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Customer Review

on November 30, 2001
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 ( 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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