How to Improve Your Video Shooting Skills

Many of you know that we have a YouTube channel.  We are always on the lookout to improve our YouTube videos.  Even if you went to film school, shooting video is a constant learning experience.  That is why we are always looking for resources to help us improve our video shooting skills.

If you are just getting started shooting YouTube videos, you will most likely need some help like we did.  That is why we purchased the book “Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck” by Steve Stockman.  Let’s get to the main theme of the book first.  This book is about shooting video.  It is NOT about gear, settings and all kinds of other nerdy stuff that most books talk about.  That is the main reason I wanted this book!  Coming from a photography background, I already know the settings and the nerd side of the gear.  I don’t want to sift through a regurgitation of someone talking about their gear.  I want ideas and concepts that I can apply to any gear I want to use.  This book does that and it does it well!

Another thing that I really like about this book is that the chapters are written like blog posts.  I can sit down and read a couple of chapters at a time really quickly.  Then I can take the knowledge I just learned and grab my camera and run out to shoot and practice them.

The whole point of shooting videos is to get someone to watch them.  If you make them fun or entertaining, then people will watch them.  That is one of the main themes of this book.  The book shows you how you can make your videos entertaining.

It is no secret to most of you, I am a dad, so Stockman really speaks to me with this example I am going to use. I would often shoot the kids birthday parties. I would mostly just leave the camera running and hope I captured something fun that happened.  I had no plan or did not think about telling a story of my child’s birthday.  It was the “pray and spray” shooting method.  I wish I had this book 20 years ago, I could have really made a difference in shooting those birthday videos.  Here are a few of the things I would have done differently.

  1. I would have “zoomed with my feet”.  This is one of the many tips that Stockman offers.  If you zoom, your footage will often end up shaky and making your audience feel sick.  Walk up and frame the shot.  “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.” as Stockman puts it.
  2. Shoot in short clips.  No more “pray and spray shooting”.  Shooting in short clips allows you to edit your video into a story better.  Think in shots and have a plan.
  3. Shoot the same shot from different angles.  Let’s say I am shooting my one year old digging in to a birthday cake.  I could get a shot of the cake and the baby getting ready to dig into it.  I could get a shot of just the baby’s hands digging into the cake.  I can get a shot of just the baby’s hands shoveling cake into it’s mouth.  I can get a shot of the baby’s face, a mess with the cake.  Then I can get a shot of the aftermath of the mess the baby made.  Then I could move on to shooting similar shots of mom cleaning up the baby.  That would tell a great short story of the baby’s first birthday cake!

AWWWWW Stockman, where were you nineteen years ago!  You could have saved me from bad videos!  At least I have skills now to use on my grandchildren.  Assuming I will have some one of these days.

That is just a small set of the tips that Stockman offers in his book. There are so many more that will help you shoot better video. I give the book five stars and agree with Steven Pressfield’s quote:

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

You can check out the book trailer below.  In this video, Stockman gives you a few hints of what is inside the book.

Overall this book is a very easy read and packed with tips and tricks that you can use in your everyday video shooting.  It is illustrated with storyboard like graphics ( which is another tip in the book).  If you are shooting family videos, or trying to be the next Casey Neistat on YouTube, I highly recommend this book.  I give it five stars for helping me learn to shoot video that doesn’t suck!  If you are considering purchasing this book, please purchase by clicking on this link.  We will get a few pennies from it and it will not cost you anything extra!  We only recommend the products that we use, we want to be your trusted source for information!  Thanks for your support!

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