I love books, and I look getting them in the mail to review! The Shut Up and Shoot Freelance Video Guide: Any Budget. Any Camera. Any Time. by Anthony Q. Artis is a really awesome book to take you step by step through the process of shooting videos - from choosing your camera, understanding what pixels are, comparing memory cards and going over how to hold a camera, to how to shoot music videos or commercials, conduct an interview and make your own business plan.
This is a comprehensive guide to everything you ever wanted to know about filming videos. I could see myself going through this book step by step and going from a complete novice to someone who can actually shoot a pretty good film! And I also think that this book would be useful for the experienced videographer: there is always more that we can learn, no matter how experienced we are.
One of the things I enjoyed about this guide is how very user-friendly it is. It's fun to read it! It's a book that you can sit down with and flip through just because. The writing style is conversational and speaks on a one-on-one basis. There are also plenty of pictures, lots of colour, and helpful charts and diagrams.
Artis says that no matter what type of camera you have, your knowledge of how to use that camera can make all the difference. His four quick tips include:
- Shallow Depth of Field
- Multiple Camera Angles
- Great Lighting
- Keep it Moving
The author does a great job of breaking down concepts into manageable pieces and idea, making it easier to work with if you have a camera at hand and are trying to improve your skills. This guide makes me want to buy a video camera and start practicing my film-making skills, to be honest. I like it!
Have you read The Shut Up and Shoot Freelance Video Guide? Do you enjoy taking videos?
Westwood showed this to me - it's hilarious. Skip forward to Act 10 (about the 25-minute mark, up to the 28-minute mark). It's a quick little way to demonstrate how a conversation plays out. Listen and giggle!
Click here to listen to the Neo-Futurists at work.
I read this book in less than a week. And for a week I kept asking myself the same question, over and over:
Why do people love this book so much?
I'll do my best to refrain from using profanity on the blog, but this book is going to give me *@$%ing nightmares. The content is disturbing and creepy and disgusting.
After all of the media attention the book received, and how much people have been raving about it, I was incredibly disappointed. I would have stopped reading the book after the first couple chapters because it was boring and I wasn't impressed with the writing style at all, but I heard so many good things about it that I decided to continue.
And then I couldn't stop. It was like when some major disaster happens in front of you and you just can't tear your eyes away.
With the pedophilia, the murder, the rape, the incest and the horrific violence, I don't honestly get what everyone sees in the story itself.* It's all rather sad and definitely gruesome.
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Will someone please tell me what I'm missing about what makes this book so amazing? I'm thoroughly perplexed.
*Granted, I have to admit that I've never read much in the way of crime fiction. So maybe this is typical crime fiction and it's just not my thing? That is definitely a possibility. I suppose I should give it the benefit of the doubt in that case...
This video has gone viral, so it's likely that everyone reading this blog has already seen the video... but it is so freakin' adorable that I wanted to post it here just in case you hadn't seen it yet.
Hugs are really important. They're a way to show someone how you feel about them without using words. And rhetoric of the body is just as important as - if not occasionally more so than - vocal rhetoric.
I'm partway through reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, and I came across a couple paragraphs in particular that I wanted to share. In this section (Chapter Nine - "Zebras, unhappy marriages, and the Anna Karenina principle"; page 157), he discusses the first sentence of Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Here is what Diamond has to say about it:
By that sentence, Tolstoy meant that, in order to be happy, a marriage must succeed in many different respects: sexual attraction, agreement about money, child discipline, religion, in-laws, and other vital issues. Failure in any one of those essential respects can doom a marriage even if it has all the other ingredients needed for happiness.
This principle can be extended to understanding much else about life besides marriage. We tend to seek easy, single-factor explanations of success. For most important things, though, success actually requires avoiding many separate possible causes of failure.
Diamond puts it so elegantly; I enjoy much of what he has to say, but I found the above few lines to be especially relevant to this blog. It's an interesting concept to take with us as we go through our lives. Keeping this principle in mind, we can use it to increase our own awareness so as to set ourselves up for success in all of our endeavors.
How would you interpret the principle and apply it to your own way of living?
George Lakoff is an interesting character. As an expert in cognitive linguistics with strong political views, his work makes for a fascinating read. I've been reading his book Don't think of an elephant! Know your values and frame the debate: the essential guide for progressives and he certainly makes his readers re-think the rhetorical strategies of politicians.
One paragraph towards the end of the book especially jumped out at me:
Conservatives who are "pro-life" are mostly, as we have seen, against prenatal care, postnatal care, and health care for children, all of which have major causal effects on the life of a child. Thus they are not really pro-life in any broad sense.
I had never quite thought of it in that way before. I like reading authors who give a new perspective on a concept. Lakoff is a controversial fellow, but he is unafraid to express his beliefs and to explain the logic behind his values, even as he analyzes in detail the beliefs and values of his opposition.
I recently received a Second Story Press review copy of Restitution: A family's fight for their heritage lost in the Holocaust by Kathy Kacer. What interested me the most about this book, upon first hearing about it, is that it is a true story of the Holocaust from the perspective of a Jewish Czechoslovakian family: they escaped from Czechoslovakia and immigrated to Canada, and then spent decades fighting to reclaim four magnificent pieces of artwork that they had once owned. It follows the story up until the present day and involves art smugglers and diplomats as collaborators to get the art across the border without the government noticing.
The story is told from a different perspective than most other tales of the Holocaust, and it was very educational to see the war through the eyes of a Czechoslovakian teenager as his mother sends money to a bank in Paris and forges a Catholic wedding certificate and baptisms. Pictures of each of these documents, as well as fake passports, letters of correspondence, and the artwork that the family works so hard to reclaim are scattered throughout the book as a constant reminder that the story truly took place.
There was one problem that I had with this book: Kacer has written it with the seeming intention of telling a couple of stories (that of young Karl and his escape from Czechoslovakia, as well as the story of the art smuggler), in addition to giving a very accurate description of historical events. That in itself is a wonderful endeavor, but it is also very difficult to succeed in doing. I felt that throughout much of the book, she successfully tells the story and intertwines it with historical details, but that there were other points when it seemed to jump around too much. Just as you become invested in the characters, suddenly it reads like a history book (albeit a very compelling history book). This habit unfortunately places some distance between the reader and the characters.
That being said, I would certainly recommend this book to others (and in fact I had already raved about it to a couple of people before I had even finished the book). It is difficult to put down and Kacer is an excellent writer. If you're in the least bit interested in history, art, legacy, and the struggle to maintain the self within times of political strife, you will be able to take much away from reading Restitution.
Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge and was not compensated in any other way; the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.