Books -- Modern Video Production: Tools, Techniques, Applications by Carl Hausman and Philip J. Palumbo

Article excerpt

* Hausman, Carl and Philip J. Palumbo (1993). Modern Video Production: Tools, Techniques, Applications. HarperCollins College Publishers. 315 pp. Paperback.

The already crowded field of television production texts gains yet another member with the addition of Carl Hausman's and Philip T. Palumbo's Modern Video Production. The authors view this text as "an alternative to equipment-based encyclopedic texts that may overwhelm video novices."

Hausman and Palumbo do have a very readable style, and the level of presentation certainly puts the material within reach of the beginning video production student. Some instructors, however, may question whether the authors have successfully navigated the fine line that separates overwhelming from insufficient detail.

This attempt at simplification frequently results in misleading information or information that is inconsistent with professional video production practices. For example, in the chapter on videotape recording, the authors state that "when you're looking for a place to hook up the mic on portable equipment, search for a miniphone input." Although this would be true for most consumer video equipment, an XLR connector would be more common as a mic input on professional video recorders. The better approach would be to simply instruct students to look for an input labeled "mic" and note that different types of connectors may be used on professional and nonprofessional equipment. In this case, and in others, more detail would be preferred.

Beyond the degree of technical detail, another distinguishing feature of this text is the organization of material. In a further attempt to avoid overwhelming the beginning student, technical information is presented on a "need-to-know basis." The first seven chapters comprise Part 1 of the text, titled "The Tools," and according to the authors are intended as "quick takes" providing just enough information to get the student "up and running on the equipment." Part 2 of the text, "The Techniques," continues the discussion of equipment operation and use begun in Part 1. …