Disclaimer: I have written guest articles previously for Michael Reichmann's site, The Luminous Landscape.
Guide to Camera Raw: New in CS4 is the latest instructional video by Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe.
Same comment as before . . . Writing a review of these videos is a challenge. I greatly respect Michael Reichmann as a photographer. I am enthusiastic in my support for his site. I have authored essays there. I would like to stay on positive terms with Michael, and I fear that candid reviews can jeopardize that. These comments are my candid opinion, however. I've done my best not to permit my feelings towards Michael Reichmann or The Luminous Landscape intrude.
There is very solid technical content in this video. The focus is squarely on ACR 5 from a Photoshop CS4 perspective. If you're new to Photoshop or Adobe Camera Raw, you might need to supplement this with another title.
(I'd head to Lynda.com for that rather than the previous video from Luminous Landscape on ACR. You can see my review of that video by clicking here.
If you want a quick (a little less than two hours) introduction to what's new in ACR for Photoshop CS4, this video would be an excellent choice. At $19.90 for electronic download, it's priced very competitively, too.
A lot of time is still wasted on the buddy interaction. I could do without the talking heads stuff. For example, the first three minutes are wasted on Jeff's shirt and Jeff changing it twice. C'mon, this is supposed to be a video on ACR features. Likewise, I don't need a Miami beach scene with sand and beer.
I noticed there seems to be a fetish by both Schewe and Reichmann to prove they're industry insiders by having gratuitous photos and video clips with Adobe engineers, partners from Pixel Genius, and the like. Schewe does it incesantly at Photoshop News and Reichman does it with his own video journals often enough.
Software engineers are not pop stars and instructional videos are not rock videos. Seeing a photo of George Jardine yawn or a video clip of foosball with Adobe engineers is just not all that interesting. Don't people who do this stuff stop and consider the audience at all?! Who do they think cares to watch Seth Resnick quaff a brew? What, it adds a human dimension? First, Seth Resnick is not part of the ACR engineering team and he is not an important part of these videos. So, why do I need to pay for a humanizing portrait of the guy? I don't even want a humanizing portrait of the Adobe engineers. Nothing against Seth. Nothing against them. I just want to use ACR more effectively. That's why I bought the videos. Cut out the vanity cameos.
If you strip out all the gratuitous arse-kissing and the unnecessary headshots and really get down to the technical details, there's about 90 mnutes of excellent technical content here. It's definitely worth the price of admission.
The video window in the CS3 version was way too small. Now it's HD. Really unnecessary. I appreciate the large video window, so don't misunderstand me on this point. Screen captures would have been much better. The video details would be sharper and the video files would be A LOT smaller. These are horribly bloated video files and that just to accommodate a talking heads schtick that contributes little or nothing.
The audio quality is good. Better than the CS3 version. I didn't need earphones with the volume turned way up. Someone took the time to edit the audio better, too.
The video is now current. You get all of the essentials on ACR5 features, like the Graduated Filter, the Targeted Adjustment Tool, etc.
Expect bloated downloads and to suffer through A LOT of unnecessary blather. But, based on the breadth and depth of coverage, I have no reluctance about giving this video a Highly Recommended rating.