Monday, April 7, 2008

The Little Digital Video Book, 2nd edition

I got an email today that says the contract is on its way to me. On a lark, I checked amazon, and sure enough, the book has already got a page (well... a placeholder...) Wow.

As i've been editing this week, and thinking about consumer video, i've been stunned to realize that the heyday of consumer editing that got me jazzed (beginning around 1998) is just about gone! It was the remarkable combination of MiniDV tape (virtually pro quality video), Firewire (plug the camera into the computer and the thing works like a charm, it's just another device with a high bandwidth, uncompressed signal), and the first versions of Final Cut Pro (super powerful, very simple).

But now 10 years later, the era of videotape is gone. MiniDV is still out there (and there are still millions of camcorders in use) but new camcorders record to hard disks or flash drives or, sometimes, direct to DVDs... which means your video isn't always "instantly" archived when you shoot, you have to do something to it. Firewire is gone from most consumer cameras, so connectivity is a bit wonky, and Final Cut Pro has become SO good you can't really use it as a consumer, and the consumer tools (like iMovie) aren't really much about editing...

This isn't to say consumer video is dead. On the contrary - the recording of video is almost ubiquitous - on every phone and camera in the land, even the cheapest of computers can manage hours of video and the required processing... DVDs are nonlinear and in spite of the compression issues, are probably better for consumers than MiniDV (in some respects), and finally, the distribution and sharing potential for video is massive (think YouTube), something hard to imagine a decade ago... and thus, the need for the second edition is ripe. Still, an era is gone and it's going to take a fair amount of experimentation to figure out how to use all this stuff to make fun, simple, home videos.

That's what I get to do these weeks, if you're wondering what i'm up to. And if you see me with a camera, just ignore me. It's better if you do.

No comments: