Having spent most of my professional life in the fields of cinematography and videography, I’ve long wanted to write a short book to share some of the most valuable things I’ve learned through both training and the crucible of experience. By ‘long’ I mean I’ve been thinking about this for decades.
Toward that end I started the Video Whisperer Blog on WordPress several years ago posting an occasional article on subjects that I felt were important to pass on.
Thanks to the following that developed there on the blog and thanks to the fantastic response to a couple of video camera reviews I did (which lead more people to the blog and further lead to a lot of interaction with subscribers both on the blog and on my YouTube channel) I finally decided it was time to write that book, given that there seemed to be genuine interest in what I had to say.
I wrote half of the book at an airport and the rest over the next few weeks at home whenever I had a chance. Oddly enough, the longest part was accumulating the photographs and illustrations during which same period my wife and a friend helped with the editing. Thankfully they left my ‘run ‘n gun’ English alone and mainly made sure my punctuation and spelling were ok along with catching a few other errors I had missed in my enthusiasm for dashing it all off as a perfect first draft.
Run ‘n Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide was published on 4 January 2015.
Run ‘n Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide
If you are a lone shooter or just a couple of people making up a video company, between you and me you are a ‘run and gunner’. I’m not sure if that moniker will catch on, but it’s an apt description of any professional video production undertaken by a lone shooter or small crew.
A medium to large production company will show up to a venue much like any S.W.A.T. does–as you’ve seen in any number of police dramas. You and I however arrive to that same venue with a 6 shooter on our hips and have to accomplish the same task–and usually in less time. That stands to reason because there’s no vast chain of command, no truckloads of equipment to unload, set up, break down and reload, no large crew to feed, and few if any round-table discussions, meetings or negotiations. And no internal politics.
On the downside, the whole shebang rests firmly on your own shoulders along with full responsibility for it. Worse, the client will want the video to be as good as the one produced by the ‘SWAT team’. Well guess what? You can do it and that’s what this book is about.
As in any field, there are core principles which, when applied, give predictable professional results.
There are good car mechanics and bad ones.
There are good videographers and bad ones.
The difference is an understanding and skillful application of the basics. With that, experience gradually breeds confidence and judgment.
Run ‘n Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide gives you the fundamental basics in a simple and easy-to-understand way that is instantly applicable. That is not to say it is not a vast technical and artistic subject that couldn’t as easily be explained in a book ten times its size. But it is to say that this is the distillation of what is important and what all the rest is based upon.
The book doesn’t pretend that you can compete with the ‘cinematic’ look produced by larger crews and the array of equipment they have at hand.
But it doesn’t say that you can’t either.
The dirty little secret is that there are far more important things to videography and cinematography–or the ‘cinematic look’ for that matter–than specialized equipment and techniques. Too often these fancy cinematic productions are poorly done or done for the wrong reasons.
This book will help you get your priorities straight and set you on a positive path toward the ability to produce professional results with a fraction of the crew, equipment, overhead and time. But that’s all it can do–set you on a positive path.
It’s not to say that there is no hard work involved and it’s not to say you won’t make mistakes. I still do. But it is to say that if you understand and apply these fundamentals, you will arrive much sooner to the place you want to be.
What other readers have to say about Run ‘n Gun Videography
(from unsolicited reviews posted on Amazon)
I’ve just finished reading Joe’s book and I have to say I found it very enjoyable and easy to read. He points out a number of things that I found very useful, the single main point which he makes (and I will not describe here) was more than worth the cost of the book alone. Definitely buy this book if you are interested in becoming a better videographer.
A no-nonsense book stuffed full of very good advice and tips. Joe Caneen really knows his trade and gets straight to the point with his writing. I wish I’d read this book years ago instead of learning the hard way by making lots of mistakes!
…Good quality cameras are readily available now on nearly every budget level. But if you want to get beyond “point it that way and hit the red button” skill level, you need advice and insight. And The Video Whisperer is the best I’ve found. In part, I freely admit, because I just like him. His personality and easy communication style are very relaxing and familiar. And I find that with that relaxed feeling, my mind is much more receptive to the information being given.
I make videos on YouTube – mostly about the shooting sports and guns in general, so I was not only not offended by the many gun references, I enjoy them. If you are of a different opinion on that topic, don’t fret – the book really is about cameras and how to use them. The analogies are just too easy, and I think quite entertaining. I mention that I make videos because my point is that I fumble at it, and I struggle with it. The improvements I have made have come largely from the inspiration and information from The Video Whisperer – whom I discovered accidentally by watching his review of a Sony camera (that I ultimately purchased and use). The quality of his work in that review left my jaw on the table, and I’ve been hooked since.
If you have a passion, just an interest, or simply a need to learn more and improve your skills with video cameras, I can’t recommend this book enough. What I think you will receive from it above all is INSPIRATION!
Absolutely worth every penny. The book has general “life philosophy/wisdom” as well as videography/cinematography/photography (concepts) sections, and specific detailed technical chapters, too. The main advantage of reading a book like this is that it comes from the pen of an authentic/original source, a professional videographer who has been earning his family’s bread for decades on videography. On a couple of videography forums I found a number of excellent comments, but I wanted a book that you can read from page one to the end covering practically every aspects of videography.
I am one of those people who watched the Sony NX30 camera reviews on YouTube a while ago looking for a new camera.
The first thing I noticed when watching the video was that Joe seems very sincere and it was obvious that he has years of experience in the video and film industry. I am just starting up my video production company and it was very assuring to hear that you don’t need to have a really expensive camera to be professional. Although I did spend £4k on a second-hand one which I wanted….
I visit thevideowhisperer YouTube channel from time to time and this is how I learned that Joe has now written a book on the subject of videography.
I just bought this today and finished it tonight. It’s a good honest book that really strips down the whole professional videography subject into core chapters. Its filled with really good advice that you can tell was earned in the field.
As I don’t have any professional paid experience yet, I was looking for this kind of book. Anything that can help me produce better quality videos for my future clients and possibly help to prevent me making silly mistakes is worth the asking price of this book.
As someone who is about to leave an engineering career to do what I always wanted to do, its good to find that extra little inspiration from a real professional in the game.
Buy the Book $9.99/£6.52
click cover to order (takes you to Amazon)