CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 37. . . .May 25, 2012
Attack of the Killer Video Book Take 2: Tips and Tricks for Young Directors. Revised and Updated Ed.
Mark Shulman & Hazlitt Krog. Art by Martha Newbigging.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2012.
76 pp., pbk. & hc., $14.95 (pbk.), $24.95 (hc.)
ISBN 978-1-55451-366-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-367-3 (hc.).
Video recordings-Production and direction-Juvenile literature.
Grades 5-10 / Ages 10-15.
Review by Suzanne Pierson.
Light like a pro
Your best bet is to use existing light. (Translation: Shoot your video where there is already a bunch of light.) But if you want to learn lighting, here's the Hollywood way.
It's called three-point lighting: three lights in three different places aimed at the middle and presto! they mostly erase each other's shadows. Hard shadows are bad-stuff in videos, except in monster and bad-guy stories.
This is a terrific book full of great tips presented with a great sense of humour in an easy to follow format. It is an excellent resource for beginning directors.
Attack of the Killer Video Book Take 2: Tips & Tricks for Young Directors is an update of the original edition (CM, Vol. X, No. 21, June 18, 2004). With the rapidly evolving technology readily available to students for making all types of videos, it is probably worth replacing the original edition if you have it. If you don't have it, your students will thank you for adding this title to your collection. Teachers are likely to find it useful for class or club video projects also.
Attack of the Killer Video Book Take 2 includes the basics steps to produce a polished video. Chapters focus on coming up with an idea, gathering your team, creating a script or storyboard, pre-production planning, getting some equipment, filming techniques, special effects, how to be a good leader, post-production, and staging your 'premiere.' There are even tips on what to include in your Oscar-night speech. Who knows? The next James Cameron is sitting in someone's class right now. Maybe they'll be in your library tomorrow waiting for you to put this book in their hands.
The format of the book has a lot of visual appeal with well organized information with plenty of sidebars. Authors Mark Shulman and Hazlitt Krog have hit just the right note in using a plentiful measure of humour to encourage beginning directors to improve their techniques while taking risks in their creative endeavours.
Also, if you're using a wireless mic, make sure your talent turns it off before taking a bathroom break. Or don't, and save the waterfall for your bloopers reel.
Illustrator Martha Newbigging's cartoon style illustrations support the text by showing a culturally diverse 'crew' of young directors putting all of the various tips and tricks into practice.
I recommend purchasing this book in hard copy. It is sure to get a lot of use as your budding directors refer to it to help them create their next killer video. Or maybe you want to buy a couple of copies in paperback in case one goes missing in action. It's that good.
Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen's University in Kingston, ON.
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