BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

So, you wanna be in pictures?

This was yet another book provided to me by its publisher, the good folks at Wiley (yes, FTC goons, I got a review copy so that I could review the book … how scandalous!), which was “added on” to a book I'd requested. Long-time readers of this space will no doubt have a sense that “business” books are not in the top 50% of my reading preferences, but recently much of what I've been plowing through has been in the "job search" arena, and specifically the “new media” niche, a result of the writing I've been doing for The Job Stalker blog over on the Chicago Tribune's “Chicago Now” blogging site. For books that I feature there, I do a brief introduction (largely directing folks to come over here for the review) along with an “interview” which is fairly constant book-to-book. This is the first time that I've had an author “beat me to the punch” and get the responses to my 8-question form back to me before I got around to writing the review, so kudos to Steve Garfield for being on the ball like that! More to the point, I was having a very hard time putting Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business into context, and one point he made in his responses greatly clarified this for me … the book is intended to be a textbook, and not so much a “popular read”. The reason that this is an important point is that the text is very “blocky” with chunks of information, interviews, lists of equipment and resources, repeating over and over through the various sections. What seemed to be a very odd choice of format for a “book about online video” makes much more sense as being the core document for a 8-section class about online video!

The sections here are “Choosing a Camera”, “Lighting and Sound”, “Making Videos Without a Video Camera”, “Recording and Shooting”, “Editing”, “Uploading”, “Broadcast Live”, and “Video Blogging” (with an additional section of interviews/profiles of a couple of dozen notables in the field). Each of these includes a collection of background information, “how to” elements, resources, interviews, screen captures, notes and commentary, all in a less-than-poetic flow of material. As noted, I launched into this without knowing its intent as a “text book” and found the structure off-putting, but each section is rich with information (I have many pages bookmarked here, all for things of the “hey I could use that info” sort, rather than “I need to quote that in my review”). I have already recommended Get Seen to associates of mine who are experimenting with web video. Obviously, if one is already doing a lot of online video content, much of this book will be “additional resources” rather than “aha!” moments, but for somebody that is looking at moving beyond sending grainy phone-vids to Facebook, this would be a very good place to start (as long as they understood that this was instruction and not so much literature)!

What's probably the most useful element here is how the various bits are integrated, while they read as haphazard, the concepts and information are arrayed in a complicated dance, matching equipment and ideas with interviews of people who are using them, and how they are achieving their results, why they do what they do, etc., and once one is done with a section, one has a very good sense of what that is about and how one might go about putting these things into practice. I did find something irritating here, however ... although it is an unavoidable aspect to having a print book addressing an electronic subject, there are lots and lots and lots of links, nearly every point covered in the book is footnoted to a URL and, as one is sitting there reading it, there's no way to take advantage of them! If ever a book cried out to be a “hyperbook” on the web (where all the video would be a click away as well), it would be Get Seen … what's integral to this book is what the various e-readers should be aspiring to, but it's beyond the Kindle, beyond the Nook, beyond the iPad ... maybe Microsoft with the Courier will “get it right” and provide the sort of platform that would make e-reading a book with as much potential content/link involvement as is in play here.

Needless to say, this being “hot off the presses”, it should be available pretty much anywhere. Amazon has it at 34% off (less than the used guys!), so that might be your best bet. Again, this isn't a “casual read”, but has a ton of info in it for those looking for a manual for getting started with web video.

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Tags: book review
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