Most helpful critical review
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Wait till it hits the bargin bin!
on 8 January 2009
Books like these have got to be hard to write, you're trying to craft something for people who want to get into something new, but you've got to be seasoned enough to write it in order to know what you're talking about. Problem is by the time you've reached that point you've actually forgotten what it's like to be starting out so the book ends up in no mans land, too lame for people with even moderate experience (because you're trying to write for someone new) and all over the place for those starting out (because half the time you're thinking about it from where you are now, not where you were then).
That's pretty much this book for me; I can only think Artis worked the circuit to get folks to write some good reviews, because I can't actually think any real people found it as overwhelmingly useful as the reviews suggest. There are a couple of bits sure, but the whole thing could be boiled down to a few lists and couple of dozen pages of commentary. There is really nothing "down and dirty" about it, just a lot of references to expensive kit and big crews, (occasional references to 1 and 2 man crews but no details) can't see either being available to someone starting out and for those who've been around a little while you'll certainly know all the stuff the limited depth this book takes you too. The possible exception might be lighting, that topic gets more coverage and depth than anything else.
The obvious gaps are camera selection (way too shallow), workflow (not even mentioned), critical (non equipment) storyline stuff you need to stay focused on in order to make a doc work, and a serious discussion around post production packages and what they can do for you, that's really an area where you can save money on location, because you can create/change so much in the computer with the packages available today.
So yes I was disappointed, I found Mike Figgis's "Digital Film-Making" better/relevent (not great, but better), even if it is for narrative filmaking and "pocketbook size".
It also doesn't help that the main Amazon review (presumably from the publishers) if just so over the top, it really sets your expectations into the stratosphere and this book just dosen't deliver that, I would probably have been more generous if the blurb would have been more real.
For me it comes down to this when rating a book, would it be on my list of "must have" titles on the topic, in this case I'm afraid the answer is no.