Reviewed by Karen deVries, ETMG Writer and Blogger
Bad video, even mediocre video, gets turned off. Good video is a powerful communications tool. Marketers interested in methods to make sure their video ends up on the good pile will find a wealth of information in Steve Stockman’s book, How To Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck. An award winning producer and director, Stockman marshals his film experience to help readers create video that people will want to watch.
Stockman zooms in on what he calls the language of video or the non-technical aspects of effective video communication. His book teaches the reader to think like a director in 74 succinct chapters, each of which revolves around a basic instruction.
Here’s a sample of Stockman’s short list of best practices.
1. Think in shots. Instead of running your camera non-stop, focus on something interesting.Aim the camera, shoot a few seconds, and stop. Repeat. Zooming with the camera inevitably leads to shaky video. For great close-ups, set your lens to the widest setting, walk yourself right up to your subject, and then shoot. Minor shaking is virtually invisible when zoom lenses are set on the wide end. Repeated shots exponentially improve the interesting factor of your video.
2. Know your story. A good story is not only memorable, but it also persuades and entertains. Identify the hero of your story – even if it’s a product – and follow your hero through a typical story structure. The beginning introduces the hero and the relevant situation. The middle tells what happens next or further contextualizes the situation, and the end resolves the situation and provide a takeaway for the audience.
3. Stay close to your subject, and don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes. When people are the key part of your story, focus on their faces. People communicate most, if not all, of what they are saying with their mouth and eyes.
4. Keep the brightest light behind you. Cameras adjust automatically for light which means that anything not already bright will become black. Keeping the brightest light behind you and the camera to ensure your video content shows up as you intended.
5. Keep your video short. Movie trailers average less than three minutes yet manage to tell you a lot about a film that will last a couple of hours. Aim to convey your story with this much brevity. Embrace the challenge of shortening your 10-minute sales video o 3-minutes. Editing is your friend.
While this book is written for a wide ranging audience, Stockman devotes one of his short chapters to the topic of promoting products and services. This section underscores the importance of high quality video for effective lead generation and good customer relationship management.
Stockman’s book provides a plethora of tips to do just that. It will help marketers new to video production and those looking to take their video content to the next level. As an added bonus, it’s written in a clever and entertaining style.