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Editorial Purpose

Videomaker provides comprehensive coverage of analog and digital consumer-level video production tools. It gives tips and techniques appropriate for anyone involved with producing video as a hobby, in business, or education.


Videomaker has a circulation of over 80,000. The average Videomaker reader is male, 45-54 years old and a professional in a field other than video production. Most of our readers consider themselves intermediate-level videographers. Thus, Videomaker encourages its writers to use a conversational, user-friendly style of writing. All articles-no matter how technically complicated-should be accessible to the beginning videographer; explain all technical concepts in layman's language and avoid the use of jargon.

Editorial Attitude

The editorial tone of Videomaker is one of accessibility, enthusiasm and support for all levels of video producers. It is one of encouragement towards the beginner, and never ridicules. The tone is not elitist or condescending, and is always aimed at the grassroots videographer. Regardless of the style and approaches taken by our writers, artists and designers their tone and attitude should remain consistent with the statement above.

General Policies

Videomaker welcomes freelance queries and submissions. We prefer queries; a query guideline sheet is available. We suggest you request this before querying us with an article idea. If you've already written an article suitable for our readership, you can forward it to us on speculation. In general, our feature stories run about 1500 words in length; however, we regularly schedule shorter articles as "filler" features. Note: all columns are written on assignment only. We do not accept column submissions. If we buy your manuscript, it will become the property of Videomaker with all rights reserved. With rare exceptions, Videomaker will not accept copy published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Payment for manuscripts occurs upon publication. The amount depends on a work's uniqueness, timeliness, research requirements and length, as well as the amount of editorial preparation it requires. Writers of accepted submissions receive contracts outlining publication terms and payment procedures. Writers for Videomaker are not authorized to represent themselves as agents of the magazine; contacts must originate from your status as a "freelance writer," independent of Videomaker affiliation. As a policy, the Videomaker editorial and advertising departments generally account for all the manufacturer solicitations and inquiries-including product loans. Please heed this policy.

Videomaker Style

The best guide for Videomaker style is a current copy of the magazine. For style consistency, Videomaker editors refer to The Associated Press Stylebook. Here's a short list of some of our style guidelines:


* Write in the active, not passive, voice. For example, instead of writing "A cutaway can be used to help tell a story," write "Use cutaways to help tell a story." For those of you with computer grammar checkers, reduce passive voice constructions to three percent or less. * Write in a clear, concise and logical style. One way we measure writing clarity is with the Flesch-Kincaid Index, which formally rates writing complexity. Microsoft Word for Windows and Mac measures the Flesch-Kincaid Index as part of the grammar checker. Writing for Videomaker must have a Flesch-Kincaid Index of 11 or less.


* Do not use the Harvard comma. In a series of three or more words or phrases, do not place a comma before "and" or "or." (e.g., The unit features an 8:1 power zoom, flying erase head and f/1.4 lens.) * Use a comma in numerical expressions only with numbers of more than five or more digits. ($1000, not $1,000).


* Use contractions whenever possible; this fosters a conversational tone of writing ("it's" instead of "it is").


* Spell out "zero" through "nine"; use numerals thereafter. * Use numerals when referencing identifications (pin 4 or Fig. 6) or electrical units (9-volt output). * Spell out fractions less than one (three-quarter-inch); use numerals for fractions greater than one (4 1/4).

Dimensions, Weights, Degrees

* In text, use numerals for amounts, but spell out dimension units. (The VCR, measuring 15 inches wide by 4 inches high by 13 inches deep, comes with a 5-foot remote.) In charts and diagrams, abbreviate all units of measurement. * Use numerals for amounts and spell out weight units, as well as the word "degree." (The camera weighs 5 pounds, 1 ounce; camera in hand, he panned 180 degrees.)


* Spell out the word "percent" in text. Use decimals instead of fractions when appropriate. For amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero. (The price of tripods rose 0.8 percent.) Use the percent sign (%) in charts and graphs only.


* Italicize titles of movies, TV series, periodicals and books.


* To emphasize a word or phrase, place it in italics. Videomaker does not use underscored text.


* States: CA, NY, IL, etc. (Postal Service style: Toledo, OH) * SP, EP (standard/extended-play on first reference) * SEG (special-effects generator on first reference) * TBC (time-base corrector on first reference) * mike, not mic, for microphone

Words to Watch

Jargon and technical terms abound in the video field. Please see attached "Tricky Little Words" list for Videomaker style on these terms and abbreviations.


