Book Review: Page (1) of 1 - 01/09/05 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

The DVX Book and Companion DVD

How To Get the Most From the Revolutionary DVX 100 and DVX 100A Cameras By Douglas Spotted Eagle
The DVX Book
OK, so the opening line is sorta hype. And of the three authors, Barry Green, Jan M. Crittenden, and Harry W. Foulds, two outta three are full-time marketing/training people for Panasonic. So that should be an indicator of where this book is gonna take you.

Except it doesn't. By the title and by the name of the book, I fully expected to be reading a bunch of marketing hype. Other than the foreword, this book has little of that sort of approach. Most likely, the authors assume that if you're reading the book, you're already an owner of the DVX100/DVX100A camcorder. After reading this book cover to cover, and after browsing it reasonably often, this is a book that I'd recommend any videographer should be owning.


Because it covers a lot of ground about how video, progressive scanning, interlacing, frame rates, and everything else that should be associated with video camera basics is found in the opening sections of this book. The first chapter of the book is laden with tables, charts, and information on how the DVX 100 and DVX 100a camcorders specifically function, with all sorts of great information interspersed in the midst of the dry information. Like little gold nuggets, they aren't easy to find at first glance, but as you read on, youll spy them.   For example, in a section describing how Panasonic's Advanced 2:3:3:2 pulldown formula works, the book launches into a discussion of compression basics that takes a sideroad into overcranking and how slow motion works in the video world, offering some tips that really apply to all camcorders and editors, not just owners of the DVX 100/DVX 100A camcorders.

(Click for larger view)

The DVX book also ships with a 50 minute companion DVD thats worth watching whether you ever crack the book open or not, providing great examples of what the book refers to. There are loads of comparisons on the DVD from a variety of shooting and setting conditions so you can see easily, what Green refers to in the book

This book isn't intended as an owners manual, but it certainly should be. Rather than giving dry, uninformative and assumptive specifications about a particular button, switch, dial, or setting, this book actually informs the reader of why the button, switch, dial, or setting should be important to them. Seemingly simple functions that the manufacturer assumes is self-evident (and isn't) are presented in a "what's in it for you" sort of feel, explaining situations where you might or might not want to use a particular setting or combination of settings. Glory be, a guide related to the "how and why" of the camcorder rather than just a "what" book on the camcorder.

Green, Crittenden, and Foulds also focus on depth of field, how it works, how to achieve a film-like feel to the focus, and while there is a lot of information specific to the Panasonic camcorders, there is a tremendous value to be found between the lines that any camcorder owner should know and understand. The same can be said for the way that the book goes into anamorphic vs letterbox vs squeeze shooting styles. In the section relating to depth of field, or DOF, I can almost hear Green speaking in a conversation, as while I've never met Barry, I've read enough of his posts on various forums to know what his conversational style must be like, and in the case of this book, that's a very good thing because it takes reasonably difficult concepts and clearly explains them in a simple, uncondescending manner, which isn't always the easiest thing to do. Kudos to the authors for taking this approach.

Perhaps the most meaningful information comes from the Focusing Issues chapter, in which charts, astigmatism, autofocus and the benefits and challenges of all of the above are met head-on with great description and clear explanation, arming even the most elementary level shooter to instantly improve their shooting chops.

One thing all non-DVX100/DVX100A readers need to do as they glance through the more specific sections to the Panasonic camcorders, is to read the information carefully and get an eyeful of information that is readily translated to any camcorder, whether you're working with a Sony, JVC, or Canon camera.

The book is filled with additional tips, some of them seeming to be "last minute" tips as in just before going to press the authors said "Oh my gosh, how could I forget this!" sort of thing. (having authored nearly 20 books at this point, I can deeply empathize with that circumstance)  In this last section, readers will again find tips and tricks that can somewhat be related to all camcorders and NLE practices.

As mentioned in the first paragraphs of the review, this is a book that all shooters and even some editors can benefit from. The information specific to the Panasonic camcorders is fairly straightforward with only a smattering of marketing oriented horn-blowing found in the text, excepting the foreword, which might be a little over the top, but it's also Panasonic's chance to get their story in front of the reader's eyes.

The only thing I found lacking from this book is the missing mention of how various NLE applications work with the DVX series camcorders, how to capture, settings for renders and editing, and how the media will function in the various NLE's. I believe this is just as much a part of how the camera should be discussed as the shooting format itself is discussed. Outside of that, I found 144 out of 150 pages to be very informative, and I learned quite a bit from the book overall. Hats off to Barry Green and his co-authors/collaborators for writing a book that should be bundled with every DVX series camera. It's unfortunate that more camcorder manufacturers don't have actual users write their owners manuals, because if this were the type of owners manual that came with every camcorder sold, regardless of manufacturer, we'd likely see immediate improvements in video output if the camcorder buyers were to read this sort of guide.

Now go make great media!


You can find "The DVX Book" at Green's website,  and at Panasonic's professional website. $69.00 for the book and DVD combo

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DOUGLAS SPOTTED EAGLE, Managing Producer Douglas Spotted Eagle is an audio and video pro. He is a Grammy recipient with DuPont, Peabody, and Telly awards lining his studio; he is also a participant/producer in multiple Emmy Award winning productions.

Douglas is the Managing Producer for Sundance Media Group, Inc. and VASST, authoring several books and DVDs and serving as a trainer and consultant for videographers, software manufacturers and broadcasters. He is the author or co-author of several digital media titles including Digital Video Basics (VASST), The FullHD (VASST), and Vegas Editing Workshop (Focal Press) among many others.

Douglas is an accomplished aerial photographer who thrives in the adrenaline-filled world of fast-action videography. He remains active as a multimedia producer, trainer, and presenter, utilizing the latest technology as part of his workflow.

Related Keywords:Panasonic DVX100, DVX100a, camcorder, training, Douglas Spotted Eagle, book

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