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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best choice to get started.
It took me a while to find a good book to get started with digital video, after I bought myself a Mini DV camcorder. What I was looking for was sound advice on how to shoot as well as about basic post production techniques, the stuff you do after shooting, editing, how and where to store and organize your footage, and most important, to end up with a finished product--a...
Published on July 19, 2002 by F. Neunemann

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good introduction
"The Little Digital Video Book" is very readable and to the point. I read it in two days and got some pretty good ideas for improving my home videos. This book will be most useful to readers who are familiar with iMovie editing software, for the author makes reference to that very accessiable editing software throughout his book.
I most liked the chapters...
Published on November 13, 2001 by Bakari Chavanu


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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best choice to get started., July 19, 2002
By 
It took me a while to find a good book to get started with digital video, after I bought myself a Mini DV camcorder. What I was looking for was sound advice on how to shoot as well as about basic post production techniques, the stuff you do after shooting, editing, how and where to store and organize your footage, and most important, to end up with a finished product--a nice to watch video to show to the public.
Something else I was looking for was a book that is "lightweight" and that keeps things simple. There is plenty of time to get more fancy, but for starters I wanted to get a small video project done and have it on a Video CD, DVD or a VHS cassette.
This book shows exactly that! You'll learn the basics of digital video. The main idea is to get a little (manageable) project done in a clean and orderly way.
I consider the author a highly competent and experienced teacher when it comes to the subject of digital video. If you are in the same situation as I was (having a FireWire and DV capable Macintosh computer and a Mini DV camcorder, plus having not too much time to learn the essential basic techniques of digital video shooting and editing with all the necessary bells and whistles) then this definitely is the book to buy. In fact it is the best and most practical book to read first. Start simple, then attack the more sophisticated stuff. A must have book!
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RUBIN DOES IT AGAIN!, November 30, 2001
By A Customer
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Michael Rubin - video guru extraordinaire - was one of the very first Evangelists of digital nonlinear editing. Well over a decade ago, he was one of George Lucas's emissaries to the Hollywood studios for Lucas' groundbreaking EditDroid project, and preached the virtues of this then-revolutionary approach to editing TV shows and feature films.
A pioneer in more ways than one, Rubin also wrote the very first book on the subject - "Nonlinear: A Field Guide to Digital Video and Film Editing" (now in a new 4th edition). I know all this because chancing across that gem was one of the catalysts that helped catapult me (and others) into a career as a professional video editor. "Nonlinear" rocks.
But his latest work, "The Little Digital Video Book", is brilliant in an entirely different way.
Yes, all the techniques are here - starting with the finer points of operating a DV camcorder ... maintaining continuous timecode on the tape (crucial!) ... a simple, practical scheme for organizing your source and master tapes ... "Rubin's Rules of Editing" ... and tons more. The book is also liberally illustrated with real examples lifted from actual home video situations - shots of his infant son, the neighbors, trips to the zoo, etc.
Rubin calls his approach "results-oriented" video, and it's true ... He isn't kidding when he says you can put together a totally cool, blow-your-friends-and-family's-socks-off video in as little as 3 to 4 hours. [It's awesome to see the reaction from friends and family when the footage you shot so nonchalantly this morning becomes a polished video, ready for screening after lunch!] Later on, after having a number of simpler projects ("video sketches") under your belt, you're free to branch out, of course. But by building a solid foundation of shooting and editing habits early on, you'll soon have the background and self-confidence to tackle more complex productions, if you desire.
And therein lies Rubin's real genius: his witty, unassuming, first-person style makes for a completely painless education for the DV and "home movie" enthusiast. Yet he unobtrusively weaves in priceless nuggets of professional wisdom and insight that serve the reader well now and later on. And moreover, he accomplishes all of this in a way that's FUN. [This blend of charm and substance is typical of Rubin: even though it's unintimidating and approachable in its own right, his "Nonlinear" book is used as an introductory text at colleges and universities around the country.]
Speaking of which, Rubin also runs a great web site for both DV enthusiasts and professionals. Check out the "Consumer DV" section of the "Nonlinear4" site (nonlinear4.com) for supplemental materials, a great assortment of links to other resources, and more.
Suffice it to say that with his latest book, Michael Rubin is no longer just a mentor and friend to Hollywood film editors, but now to the growing legions of home DV enthusiasts as well. They'd do well to learn from the Master.
