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Wednesday, 01 August 2007

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I've looked at Chapters 1 to 9 out of the 24 chapters and this is a remarkable set of videos. There is good information throughout though you have to listed carefully as Jeff or Michael explain some useful bit of information tucked between some funny repartee. I enjoyed their Lightroom tutorials and this is better because it covers so much. Thanks Michael and Jeff. I'm looking into how I might contribute to the Endowement. Highly recommended!

I finally dived in and paid my CC info today. I am looking forward to seeing the content.

PS I asked on local forums and unfortunately they are uninitiated on LL contents. All they care is how good their lenses are and how the pictures perform in corners. Sad truth about Internet photo forums.

There's no doubt in my mind that this tutorial is the best value with the broadest coverage on the state of fine art photography in 2007. For those of us more oriented to an audio-visual presentation as opposed to the dry read of a technical manual, it allows for greater retention of useful facts.

Interesting to read Ken's comments. Having seen one LL Video Journal, I'm not sure of their educational value for me personally, but I can see why it sells well. Especially if you're at a beginner/early intermediate level in a technical subject then sometimes seeing something demonstrated gives you the 'aha!' moment you were looking for to overcome a hurdle in the learning experience.
WRT the comments about lots of waffle interspersed with useful information, this is where a good (properly written) book wins hands down, as you can browse through it - with a video you can fast forward/rewind but have no idea what you've skipped over (unless they have subtitles :-)).
Regardless of all this I wish Michael R the best in his endeavours - his web site is a goldmine of useful information.

I haven't seen any of these videos, and I doubt I ever will. Not because of the quality of production (though Ken highlights why I find the Luminous Landscape website and Michael Reichmann somewhat overbering), but because, often, video does not add anything worthwhile to a tutorial or other teaching. A text, with illustrations, will usually be a better format than a video or podcast.

Text is a format where you can easily digest at your own pace and where you can jump back and forth between pieces of the explanation, and between the text and illustration instantly and as you need to in order to understand. Video makes this iterative process needlessly difficult as you need to follow in the presenters' pace, not your own, and jumping back and forth becomes messy and intrusive ("back five seconds. No that's not it, another ten. No ..."). Also, a video is something you need a large block of uninterrupted time to watch, and a place where you're not disturbing anybody else with the sound and motion.

How about lectures? As someone who's done quite a bit of lecturing (and who's spent more time than I'd care to admit as a student), I can say with some confidence that lectures can never be a replacement for a text; they can at best only supplant it. The value of a lecture is that it is live - as a student you have a (purportedly) knowledgeable individual at the front stepping through the material that you can interrupt and get answers and alternative explanations on whatever portion you didn't understand in the text. The actual droning of the teacher in the front is pointless (and most people are rightly half-asleep too); it's when a sticky point in the material is brought up and discussed interactively that the value of a lecture comes through. A videotaped lecture is not quite useless but not far from it either.

But there are bits that really are best explained by showing, isn't there? Of course. That's why we have diagrams and illustrations in printed texts, and we can add bits of video (and audio, and animations, and interactive simulations) to a text online when needed. And that's where video really belongs: not as the main format but as one tool among others to complement the main material.

Just a follow-up note to the posts Janne and Alan regarding the higher value of a well-designed book versus video instruction.

In general, I agree that a good instructional book can be superior to video instruction for many subjects. The material covered by this video, however, is not one of them. This highly visual subject that amalgamates a confluence of tributary skills and is just not easily delivered well in book form. Its delivery requires a blended stew of topics that truly are ideally suited to a venue such as a small workshop. Failing that, this video is perhaps the next best thing (and much less costly). Chris' fine editing and chapter labeling make these videos pretty darn easy to accurately navigate, too. Within each major chapter file Chris has labeled sub-topics that are easily reached via the Quicktime chapter jump feature.

I have been working at digital image printing for quite some time...nearly as long as it's been possible...and consider myself pretty well skilled. But Chapter 14 on soft-proofing taught me a trick or two on this technique that I've never seen in any book and that I've never tried. It provided me with a long-needed key to making soft-proofing an even stronger tool for me and, consequently, for making better prints right now. So as far as I was concerned paying $35 for just this one chapter would have been an excellent investment, as it will certainly save me that much in discarded paper and ink.

So, while I am an avid reader I have to say that this series is uniquely well suited to a video delivery.

I watched the promo clip of this video and I must say it seemed to be two old fogeys waffling on, with one of them bored out of his mind. I am about to contact them and see if they can't put something more informative in the promo clip.

There is a site that provides, to my mind, some very interesting free video tutorials. They try to explain the why as well as the how. The site is www.photowalkthrough.com. (Note that I have nothing to do with it other than I like it).

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