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How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro Paperback – June 2, 2011


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How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro + The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age: 2013 Edition + The Filmmaker's Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; First Printing edition (June 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761163239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761163237
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Stockman has packed a veritable film school between the pages of this highly informative, yet entertaining book.  Very highly recommended."   -Videomaker Magazine

"Great tips from a video expert." -PC World 

"Whip-smart and funny... teaches readers how to think about film and reveals the why and when behind techniques; there is next to zero tech or tool talk." - Library Journal 

"His simple-to-follow guide takes readers step-by-step through the film- and video-making process" - Kirkus Reviews

"Like two years of film school in 248 pages" - Steven Pressfield, author of "The War of Art" and "The Legend of Bagger Vance"

"Stockman has packed a veritable film school between the pages of this highly informative, yet entertaining book.  Very highly recommended."

—Videomaker Magazine

"Great tips from a video expert."

PC World

"Whip-smart and funny... teaches readers how to think about film and reveals the why and when behind techniques; there is next to zero tech or tool talk."

—Library Journal

"His simple-to-follow guide takes readers step-by-step through the film- and video-making process"

—Kirkus Reviews

Review

“Stockman skipped past all the technical crap about how to use a camera and cut right to the chase: how do you shoot a video somebody else will WANT to watch? The only thing missing is a time machine so I could reshoot fifteen years of sucky birthday party and school play videos.”
--David A. Goodman, Executive Producer/Head Writer of “Family Guy”
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Steve Stockman is a producer, writer and director of over 200 commercials, short films, web series, music videos, and TV shows. He's Executive Producer of BREW DOGS, the hit series on the Esquire Network, the Food Network series $24 IN 24 and the hit Discovery Channel series DEVILS RIDE. Steve wrote, produced and directed the award-winning 2007 MGM feature film TWO WEEKS, starring Sally Field, Ben Chaplin, Tom Cavanagh, Julianne Nicholson, Glenn Howerton and Clea DuVall.

Visit Steve's blog at www.stevestockman.com for more great articles (and videos!) about video. Follow him on Twitter too-- @SteveStockman. For workshops and speaking opportunities, please contact info@stevestockman.com

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Customer Reviews

If you shoot video - you need this book.
Scott
More important, the people who watch your videos will get a lot out of your having read it.
Jay Rose
Great read, easy to understand, and very informative.
Kevin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Jeremey Donovan on May 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With no prior training, I was immediately drawn to this book to improve the quality my home videos.

Here are my take-aways to Plan-Move-Point-Shoot-Stop-Edit:

I.Plan:
- Make sure that every video, scene, and shot has a clear intent of how you want the audience to react and be explicit
- Select a point-of-view (the "side"/opinion of a specific individual)
- Either script or build a checklist of an anticipated key shots
II. Move:
- Keep the light behind you; make sure the lighting matches the story
- Match location, background, and foreground to the story
- Make moves in large increments
III. Point:
- Focus on people's eyes to capture emotion
- Do not move the camera or use digital zoom before or during the shot
- Keep the focus of your image out of the middle square of a 3x3 grid
- Use an external mic (lavaliere or boom)
IV. Shoot:
- Make every shot an action with a clear hero and a beginning, middle, and end.
- Make each scene answer questions from the prior scene and raise new ones
- If using two cameras, manually synch their AWB (automatic white balance)
V. Stop:
- Keep shots under 10 seconds (if traveling, shoot two 10-sec shots per hour)
VI.
Read more ›
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Jay Rose on May 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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, shooting that way gives you video that's hard to watch and sometimes downright embarrassing.

The tricks we use aren't difficult, just not obvious. Stockman breaks them down into tiny steps, makes them easy to master, and even adds a touch of humor. Take his advice and you'll shoot better videos, whether they're of your kid's birthday party or your boss's sales pitch.

I've worked with hundreds of writers, producers, and directors on various projects, including with Steve Stockman. I can tell you he knows his stuff, runs a happy and productive shoot, and is very good at explaining how he accomplishes it.

This is not a difficult book. You'll get a lot out of reading it. More important, the people who watch your videos will get a lot out of your having read it.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A. Sheridan on June 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 downloaded it this morning and I'm getting ready to read it a second time. Ok, ok, what's the big deal? I'll let you in on a little secret: it's nearly impossible to find a pro that will reveal the real gems that will turn your crappy home videos into fun to watch pro quality movies. What is it about pro quality video that makes you think, "Wow, I wish I could do that?!". This book will show you the light.

I highly recommend it. Thank you Steve Stockman!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sam Scherf on September 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After spending hours in libraries and book stores "this was the book for me". I had even purchased another 'how to' video book that cost over three times as much. Even a 'Dummies' book covered subjects (How to Hire Actors, How to rent equipment, etc.) that most hobbyists will never need.

This book gets right down to things that need to be done (brainstorming, practice exercises, observing neuounces on TV programs, movies and human nature) before you can make a video that people will enjoy watching. The biggest shocker for me was counting the seconds that one 'shot' (time period that one 'camera angle' was recorded during a (any) movie or TV show). Almost all are less than 10 seconds and most are in the 5 second range. This book explains why our brain needs these 'changes' to keep us interested. It shows us what we can do with a single camcorder to record the same interest generating shots in our videos.

There are 76 chapters in the book. Here's some of my favorites: Entertain or Die; Instant Creativity; Know your Audience; Know your story; Make Every Picture Tell the Story; Think in Shots; Always Leave Them Wanting; Don't Shoot Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes; Shoot the Details; and Clarity Is the Prime Directive. The author even provides a website that shows the results of using his suggestions.

The list price is $13.95. Amazon's price, delivered, was less than that.
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