Customer Reviews: The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques
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on April 25, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read several books on filmmaking (with a dSLR emphasis), and I think this is the best of the bunch. Very thorough, it's a fairly dense book, but there's a lot in there. It covers pretty much everything except writing the script (okay, and working with actors, etc; this book is about the shooting). It covers gear quite well, including audio and related equipment. Lighting, color correction, data management, lenses, postprocessing: all get more than adequate coverage. This would make a pretty good "all-in-one" book for someone new to shooting video with a dSLR, regardless of the size of the project (though if you just want home movies, and don't need a "professional" look, this book is probably overkill, just shoot it and be happy).

Comparison with other books:

DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Video. While I don't have the second edition, the first edition I have is very similar to Andersson and Geyen's book. But A&G's has more to it. More thorough overall in what's in there. There are a few things in Lancaster's that aren't covered in this one, but not much.

Photocine: Digital Filmmaking with DSLRs tries to be similar, but does a pretty lousy job. It's not terrible, but it's small and weak. Covers much less than either of the two already mentioned. Skip it.

Video Shooter, Second Edition: Storytelling with HD Cameras is different. It focuses on the story, not the technical details of the shooting. Would be a decent companion to this one. Some overlap, but Braverman's book is about shooting with an emphasis on the story, not the quality of the final product (if that makes sense).

The Digital Filmmaking Handbook is amazing. If you don't get B&A's book, get this one. Also a very thorough all-in-one, it covers everything, including production aspects of filmmaking. What it doesn't offer is a dSLR-centered approach (or as many color photos or slick pages, but that doesn't matter to me). It discusses dSLRs as one type of camera, and does a decent job, but it's not all about the camera. It's all about the filmmaking. Plenty of overlap between Schenk and Long's book and A&G's, so you probably don't need both.

Anyway, hope that helps.
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on October 26, 2012
- The book is well written
- Easy to understand
- Covers most of the issues concerning videography with a DSLR as well as other Cameras
- Pricey, but if you want quality work, this is a great reference book
- Probably goes into a lot more detail than the average person wants, but true film makers are highly detailed people
- This book is definitely NOT for the person who just want to shoot home videos of the family
- I believe this book is better suited for someone who actually plans to make serious videos/films or who plans to make money such as with weddings, corporate clients, parties, ect.

Note: I have multiple books on photography and videography. Authors of these books have camera preferences. No one starting out usually has the money to buy the top of the line Canon and the top of the line Nikon, ect. I shoot with a Canon Rebel 650D T4i and I can learn (and have learned) from and author that shoots with a Nikon D300. I get no impression from this book that this is a Canon Ad. This book would be 2000 pages if every major camera was addressed.

Note 2: Yes...This book is for semi-pros (person who is trying to get into the business) and pros. This is not geared towards the novice. The book is 416 pages. Usually books this size are serious books. That alone should send up a Red Flag that this might be a little intense. I hope this helps you make a more informed decision alone with these other informing reviews. Good Luck!
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a very dated book. Don't buy it even if you get a great deal - there's very little here that's still pertinent.
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on July 2, 2012
It might be a decent book but from the little bit I have read, this is one big Canon ad. The entire book is skewed towards Canon DSLR owners and should be stated as such. I shoot with a GH2 so most of the camera info and tips they give are worthless to me. This is by no means a broad view of shooting with DSLR's. It even goes into creating custom shooting profiles for your CANON camera. It really should be labeled as such. Returning it.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book, in it's ample number of pages, covers the all the basic minutiae of shooting video with digital single lens reflex cameras. These cameras (and their mirrorless, interchangeable lens brothers such as the Sony NEX series) have revolutionized filmmaking and videography in a similar way as the ubiquitous consumer DV format did many years ago. While these early adopters were often treated with suspicion - those with a film background immediately grasped the value of being able to use just the right optics for a given scene. Quickly use of these cameras spread not just to low-budget filmmakers, but to some big budget filmmakers as well (Steven Soderbergh etc).

