Site Introduction

Why another site on film and video? I feel that there are a lot of film and video makers trying to create a message or create entertainment who need more knowledge about the basics; composition, contrast control, natural lighting, directing non-actors and production. This site is a source for beginners, seasoned professional and people in between who want to upgrade their skills and knowledge. There is a great collection of books at the top end of motion picture and video business, but not much at the bottom and middle areas. There are many books about still photography that are applicable to film and video. Some are reviewed here. There are some skills that I have found no information aimed at the photographer, such as sun position measuring and land navigation. Other disciplines address sun position and navigation, but in much more depth than the photographer needs. Other information in this site is the result of my 40 years in the film business solving problems, designing equipment, teaching and making notes.

The site is divided into two categories. Intermediate Advice is for people with some experience in film or video, but not a complete understanding of all the terms. Professional Advice is offered for people well-versed in standard motion picture terminology. This does not mean that there isn't information useful in all categories for the beginner or working professional. The design of this site is to make available to the film and video technician material that they are prepared to understand. It is not my intent to cover material that is already well covered in the many great books already out there, but to supplement and guide users to the books they can find most useful.

I am not versed in high-end video and will not say much about it, but the production information presented here works for any medium.

Ron's Basic Camcorder Course

I originally planned to include in this site my Basic Camcorder Class. It is not here. It is a course that I have taught here and abroad and feel is very successful teaching the basics of film and video. I believe that the course cannot be offered an as-use basis. Too many people feel that they don't need lesson 1 or 2 or 3 and start with lesson 13. The course works only if each skill is mastered before you tackle the next. The course needs a correspondence school format that I don't have the time to run, but is possible. If you know a group or institution that would like to run it, I am interested. I don't expect to make any money on it, but feel that it would have to cost money, have assignments, have lessons viewed by a knowledgeable paid instructor and lessons sent out as the student progresses.

The Basic Camcorder Course is a course for anyone who wants to learn composition, exposure, contrast control and enough about production to shoot a simple video they won't be embarrassed to show. Few technical terms are used in this course and camera technology is minimal. No studio lighting technology is used, but an understanding of natural existing light is covered. Most locations have angles with good light and backgrounds for people, if you know how to look for them. This course will give the user the ability to record good images without a lot of technical knowledge and equipment. The beginning filmmaker would do well by taking this course when it becomes available.

Camcorders are no different than computers and cars, you have to learn the basics before programming or getting on the freeway.

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