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The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap 1st Edition

101 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321413642
ISBN-10: 0321413644
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Editorial Reviews


 "I'd been wanting to write a book for the new breed of digital filmmakers,
but now I don't have to. My pal and fellow movie maker Stu Maschwitz has
compressed years of experience into this thorough guide. Don't make a movie
without reading this book!"
 -Robert Rodriguez, filmmaker and author of Rebel Without a Crew

About the Author

Stu Maschwitz is a director, visual effects supervisor, renowned technologist and founding partner of The Orphanage, a leading VFX and film production company based in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Hailed by Shoot Magazine as one of the “Ten Commercial Directors To Watch,” Maschwitz has quickly gained a reputation for his ability to tackle extraordinarily complex visual challenges while injecting his signature wry sense of humor and kinetic filmmaking style. An innovator in filmmaking technology, Maschwitz is the creator of The Orphanage’s revolutionary Magic Bullet software—which gives inexpensive digital video the lush look of film. Prior to joining up with his fellow co-conspirators to start The Orphanage, Maschwitz spent five years at George Lucas’ Industrial Light + Magic. He is a graduate of CalArts School of Animation.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321413644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321413642
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Stu Maschwitz is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer, with a passion for kinetic storytelling. A graduate of CalArts, Maschwitz spent four years at Industrial Light & Magic before co-founding The Orphanage in 1999. Despite his visual effects background and unique command of filmmaking technologies, Maschwitz places an emphasis on performance, emotion, and story. A champion of accessible filmmaking, Maschwitz wrote The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap, and maintains a filmmaking blog at Maschwitz directs TV commercials and is developing several feature film projects, as well as serving as Creative Director for Red Giant Software's Magic Bullet product line.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jason Denzel on February 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a person who has directed / produced a number of short films, all shot on DV. I own a lot of books on the subject. I can easily say that this guide is my favorite one! It simultaneously confirmed to me that you can make pro-quality imagery and effects, and it flipped my world upside down on how easily it can be done.

The guide illustrates to you how to make your DV or HD content look professional. More that that: it shows you how to set yourself up for success so that you can later incorporate visual effects.

The guide explains in plain English what a lot of complex terms are, and why you should care. It shows you how to shoot miniatures, how to edit FX footage into your live-action plates, and how to color correct your stuff. Actually, the author gives you some useful tools for doing the color correcting! (In the form of After Effects plugins)

This book isn't going to teach you After Effects or any other program. (But he lists books that will). If you are a filmmaker already familiar with these tools, then the guide will help you take the next step in polishing your content. It also gives you a simple step-by-step process for how to build your production pipleline. This pipeline might be the single best part of the book!

One other cool aspect of this book is that nearly every page has tips on how to save yourself time, or money, or both. Little things like the Google Maps trick. Or how to make convincing gun-fire. Or how to save your movie in a single format to be transformed later into any format: DVD, iPod, online streaming, etc.

Ultimately, I have found this book to be one of my "core" go-to books for making movies. It's goal is not to teach you tricks per say, but rather to empower you to make a great film using easily-accessible tools and modest budgets. It isn't just theory... it's practical guidelines that you can apply to your next DV or HD movie.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't plan on making any low-budget action epics, but this book is a delight anyway. Stu Maschwitz knows his business, writes well and has a highly developed sense of humor. As a bonus, he also provides a list of most of the best action movies made over the past several decades.

Be forwarned: if you intend to make full use of the numerous examples in the book and on the accompanying DVD, you will need a copy of Adobe After Effects.

Even though I don't intend to be making any action movies, I really appreciated Maschwitz's insights into how to make such movies on low budgets. There's lots of insights into movie making in general in this book and the knowledge can't help but make you a better videographer even if all you shoot are your kids and family picnics.

His dissection of classic action sequences from films like "La Femme Nikita" are more than worth the price of the book.

For the serious hobby videographer, the chapters on color and color correction are also very worthwhile.

Overall, an excellent book for anyone interested in video in general, making low-budget action movies or simply gaining a greater appreciation of what goes into making a good action movie. A lot of fun between two covers.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McKenzie on February 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Stu's writing style is both infectious and inspirational. This sits alongside Robert Rodriguez's Rebel without a Crew as a mainstay for any Rebel filmmaker. The book teaches, no preaches, for the first time (aside from Rodriguez) that its okay to think big visually in your storytelling, that you can have action and special effects. I wouldn't want to count the number of books written on digital filmmaking that tell you to steer clear and stick to talking head three location features - boring.

If you've gone down the DV feature path before or if you're just starting out, Stu has tip and tricks for it all. From prep and pre-prod, to shooting, and post. Oh, the resources on the DVD are worth the price of the book alone.

Digital production is all about workflow and Stu has mastered this arena with great adeptness. He is himself a digital pioneer and never seems content (which is a good thing) to accept or constrain his creative vision due to budget or other reasons. He is a true Ninja - and for that we salute you.

Have waited a long time for a book like this. It takes pride in my library - though it has spent more time off the shelf than one since its arrival.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a good read for the most part, however a few things did hurt this it's overall usefulness as a resource for filmmaking. First of all the author uses Adobe After Effects Pro edition exclusively, he does admit it early on though. If you use some other software to do your special effects, then this book maybe of little use to you. Next some of the computer generated effects he used for his short film that appears on the included DVD, looked like they were computer generated, I mean they looked kind of choppy or jagged, much like a video game, and this really took me out of the story he was trying to tell with the film. Would I recommend this book? Yes, if you would really like to learn to use After Effects Pro to do your special effects on your next movie. For all others I'd recommend purchasing used or checking out your local public library for a copy.
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