This book addresses a basic problem that videographers (novice and not) face in transitioning to DSLR production. The equipment gives you tremendous creative freedom, but comes with limitations as well - some DSLR cameras put limits on what you can tweak while shooting (particularly less expensive ones), and audio is almost always an afterthought (no audio control, poor codec choice, automatic gain that makes quiet passages noisy).

The good news is that a myriad of solutions have popped up to address these concerns. Someone getting started can spent a lot of time scouring dedicated blogs, sites such as the old standby 2pop, helpful (and sometimes not) youtube videos that show how to use these cameras, and excellent diy projects.

But there is always an argument to be made for having a book this information, introduces you to the language and puts in a structured volume that acts as both a linear "how-to" guide, and a reference book. This particular book does this admirably. If you are just exploring what your inexpensive Rebel 3ti or Sony NEX-5 can do - this is an quite thorough book to get started on subjects such as optics; the basic rundown on which lenses to use and why. I appreciated the brief explanation of the ins and outs of using vintage optics.

The book delivers on it's title in that it is indeed focused on DSLR shooting. The text is both specific and general - identifying strategies and then offering solutions. The good news here is even as the technology changes, this collected and structured information is always going to be useful. While it may overlap other books that are out there on these specific topics, such as optics, seeing it all in context is quite worthwhile

I seriously doubt I will ever get rid of my copy. If/when I get to teach an intro to production course, this book will be on my recommended reading list, if for no other reason than it's completeness on the subject matter.
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VINE VOICEon February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It applies to the content in this book. This is without a doubt one of the most concise books I've ever read on the subject. You are in good hands with authors Barry Andersson and Janie L. Geyen as they walk you through what it takes to make a professional quality film using a DSLR camera. If you didn't already know, DSLR cameras are currently one of the preferred choices on filming everything from photo shoots to commercial shoots to even feature films. If you are interested in getting started in the world of DSLR filmmaking, this would be a great place to start. This book pretty much runs the gamut on everything from setting up your camera package to suggested film techniques to treating your work in post production and it's all solidly served up and top notch. I couldn't tell you if anything was left out but it sure doesn't seem that way. Honestly speaking, aspiring filmmakers and even veterans could stand to learn quite a bit from this book, that's for sure. The book is very well written, photos are laid out cleanly alongside their related bits of text and it really makes for an engaging read.

I would recommend this book with no reservations. While getting started in DSLR filmmaking whether as a hobby or a career is no cheap expense, this book will at the very least make sure to point you in the right direction and light your way with the best intentions.
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Andersson and Geyen have taken on a very ambitious project with "The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook."

They're attempting to provide the complete handbook for filmmaking using a DSLR camera - everything from lenses to lighting to set-up to audio to post processing including color correction and grading.

This creates a couple of basic questions: What audience are you trying to reach - entry level or advanced users? What approach are you going to take - offering a 'high end' overview of the process or hands on nuts and bolts?

I believe these questions weren't fully addressed and therein lies the weakness of the book. When you attempt to be "everything to everybody," you often fall short with everyone.

I had an upcoming shoot where I knew lighting would be critical. I decided to go through the "Lighting on Location" chapter carefully with hopes it would give me a real head start on a complicated project. After reading through it, however, I was more confused than when I started. "How can the lights tell the story" seemed to be the just of the chapter. This may be wonderful once you have the equipment, understand the needs of your location, and are trying to maximize the creative aspect of the lighting. However, I couldn't find a real 'starting point' in this chapter that would let me say "This is how I'm going to start, this is what I'll do to refine the process once I'm started." The chapter is FILLED with information, but it never seems to come together.

Likewise with the chapter "Sound on Location." Filled with information including diagrams of microphone pickup patterns. But how do I take this and move forward to an effective production?

