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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Bookshop – Technical Books


Hillman Curtis on making short films for the web, Hillman Curtis New Riders 2005
This was a lucky encounter. Once a year I go to Adobe Live and tend to buy a number of books which I never see anywhere else in the vain hope that the best selling titles for designer and web developers will be useful to me. This is one of those. Hillman Curtis used to work for Adobe - then he became a Flash Designer then he taught himself to become a flim maker. The cover shows him in his working gear - in theory able to take all his kit on a bicycle to the shoot. This is a very readable blend of his first half dozen projects - how he did it - how he usually made some pretty basic errors and how he retrieved the situation. There's a lot of practical advice and some really interesting commentary from his knowledge of great film making and film makers. It will definitely help you get beyond the point and shoot type of film making which now characterises youtube. And you can visit the man's site to see the finished films yourself.
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Going Visual, Alexis Gerard Bob Goldstein 2005 Wiley
A significant book on a topic about which I'm very passionate - otherwise I wouldn't be running multimedia courses to train people to use digital recording devices in the course of their work. This book ought to be chapter and verse about how and why we should supplement our endless stream of text and numbers with some images. The book provides casestudies from one proprietor businesses to large companies who have started to use digital cameras as a fundamental way of working and have also built an image archive on the company server (very prudent). My reservation is that they get carried away with their own rhetoric. A picture isn't actually worth a thousand words - not if it isn't at all clear why the photographer took it. And faced with the practical difficulties of illustrating a book they have printed black and white visuals next to the text and colour visuals of the same images bound together in the centre. Which I understand but which illustrates dramatically both how much information is lost without high resolution and a caption. Colour photos look a little lost - black and white photos are downright misleading. What they don't confront is that images are even more ambiguous than words - so going visual without a clear theoretical framework may actually make things worse. There's a chapter on videoconferencing using some of the new kit from MIT which I have to admit is a little more natural. But they completely fail to address the factors which have inhibited video conferencing from its earliest days to the present where large numbers of us can video conference by mobile phone - but don't. So a promising start - yes you should go visual in your work - but lots more work to be done. Its about captions as well as capturing.
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Podcasting Hacks, Jack D.Herrington 2005 O'Reilly
I haven't read this but I shall soon. I'm already dipping into it. One of the gaps in the multimedia side is an accessible introduction to audio. The books which are out are aimed at pro and semi pro musicians which isn't a lot of use for people trying to do something useful with their first interviews recorded in digital audio. Now podcasting has become huge. For those who haven't heard of it podcasts are audio recordings rather like radio programmes which people make at home and post on websites and blogs. So this book tells you everything you need to know about creating your own broadcasts. Which makes it an ideal primer. Even though podcasting is a Mac preoccupation the instructions cover both Macs and PCs - its very accessible and is ideal for people making their first steps in this area. The altnernative of course is to come on one of my multimedia training courses!
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Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements Classroom in a book collection Adobe 2005, Richard Riley 2002 PC Publishing
Official classroom in a book 2005 OK I haven't got this one. But I include it because the multimedia course I teach covers both Premiere and Photoshop elements. In fact we give the software away within the cost of the course. So if people want to get into both programmes here is a very easy way to do it. You get 30 day trial versions of both software programmes too. One good thing about these two is that they work with each other passing pics and image in either direction. I would expect the teaching to take account of this.
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Adobe Premiere Elements Classroom in a book, Adobe 2005
Official classroom in a book 2005 I am a little ambivalent about books produced by manufacturers teaching you how to use their software. Why isn't a) their software easy enough to use without this and b) why don't they give this basic instruction away free with the product? Griping aside I've read this and done the course. I know Premiere and wanted a swift introduction to help me adjust to the entry level Elements version of the software which this did. Its very straightforward - I did 2 lessons a night and was done by Friday night. Shame to have to pay for it but more of a shame to have software sitting on your machine which you have paid for and don't know how to use. You get a 30 day trial version to play with while you're learning so you don't even have to buy the programme while you are making up your mind.
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Audio Editing with Cool Edit, Richard Riley 2002 PC Publishing
If you're not a techie then apologies for posting these kinds of books but if you DO want to edit digital audio on your PC or Mac then Cool Edit is one of the easiest and most powerful sound editing packages available, it doesn't cost a lot and you can try it free for a month. Check out the Gadgets page for more details. This book really gets into the guts of Cool Edit and covers way more than you need for editing the odd vox pop, depth or group. But if you are interested in Cool Edit this book is a must have.
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Quick Guide to Digital Audio Recording, Ian Waugh 2000 PC Publishing
For those of you who have discovered that you can now take your research material, edit it and drop it into your Powerpoint presentations this is a very accessible introduction to digital audio though inevitably it is oriented towards the home based musician
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The Little Digital Video Book, Michael Rubin 2001 Peachpit
A very accessible introduction to Digital Video. Though this isn't just about DV camcorders and non linear editing (what?!) It also covers project management and good camera technique as well. Very accessible even if I think he's wrong about timecode - which is laid down once and once only.
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