Create Your Own Stage Effects, VideoSyncrasies
Create Your Own Stage Effects

Gill Davies (1999, Back Stage Books an

imprint of Watson-Guptill Publications, NY. $25)



Gill Davies has put together this "how to" book for the theater production groups, but many of the tips and tricks for creating effects on stage can be used by video producers. This book is filled with tips for creating sets and props, and special effects make-up, lighting and sound. Each effect is clearly illustrated. The book teaches you how to make sound effects like thunder, wind and rain, how to use light for dramatic impact and how to make ghosts fly and snowmen melt.

While many of the tips shared can be applied to video productions, the book is really written for theatrical productions. This would be a good book for stage-hands but only a mediocre tool for video producers. Even so, if you want to learn the secrets of special effects, the handful tips you can get from this book make it worth the $25 investment.

The Avid Handbook-Revised

Steve Bayes (1999 Focal Press an imprint of Butterworth-Heinemann,
www.focalpress.com,
(781) 904-2500, $35)



The Avid Handbook is a good quick-reference book for editors who are familiar with the Avid system. Steve Bayes focuses on some of the advanced techniques used by the pros, sharing several quick and easy tips to save Avid users time and money.

The Avid Handbook may be too complex for the beginner, but intermediate and advanced users will find the tips helpful. Bayes touches on everything from improving your systems performance to compression tips to editing shortcuts. The Avid Handbook is a good resource to keep near the computer while you are working on a project. The index in the back makes it easy to find answers to all of your Avid questions.

Bayes included a troubleshooting section that includes common problems that Avid users may encounter. This is helpful to keep you off the phone and on the system.

VideoSyncrasies – The Motion Graphics Problem Solver

Desktop Images (1999 Desktop Images,
www.desktopimages.com,
tape one 120 min., tape two 105 min., (800) 377-1039, $80)



Chris and Trish Meyer host this video tutorial on the challenges and solutions for making motion graphics. They cover alpha channels, field rendering, film to video transfer and more. The hosts guide you through the complex world of motion graphics and give some good tips on how to clean up images.

To demonstrate, they use After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Commotion and Cinema 40 XL, but many of the tips are universal in their application. Be forewarned, the hosts expect you to have some prior knowledge of the programs they use. Intermediate to advanced users will get more out of this package than beginners will.

Trish and Chris take turns introducing topics and illustrating them using actual software. Its a good idea to keep your remote handy so you can rewind and fast forward as needed.

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