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Introduction

Introduction

First of all, thanks for buying this book. I’ll let you know what’s available in the book and what you’ll find on the Doceo Web site after a bit of background.

I had several goals with this book. Over the past few years, video departments in corporations, government offices, and academic institutions have been downsized, while the cost of high-quality DV gear, computers, and DVD recorders have dropped significantly. The amount of video work done by corporations and institutions, hasn’t declined, but the work has been out of the hands of video specialists. Much of the shooting, editing, and producing video is now done by teachers, executives, staffers, and others who have little or no training in shooting with a camcorder, editing video, or producing a DVD.

I wrote this book to provide specific and directed production assistance to this new class of video producers. Not general theory, but details such as where to put the camera in a two-person training video, how to connect microphones, and which font to use in your titles.

My main aim was to provide a book that would help a complete novice shoot, edit, and output high-quality video to meet or exceed all organizational objectives—however reasonable or unreasonable.

To accomplish this, the book needed to provide both general knowledge and—where appropriate—software-specific guidance for those who need it. Unfortunately, if you include lots of software-specific direction within a book, you guarantee there will be content some readers don’t want (e.g., Mac users glazing over screenshots of Windows-based programs), and the book will be obsolete soon after it hits the streets.

For this reason, I supplemented the printed book with downloadable PDF workbooks. These contain instructions on how to use particular tools to accomplish the tasks described in the book, as well as other support materials—some available for free, and some for a modest charge. Using the same projects illustrated in the printed book, these highly visual workbooks walk you through the production process, step by step, with program-specific screens illustrating each task.

If you’re an experienced user, you probably won’t need the workbooks. On the other hand, if you’re just getting to know your chosen editor or authoring program, you’ll probably find the workbooks extremely helpful. Go to www.doceo.com/dv101.html for a list of available workbooks.

A related note, you may notice in Chapter 5 and 8 that I include several software screenshots where I didn’t name the program. This is because the screens were used to illustrate general principles applicable to many programs in each category, rather than features specific to the program shown. In addition, since program interfaces change so quickly and frequently, I didn’t want to confuse readers with screens that no longer looked like the programs identified. I apologize if you found this lack of product identification irritating.

About This Book

The book is split into three major sections—shooting, output, and distribution-presentation. The first three chapters cover shooting, audio, and lighting, to help ensure that your productions start with the highest possible audio/video quality.

Chapter 4 goes into the theory behind the workflow of converting your raw DV footage to streaming video and DVDs. Then, Chapters 5 through 8 go into more detail about these procedures, with a look at the specialized subject of shooting for compositing and low-bitrate streaming in Chapter 6.

Once you’ve produced your video files, the focus shifts to distribution. Chapter 9 details how to insert videos into PowerPoint and Apple Keynote, while Chapter 10 describes how to create streaming presentations with PowerPoint Producer. Chapter 11 wraps up with a look at how to produce and deploy closed captions in streaming files and DVDs.

The book does not include reviews of DV cameras, video editors, or DVD authoring programs, or “how to” articles on buying or configuring your capture and editing station. This information changes too quickly to have much staying power in a book and you’ll be better served by specialized magazines covering these topics.

If you’re interested in this information, I invite you to visit www.emedialive.com and www.pcmag.com. The first site, EMedia, provides more lengthly reviews and analysis while PC Magazine provides quick-hit reviews of the most critical hardware and software tools.

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