Book Review: How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck

There are a lot of videos out on the internet. A lot of them are great, but far more of them are awful. If you want to produce video for your website, you want to make sure it’s good, or at very least not awful. So the question becomes, what separates the good video from the bad? That’s what How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck sets out to teach us.

Who is How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck For?

Let’s start this by saying who this book isn’t for: it’s not for readers who already have a good understanding of making good video. It’s not for aspiring cinematographers and directors. How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck is for people who are interested in video, but don’t really know what makes a good video good and a bad video bad.

Now, that’s not to say that it just covers the basics and nothing else. That would make for an informative, but pretty boring book. Instead, it deconstructs video, both good and bad, and pulls teachable lessons from it. I really like this approach because it’s illustrative. We don’t just get a bunch of rules, we get clear examples that demonstrate why the rules work, and what happens when you break them.

How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck

What How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck Covers

The main focus of the book is the importance of having a plan. It shows us why it’s important to have a plan, and then walks us through all the steps we need to cover to create it.

Beyond that, How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck teaches us how to think like a director. We start looking at things in shots, breaking down events into smaller (and more interesting pieces), we edit with our brain, we link things together with motion and imagery. It’s incredible interesting, and the author explains it in a way that isn’t overwhelming but also doesn’t feel like we’re being talked down to.

After this, we get an entire section examining different specific project (e.g. tutorials, webcam rants) and how to best approach shooting them.

What Works

  • A book about video has one pretty big challenge to overcome: it can’t actually show you the video. I absolutely love this book’s approach to solving this problem, which is to use storyboards to illustrate what’s going on in the video. Not only is this brilliant and related to the subject at hand, but the illustrations are beautifully rendered.

What Doesn’t

  • I honestly can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about this book, except maybe that I was disappointed when it ended. As someone who’s interested in doing more with video, How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck gave me a ton of insight on producing higher quality results.

The Verdict

If you’re interested in adding video to your site, or even if you just want to get better footage of your kids and vacations, do yourself a big favor and order a copy of this book right now. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s not for people with a lot of experience, but if you’re an interested amateur, you’d be hard pressed to find a better jumping off point.

Buy a copy of How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck today

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