Having a degree in the UK no longer means that you have opportunities denied to the bulk of the population.
Steve Stockman’s How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck is a very basic guide to filmmaking. Nonetheless, you find yourself being drawn in. Gaining in the process a vastly better understanding of how professional films are made. Well that is, if like me, you have little knowledge of filmmaking business. This book in particular focuses on small-scale film productions like those on YouTube and family movies.1
Stockman’s compelling voice really draws you in. As it is one of those Morgan Freeman type voices, simply made for narration.1
*Spoiler alert* (if such a things is really needed)
Stockman repeats four golden rules throughout How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck. One, Keep film clips short. Two avoid using the zoom. Three remove anything that is not essential from the final cut. Lastly, avoid using the cameras special effects. He goes into a lot of detail on why these rules are a must and his arguments are compelling. Especially when he covers the psychological tricks used by filmmakers to keep the audience’s attention.1
How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck goes into the basics of running a small film production. From the big things, such as planning with storyboards, choosing locations and which actors to hire. To the small things, such as how to use microphones, lighting and cameras when shooting. Many of the lesson are relevant to your everyday blogger as well as to your hollowed blockbuster.1
Unfortunately, Stockman ends up repeating himself a bit too much. He should have followed this own advice on removing anything that was not relevant to the final cut. Although this is what probably makes the books so easily to follow given the constant repetition.1
Furthermore, he omits which equipment and software to use when filming. Although there are plenty of videos out there on this topic.1
On this rare occasion, I am going to say that the How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck should have been a documentary. Before you go writing in the comments. I am well aware that the average book contains as much as a TV series. Nonetheless, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. It would have been much better for Stockman to shown the filming techniques instead of simply describing them. Moreover, it would have saved so much time. To illustrate the point take a look at the trailer for the book on YouTube. It covers much of the book’s content in less than four minutes.2
By Arran Wilkins © 2021 (text only)
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(1) Stockman, Steve. How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro (Custom Productions, Inc., 2013) Amazon Audible, Available at: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/How-to-Shoot-Video-That-Doesnt-Suck-Audiobook/B00H57VUL4?ref=a_library_t_c5_libItem_&pf_rd_p=7bf74090-5cb9-4f5e-bc6f-6ea28d055287&pf_rd_r=T43QB5MYYDCSK2WFQX8Z [Accessed on 25th April 2021].
(2) YouTube (2011) How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck: OFFICIAL Book Trailer Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF0z9k93Y9Q [Accessed on 29th April 2021].
Stockman, Steve. How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro (Custom Productions, Inc., 2013) Amazon Audible, Available at: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/How-to-Shoot-Video-That-Doesnt-Suck-Audiobook/B00H57VUL4?ref=a_library_t_c5_libItem_&pf_rd_p=7bf74090-5cb9-4f5e-bc6f-6ea28d055287&pf_rd_r=T43QB5MYYDCSK2WFQX8Z [Accessed on 25th April 2021].
(Image) Robert Lischka. Pixabay. Pixabay License. Accessed at: https://pixabay.com/photos/sony-lens-walimex-camera-1455038/ [Accessed on 5th April 2021].