DV Filmmaking: From Start to Finish


Thanks to the digital revolution, film artists now have a spectacular array of powerful, new, inexpensive tools for creative expression through digital film. The once powerful studios can no longer stifle an artist's creativity. With the power of the Internet, film artists are finding once unimaginable ways to distribute their creations worldwide.

DV Filmmaking: From Start to Finish covers all aspects of the new digital video frontier, for amateurs and professionals alike—from ...

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Thanks to the digital revolution, film artists now have a spectacular array of powerful, new, inexpensive tools for creative expression through digital film. The once powerful studios can no longer stifle an artist's creativity. With the power of the Internet, film artists are finding once unimaginable ways to distribute their creations worldwide.

DV Filmmaking: From Start to Finish covers all aspects of the new digital video frontier, for amateurs and professionals alike—from the nuts and bolts of timecode and aspect ratio; to framing, lighting, and sound recording; as well as editing, special effects creation, and distribution.

The book is written for filmmakers at varying experience levels—taking an integrated approach to media production, and emphasizing the ways different aspects of the process work together to create a vital work of digital art:

  • Hands-on detailed examination of the artistic aspects of film and video production
  • Extensive examples use comprehensive step-by-step exercises for advanced editing techniques
  • Scenes from successful films illustrate techniques used by professionals
  • Includes a collection of professionally shot video clips, so the usercan read and follow along with sets of structured exercises
  • Develops a highly refined repertoire of advanced skills in editing, effects creation, title design, and more
  • Inspires advanced readers to work with the included clips on their own and experiment with new ideas
  • Written for both Mac and PC users and covers advanced uses of both Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects

Written in an engaging, accessible style, DV Filmmaking provides a solid foundation of tremendous value to a beginner, while addressing the fine points of filmmaking with a level of sophistication, detail, and insight that even the most worldly director or educator can appreciate. The author draws upon his years of experience teaching at the college and graduate level, his extensive professional background as a media producer, and his unmistakable love of cinema to create a text that's not only easy to learn from, but also fun to read.

Thanks to the digital revolution, film artists now have a spectacular array of powerful, new, inexpensive tools for creative expression through digital film. This reference covers all aspects of the new digital video frontier, for amateurs and professionals alike--from the nuts and bolts of timecode and aspect ratio to framing, lighting, and sound recording.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596008482
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/15/2006
  • Series: O'Reilly Digital Studio Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian David Aronson is a media producer and scholar who lives in New York City. He is a 1997 graduate of the Stanford University Master's Program in Documentary Film and Video, and author of O'Reilly's DV Fillmaking: From Start to Finish. Aronson is also the director/producer of digitaldocumentary.org, which produces social issue documentary and educational media in a variety of electronic formats. His current production, Mi Querida America, follows a group of immigrant teens through their first year of high school in Manhattan and is intended for distribution via DVD and broadband Internet. From 2001 to 2004 Aronson served as Assistant Professor of Digital Media at Ramapo College. He is currently earning a doctorate in the highly selective Educational Communication and Technology program at New York University. Before attending Stanford he worked as a public radio producer and a stringer for The New York Times.

