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Old May 12th, 2011, 12:03 PM   #1
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Video technique books

One thing I have noticed coming over from photography to video is the lack of technique books and tutorials. For photography there is a whole shelf in my local BIG book store of maybe 100-200 books on various photography techniques and teaching. For video all they have are 5 or 6 books on how to make arty films and docs but they don't really say anything about actual camera techniques and when/how certain things are used. For example my video camera has waveform monitors but I don't have a thorough understanding yet of how they are really used and when but I just can't find any books that explain such things.

Maybe we just don't have such books over here in the UK.

If anyone can point me to some good books/DVDs or web based info I would be very grateful.

Andy S
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Old May 12th, 2011, 03:19 PM   #2
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Re: Video technique books

Here's a couple for starters:

http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Shot-Second-Roy-Thompson/dp/0240521218
http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Edit-Second-Roy-Thompson/dp/024052120X
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Old May 12th, 2011, 04:22 PM   #3
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Re: Video technique books

It's likely worth mentioning that photography's main traditions have been aesthetics and chemistry. In the early days, you needed an "eye" and you needed to be able to do DARKROOM WORK, which, while reasonably complex and exacting, didn't take a rocket scientist to master. As the industry matured, the casual devotee could turn to an outside lab for the messy stuff, and simply concentrate on the creative skills of "mastering the moment."

Video, however, was built largely on ENGINEERING disciplines. Without an engineering staff, no television station went on the air. The creative, and even the business functions, always undertsood that without engineering, TV didn't happen.

In the modern era, that's functionally broken down, just like the necessity to be chemistry-proficient moved out of the still photography business model.

While much of the technical complexity of the video production model has been supplanted by modern digital techniques, at it's heart, video production is STILL fundamentally codifying and wrangling an extremely complex stream of electrons in flux. In photography you have electrons describing luminance and hue in a STATIC view. In video you have electrons describing both video and audio as it endlessly changes over time. A much, much, MUCH more complicated task.

So, I'm afraid the bottom line is that if you want to transition from still work to videography, there's a pretty steep learning curve you've got to climb if you want to do it at a truly professional level.

I applaud you for understanding that tools like the Waveform Monitor and Vectorscope long the province of back room engineering staffs have REAL VALUE in any production flow, since they are the industry standard tools for taking the stream of information that underlies any video signal and breaking it down into quantifiable expressions that are no longer subject to variable personal interpretations - but rather are objective, repeatable, and verifiable.

To address your particular questions more specificaly, you need to get out of the "arts" section where most of the photogrraphy books reside - and move into the "electrical engineering" section - which is where the knowledge of how to read and understand something as complex as a WFM and/or Vectorscope reside.

Yes, I know. It seems terribly complex. But that's because it fundamentally IS complex. I can show you how to use a Vectorscpe to read bars - but if you don't understand the PROCESS of why the shiny dots need to be adjusted to their targets - AND how those vector dots should be generated in the first place so that they actually MEAN something as you adjust the generating device - then that device and process can either useful or totally useless.

(Disclosure, I'm NOT an engineer even tho, once upon a time, I held an FCC engineering ticket so I could work in broadcast radio.)

Engineering is complex. That's why people who understand it have degrees that come from YEARS of study. Not just folks who've picked up working knowledge along the way.

Keep learning, however, and given time and aptitude, you'll definitely get there! Good Luck!
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Old May 12th, 2011, 05:26 PM   #4
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Re: Video technique books

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Video, however, was built largely on ENGINEERING disciplines....
So that's why this crazy film/video world and I get along so well. I'm an engineer who started out life studying physics. Light, electricity, and sound waves and all that other "boring" stuff always seemed to interest me. I love the meld of technical and artistic aspects that is needed to capture compelling video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
...Engineering is complex. That's why people who understand it have degrees that come from YEARS of study. Not just folks who've picked up working knowledge along the way...

One thing to also note, as a technically driven field, the "rules" and standards are always changing so keeping up with technology and advancements is almost a must to understand the inner workings of a lot of the tools involved. That's not to say that you have to know it to capture good footage. It's just that if you have a desire to understand it, know that you'll have something new to study up on about every five years or so.

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Old May 13th, 2011, 12:26 AM   #5
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Re: Video technique books

Hi Andy I have found this book good for lighting techniques, a lot of it is USA based but the theory is all there for video and film:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Motion-Picture-Video-Lighting-Blain/dp/0240807634/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1305264371&sr=8-4
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Old May 13th, 2011, 10:50 AM   #6
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Re: Video technique books

This has some good info on what you are looking for:
Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema

For more on video, I would look at the movie making world and then you will probably find as much information as you find for photography.
The Filmmaker's Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition The
The Five C's of Cinematography: Motion Picture Filming Techniques
Matters of Light & Depth
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Old May 13th, 2011, 11:16 AM   #7
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Re: Video technique books

Very interesting comments.