Videomaker encourages its writers to make suggestions regarding the presentation of copy. This includes ideas for page layout, support photography, charts and illustrations. Photo submissions can be either color (preferred) or black-and-white. Prints should be as sharp as possible, with contrast appropriate for publication. Videomaker prefers color slides or transparencies to prints. Take the time to write complete, descriptive captions for all diagrams, tables, listings and photos. Write lightly on the back of photos and other artwork to identify their origins and specify corresponding copy. Be sure to identify the sources of all submissions and the individuals or organizations to credit in print, if necessary. Include a self-addressed envelope for the return of materials.

Manuscript Preparation

Include your name, address, phone number and social security number on the first page of your manuscript. * Include headline proposals for the main text as well as sidebars. * Limit (or break down) paragraphs to six lines maximum, assuming standard 12-point characters with one-inch margins. * Write subheadings (breakheads) to "headline" each new section of your article. Subheadings should serve as transitions marking the natural flow of the story, from lead to middle sections to conclusion. * Submit diagrams on separate sheets of paper-not within text. * In lieu of footnoting, include a bibliography for references. * For the benefit of Videomaker readers, we encourage you to cite additional reading sources at the end of your manuscript. * Please include a brief paragraph of biographical information suitable for publication. Refer to bios found in previous issues of Videomaker for style examples.

Manuscript Submission

Videomaker encourages submissions via e-mail or on computer disk. We prefer files saved in Microsoft Word for Windows format or Rich Text Format (RTF). (As a last resort, you can submit your document as a "text-only" file. Do not use line breaks.) A double-spaced hard copy of the manuscript should accompany the disk. You may e-mail your manuscript to us in one of two ways: 1) Internet users may attach a binary file (RTF or Word format preferred) to a standard message. E-mail 2) AOL users may attach an RTF file only to a standard message to Internet address


Submit all queries in writing; please do not call. Keep queries as brief as possible. Send your resume and clips of previously published work with your query. Send materials unfolded in a 9- by 12-inch envelope to: Query Editor, Videomaker, P.O. Box 4591, Chico, CA 95927. Forward overnight, UPS or other courier deliveries to Videomaker's street address: 920 Main St., Chico, CA 95928. E-mail queries may be sent to Videomaker editors through the Internet to Videomaker's FAX number is 916-891-8443.

Videomaker Style: All Those Tricky Little Words

Numbers: Technical Units of Measure: Always use numerals eg: 8-bit, 8mm, 25MHz, 0.8 volts

Other numbers: as per AP style, spell out numbers under 10; numerals otherwise e.g. five times, 10 times, 850,000 viewers, 2.8 million viewers, 1,395,000 children 1/2-by-3/4-inch (adj.) 12x 3-chip (adj.) 3/4-inch 3200K (degrees Kelvin) 35mm 5-pin Panasonic 640x480 8mm 90-minute (adj.) A/B roll (noun) A/B-roll (adj.) a.m. autofocus A/V CD-ROM chromakey cinema verite (foreign) closeups codec compact disc CompuServe computer-based Control-L Control-S cross-format cutaway cuts-only D-1, D-2, etc. dB (18dB) decibel (18 decibels) desktop digital versatile disc (DVD) disk (not disc) dos and don'ts IEEE-1394 f/1.4 (lens speed) film-to-video (adj.) filmmaker FireWire focal length frame buffer frame grabber frame-stepping full-size FutureVideo genlock GB (gigabyte) GHz (gigahertz) Handycam( Hertz (1200 Hertz) hi-fi Hi8 high-band high-res (adj.) high-resolution (adj.) how tos Hz (1200Hz) IBM-compatible (adj.) IEEE 1394 infrared inner focus ins and outs lavalier linear time code (LTC) lithium ion MB (64MB) meg MHz (5MHz) MJPEG mike (not mic) miking minijack MiniDisc( Mini DV multimedia multi-speed multiformat NiCd NiCad( nickel cadmium NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) nonlinear on line (noun) on-line (adj.) overscan palm-sized Palmcorder( percent picture-in-picture p.m. Plug and Play preroll prosumer quasi-Hi8 rewriteable RS-232 RS-422 S-VHS S-VHS-C S-video semipro set-top box signal-to-noise single-frame software stand-alone startup Steadicam( SteadyShot( Super-VHS sync synchro synchro edit TelePrompTerTM time code underscan VCR (never VTR) VCRs, TVs, CDs VHS-C Viewcam ViSCA voice over (noun) voice-over (adj.) Windows 95.

Chuck Peters, Managing Editor
P.O. Box 4591
Chico, CA 95927
Chuck Peters, Managing Editor

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