I admit it-I am horrible at taking videos. I’m one of those moms that leaves the camera running at least a minute (or five) too long and I have an unsteady hand, to name a couple of major faults. Ask my husband, and he’ll agree. When I had the recent opportunity to review How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck by Steve Stockman, I wondered if they had seen some of my recent video uploads on facebook and You Tube! I, of course, took this opportunity to try to better my videography skills (as well as, hopefully, annoy my hubby less!). After reading this book, it made me realize faults I didn’t even realize I had! I’ve been thinking back on the videos I’ve done (that I was soooo proud of), and am now feeling a little embarassed!
The introduction in the book is fabulous. It previewed each chapter and gave me 12 quick tips that I could begin incorporating into video-taking right away! I love that Steve makes the note that video is only as good as the person behind the camera. No fancy equipment is needed, just thinking about what story you are trying to tell. You can use a Kodak Playsport, or your iPhone, or any bit of fancy equipment you have lying around (look for our Kodak Playsport giveaway at the end of this post!)
I’m sure many of you are like me, and you just keep on filming because you don’t want to miss anything! Well, what that has led to in my case is a deep backlog (my daughter just turned 4, so that means….ummmm….it’s been about 4 years since I’ve edited any videos). All of my 1-10 minute videos have really added up and I feel overwhelmed with the task of editing them. Well, with Steve’s advice, I took it upon me to let go of the fact that I might ‘miss’ something and begin taking video as I would pictures-as isolated images to try to tell an overall story. I’m actually an avid scrapbooker, so it’s easy for me to get into this mindset.
Steve gives many great examples in the book. One that I like for predictable events using a graduation as an example. For example, you’ll have the procession, receive the diploma and throw the caps in the air. In order to be succinct and engaging to your audience, he recommends taking the video as these snapshots. Here is a really great synopsis of Steve putting his techniques to use:
Okay, so here it goes…my attempt at briefly telling my story. Brendan does a gym class every week and LOVES it. The class is an hour long, and I thought I would try to tell my story as Steve suggests. I tried to keep each segment under 10 seconds, and I used Steve’s tips to get in close to the subject so that I could “see the whites of their eyes” whenever possible. I took into consideration lighting, but there were a couple of instances where I couldn’t avoid the backlight situation. I clearly still have a ways to go, but I think I made a valiant first effort (forget the fact that I didn’t shoot it in “widescreen” mode..hey-I’m an amateur!). This whole approach really changed the way I will take videos from here on out, and while this video may not be viewed by 1,000,000 people on YouTube, I have the feeling my friends and family will take the 3 and a half minutes to watch it–maybe even more than once!
This book has also inspired me to go back to the early days and start putting some videos together of my daughter, and then my son, in a way that my family (especially the ones far away) would love to watch over and over again. Although it will require some editting on my part, I feel better knowing that the story is actually told better if I tell it as ‘snapshots’.
BUY IT: List price for Steve Stockman’s fabulous book is $13.95, but you can currently get it for $10.37 on Amazon!
GIVEAWAY: One (1) That’s IT Mommy reader will receive a Video Prize Pack to include a Kodak Playsport Video Camera and a copy of How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck. Four (4) runners up will receive one (1) copy each of the book only. This giveaway is open to US residents only (18+). Ends 8/1/11.
REQUIRED MAIN ENTRY: To enter, take a look at Steve’s video and tell us one thing you learned (and may possibly be guilty of!). Leave your comment in the reply box below this post. That’s IT!
Remember if this REQUIRED ENTRY is not followed then no other entries will count.
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*This giveaway will run through midnight on August 1, 2011 (PST). Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to contact us before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. (18+) residents only.
* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. That’s IT Mommy received a copy of the book free of charge to facilitate this review. Giveaway items will be provided by sponsor. Sponsor has the right to refuse filling prize for duplicate winners from other blogs. This will in no way sway our opinion of the product or service. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.