Photography started in the 19th century; you needed some level of support to do eg. landscape work. Perhaps a guide and a couple of porters, dark tent, jugs of chemicals that had to be sourced in a newly industrial society, dealing with 8x10" negatives, applying emulsion on location... My point is, it was very complicated, and few could do it, not so dissimilar from the support needed to do a small TV station?

Things change though, and my parents shot a lot of photos post-WW2. When I was perhaps 8 years old (early 1960s), a middle-class family could afford to buy a point-and-shoot camera for a child, and get the film developed.

Now we have perhaps 70+ years of hobby-level photography behind us.

Per wikipedia, the first consumer camcorder was released in 1985, the first DV in 1995, with a lot of attention on point-and-shoot capabilities. No hobbiest thought about editing or engineering in those days.

Have we had 10 years of affordable consumer/prosumer editing? It's no wonder the writers and publishers haven't kept up! Not to mention, the three or four different video standards...

One of the great publishers is Focal Press in the UK; I'd suggest browsing the titles in a large bookstore or library. Perhaps the OP would write about what his immediate interests are...
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Old May 13th, 2011, 01:27 PM   #8
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Re: Video technique books

Thanks for all the comments. Very helpful and in depth.

Seth I have had a quick look at Focal Press and they do seem to have a good range. The only problem is that there are no bookshops in my fairly big city that stock any of them or even anything similar.

In reply to your other question my two main areas of interest are aviation and travel/city/outdoors.

I imagine that the lack of good books compared to photography is down to video being less popular among the masses as photography. For a 1000 you can get a pretty good camera a lens and be well on your way to making really good photos. That sort of budget for video will only really get you something more automatic orientated, thus negating the need for learning any techniques. In fact in a magazine I was browsing today there was FAR more mention and adverts for technique books that are for DSLR video that dedicated video cameras.

Andy S
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Old May 13th, 2011, 08:13 PM   #9
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Re: Video technique books

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Solaini View Post
...In reply to your other question my two main areas of interest are aviation and travel/city/outdoors...
And you're having difficulty with? Or wishing to learn about?

As has mentioned in this forum, it's difficult to find one source that covers everything, or really to learn across shooting, lighting, directing, producing, editing, and distributing at the same time!
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Old May 14th, 2011, 01:53 AM   #10
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Re: Video technique books

If you could consider a well-rounded periodical, then let me suggest VideoMaker magazine.

Videomaker Magazine

Subscription is $20.00/year (12 issues) for U.S. addresses. Outside U.S., you get an electronic copy.


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Old May 17th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #11
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Re: Video technique books

I spent most of my career shooting local news...point the shiny end of the camera at the action and hope it all comes out okay. Now I'm as much of an IT guy as I am a lensman.
This is a great forum for the questions you have.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 11:06 PM   #12
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Re: Video technique books

From an engineer:
Whatever you need to know about waveforms, *grams, curves, gammas and so forth you can get from wikipedia. One only needs to know how to apply this information, and not how it was made. Once you zero in on a particular camera model and software, then the manual will tell you how to use them.

I was recently gifted this book by a friend: Cinematography by Blain Brown, and so far have found it a very good introduction to camera techniques. I have only read it halfway though. Another book that talks about the foundations of camera placement and movement is Shot by Shot, by Steven Katz. I highly recommend this second one.

For a DVD tutorial on camera moves, I highly recommend Hollywood Camera Work. It exhaustively covers everything you'll ever use.

Last but not least, stick to DVInfo.net!
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Old May 17th, 2011, 11:36 PM   #13
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Re: Video technique books

For basic camera techniques I've always liked the Advanced Broadcast Camera Techniques DVDs. The production is campy, amateurish and occasionally irritating but the content is there and is a good way to be reminded of those little techniques we all know, but forget to use after awhile. Plus it's immediately applicable the minute you pick up your camera. FYI: Elite Video has a store on eBay where you can get the DVDs discounted.

There's a lot to study, but for me I think editing has had the most impact on my production & shooting skills. When I detoured into editing, I learned fast what is really important and also what not to shoot. All stuff that I already knew in my head, but when you have to deliver a final polished piece to a director and have to articulate why it is and isn't working and what you need to make it happen, it makes things very clear.

I think that may be one of the best tricks to quickly becoming a better shooter, immediately use your shots in an edited piece so you get feedback on what works and what was just a waste of time. Otherwise, you can end up shooting a lot of very pretty, cool looking shots that are not good for much else.

[EDIT] After editing, I'd say studying lighting has had the 2nd most impact on my production & shooting skills ...
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