How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro

How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck is a quick and easy guide that will make your video better instantly– whether you read it cover to cover or just skim a few chapters.  It’s about the language of video. How to think like a director, regardless of equipment (amateurs think about the camera, pros think about communication).  It’s about the rules developed over a century of movie-making–which work just as well when shooting a two-year-old’s birthday party. Written by Steve Stockman, the director of Two Weeks (2007), plus TV shows, music videos, and hundreds of commercials, How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck explains in 74 short, pithy, insightful chapters how to tell a story and entertain your audience. How to shoot video people will want to watch.

Here’s how to think in shots–how to move-point-shoot-stop-repeat, instead of planting yourself in one spot and pressing “Record” for five minutes. Why never to shoot until you see the whites of your subject’s eyes. Why to “zoom” with your feet and not the lens. How to create intrigue on camera. The book covers the basics of framing, lighting, sound (use an external mic), editing, special effects (turn them off!), and gives advice on shooting a variety of specific situations: sporting events, parties and family gatherings, graduations and performances. Plus, how to make instructional and promotional videos, how to make a music video, how to capture stunts, and much more. At the end of every chapter is a suggestion of how to immediately put what you learned into practice, so the next time you’re shooting you’ll have begun to master the skill. Accompanying the book is a website with video clips to illustrate different rules, techniques, and situations.

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

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Write, Publish, Promote. Words I am learning to live by. Want this to be your motto too? Join me and together we'll navigate the path to publishing success.

3 Comments

  1. Great title, good insights, so-so structure With no prior training, I was immediately drawn to this book to improve the quality my home videos. 

  2. Read this book twice and then once more I’m a weekend warrior. I have a cool camera and all the toys guys like me buy. Over a few years of trial and error, mostly error, and some photography experience, my video has improved. If I’d only had this book 5 years ago I could have saved countless painful hours watching sucky video. This book is unique. Good luck finding anything like it. I think this book should be sold with every camera with a video record button. It’s the best $10 I’ve spent in a seriously long time. I just…

  3. I’m glad this book was written I’ve spent most of my career in various aspects of film and TV production. There are principles of shooting and structure most of us in the biz take for granted… but it’s obvious, now that low-cost cameras are everywhere, that these techniques aren’t intuitive. Many people seem to think of the camera as an extension of their eyes: wherever they’re looking at the moment, they also point the lens. But it doesn’t work that way. Even though these cameras have a lot of automatic functions,…

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