Entertain or Die!

Checklist: 20 Questions to Make Your Video Great

By Tips and Tricks, If you’re new to video, Better Home Video 6 Comments

Since everyone alive today has been watching film and video from birth, we all have some idea of what bad film and video look like.  It’s that stuff you click out of instantly on your browser or your remote, often within 15 seconds of starting it. “I know bad video when I see it” works great when you’re the consumer, but not so well when you’re the creator. Creators not only need to know bad video when they see it, they need to know bad video before they see it.  Ideally even before they start shooting it. How do you see the…

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Shoot Better Labor Day Video

By Tips and Tricks, If you’re new to video, Better Home Video 2 Comments

As you cruise to the beach or barbecue this weekend, take your video camera.  And think about these tips to shoot better Labor Day video: 1)  Memories are about faces. Faces are where emotion lives. The eyes are the window to the soul and all that.  And faces are how we chart time– when you want to remember who you were 5 years ago, a long shot of a crowd drinking beer won’t do the job. When you watch video of small children or elderly grandparents later, you’ll never wish you were farther away. Thinking of shooting distant closeups of vague…

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Respect the Process Podcast

By Video Marketing, For Pros, Press Leave a comment

I just discovered commercial director Jordan Brady’s podcast, Respect the Process.  I discovered it when he invited me to be on it, but it turns out I’m late to the party– he has a ton of subscribers and some really great guests. The podcast is now up.  Jordan’s beat is creativity and (surprise!) process in film, video and entertainment, which I’m always happy to talk about and learn more about. We covered a lot of information– about shooting video, how to get started in unscripted television, and how he once shot a spot in my garage. You can see that commercial, admire my garage and hear the podcast here or check…

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Shooting like the Pros

By Tips and Tricks, If you’re new to video, Video Marketing, Feature Film, Television, For Pros, Your Questions Answered One Comment

I am a professional videographer, and your advice to “shoot short shots” is totally misguided. Pros shoot more than they need so they can make their video perfect in the editing room. Turning the camera on and off is an amateur move.  How have you made a living in this business? –Chris F., New York Watch any film or TV show and you’ll see a series of very short shots (read why here). I argue that most people should get out of the habit of running the camera non-stop when shooting. And every so often I get a letter like this. But Chris has…

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Free Download: The Power Of Story

By Tips and Tricks, Video Marketing, Teaching and Training, For Pros 2 Comments

Have you had this experience? You grudgingly agree to watch a friend’s video. You click on the link. The first few shots are good. Cute kids. But about 10 seconds in you start to get a sinking feeling. This video isn’t about anything. It’s a bunch of shots that aren’t leading anywhere. And you’re stuck having to watch enough of it to lie to your friend about how much you loved it. You are watching a video without a story. Your friend took out a camera or phone, pointed without thinking, and shot for a while, also without thinking. The…

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Adding Information to Your Video

By Tips and Tricks, Feature Film, Television, For Pros, Your Questions Answered One Comment

What’s the best way to shoot a stunning place, like a summit with great views in all directions? I have tried slow panning for 360 degrees a couple of times, but I am not satisfied. If we pan slowly for better view, the whole 360 takes substantial time– if we pan fast…not good either. If we just record short clips 5 secs each in several directions, people might not get the idea of how stunning the place really is. What do we do? –Milosh Instead of shooting stories like most people, you shoot a genre we in the business call Nature Videography (because you’re, you know, shooting video of nature.  We…

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News: Brew Dogs, a Free Story Guide- And More!

By Video Marketing, For Pros, Press Leave a comment

The only thing worse than a blog post cobbled together out of all sorts of short things you don’t really feel like fashioning into a full blog post is a post explaining why you’ve been too busy to post lately.  So here is the second-worst blog post I will ever write.  Although, to be fair, there is a lot of free stuff in this one: 1)  Craft Beer Fans can rejoice at the return of Brew Dogs!  Season three starts Wednesday, April 1 at 10pm on the Esquire Network.  If you haven’t seen the show, it’s sort of like Top Gear for beer….

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Intent vs. Results

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

Hi Steve, Ordered your book from Amazon and devoured it in 2 days; awesome stuff. I have a question on chapter 2 re: intent. Coming from an internet marketing background I am unfortunately ingrained with ‘results’ driven approaches   (increase conversion, ROI, etc). I was wondering if I could give you some examples of intent just to clarify if I am on the right track. The video I will be shooting is in fitness. One intent I brainstormed was ‘Inspire viewers to workout’. Is that a result because viewers work out later at some point after the video is done? Ryan In its simplest form, intent helps you make…

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kodak instamatic was a toy you had to read the directions to play with.

Best Way To Learn Video: Play With Your Toys

By Tips and Tricks, If you’re new to video One Comment

When I was seven, my new Kodak camera came with a thick instruction manual.  My dad solemnly sat me down and told me how important it was to read the manual before I played with the camera.  After all, I could break something. I love my dad, but what was good advice then isn’t as good today.  The major working parts of your new smartphone, DSLR, pocket camera or editing software are microchips.  Short of running over your new toy with the car, they’re hard to break.  Instead of expensive film you’re recording data.  Store the original movie in a separate…

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Holiday Video Thoughts 2014

By Tips and Tricks, Better Home Video, Press, Your Questions Answered Leave a comment

Last Minute Holiday video thoughts: 1)  This is the time of year for me to humbly remind you that How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck makes an excellent stocking stuffer.  It’s not too late to pick up a dozen copies.  There’s an audio version too! 2)  Take a moment to read my post about The True Meaning Of Holiday Video. Or this post on 10 Great Tips on Shooting Better Holiday Video, or  this one with more tips. 3)  And finally, a repost of a Christmas video I directed a while back.  So long a while back that one of the kids in the video is…

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