The Video Hacker’s Handbook: Electronic Projects for Video Enthusiasts

Carl J. Bergquist (1997, PROMPT Publications / Howard W. Sams & Co.,
2647 Waterfront Pkwy E. Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46214, 225 pp., $24.95)

Ever dream of being an electrical technician? If the answer is yes, then
you’ll probably treasure this book. The Video Hacker’s Handbook is
less about video production than it is a build-it-from-scratch, Thomas Edison
would-be-proud-of-you guide to building your own video toys. Bergquist jubilantly
guides you through the steps of building a video lab, a pocket sized TV
station, a sync generator, a TV transmitter and a color bar generator. He
does a good job covering the basics with diagrams and lists of parts needed,
but it’s a tad too technical for most people interested in producing video.
The Video Hacker’s Handbook won’t teach you how to produce video,
but it will expand your technical knowledge about how video components are

Rating = 3

Production Research: An Introduction

Kathy Chater (1998, Focal Press, 225 Wildwood Ave., Woburn, MA 01801,
133 pp., $29.95)

Whether you’re a student breaking into the media business or an independent
producer, director or writer looking for fresh input, this book is a great
springboard into the hectic world of researching for television, film and

Kathy Chater, an experienced researcher for British film and television,
has put together a solid outline of the steps involved in production research,
from presenting ideas to finding locations to casting talent to post production
wrap-up. Chater shows how the Internet, newspapers and television can be
sources of ideas and inspiration. She also offers numerous anecdotes from
professional researchers who bring the theories to life and show how they
solve real-life research problems.

The biggest drawback of this book for the American audience is that Chater
wrote it with the British researcher in mind. Once you get past some of
the British idioms, you’ll find the principles and examples Chater presents
to be universal and valuable.

Rating = 4

Desktop Digital Video

Ron Grebler (1997, PROMPT Publications / Howard W. Sams & Co., 2647
Waterfront Pkwy E. Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46214, 240 pp., $29.95)

Desktop Digital Video
is an introduction for people who are familiar
with computers and want to understand the basic technical aspects of digital
video. Grebler delves into the nooks and crannies of the hardware and presents
a wide shot of the development of desktop digital video for both Macintosh
and PC formats.

While he presents this material in a clear and enjoyable manner, Grebler
superficially covers the software aspect that is crucial to digital video
production. By the end of the book you may understand the difference between
JPEG and M-JPEG compression, but you still won’t know what software editing
package to buy.

While this is not the definitive guide to desktop digital video, it is a
fine reference tool that will help clarify many of the misunderstood terms
and concepts and help point you in the right direction with your desktop
video productions.

Rating = 3

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