When you attempt to cover SO MUCH information, you really have to skimp in the details. As an example here, there's a section on microphone clips that talks about the advantage of 'vampire clips' to eliminate such things as the sound of brushing against clothing. However, while they go so far as to provide a picture of a 'vampire clip,' they never really explain what one is, opting to say it can be anything from a shielded enclosure to 'furry tape.'

My feeling: If something's important enough to include, you should explain it clearly and completely.

There's an abundance of wonderful information in this book, including some great hints on equipment and selection. However, this is a book that never really seems to come together, regardless of whether you're using it to get a high level overview of the process or a handbook to answer specific questions you're encountering on your project.
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VINE VOICEon March 14, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am no stranger to filmmaking, but I confess, the decision as to whether or not to go to DSLR to make a video was rather intimidating for me. 'The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook by Barry Andersson and Janie L. Geyen made that choice a whole lot easier to make. Being able to get the film look on a small budget is entirely within the realm of the possible with this book.

The authors are very thorough in explaining the features of DSLR cameras, what camera's lenses and accessories are right for you. They cover the various brands, old lenses vs. The newer ones made specifically for the prosumer market. Also included is information on audio, tripods, stedicams and even clapboards! It really was a surprise for me how accessible the authors made the information without so much 'industry speak' that would put off those readers who don't have any sort of film background. This book really is great in helping determine how to choose the right package so that you get the most out of your DSLR experience without going broke.

What really impressed me was the extensive section on converting and editing your footage, or post production that makes up approximately one fourth of the book! There is a great deal of information about automated dialogue replacement (ADR) color correction, compression and file management during the editing process.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone even considering making the jump into DSLR format. It is set up like a textbook but is incredibly readable. This is one that most independent filmmakers will want to have on hand.
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VINE VOICEon February 21, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The DSLR Filmmakers Handbook isn't your typical run of the mill quick guide, it's a DSLR text book. With chapters on all the stages of production, as well as equipment, this book has it all. Speaking from a novice's perspective, this book is exactly what I need right now! The language used in the passages is 'every day' and easy to understand. The text is easy to read, pictures are clear, and the overall page layouts are simple to follow. One of the nicest things about this book is that it references current cameras on the market. While this will make this edition of the book obsolete in a year, it is very handy now. It cemented my thoughts that the camera I'm looking into purchasing is the camera for me and raised my confidence a bit that I really could master something like a DSLR for video!

While this book isn't something I'd carry in my camera bag (too big, too weighty), it is something that will definitely come in handy while I learn to prep and use a DSLR in my future video shoots. If you are looking to get into the professional DSLR video world and want to teach yourself the basics on up, then this is something to look into. It is definitely worth the money!
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Whether you are a beginner or have a lot of experience, there is no doubt something in this book that will be of value to you. If you do not yet own a DSLR, the book will help you determine what camera is best for your needs. If you already own a DSLR camera, the book will show you how to get the most out of your camera and includes many tips/suggestions on how to capture better footage.

Who Should Read This Book (taken directly from the author's text):
1. Independent filmmakers trying to get the "film" look on an affordable budget
2. Photographers who are looking to start shooting DSLR video but have never worked in the video/film world

I am a still photographer who is interested in making motion pictures, so this book was perfect for me! Before buying this book, you should already have basic camera skills (like how to operate a video/still camera). You should also have a basic understanding of the visual language of movies (understand how lighting and camera placement/movement affect the audience's perception of the scene). The book does not discuss the theory of filmmaking - it's a handbook. You have to have the vision and the ideas, and the book will help you to achieve the desired look you want out of your film.

The text covers a wide variety of topics, including the following:
- Recommended Gear - lenses, tripods, audio equipment, lights, etc.
- Tips for how to light scenes, how to move the camera, how to capture good audio on location, etc.
- Setting your camera to get the best image quality for a specific scenario.
- Organizing and sorting your video data, and how to edit your project.
- Post-Production Issues: color correction, syncing audio and video, compression, etc.

This book covers everything about DSLR filmmaking. The only thing left to do after reading this book is go out and shoot your footage.
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