The new Shut Up and Shoot Freelance Video Guide, forwarded to us by our friends at Focal Press, is a straightforward, densely packed compendium of wisdom on video production, including chapters tailored to marketing and promo videos, music videos, live events, B2B material, and more. This is to a large degree a beginner's guide — seasoned pros working in film and television won't need a lot of this information, will have the benefit of personal experience of much of it, and will be able to intuit the rest. But any camera-for-hire trying to make the most of their early career in the production trenches should get something out of it.

One thing I like about the book is that it's not just the work of its credited author, Anthony Artis, an adjunct professor at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. Artis offers tips on the basics like lighting, storyboarding, conducting interviews, and shooting live events, as well as business topics like budgeting, setting rates, and working with clients and other collaborators. But he brings in friends and acquaintances to comment on specifics, so tips on microphones and meters are provided by a freelance audio producer for The New York Times. A three-page piece on calculating the number of lights that can be plugged into an old house being used as a location is contributed by a working DP. And so on. As a result, the book presents an engaging mix of practical and aesthetic tips for making the most of small crews and smaller budgets, from planning and executing the shoot to taking it through post-production.

It's hard not to get taken in and amped up by the book's relentlessly can-do spirit, even though a lot of the advice is really basic. You gotta think, in this day and age, that a shooter who needs to be told to keep a back-up of all footage isn't the kind of shooter who reads many books on production and post. Serious-artist types aren't going to react well to a book that features a whole chapter on wedding videography. Experienced shooters won't need this kind of detail on the ABCs of camera placement and interview techniques. But still, here's a book brimming with practical advice, not just for beginners but for anyone who finds themselves suddenly having to expand their skill set in order to make a living in the world of video production.

By Anthony Q. Artis | Focal Press | $34.95