Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR – Book Review

So, you’ve got that Rebel T2i, 7D, 5D Mark II, D300s, D5000 or any other number of DSLRs that can record video.  But how do you get a worthwhile movie captured, edited and in front of others’ eyeballs?

A decent starting point for answering that question can be found in Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR from Helmut Kraus and Uwe Steinmueller.  Now, before you get too excited, let me emphasize that this book is a starting point, and the title might be a bit on the presumptuous side.  You certainly won’t be a master of DSLR video after these short 227 pages.

That said, it’s a pretty good book – particularly, if you know nothing about video.  It starts from the very basics and really lays out some basic details on frame rates, sensor sizes and video compression formats.

Here’s a rundown of the chapter titles to give you an idea of the ground covered:

  1. Basics
  2. Equipment
  3. Shooting Techniques
  4. Sound
  5. Editing and Post-Processing
  6. Presenting Your Work
  7. Moving from Still Photography to Video

In truth, Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR takes a good swipe at an introduction to major topics with which you need to familiarize yourself for capturing worthwhile video on your DSLR.  Obviously, you won’t find an exhaustive resource on any of the major topics condensed to 227 pages, let alone all of the topics.  The chapter on Sound is 16 pages long (clearly, not exhaustive of that topic); however, the authors do a good enough job introducing you to the topic that you’ll realize that you’re opening Pandora’s box when you consider putting serious effort into recording sound on location.   The weakest chapter was the one on “Presenting Your Work,” which seemed like a bit of filler and just glossed over the various outputs that your video can be viewed on.

While I expected a bit of a higher level of information from a book titled Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR, I can certainly appreciate the authors’ cautious approach to the subject.  While there is a lot of power in our video-capable DSLRs, there is a lot to learn when it comes to producing a professional product.

If you are already familiar with the video production basics for what it takes to go from capture to output, you would probably be better served picking up a book that touches on a specific topic of the video workflow (e.g., sound, post production, etc.).  However, if you want to get up to speed on what this “shooting video with a DSLR” hype is all about, this book will certainly help you broach the subject.  You can find Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR on for around $23 at the time of this review.