Review of Video 101 – Tips for visual storytelling – e-book by Lisa Lubin

by Heather Cowper on January 29, 2012

Lisa Lubin is a travel blogger and videographer at LLWorldTour and an award-winning television producer and video consultant who has put all her experience into an e-book called Video 101 – Tips and tricks for awesome visual storytelling. Before I get on to my review of the e-book, I asked Lisa to give us her top tips on story-telling through video;

Lisa Lubin Video 101 e-book

Tips on Video story-telling from Lisa Lubin

When people start talking about video, they often get caught up in all the technical hoopla of gadgetry. I often hear, ‘what camera do you use? What’s the frame rate? How many megabytes?

And yes, while there are many important things to learn about your gear and how to use it, folks tend to lose sight of the most important thing – the story.

What story are you telling? What is the point? What is the focus of your video?

In other words, you can produce an extremely compelling piece on a flip cam and create a confusing mess on a $5000 DSLR.  If you don’t have a focus for the story you are telling, your camera can’t save you. So, when deciding to create a video, think about these points for good visual storytelling:

  • Get human.   We connect with people, not things.  We can relate on an emotional level.
  • Get specific.  Your story should not just be “Barcelona.” You can do that, but it’s too broad. Tell us one interesting thing: The Foods of Barcelona. Or even better, profile one amazing chef/restaurant. We can get to know Barcelona through him.
  • You are not the story.   Unless you are doing an introduction video all about yourself, let’s hear from other people and get to know them through their own words.
  • Video is…visual! Tell the story through compelling and strong images and sound

Review of Video 101 – Tips for visual storytelling – by Lisa Lubin

Lisa Lubin Video 101 e-book


The e-book gives an excellent overview of how to create a video or film that tells the story that you want to present to your viewers. The focus is on the story-telling and the book does not cover equipment or photographic technicalities in any detail, nor does it  tell you how to market your finished video. This book will be useful to beginner or intermediate video makers who want to make their videos as professional and compelling as possible. In my opinion the e-book provides good value at $15.

What the book covers

1. The Story

In this section Lisa covers how to use your video to tell a story that will engage your audience. At the start you need to work out what to focus on to bring out your message, perhaps finding a human angle that will bring the story to life and make it more real for the viewer. If necessary you may need to do some forward planning to set up interviews or shoot the elements that will tell your story.

2. The Shoot

In this section Lisa covers how you might film an interview, considering things like positioning of the camera and your subject, the lighting and sound. She gives tips on the kinds of questions you might ask to get the best result in an interview and other types of shots you’ll need to create a video that tells your story and is visually satisfying. You’ll also need to consider how to get the best audio quality as this can make or break your finished video. In this section there’s a useful check list that you can use to remind you of all these points during the shoot.

3. Writing

This is a really useful section when you want to take your videos to the next level by writing a voice-over that will complement what the video is showing visually. You need to keep your tone conversational and consider how you can combine the interview shots with narration for variety in the completed video.

4. Editing

In this section Lisa covers different editing software that you might use to create your final video and the different steps in the editing process. She covers different kinds of editing techniques such as using transitions between shots and pacing the action with the right length of shots.  Again there’s an editing tips sheet that covers all the points in bullet format to use when you’re editing.

5. Additional bonus content

There is a final section on the 10 commandments of visual story telling, taken from Wayne Freedman of KGO-TV which reinforces and expands on the points made in the earlier sections of the e-book. There’s also a useful glossary of all the professional film-making terms that are used in the e-book when discussing technical aspects of video-making.

Who this book is good for

Video 101 – Tips and tricks for awesome visual storytelling gives an excellent grounding in the fundamentals of film-making from someone who has bags of experience in this area. I’d say that it is good for beginners who already have a camera and a basic understanding of how to use it, as well as intermediate level video makers who want some tips on how make their videos more professional and engaging. The e-book takes a classic, film-school approach that could be applied to many different types of film and video making, not just travel videos. The focus is on the story-telling aspect of film-making rather than more technical aspects of filming and photography.

What the book doesn’t cover

The e-book does assume  that you’ve already got some equipment and a camera and a basic understanding of how to use it, and it does not cover camera options or the technicalities of photography.  If you are  complete novice, you may need to get guidance elsewhere on what to buy and where to start before moving on to this e-book. As the e-book takes a general approach to film-making it doesn’t discuss things that might be specific to travel bloggers who want to make travel videos, such as different styles of travel videos. It also stops at the final edited video and doesn’t cover what you might do with your video afterwards in order to market or promote your business or blog.

My recommendation

The e-book costs $15 which I think is a reasonable price for 40 pages of well written and solid information on film-making and story-telling techniques that will help you to take your videos to a more professional level. The e-book will give an excellent grounding for beginners and intermediate video makers to improve the quality of their videos and I think the 1 page  tip sheets on the shoot and editing are especially useful in giving practical help. If you want to produce videos that engage your audience and tell a compelling story then you will find this book very useful.

Buy Video 101 – Tips for Visual storytelling by Lisa Lubin here

The links included in this article are affiliate links and if you choose to buy through them I will receive a commission that will help support this blog.

Where you can contact Lisa Lubin

Lisa’s Travel Blog LLWorld Tour
Lisa’s Professional website LLMedia
Lisa Lubin on Twitter @LLWorldTour
LLWorldTour on Youtube
LL World Tour Facebook Page

More articles on making great travel videos

Tips for making great travel videos – Podcast interview with Cailin O’Neil
How to start making videos from Vimeo Video School
How to optimise your Youtube Channel and videos

This article is originally published at My Blogging Journey. You’ll also find lots of great travel stories, videos and podcasts at our travel blog at Heather on her travels

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