Rubin rocks.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect 1st or 10th digital video book!, November 18, 2002
By 
Bill (Houston, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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If you own a camcorder, buy this book. Like any introductory resource, this is not a 100% reference. Advanced sound and lighting, for example, call for a more advanced text. However, as with still photography and film, the 'basics' are 90% of what you need for good results, and this book provides the basics in a clear and concise form.
The 50 pages on shooting are themselves worth the price of the book. Before I begin any video project, I do a quick review of these fifty pages to be sure I haven't forgotten any of the rules, not to mention the dozens of Rubin's tips and tricks.
After the shooting section, the rest of the book is a bonus. In fact, the editing section is a good practical reference. Clearly a Mac user, the author does his best to not make that obvious, other than his reference to certain software which is Mac only.
I have and have read five other video, digital video, and video production books with advanced techniques and practices. Each has some value. However, this book is the one I go back to for a refresher time after time. Like I said at the beginning...buy this book!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good introduction, November 13, 2001
"The Little Digital Video Book" is very readable and to the point. I read it in two days and got some pretty good ideas for improving my home videos. This book will be most useful to readers who are familiar with iMovie editing software, for the author makes reference to that very accessiable editing software throughout his book.
I most liked the chapters on shooting and editing video. He provides tips on various types of shots: e.g. the action-reaction shot, shooting for cut-ins, establishment shots, and over-the-shoulder shots. In the area of editing, he talks about, among other techniques, setting music to shots, voice over narration, cut-ins, dissolves and fades. He provides some still photos to help explain these techniques. If I had written this book, however, I would have listed out many of these techniques for even easier reference.
Now the problem I have with this book is that like other home movie guides, it lacks a multimedia CD rom or website supplement. I think it's ironic to develop a guide about video production using mere words and black-and-white photo illustrations. In the era of multimedia presentations, guides such as this should come with a CD or with a reference to a good website that contains clips of the techniques that are explained in the book. For someone very new to digital video shooting and editing, mere written descriptions may not be enough. Also, I would have liked him to provide a list of references to other books and resources for those who want to get to the advance stage of home movie and other types of video production.
With that said, though I only give this book 3 stars, I would encourage you to buy it if you're looking for some ideas for home video production. Other home movie guides spend way too much time focusing on buying video cameras and editing equipment. What is needed are books that spend more time providing tips, ideas, and techniques for shooting and editing digital video. Ruben's book makes a good effort to this. Not only can you tell that he's actually produced home videos, but that he also brings his professional experience as a filmmaking consultant to this book. I look forward to him writing more advance books that focus more on shooting and editing with a digital camera.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make your movies worth watching, June 17, 2003
By A Customer
This is by far the best book on shooting, editing, and FINISHING home movies and exactly what I had been looking for. Well organized, well written, and with an emphasis on the topics most important to making your movie "sketches" worth watching.
Since I started using iMovie to make movies from digital still images (using the "Ken Burns" technique mostly) I've been looking for a book to help me tell better stories, to make better movies. The typical filmmaking books are either too mired in the details of making a low-budget feature film ala Hollywood or get caught up in the details of computer hardware and software (I can read the manual!) and are just not practical. The Little Digital Video Book hits the nail on the head. Michael Rubin writes from experience and this shines through. If you want to make the most of your digital camcorder and movie editing software, get this book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Rubin makes pros out of amateurs, March 23, 2004
170 pages of solid, easy-to-understand, information for the novice digital camcorder owner. If there is anything technical in this book, it is wonderfully sugar-coated so that reading it becomes enjoyable.
Anyone can take home-movies. Point and press a button. But, then watch your Christmas card list shrink when you show this boring rubbish to your friends. Michael steps through the easy, but precise steps that help you shoot good stuff. Then he explains how to edit it down to something your friends will look forward to watching.
For example, he explains the establishing shot, the cut-away, the shot/reverse shot, over-the-shoulder and POV. These simple techniqes will transform your home-movies from mundane to exciting.
If you have a digital camcorder, or anticipate buying one, then you MUST buy this book. Excellent job, Michael, thanks!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its a Beginning, April 29, 2005
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This can by no stretch of the imagination be considered a comprehensive guide to digital video. It cannot even be considered an adequate "operator's manual". It serves a much different purpose. It helps one who knows nothing or practically nothing to get started, to learn the right questions to ask and to determine if this is really a field of interest after all. For those purposes, it is excellent.

