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Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR Book Review

Express Summary

Mastering HD Video with Yout DSLRMastering HD Video with Your DSLR is one of the few books to directly address video capabilities of modern DSLRs. This 233 page soft-cover book is written by Helmut Kraus and Uwe Steinmueller. Mr Kraus is the director of a design agency and university professor that lectures on digital photography. Mr Steinmueller has been a photographer since 1973 and published several award-winning photography books. Together they cover video topics from the perspective of amateur photographers.

This new book by Rocky Nook gives people who are unfamiliar with video a step-by-step path to through all the hurdles needed to capture, produce and present video using a DSLR. Video, regardless of the device used to record it, has always been a complex topic and so Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR is there to break down the complexity into smaller and relatively well thought-out components. This book succeeds extremely well at it using a highly illustrative style and well-written text.

Compared to consumer-grade video cameras, DSLRs show extremely good video quality at the expense of not being designed or currently capable of providing simplicity similar to a camcorder. An entire section of this book is devoted to this, plus a great deal in the chapter on sound. This is probably the most unique content in this book and, while online resources are good at explaining each piece, Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR does a superb job at explaining how all the parts work and fit together.

The entire Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR book covers plenty of cutting-edge topics related to DSLR video. The subject is quite new and highly motivating to photographers wanting to add video to their visual repertoire without investing and learning a dedicated video-capture system. For these people, Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR is certainly a must-have book to get them started. Buy it from Amazon.

Book Review

Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR is there to prepare photographers for shooting HD video using a DSLR and show them how to complete the process from the planning to the publishing phase. Some people may question the complexity of the entire process but, after reading this book, all doubts should be removed. There is an enormous difference between pressing the shutter to record something and producing a quality video. It take much more work, but luckily this book explains all the required steps.

The whole book is divided into seven content-rich chapters. The first one, Basics, introduces the fundamental principals of video and of the devices used to record it. It talks about video resolutions, frame-rates, codecs, flash memory, sensor types and issues particular to DSLRs. Outside of this chapter, the HD part of the title becomes largely irrelevant since everything else still applies regardless of video resolution. Basics includes an excellent coverage of the pros and cons of various sensor technologies and how to minimize their inherent issues.

The second chapter, Equipment, covers an astounding amount of video equipment. This obviously covers digital cameras with an well-justified emphasis on lenses. It also covers lights, tripods, heads, stabilization options, light meters, hoods, clapper boards and much more. Not every piece of equipment is needed for quality video but understanding the solutions offered by each part is essential. The book does a great job at covering all that, so be prepared to add more gear to your video arsenal if you are serious about it!

The Shooting Techniques chapter follows. This chapter contains key points for actually shooting video footage. Most of these apply to all types of videography and knowing these can improve any type of video production. Just like composition has the most impact on photography, shooting techniques have the most impact on how well videos are perceived. There are clear illustrations and simulated images to show the effect of focal-length, depth-of-field, subject distance and related concepts.

The second half the the Shooting Techniques chapter is devoted to an extremely comprehensive analysis of issues which can show-up in video recordings. All those issue are summarized with clear causes and remedies listed in a nice reference table. For those who have already started learning video on their own, this chapter will prove extremely valuable to bring videos to the next level.

The following short chapter, Sound, is a reality check on the use of sound recorded by a DSLR. There is a detailed discussion on microphones, related accessories and how to handle audio tracks that is often neglected when people discuss video but is truly important. The authors even explain why it is a good idea to let the DSLR record sound even though it is generally discarded from the final video, usually having been replaced by another audio source.

The fifth chapter, Editing and Post-Processing, is an overview of the steps needed to put together videos that make sense and look polished. Included is a whirlwind tour of popular video editing products. It is great to have the editing workflow described here but remember that each video editing software probably needs its own book to be really understood.

The next chapter is called Presenting Your Work. While not the last one, this short chapter prepares future videographers for the end-game of video. This is the part where videos are shared and the videographer gets something back from his product. At this point, all the hard work is complete and it makes sense to pay attention to the way it is presented for the enjoyment of its viewers.

The final chapter gives a first-person account of learning videography from a point-of-view of a seasoned photographer. Called Moving From Still Photography to Video, this one puts the most of the steps from previous chapters together in a sequential essay. At the same time, this chapter turns some of the more abstract advice into concrete choices. As a first-person account, this follows the learning steps of Uwe Steinmueller and his wife and many of the options they took to produce videos within constraints of their choosing. On one hand this may be what is missing for some readers after reading the rest of the book while, on the other, a good amount is specific to the untold constraints which guided described choices.

DSLRs are quickly bringing unprecedented video capabilities but those are difficult to master and require a lot of effort to produce polished results. What Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR does is divide the required effort into clear steps and guide future videographers through them. In one way, it shows the complexity of video-production which some many not be aware of but this understanding is absolutely essential if one truly wants to produce quality videos using a digital SLR.

Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR is available from Amazon.

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