|Full Disclosure: I am not a compressionist nor have I ever met Ben. Although, he has answered more than one of my questions in the COW Cleaner Forum.
This book is for compressionists, people who want to be compressionists, and people who on occasion need to pretend theyre compressionists (pg. 3). With this clear objective stated up front, Ben opens up and lets his brain pour out over each and every page, all 447 of them.
Right from the beginning I was more than a little intimidated and excited at the same time, just from reviewing the Table of Contents. Ben organizes his knowledge into 25 chapters, a glossary, index and a CD-ROM. I will not list all 25 chapters but trust me, if you can think of it Ben covers it.
The first section (Chapters 1-11) is about general principles of vision, compression, and how compressed video operates (pg. 3). No matter what compressionist category you think you fall into, you will learn something in these first chapters, even if it turns how to be how much you forgot since grade school.
The next section (Chapters 12-24) covers specific video tools and technologies (pg. 3). Ben covers them all and yes, I read them all even the ones that I do not use. Most of the information here I was already formula because I when I first started working with Cleaner I studied (yes, studied) the manual. However, now that I have my feet wet the information covered here made more sense.
The last Chapter (Chapter 25) consists of three extensive tutorials that highlight many of the concepts, formats, and tools discussed throughout the book (pg. 3). They cover; Streaming, Progressive Downloading, and Animation for Video Games. So, if your work covers any of these your in luck, if not (such as me) than you may need to read certain Chapters again to pick up what you missed the first time. The CD only contains short snippets of each projects source files. If youd like the full-length content you will have to order a DVD-ROM from Bens website. I have to cry foul here, sure you dont need the full-length content to get the point but no where on the outside of the book does it tell you that you will only get snippets. I mention this for those of you that get angry over thin slim CDs.
Compression for Great Digital Video is an easy and delightful read. Its not very often that you come across a book that covers this much technical information and yet still manages to be clearly understood. Ben fully explains everything that he mentions and often he even provides additional references should you require more information. This book is a MUST HAVE for anyone who find themselves compressing digital video.
I give it a 4 1/2 COWS!