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Hands on HDV

Complete guide to shooting with the Z1U and FX1 on DVD By Stephen Schleicher

Reading manuals?  Who needs that?  Seems like a waste of paper, especially when there are so many training DVDs to take their place.  Such is the case with Hands on HDV, a training DVD from Vortex Media which claims to be the complete guide to the HVR-Z1U and the HDR-FX1 cameras.

Instead of spending hours reading through a print manual, trying to figure out how the features of your camera are supposed to work, this DVD walks you through every function, where it is located, and to a lesser extent, the situation you would use it.

This 90 minute DVD is broken into 22 chapters for quick access to the information you need.  The segments most will jump to right away are Assign Buttons, Picture Profiles, Personal Menu, and Cineframe & Cinematone.  These will encompass the bulk of what new users to these cameras will want addressed.  After, viewers will find still more good information on the rest of disc.

Hands on HDV was created by three professionals with an impressive list of credits to their name.  Their background really shines on this DVD.  This is certainly the best looking training DVD I have ever seen.  Shot in studio, great lighting, superb talent, and high quality examples, make this a disc that sets the bar for other training DVDs.  And why shouldnt it look great?  Hands on HDV was shot entirely with the FX1 and Z1U cameras.

Two additional files are included on the disc.  The first is a chart that compares all Picture Profiles settings on the Z1U.  This is a chart you should take down to the local copy shop and have laminated, as it provides a quick reference when you are shooting.  The other document compares the feature set of the HVR-Z1U and the HDR-FX1.  Probably not useful for the Z1U user, but certainly serves as the proverbial carrot for the FX1 crowd.

The biggest problem with this DVD is not in the amount of information present, but rather the reasoning behind using certain features.  This is most evident in the Cineframe and Cinematone chapters.  Instead of showing moving images or cut scenes from a project, we are subjected to looking at a still image.  How are you supposed to see Cineframe on a still image?  Thats right, you cant.  The creators certainly provided demonstrations of shutter speed, shot transitions, but many times the information stumbles.

That negative problem aside, this is a great DVD if you want to understand the features of your HVR-Z1U or HDR-FX1 camera.  For only $84.95, this is a learning tool you will serve you well.

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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (, where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at [email protected]

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