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Old February 22nd, 2009, 11:30 AM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 81
Best book to improve in making personal travel videos

I am a non-professional video film maker. My interest is in making video films of my vacation trip the most useful and pleasant way, using my Sony XDCAM-EX1 camera and FinalCutPro to mount videos. I am looking for the best book which can describe how to make the best films, to attract the interest of our friends looking at these films.
Can someone suggest which book(s) is(are) the best and where to find them?
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 01:32 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 2,053
I don't know about any books for this.

But here are a few pointers:

People like seeing people more than they do buildings and landscapes. Add audio to the mix: hearing what people have to say (assuming they speak your language) and that's even better.

Find a point of interest in the scene and stick to that in the shot. Quite often people will dart the camera's POV around at every little detail: There will be a pan to the right, with a sudden pan to the left because of something there, then another pan back to the right along with an upward tilt and a zoom. Followed by a zoom-out. Develop a habit of holding a shot for several seconds. Mentally count to 10 before shooting something else, unless something really dramatic occurs.

Learn to keep the camera steady. Brace your elbows against your chest. Rest the camera on an object. Use a monopod. Do whatever it takes to keep the camera from wobbling around. My sister-in-law would get physically sick watching shaky video.

Which brings us to the use of the zoom. If you touch that button, touch it just once and no more. In fact, if you can avoid using it at all, you'll be a much better photographer. The zoom can then be used for dramatic effect.

Sound is very important. So if you can stick a good mic on the camera with a good furry wind screen you'll be way ahead of the game. Have one channel capture off the shotgun mic and the other channel capture off the camera.

One last thing: try to remember what it was like watching someone else's home movies. See if you can recall what you didn't like about them. Chances are they showed too much. Perhaps edit one for yourself, and save it aside. Then take that piece and see if you can be brutally critical and make a 15-minute version complete with narration and maybe some music.

You'll know you did it right when your friends and relatives look forward to seeing the next one.
Dean Sensui
Exec Producer, Hawaii Goes Fishing
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