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Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the Second Edition

It's little more than a year since Real World Digital Video first hit the bookshelves, and already we needed to update sizable chunks of the manuscript—to keep it out of the Ancient History section!

Peachpit Press had the foresight and the marketing fortitude to commission this new edition much sooner than most publishers. After all, the first edition was selling quite well from the Computer Multimedia section of bookstores, and we were even beginning to conquer some of those die-hards over in Film Production.

Too much was changing—and not only camcorder model numbers, software versions, technical specifications, and prices. As in the first edition, we make references to products mostly for purposes of comparison. Be sure to check for the latest specs and prices in trade magazines or on the Web before you make any final buying decisions.

The big news over the last year was introduction of the first prosumer 24P camcorder, confirming our suspicions that “film-look DV” is a hot topic, and getting hotter. We tried it both ways: shooting movie mode in-camera, and converting standard video in post. Based on that real world experience, we have some powerful advice for you. (For more information, see “What's the Best Way to Achieve 24 fps?” in Chapter 11.)

And, as moviemakers who always strive to show rather than just tell, we did two new productions for the companion DVD:

  • Alan Smithee's Hollywood Tips: We used digital chroma-key compositing to superimpose a wise-cracking directorial tyro over some amateur footage. It's not only a lesson in professional-style cinematography, it's also a kick to watch because your own mistakes can't possibly look this bad.

  • How to Make Digital Video Look Like Film: Watch one of our favorite talking heads declaim while we switch among various film-look techniques on the fly. See for yourself how 24P and some other tricks make a big difference on the screen.

These two clips join our theatrical short When Harried Met Sally and our campy lesson on shot design, Ten Ways to Shoot a Chair, each a 2003 Bronze award-winner at the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. Also on the DVD, you'll find helpful, chatty on-camera interviews from movieland pros and one of the first-ever multicamera DV concert videos. To top it off, there are all-new motion-graphic menus, just to start you thinking about what you can do with DVD Studio Pro 2 and After Effects.

No sooner did we start revising Chapter 1 than we caught ourselves harping on story, story, story as the test of talent for any videomaker. Did we cut those preachy passages? Heck, no. We gave them their very own chapter. (For more on the importance of story and script, see the all-new Chapter 2: “Yes, You Need a Script.”)

And we fact-checked, cross-referenced, worried over, and updated everything else. We moved some of the techie stuff to the back of the book—adding to Appendix A on DV Technology and getting up close and personal with NLE system design in Appendix B. Nothing's gone—it's just in a better place.

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