Silman-James Press, Los Angeles, 2004.
Summary: This soup-to-nuts textbook covers every directorial task from the earliest pre production through the end of post, focusing on the director’s work with the script, the actors, the shoot, and the edit bay.
Opinion: A great resource for learning how much the director’s job really involves. It recognizes that the director is a writer, designer, coach, technician, and editor. Its coverage of script preparation, actor management, camera setups and moves, blocking and continuity, and directing to edit provide a thorough survey of these topics. The author draws on his long professional experience and presents his thoughts in clear and amiable language.
Like any such book, it expresses the author’s personal experience, working methods and tastes; so one may not agree with some matters of individual opinion. Thoroughly film-oriented (despite “television” in its subtitle) the book doesn’t do much with the problems (and opportunities) unique to video; and of course, it is largely focused on narrative fiction programs.
Aside from this, this text is highly recommended. It won’t teach you how to direct (no book can), but it will organize and clarify the bewildering variety of tasks a professional director performs (often all at once). It should be especially effective in classrooms. 4
The Technology of Video and Audio Streaming
Focal Press, 2004.
Summary: After an introduction to provide context, section one covers IP networks and telecommunications, the World Wide Web, digital video formats, video compression, and audio compression. The section on streaming treats video and encoding, pre-processing, stream serving, live webcasting, and media players. A final section explains rights management, content distribution, and applications.
Opinion: As the table of contents makes clear, this is the bible of streaming. Written for readers with some background knowledge but no special expertise, it covers every topic you could think of and some you couldn’t (like a lightning-fast survey of communication over the last 500 years). Written in clear, straightforward language, the book benefits immensely from its good use of highly sophisticated instructional graphics — photos, graphs, charts, flowcharts, diagrams — well-selected and presented. The examples of applications for video streaming will convince you that this under-appreciated technology has enormous potential. Highly recommended. 5
Jim Stinson is a Videomaker Contributing Editor.
4 Very Good
2 Not so Good