they make may not be as good as that produced by the 90,000 who spend more time learning the craft. The time you invest perfecting your skills invariably reaps dividends: better videos.

A Lot to Learn

The concern about Videomaker being too complex comes, as you might expect, from newcomers. New readers skim through their first copies of Videomaker–often overwhelmed by how much there is to learn.

But you don’t learn everything all at once. As with honing any skill, it takes time. Some readers may never fully understand every article, and that’s okay. Take your skills as far as you want to–and no further. I guarantee that Videomaker will make you a better videomaker, no matter how modest your goals.

Here are some tips to help newcomers understand as much as possible. First, read slowly; even reread the more technical articles. Be sure to keep our glossary of terms handy. If you don’t have one, we’d be happy to send you one. (For a free copy, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Videomaker, P.O. Box 4591, Chico, CA 95927.)

Also consider saving your back issues for future reference. Some articles may make more sense to you later as you master your craft.

Just about everybody can benefit from our buyer’s guides on products: camcorders, VCRs, post-production gear and desktop video. Ads, too, can prove helpful. I can’t tell you how many people have told me how much they learn from reading the ads in the magazine.

There are lots of other resources out there as well. We regularly review books and videotapes devoted to making video. Try a couple.

Technology Complex

Our articles owe their complexity to that of the industry itself. More and more camcorders and VCRs with more and more buttons hit the consumer market each month. Not to mention the multitude of freestanding black boxes and computer cards and peripherals.

Videomakers should know the basics: how to use the functions and features of the gear to achieve quality results in any given situation. That’s easier said that done.

However, the user interfaces are improving and will continue to improve. Someday, video gear will be smart enough to automatically solve any and all problems–in much the same way today’s auto white balance and auto gain controls try to do.

Editing, too, will soon become easier. Until then, newcomers can begin with editing in its the simplest form: cuts-only in-camera editing. Videomaker can help you refine simple techniques for better planning, camera movement, framing the shot and capturing better audio.

If you’re an advanced videomaker, pay particular attention to our articles on nonlinear editing, due to revolutionize video. Each month we report on the fast-paced developments in the random access editing world. And our coverage of money-making opportunities like cable leased access is second to none.

The Videomaker Mission

Here at Videomaker we walk a fine line, trying to present information clearly and simply enough for newcomers without offending advanced readers. We try our best to create a magazine that serves videomakers at all levels of expertise.

As information providers, we deliver the videomaking goods in many forms. Try ordering one of our how-to videotapes, attending one of our seminars, watching our weekly TV show or buying a copy of our book (to be published in 1995).

Geared more toward entry-level videomakers, The Videomaker TV Show appears weekly on Channel America Television Network. Making a half-hour video program each week is fun as well as challenging for us. I still can’t believe that we’re making a national TV show with equipment anyone can buy in retail stores.

Learn your craft, and it could happen to you, too.

Matthew York is the Editor/Publisher of Videomaker magazine. Send e-mail to 71161,

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.

Related Content