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Table of Contents

Why Read This Book?;
What This Book Is, and Is Not;
What This Book Covers;
Conventions Used in This Book;
We’d Like to Hear from You;
Chapter 1: The Freedom of Digital Video;
1.1 The Flexibility of Digital Recording Versus the Expense and Constraints of Film;
1.2 Digital Features: A Brief History of Directors Who Chose Digital Production over Film;
Chapter 2: Digital Cinematography;
2.1 Aspect Ratio;
2.2 Anamorphic Video;
2.3 Frame Rate and Video Standards;
2.4 Video on Your Computer, Pixel Aspect Ratio;
2.5 Why It All Matters in DVD Production;
2.6 Swing-out Monitor, Viewfinder, or External NTSC Field Monitor;
2.7 Working with a Viewfinder: Color Versus Black and White;
Chapter 3: Composing a Shot to Fit Your Output Medium;
3.1 An Overview of Shots—Medium Shot, Wide Shot, Close-up, and Extreme Close-up;
3.2 Shooting with DVD Compression in Mind;
Chapter 4: Lighting for Digital;
4.1 What White Balance Does, and Why You Can Never Forget to Set It;
4.2 The Importance of Setting an Aperture;
Chapter 5: Shooting for Effects;
5.1 Preparing a Chroma Key Shoot;
5.2 Framing Images with Composites in Mind;
5.3 Planning a Matte Effect;
Chapter 6: Working with Specialized Camera Mounts;
6.1 Stabilizing a Moving Camera;
6.2 Using a Camera Dolly;
Chapter 7: Recording Audio, an Overview;
7.1 Sync-Sound Field Recording and the Birth of Cinema Verite;
7.2 The Impact of the Camcorder;
7.3 Current Recording Options;
Chapter 8: Digital Audio Production Techniques and Strategies;
8.1 Microphone Types;
8.2 Maintaining Sync;
8.3 Strategies for Recording Good Digital Audio;
Chapter 9: An Overview of Nonlinear Editing;
9.1 Timelines, Frames, and Tracks—How Nonlinear Editing Benefits the Independent Filmmaker;
9.2 Making the Most of Nondestructive Editing: The Difference Between Project Files and Media Files;
9.3 How Timecode Makes Nonlinear Editing Possible;
Chapter 10: Setting Up Your Digital Post Facility;
10.1 Is My Computer Fast Enough?;
10.2 Capture and Storage Systems;
10.3 The Importance of a Well-Calibrated NTSC Monitor;
Chapter 11: An Overview of Composite Images;
11.1 What an Alpha Channel Does;
11.2 Importing Images and Adding Them to the Timeline;
11.3 Rendering Your Work;
11.4 Creating Images in Photoshop for Use in Digital Video;
Chapter 12: Compositing Techniques to Make Your Project Look Like It Cost More Than It Really Did;
12.1 Creating the Houston Street Composites;
Chapter 13: Artistically Using Still Images;
13.1 Animating Still Photos to Simulate Camera Movements;
Chapter 14: Creating Titles, Static and Animated;
14.1 Creating Static Titles;
14.2 Animating a Title in After Effects;
14.3 Creating Scrolling or Crawling Titles in Final Cut Pro;
14.4 Adding Still Images to Your Titles;
Chapter 15: Bringing Your Title Sequence into Your Project;
15.1 Building Your Opening Sequence in Final Cut Pro;
15.2 Building Your Opening Sequence in After Effects;
15.3 Joining Your Opening Sequence to the Body of Your Film;
Chapter 16: Color Correction;
16.1 How Color Functions in Video, an Overview;
16.2 Audiences’ Subconscious Response to Color, and How You Can Make Use of It;
16.3 Making Your Video Broadcast Safe;
Chapter 17: The Concept of Sound Design;
17.1 Layering Audio Tracks;
17.2 Replacing Missing or Poorly Recorded Audio;
Chapter 18: Sound Design, from Nuts and Bolts to Fine Tuning;
18.1 Refining the Natural Sound in Your Sequence;
18.2 Adding Music to Your Film;
The Release Print;
Creating a Broadcast Master;
Striking a Film Print;
Outputting Your Audio;
Mastering to DVD, and the Benefits of Distributing Your Work in a Digital Format;
Streaming Your Work on the Internet;
Making Your Voice Heard;
The Last Step: Negotiating a Sale (and Why You Should Always Bargain Up);
Getting Your Film Seen: How Festival Exposure and Press Coverage Can Get You Noticed;
The Option of Self-Distribution and the Story of Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore;
D.I.Y. or Die: Taking Your Work on Tour;
Don’t Sell Yourself Short;
Why Good Business Cards Are Important;

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2008

    DV Filmmaking From Start to Finish

    This book was more than I expected. Like its title indicated, it provides a comprehensive look at the process of Digital Filmmaking. I was really looking for a book that provided information about the process of making videos, but this made me aware that filmmaking as more than just shooting and editing videos. Filmmaking is a process of planning, production, post-production activities, and distributing the finished product. This book addresses all of those areas in a straight forward and understandable manner. An introduction to digital video, and the specifics of digital cinematography, provides a good foundation for understanding the other aspects of digital filmmaking discussed in the book. By addressing subjects like composition, lighting, audio and video editing it provided information in areas of most interest to me. Examples used in the book included professional and semi-professional equipment, but it was easy to make comparisons to the equipment that I use to understand the principles involved. For example, with video editing, Final Cut Pro was used to illustrate techniques. This program is a high end video editor that is just below the types of editors used by major film studios and production companies. I find this book to be very informative and will be a good reference for future use when I will need to supplement my knowledge and upgrade my digital video skills. I recommend it for anyone that might be interested in using video clips and still images for more than just sharing with friends and associates.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2006

    Great book! Lots of fun!

    Are you an aspiring filmmaker? Do you want to create films, but aren¿t sure where to start? Are you currently an amateur filmmaker, but need to tune some of your skills? This book doesn¿t just show you how to be a filmmaker, it lets you follow along with sample projects on the included CD. Most of the book concentrates on producing good video. The author discuss topics including lighting, special effects, sound and sound editing, nonlinear editing, compositing images, and color correction. I was most impressed with the examples in the book, which illustrate many of the concepts with a sample movie project (which can be found on the accompanying CD-ROM), or discuss how a familiar movie utilized the concept (e.g. color matching in Open Water). These types of illustrations really make the filmmaking concepts come alive. The last section of the book discusses how to release your finished product. Once the film editing is complete, the book discusses how to distribute your film¿perhaps on DVD, perhaps with 5.1 sound¿and what some of the ins and outs of each option are. Finally, the author discusses the basics of negotiating a distribution deal for your film. I was very impressed with the depth and breadth of content in this book. I would highly recommend it to any aspiring DV filmmaker.

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