- 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 (475 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro 1st Edition
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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.
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Top customer reviews
Here are my take-aways to Plan-Move-Point-Shoot-Stop-Edit:
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- 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)
- Keep shots under 10 seconds (if traveling, shoot two 10-sec shots per hour)
- Keep videos as short as possible; if doing a how-to, consider breaking into a series
- Edit out everything that does not need to be there
- Limit the use of graphics/text/titles; if used, make text/titles simple (ex: Helvetica) and effect-free
- Consider using a call-back to link the final shot to the initial shot
- Music & Sound: Test music that is on-story, counter-story; and unrelated and see what works; Add natural sound effects
- Rely almost completely on cuts with a rare wipe (to convey movement) and even rarer dissolve (to shift to a somber mood)
- Seek feedback and address all common concerns and think about unique ideas/concerns
[UPDATE: I updated this review from 2 stars to 5 stars on Jan 14, 2013. Though the book has a high degree of redundancy, it has truly transformed the way that I approach video.]
Even though I grew up in theater and television, and am a decent and well-educated writer, even within the first few chapters I was able to shoot and edit professional level video as I could not before. The only limitations are my equipment, but with this book any equipment is adequate--even your smart phone--to turn those videos that even your mother wouldn't enjoy into ones that people who don't even know you will want to share.
Most of all, I liked how it related storytelling visually to the techniques I already know in writing. And the results are obvious.
Only a few weeks before reading this book I shot a video of my friends and their kids, edited it down to just a couple of minutes, and set it to music as a gift. Of course they liked it, but they didn't love it because it my video sucked. After reading just the beginning of this book and doing the first few projects, I shot a video of my wife going to a salon to get a haircut, focusing the story on the heroine who was our friend the hairstylist, and not only was she extremely happy with it, but so was the business owner who runs an art gallery and is involved in the artist community here in New York City. They even wrote a long thank you with a description of what they loved about my video--the variety of angles, the action, and how it told a story they didn't realize was there before. And that was just a haircut.
Now people actually ask me to please bring my camera when they know I'm going to an event, because even though they all have cameras, they know mine will be great.
This book can't give you talent, but it can enable you to express the talent and ideas you already have, and using equipment and resources you already own. But more than that, this book cuts through the hard mantle of jargon and lingo, and the intimidating descriptions of 'must have' equipment which other instructors will insist upon, to the essentials of expressing your ideas effectively in most any venue or genre.
My review for this book is 5 stars. But be careful when looking for other good books. Make sure there are more genuine reviews than endorsed views. The easiest way to do is is by sticking to books that have over 100 reviews.
The new "not yet rated" has been replaced with 15-20 reviews averaging around a 4.5.
This book is great for all he reasons everyone else says it is. I just wanted to share some advice as well.