"bcarwell" <bcarwell@austin.rr.com> wrote in message



>   I'm a medium-experience amateur videographer ready to turn off the "auto

> focus/auto exposure" controls on my miniDV camera and get better.  Can

> someone please recommend a digital video book or source that explains for

> digital video photographers the similar technique that is explained in

> plenty of other books for film, e.g. how to measure light conditions, set

> focus/exposure, use filters, etc. ?

>    I'm told you need to pay attention to all this stuff to get better in

> miniDV just as if you were shooting film.  Plenty of DV videography books

> talk about manual white balancing, etc., but I haven't seen ONE for example

> that EVER says ANYTHING about a light meter which I assume good

> videographers use just as if they're shooting film, what F stop to use for

> conditions XYZ, what kind of filters to use to keep the sky from washing out

> the rest of the video, etc.  In other words is there a "cinematography" book

> for digital videographers ?

>    Thanks for any suggestions.


>             Bob Carwell


The imaging characteristics of every camcorder *model*, let alone brand

are so different that little can be said that would be universally applicable

for amateur-level cameras (which offer little real control over picture

characteristics, anyway). With some, you can control WB, color-bias,

auto-exposure bias, etc., but have no control over contrast, white and

black levels, etc. - and with most, shifting exposure manually during taping

results in ugly incremental exposure jumps. Hand meters don't work well

since there are often five variables: aperture, aperture-shifting with FL-change,

shutter-speed, gain, light-level, and sensitivity of the particular camera;

hand meters can only handle some of these easily. As for lighting, any

good book on lighting for photography or film can help - and the preview

(poor as it may be) that you get with the viewfinder(s) can help (especially

with familiarity with the short-comings). Few filters are useful: a UV for lens

protection, a polarizer for reflection-suppression and color-enhancement

(under appropriate circumstances). Some like diffusers, but I detest them...;-)

Best: buy the camcorder with the best possible imaging characteristics for

your purposes, and learn to use it to optimize its strengths while minimizing

its weaknesses... (BTW, you may find this interesting, for Mini-DV:

www.David-Ruether-Photography.com/vid_pict_characts.htm). Good books on

film-making should serve for the basics of editing, story-telling, etc. for



 David Ruether