Digital SLR Video and Filmmaking
Paperback, John Wiley & Sons
ADVANCEMENTS in the digital SLR field of cameras mean that many photographers and filmmakers are down-sizing their kit.
You no longer need to carry around a camera with all of its lenses and a digital video camera — you can now get away with using the same camera for both jobs.
This has clear cost advantages but also brings about a need for extra training.
If you are familiar with using a video camera then using an SLR to video is completely different, and if you are used to taking still photographs with an SLR, then you need to learn how to alter your technique when it comes to hitting record.
I received this book to review just weeks after I had finished editing a video shot on an SLR and I can vouch for the tips, tricks and downfalls revealed by the book’s writer John Carucci — himself an entertainment television producer.
The book is split into sections and run in a sensible and easy-to-follow chronological order starting with exploring the equipment on offer and running through to editing the footage, marketing the footage and making the most of your premiere.
If you’re an experienced video editor, the final chapters offer you the necessary tools to fine tune your skills in the popular areas of video making — weddings and music.
Even if you have years of filmmaking on your CV, the opening chapters are still worth reading if you are about to embark on your first SLR movie.
You need to understand that even top-of-the-range SLRs have inferior sound recording and require an external microphone, why a tripod becomes a necessity rather than a burden and how to use your photographic skills to the best effect when it comes to focal lengths and lens selection.
The chapters on lighting, frame composition and audio capture are helpful and enlightening — I cannot emphasise enough the book’s tip of watching lots of videos — good and bad — so that you can learn visually from the masters and see the pitfalls.
The pictures help to illustrate each topic and often reveal pitfalls you wouldn’t normally notice or wouldn’t understand through words alone.
For example, the lesson on preventing lens flare illustrates extremely well the problem, highlights the cause of this pitfall and then reveals ways and means by which to prevent it happening in the future.
This book is a true gem when it comes to useful hints and tips — it explains technical terms in very easy to understand language.
What this book clearly illustrates, is that filming with an SLR is not dependent on your equipment wish-list but more on skill.
You can have the most expensive camera on the market but this doesn’t guarantee a great end result. Successful movie making is more about skill than costly cameras.