Entertain or Die!

Shoot Just Enough and No More

By Video Marketing, Feature Film, Television, For Pros, Your Questions Answered One Comment

Throughout your book you talk about cutting, trimming, deleting, editing until you’ve removed all of the bad, redundant, boring parts of your project. What happens when you cut out all of the bad stuff and then you realize that you don’t have enough good material to complete the project? Are there strategies to make sure you shoot enough great material to edit? It’s too late to fix my first project (a music video), but I’d sure like to make sure it doesn’t happen on my next one. –Fred Knowing how much to shoot may be the second biggest issue a director faces on the set (the first:…

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Shooting Crew-Free

By Video Marketing, Teaching and Training, For Pros, Your Questions Answered Leave a comment

I make educational videos for computer enthusiasts on YouTube, but I have to do everything myself. Lighting, sound, script, talent, editing, posting, video description, video thumbnail, marketing…  Problem is, without a crew, shots have to stay static. I can use digital zoom, but it gets ‘blocky.’ I had a friend help me with this video (one static camera, one my friend is holding). What I can do to make a better video? Thank you! –Carey Holzman Nice video, Carey. I rushed right out to buy some old parts and built a cool gaming computer for my guest bathroom. Okay, I didn’t, but after watching I…

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How to Shoot Video that Doesn't Suck

New Edition of the Book in Stores Now!

By If you’re new to video, Teaching and Training, Press 8 Comments

Workman Publishing has just released an updated and revised new edition of How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck! It’s available now wherever you buy your paper or pixel books. Look to your right for handy links! This new edition is mostly a touch-up.  It turns out that even if you try not to use terms that might become dated, they sneak in somehow.  And for fans of my Do It Yourself Film Graduate School list of movies that you really must see, there are new additions. New Edition FAQs: Do I need to run out and get this edition if I already own the…

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Wedding Video Blues: 5 Tips for Better Wedding Videos

By Tips and Tricks, Better Home Video, For Pros, Your Questions Answered 8 Comments

I’ve never used a video camera, however my daughter will be getting married this October and I will be filming for the VERY first time. I’m scared stiff ! ! ! Can you please advise me on the best way to capture this special moment.? I would be so very grateful to you. Thank You, Lucy Wilson Wait, you’re shooting video at your daughter’s wedding? First piece of advice:  please re-consider. Weddings are an emotional ride for any parent-of-the-bride, and whether you wind up blubbering like a 2-year old, dancing on tables or falling-down drunk, holding a video camera will surely be…

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How to make a How-To Video, Part II: The Journey

By Video Marketing, For Pros, Your Questions Answered Leave a comment

In Part I of this post, we laid down the basics for How-To Video. Now lets go for mastery.  The key to which, as with so many other elements of video, is story. Think about your video as a real film, with real story elements. The simplest story in any how-to video is the journey, where the hero takes us from not-done to overcoming-obstacles to done. The more challenging the journey, the better the video. How much journeying you can do in your how-to video depends on your audience’s needs. If people will watch while they do the how-to step by step, you want to play it pretty tight….

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Mothers Day Video Tips

By Tips and Tricks, If you’re new to video, Better Home Video Leave a comment

Ah, Mothers Day!  Burnt toast and coffee made with hot tap water in bed (“We aren’t allowed to use the stove.”) .  Macaroni-art “I love You Mom” cards.  Perhaps a meal at Mom’s favorite restaurant–say, Chuck E. Cheese.  The day is loaded with great material that can become memorable video.  Video you can use 15 or 20 years from now in that mandatory embarrassing/cute wedding video. With that in mind, here are a few Mother’s Day Video Tips for the Dad behind the camera: Find the Story: “Mother’s Day 2017” isn’t a story.  Stories are about people and action.  “Shaniqua and Kitain…

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Shooting a Boxing Match Three Ways

By Tips and Tricks, If you’re new to video, Better Home Video, For Pros, Your Questions Answered Leave a comment

I’m new to video recording/ photography and just bought your book…ITS GREAT! How would you shoot a live amateur boxing event if there is only one videographer and his DSLR? I read that you should not keep the camera continuously recording the whole time.  Should I record 5-10 sec of footage…stop  and move to another position, then hit record again? Or should I keep recording as I’m moving to another position so I don’t miss anything important during the move– like, say, the knockout! –Eric Hernandez Thanks for reading the book, Eric. Shameless flattery will get you nowhere, if you consider the top of my “must answer” file…

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How to Make a How-To Video that Works: Part I

By Video Marketing, For Pros, Your Questions Answered 3 Comments

How do I create a series of online class videos that are How-to’s, but creative and interesting, while also teaching? My upholstery course videos are pretty wide shot/closeup. I know I can do better.  I’ve asked every video and film maker I know if they can think of a clever technique for doing these classes. They’re all going to get back to me on that. (ha!) –Shelly Leer modhomeec.com Before we get to the “creative” how-to video, let’s look at the basics- the marks a how-to video must hit. How-to videos helped me save $200 replacing my own sump pump, figure out how my…

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Story Structure and “Arrival”

By Feature Film, For Pros 3 Comments

William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Princess Bride) wrote in his classic book Adventures in the Screen Trade that “screenplays are structure.” Because Goldman is a writing god, people listened. They listened, but they may not have heard well. Goldman was saying that structure was necessary to a screenplay, but he wasn’t saying it was sufficient.  Yet many took Goldman’s point, misunderstood, and ran with it, pitching structure-first as the key to writing film.  Luckily, it mostly worked anyway, because most film beginners– and many professionals– fail to focus on a hero and a clear beginning, middle and end. But here’s what Goldman never meant: He did not…

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