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Book Review:
The Little Digital Video Book

The Little Digital Video Book, by Michael Rubin.
178 pp. Peachpit Press, 2002. $19.99.

Michael Rubin is a pro, but his goals in the Little Digital Video Book are very down to earth. Sure, he’s a professional Hollywood film editor and educator, but he’s also a busy guy with just a couple of hours on a weekend to pull together a video. So he teaches an eminently sensible approach he calls results–oriented video: learn to use your video camera to shoot good video easily, shoot video that can be readily edited into projects, and finish your projects.

His method? Shoot 20 minutes or less of material, edit it down to about four minutes, add music, and finish the editing process in two hours or less. The result is a video sketch that is quick, easy to make and enjoyable for family and friends.

Rubin’s crisp and lively style makes even the most mundane detail fascinating. He guides the reader through buying a FireWire-equipped video camera (he much prefers MiniDV) and then teaches you how to use it, feature by feature. Chapters on shooting, organizing your video, preparing to edit and editing are chock-full of information and illustrated with usefully-captioned black and white photographs.

You’ll learn why timecode is so important, why you should ditch your lens cap and put on a clear UV filter instead, and how to set up a tape labeling and organizing system and logbook to make your filmmaking life easier. You’ll also learn the questions to ask before you shoot, how to take all kinds of shots (and how to choose which ones to use), and how to set up and use your editing bay. It’s the professional expertise coupled with common-sense practicality that makes this book so special. Very highly recommended.

–Elsa Travisano
Copyright ©2002 by Elsa Travisano. This article originally appeared in the February 2002 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.