In addition to some very basic general priniciples, this book also contains a lot of practical advice and entry level explanation. Why is time code important? Why should tapes be logged? What is the best way to capture the kids' birthday party and not completely bore everyone? Each of these questions, and others, is important but their importance may not seem at all obvious to a beginner. This book answers question like that so that people who will take this hobby further will get started on the right track.

The place I see this book as particularly valuable is for someone considering the purchase of video equipment. It will provide insight as to what is involved. Someone who has already bought some expnesive equipment might be better served by a book that is a bit more advanced.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The question is what do you need..., February 12, 2003
By 
Okay, so I got this idea to do a cooking show. It took me a very long time to get what I needed to do it, and as I write I'm just about to start it with a friend's help. Meantime, I needed to know how to handle my camcorder. While the iMovie 2 Missing Manual from O'Reilly was a huge help, this book covers a lot more of the basics for what I need, though not perfectly.
This book focuses on two basic areas: "studio" organization and taping technique. His organizational techniques will certainly work, and the ideas of keeping clean timecode and logging your tapes are very good ones, though the latter is a bit much unless you spend your days with your camcorder attached to your hand. Practice assignments are given in several chapters, and the matter of editing is covered in substantial depth. The focus is on consumer and semi-pro MiniDV, and you'll find little to no coverage of pro-grade equipment, but since that's well out of the target audience's average budget, that's not a flaw.
It is perhaps a minor flaw that a consumer-level book is somewhat Mac-centric, but since the professional video world itself is heavily Mac-centric and the concepts are presented in a general manner, this is not such a problem as it might seem (I'm a Mac user, so it's not a problem at all for me). An important point is that it focuses on the production of video shorts more than full-length television shows or movies, and Rubin's aesthetic of movie editing can be summed up as "take it as it comes" (he seems very influenced by Dogme95, the "Vow of Chastity" created by several Danish filmmakers). Special effects are to be minimized to avoid the disastrous amateurishness that developed in the early days of desktop publishing, and the limitations of consumer DV gear are to be accepted rather than minimized or compensated for.
It's not quite enough for someone looking to do serious video production; Rubin's other book Nonlinear is probably the book to get for that. And the one flaw I can't forgive in the book is assuming certain features are more common than they really are -- as a professional it's clear Rubin has never been stuck buying a bottom-of-the-barrel consumer camcorder, and he makes assumptions that reinforce that impression. But it's a very good and easily digested book for learning DV 101, and will get you started on your own productions very quickly and painlessly, while keeping you from too many making stupid or gauche mistakes. You will still need your manuals, but this is the glue between camcorder and editing program that will make your movies work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Newbie, an excellent foundation, September 3, 2003
By 
E. Aamodt (Easley, SC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I picked this book up as part of Broderbund's MovieShop Deluxe editing software. The book was great, the software was really bad. Thank goodness the whole thing cost me less than the book by itself.
This is great for the beginner who has just bought their first DV camera or is about to and has had no prior video experience. It doesn't get heavy into the technical aspect of cameras, computers, or film making. Rubin spends most of the book giving great advice on shooting, organizing, and editing. (Let your user manuals give you the technical stuff.)
The focus of the book is on creating and finishing small projects. The exercises in the book help you understand why you should do some things and not others. The chapter on shooting gives you the foundation on which to get great shots that you can really use.
I found the chapter on organinzing video probably the most useful for me personally. I'd had some previous film training in college many years ago before DV became popular, and while it covered shooting and edting, we never covered organization.
This is not a long comprehensive book. An average reader could get through it in 2-3 evenings and learn all they will ever need to know to make their home videos entertaining and enjoyable. Very highly recommended!!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical advice from your brother-in-law, April 16, 2002
By 
James C (Perth, Australia) - See all my reviews
Rubin's book is an excellent start for new camcorder owners. It's not too technical and not too ambitious. Many books attempt to cover everything and do it poorly because of the scope of the subject and lack of explanation of technical jargon. Rubin even shares his personal indexing system for tracking footage. The book is totally accessible because of its casual conversational language. Rubin's book saves months of trial and error.
Bought it even though it cost way too much at Borders, Singapore (S$ equivalent of US$22) because it was the only stockist and I didn't have the patience to wait for a mail-ordered book.
Would have given it 5 stars if it had been published in a hard/ semi-hard cover compact edition which could be shoved into the camcorder bag or cost less.
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The Little Digital Video Book (2nd Edition)
The Little Digital Video Book (2nd Edition) by Michael Rubin (Paperback - September 22, 2008)
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