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

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

by Steve Stockman


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How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro by Steve Stockman

Newly updated and revised, How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck is a quick and easy guide that will make your video better instantly—whether you read it cover to cover or just skim a few chapters. It’s about the language of video and how to think like a director, regardless of equipment (amateurs think about the camera, pros think about communication). It’s about the rules developed over a century of movie-making—which work just as well when shooting a two-year-old’s birthday party on your phone. Written by Steve Stockman, the director of the award-winning feature Two Weeks, plus TV shows, music videos, and hundreds of commercials, How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck explains in 74 short, pithy, insightful chapters how to tell a story and entertain your audience. In other words, how to shoot video people will want to watch.

Here’s how to think in shots—how to move-point-shoot-stop-repeat, instead of planting yourself in one spot and pressing “Record” for five minutes. Why never to shoot until you see the whites of your subject’s eyes. Why to “zoom” with your feet and not the lens. How to create intrigue on camera. The book covers the basics of video production: framing, lighting, sound (use an external mic), editing, special effects (turn them off!), and gives advice on shooting a variety of specific situations: sporting events, parties and family gatherings, graduations and performances. Plus, how to make instructional and promotional videos, how to make a music video, how to capture stunts, and much more. At the end of every chapter is a suggestion of how to immediately put what you’ve learned into practice, so the next time you’re shooting you’ll have begun to master the skill. Steve’s website ( provides video examples to illustrate different production ideas, techniques, and situations, and his latest thoughts on all things video.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761163237
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/25/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 172,190
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Steve Stockman is a director, producer, and writer of films, television shows, and commercials. He made the feature film Two Weeks (2007) starring Sally Field, Ben Chaplin, and Tom Cavanagh. Every summer he mentors aspiring filmmakers and teaches video-making at Summer Stars Camp. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"It’s all in here—family video, business video. . . even college application videos. What’s not in here? A bunch of technical stuff nobody understands. We can all shoot video on our smart phones or digital cameras—the question is, can we shoot video that doesn’t suck?”
—Joe McCambley, Co-founder/Creative Director, The Wonderfactory

“The odds are good that some of you suck at video. . . Steve is one of the smartest media minds in the game. This book is the perfect gift for any would-be filmmaker with the need to suck. . . less.”
—Rob Barnett, Founder/CEO,

“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

“Like two years of film school in 248 pages. I've been in the movie biz for twenty-five years and I still learned a ton from Steve Stockman’s How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck. I guess that means either I'm pretty dumb or Steve is really smart.”
—Steven Pressfield, Author of The War of Art and The Legend of Bagger Vance

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How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very layman explanation for making video that people actually want to watch. I've used his principles already to take what woud be boring home movies and made them entertaining for multiple facebook friends who wouldn't have cared. His advice has helped me significantly. Seriously check this book out if you like home movies or making movies for youtube...or if you're a serious movie maker and you want to improve your skills conceptualizing your content. Loved this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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DWFK More than 1 year ago
More people should read this book. I'm a reporter with a background in photography and newspaper writing and video has been a pretty smooth transition because I follow the rules. This book has all the classic rules and more. In journalism, a lot of people are failing at video. Photographers make pretty montages of shots with no story line and writers have shaky video of talking heads that is way too long. This book should be sitting in every news room.
PatFay More than 1 year ago
It is put in layman's terms, very easy to read and you can understand what the author is trying to tell you. He gives a simple no-nonsense approach as to what you should be thinking about before, during and after the video shoot. Has a touch of humor and very personable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago