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How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 405 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0761163237
ISBN-10: 0761163239
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  • How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"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

“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”

From the Author

My hope is that anyone, at any level, can open the book anywhere and get a great idea for their next video. 

IF YOU'RE BRAND NEW, this book will start you thinking about how to communicate with an audience.  Your videos will be more fun to watch-- for your friends, your relatives, and even for you.  It will help you make video you'll be really proud to share. 

MORE EXPERIENCED VIDEOGRAPHERS will find chapters on critical principles like storytelling, structure, emotion and composition-- plus exercises you can practice to improve your video skills. 

IF YOU'RE A PRO, you'll still find enough advanced ideas to make it worth the price of admission. Hell, when I flip through the book I find things I wish I'd remembered on last week's shoot (Because there's so much good stuff here, I'd like to think-- but it could just be failing memory.)
 
Check out my blog (stevestockman.com) for more on shooting video that doesn't suck!
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 1 edition (June 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761163239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761163237
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (405 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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