Beginners Guide to Digital Video Production

Avid Editing: A Guide for Beginning and Intermediate Users

Sam Kauffmann (2000, Focal Press,, 300 pages, $45)

If you need to do some work on an Avid Media Composer or Avid Xpress, Avid Editing: A Guide for Beginning and Intermediate Users offers a complete overview of the Avid systems.

The book begins with a discussion of Avid navigation, basic editing, trimming and bin management. Later, the book discusses digitizing analog footage, manipulating sound, keeping the audio and video synchronized, adding titles and effects, and finishing to both tape and film. Also provided is an overview of backing-up bins and removable media (Zip disks were mentioned by name), and how to restore from that media if something goes wrong during editing.

A nice touch is the included CD-ROM, with sample footage to edit while learning. The book concentrates mostly on procedures so the user of another editing system who picks up this book probably won’t learn many new techniques. But Avid Editing contains many little gems for Avid users.

Beginners Guide to Digital Video Production

Steve Saylor (2001,, VHS, 4 hrs. 20 mins., $119)

Tape one of the two-tape series includes an overview of digital video, with a lengthy look at acquisition, and an examination of editing computers, including a section on system requirements, installing software and some basic hardware upgrades.

Much of tape two focuses on editing with Adobe Premiere 6. Three projects are shown, detailing editing, effects, transitions, titles and audio. The tape continues with a compositing segment and ends with a (comparatively) short segment on directing.

The tapes are comprehensive, but move a little slowly. The included time-reference index is handy for skipping around the tape, but it is printed on a standard piece of 8 1/2-by-11 paper, rather than on the box itself, and may be easily damaged or lost. If you’re looking to get into producing digital video, you’ll find good information here. Even so, the price is a bit steep.

Placing Shadows, Second Edition

Chuck B. Gloman and Tom LeTourneau (2000, Focal Press,, 206 pages, $30)

A superb reference on lighting, Placing Shadows discusses virtually everything you need to know about lighting for video. Starting with a physics review and a discussion of color temperature, it goes on to discuss meters, waveform monitors, reflectors and, of course, the lamps and lighting instruments themselves.

The remainder of the book focuses on technique. It also includes descriptions of the types of light each instrument puts out, and what applications each is best suited for. Placing Shadows gives basic lighting examples, along with sections discussing special considerations in both field and studio settings. A troubleshooting section focuses on electrical circuit considerations.

A thorough lighting glossary, including examples, illustrations and a tips section completes this book. Anyone who uses video lights should take a look at Placing Shadows.

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