Producing Videos: A Complete Guide

Producing Videos: A Complete Guide

Producing Videos: A Complete Guide

Producing Videos: A Complete Guide


This updated guide to video production features tips on all aspects of filming from camera operation and placement to digital postproduction techniques. New material stresses the fine points of cutting-edge video techniques such as digital effects, the HOTstudio, and posting video on the Internet. Comprehensive information to help video enthusiasts navigate the difficulties of composition, direction, editing, and distribution is provided. Also explained are techniques for lighting, audio mixing, and successfully budgeting a new production.


Videotape is made using a clear plastic polymer as the base. This allows the tape to be thin, strong and durable.

On one side, the plastic is coated with very tiny particles which are sensitive to magnetism. Videotape manufacturers try to make these particles smaller, more uniform in size and shape, and pack them in more densely. These factors contribute to the quality of the image which the tape is able to reproduce.

The magnetic particles are suspended in a matrix or binder (if you cook, you can think of it as a sort of batter) which holds them together and keeps them attached to the tape. The degree to which the binder adheres to the tape under varying conditions is another factor in the quality of videotape. Quite simply, if it flakes off, there will be holes in the picture. These missing parts of the image are called drop-out.

Tape manufacturers also try to get an optimum blend of materials for their particles— materials which respond more strongly to magnetic fields and which hold that response more faithfully. Each company's 'recipe' is better guarded than Aunt Milly's prize-winning pumpkin scone mix.

When you look at the emulsion side of the tape (the side with the coating of magnetic particles), the surface is black and shiny because it's highly polished. Manufacturers aim to make ever better tapes which will cause less and less wear to the record heads of cameras and playback machines.

This side is where the video signal is recorded, but it isn't a 'picture' as we know it. You can't tell by eye whether a tape has a signal on it or not. You have to play it in a VCR or camera to find out.

On the other side, the tape has a fine coating of carbon material. Because carbon does not respond to magnetic fields, this coating helps prevent a bleed-through of the recorded magnetic signal from one layer of tape to the next as the tape gets rewound onto the take-up spool. The carbon is also a dry lubricant which buffers the layers of tape from each other, reduces tape drag and prevents the layers from sticking together.

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