Attack of the Killer Video Book: Tips & Tricks for Young Directors

Attack of the Killer Video Book: Tips & Tricks for Young Directors
Mark Shulman and Hazlitt Krog
Illustrations: Martha Newbigging
Annick Press 

I was thrilled to have the chance to review Attack of the Killer Video Book: Tips and Tricks for Young Directors. This is Take 2 of Mark Shulman and Hazlitt Krog's original book published in 2004. Since then, there have been huge technological advances, and now making movies is something anyone can do with just a smart phone or digital camera. Did you know that there are even film festivals for movies made with iphones? In addition, most computers now come with software to edit video: Mac (imovie) and PC (MovieMaker).

For the budding director, this is a fun easy book with colourful illustrations to get started in the world of film-making. There are excellent sections on planning, storyboarding, shooting, lighting, sound, post-production and promotion. The authors have also provided some great tips on creating special effects.

There are many books on the market about film-making, but I have found that authors often assume that the reader has some previous knowledge. This book does not make that assumption. In fact, it instructs the novice filmmaker to start by making a short film of an everyday process to get her/himself into the habit of using images to explain the step-by-step. It encourages the novice director to put together some nice looking shots and to assess the final result with a critical eye, asking the question: How would I do this differently next time? Having young people discover how to make their own media is a great way to address media literacy.

My favourite section in the book was on lighting. Believe me, even adults have some information to glean here.

Have you ever wondered why people in your pictures may look slightly yellow or blue? This has to do with the type of light. A regular tungsten light bulb is responsible for casting a yellowish hue on your husband's face, while fluorescent lights will make your subjects pale and slightly blue. Whatever light you end up using, the authors recommend that you keep your light consistent throughout. Shulman and Krog also give a great explanation of Hollywood 3-point lighting.

Overall, this is a great book to get both young and old started in making videos. It offers great solutions to the novice problems of shaky camera and poor lighting and sound. The authors also show how some everyday items can be used to give the same studio effect. Who needs a dolly to film someone running when you have a skateboard?

Check out some of the films at the iphone film festival by clicking here.

Other book reviews:
Dead Time by Christy Ann Conlin
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Trouble with Marlene by Billie Livingston
The Orphan Rescue by Anne Dublin
50 Poisonous Questions by Tanya Lloyd Kyi



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