Ready Steady Shoot: A Pro’s Guide to Smartphone Video
Published: Feb 10, 2015
Category: Art and Photography
The smartphone videos that I make are not quite great.
You know the culprits: our old friends shaky and speedy.
Because I would like to do better than that, I was about to ask the small person — our resident IT department — what she charges for an hour’s instruction. But then Roger Sherman produced “Ready, Steady, Shoot: A Pro’s Guide to Smartphone Video.”
I knew of Roger Sherman before I met him; he’s scored an Emmy, a Peabody and two Academy Award nominations. Having seen a few of his films, I get why he’s so highly regarded — his films are, shot for shot, just plain good. And so is his little guide. [To buy the Kindle edition from Amazon, click here.]
What Roger Sherman has done here is conduct a kindergarten class. (Don’t feel patronized — remember: everything you need to know, you learn in kindergarten.) As he says:
I’ve invented a system I call The 10 Shot Video®, short exercises you can shoot in just a few minutes. Follow my scripts, shoot in your living room and right outside your house. They’ll help you begin to see like a filmmaker. I shot those 10 Shot Videos too, they’re embedded in the book. See how I did the exercises, then shoot your own. I shot and posted many other 10 Shot Videos here on the website to show you how I handled a variety of situations and to give you ideas to make your films better. And I’ll teach you how to shoot so you don’t have to spend weeks fighting with editing programs. It’s called editing-in-the camera. Arrive home and your film is finished, ready for prime time.
Sherman’s basics read as much like guides to life as to video.
– Hold your smartphone horizontally, like your TV set. When shooting vertically you lose 2/3 of the image area. EXCEPT when shooting Instagram and Vine videos.
– Hold your smartphone with two hands to keep your shots steady
– Shoot most shots without moving the camera. Most films are made with static shots. Don’t believe me? Turn on the TV and count statics vs moves.
– Zoom. Zooming is death. You can’t hold zoomed in shots steady.
– Pan back and forth in the same shot. You’ll make viewers nauseous.
– Shoot in real time. Shorter is better. Wait for the best action.
Go out on the town, shoot, BANG, done. Really? Yes.
What about all that firepower in your hand? It’s a trap. Simple is best.
Yes, Roger Sherman can help you make a great Bar Mitzvah video. He can teach you how to make a wedding video for the ages. Immortalizing the birth of a child? Can do.
What Roger Sherman can also give you — or your kids, at least — along the way strikes me as even more important: a quick, easy victory over everything in your life that makes you think “I can’t.” You can. And you can jump-start that process with something as simple as this book.
For more tips, visit Roger Sherman’s site.