How to Produce Spectacular Home Videos  A Practical Guide

Produce Spectacular Home Videos: A Practical Guide for Camcorder Users, Dominic Gentile (1995, Time Passages Video Production, P.O. Box 2871 Renton, WA 98056, 49 pp., $15)

Are you looking for a simple, easy to read guide to improve your home videos? This book may be the one you want. It is filled with hints and illustrations to help you make better videos. The topics that are covered include videotape care and maintenance, camcorder features, accessories and pre-production planning.

This is a book for those who want to do more with their camcorders than simple point and shoot. A chapter on visual variety focuses on the basics of shot selection and composition, camera movement and the importance of continuity in video production. The illustrations are easy to understand and provide satisfactory reinforcement to the topics that are covered. This book would make a good companion for any camcorder owner.

Rating: 3

On Assignment: The Video Guide to Basic Videography, Brian D, Ratty (1991, Media West Home Video INC., P.O. Box 1563, Lake Grove, OR Running Time: 90 minutes, $30)

Beginning videographers are sure to benefit from this videotape. Responding to the popularity of the On Assignment video series for photographers, Media West has designed a program for videographers. The program is divided into three half-hour segments and covers a variety of topics, including audio & video theory, pre- & post-production and video distribution markets.

One of the video’s best features is the visual reinforcement it provides. While the talent in the program discusses the importance of shot composition, the viewer can watch the techniques examined and better understand the rules of headroom, or how improper color balance can affect a video. This is a basic guide to video production. This tape is a good choice for those beginners who wish to improve their video skills.

Rating: 4

Directing Single Camera Drama, Mike Crisp (1998, Focal Press, 225 Wildwood Ave., Woburn, MA 01801, 184 pp., $35)

With the recent success of low budget, independent films, the art of directing the single camera drama has become quite popular. Mike Crisp, author of The Practical Director has written this book as a resource for students, theater professionals and documentarians alike. While much of the text is written in language usually associated with film, the production concerns and techniques are easily translated to include video production as well.

Discussions on location filming, what a director should know about cinematography, responsibilities of the DP (Director of Photography) and the importance of camera blocking are featured sections. The author has included ten reproducible scripts designed to help the beginning director learn through practice. Crisp has done a great job of translating what it takes to bring drama to the screen.

Rating: 5

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