How can you create your own video content and communicate with your members?
10 May 2018
Posted by: Katie Spackman
Let's start with a simple fact - demand for video is growing at a rapid, increasing pace, statistics showing that it currently accounts for 74% of all online traffic and it’s expected to surpass 80% by 2019. As a form of communication it affords you the opportunity to engage people and deliver information in a clear visual, informative and even entertaining way, but how can you go about taking advantage of it for your Association?
Think how you might use different types of video content effectively:
- member video testimonials at events
- promoting your Associations benefits
- creating internal updates for members
- short clips to push out and engage via social media
- CPD training
- and the list goes on and on…..
You probably already have a marketing strategy, but have you considered a video strategy as part of that? Have you, or are you using a professional video production company? Are you producing videos yourself or a combination of both? If you opt to work in partnership with a professional video production company they should sit down with you to create a video strategy, even if you are only planning on producing a single film, so if they’re not - find a better one!
However, for the sake of this article we are looking at the option of producing video content in-house, an option that is becoming increasingly cost effective as technology has advanced to make this a reality. To produce regular, ongoing content should be a realistic goal and will reap dividends in terms of member engagement and retention. A word of caution, don't expect to be able to produce broadcast quality films, certainly not on day one! But with experience and training to give you the basics you can expect to achieve a level of quality that will support your Association and its brand values.
Here are seven useful tips to get you started:
1 Camera Equipment
Do you already have a smart phone, tablet/iPad, digital SLR camera or camcorder? If so you may already have a good enough video camera to get started. There is a great deal of difference between a tablet/iPad and a digital SLR (DSLR) camera, so this does really depend on the types of films you want to make, but there is no doubt picking up a phone or tablet and filming is quick simple and instantaneous. The results can vary wildly so if you are using a mobile device hold it on it’s side rather than portrait. If you are using a DSLR the shots you can get can look fantastic and very filmic, but it can also be difficult to focus. Whatever camera you have we would recommend getting some tripod or holder to keep it steady, this will also allow you to keep camera movements smooth and achieve professional looking shots.
If you’re not sure what device to get I would recommend a DSLR camera.
Next, and this may seem obvious, but you should consider the location where you are going to be filming. It is very important to consider two things, the look you want to achieve as the background of your video and also any potential noise interruption. Within your Association workplace, have you a quiet room you can use or will it be a shared area, inside or outside? Be sure to book out the space and give yourself plenty of time to set it up how you want it and not to be rushed by people waiting outside the door waiting to get in before you have finished. Is it an attractive background for filming? You don't want a distracting poster on the wall behind you, an overflowing dustbin or someone else’s handbag in the shot! Look carefully at what the light is like in the space you are using? Obviously filming inside is the safer option, as you can have greater control over the variables, it's not so easy to turn on a light, stop noisy traffic or to redirect aircraft!
It is also important to think about the time of the day you choose, as it is best not to choose a busy time when there is going to be more external noise with people coming in and out? Make sure you can unplug phones, mute PCs and that if you are filming on your phone that you have put your phone into flight mode to prevent incoming messages or calls so that you won't be interrupted half way through a perfect performance in front of the camera?
Buying a simple small LED light to film interviews, even if you are doing this on a phone or tablet, is a worthwhile investment, however there are also lots of ways to be able to light without lights. Where possible use daylight as your main source and always position someone facing the window so that the light spills onto them and you have your back to the window. If possible invest in a reflector, such as the ones made by Lastolite. You can use these to bounce the light onto someone’s face, rather than having harsh shadows. Try to keep out of direct sunlight, it’s too harsh and difficult to keep people from either squinting or having shadows across them.
Beware, mobile flash can frequently make your subject appear to have yellow skin, red eyes and a dark background etc. This is because most mobiles have LED’s that are too bright and easily skew the colour temperature.
Sound is an area of filmmaking that is most often neglected and as a result the films seem poor quality or amateurish. You can buy a simple lapel mic that plugs into your device, even if that is a mobile phone and it will improve the audio dramatically.
If you’re filming at an event and there is lots of background noise, make sure you position anyone being interviewed with the event going on behind them. Otherwise if you see someone who appears to be in a quiet place, but with lots of background noise it will distract the viewer. Whilst background noise with visuals to match help the viewer to understand why there is so much background noise. That said you still want a microphone so that people can hear clearly what is being said.
In most mobile devices, you have a Voice Memo app, which means that you have the option of recording the audio separately before or after filming. You can then lay that audio track beneath your footage during the edit process. (This is also a feature of most editing app’s!)
If you are interviewing someone and your questions are going to be cut out in the edit you want the interviewee to be positioned on the right or left had side of the frame, filling one third of it. The remaining two thirds should be empty and they should look into this space. This is the two thirds rule and should apply to all interviews (note if you are presenting or talking to camera then the subject should be more central). The interviewee should look just to the side of the camera, which is where the interviewer should stand to ask the questions. Just make sure you stand the correct side of camera so that they are looking into the space!
The camera, the interviewer and the interviewee should always be positioned at the same height, which tends to work best if you have the camera on a tripod and the subject and interviewee sat down. Just remembering these two simple rules on framing will make your interview set ups professional.
6 Interview Tips
If you are planning to create video testimonials, perhaps with some of your members, try and set up the interview in advance, rather than keep interviewee waiting around. People often get a little nervous about being on camera so it is always a good idea to get chatting to the interviewee whilst they are waiting or to introduce them to everyone to put them at ease as much as possible.
Make sure you ask open questions so that they give you full answers. Ask them to describe things, use how, why and what and encourage them to talk openly. You will probably want to remove your questions in the edit, so ask them to include your question in the answer.
Finally make sure you keep eye contact with your interviewee and listen carefully to what they say (even if you’re desperately trying to remember your next question!). Also make sure you don’t make any sound such as they are speaking, even if you would normally engage and agree with them, just nod vigorously, otherwise you’ll end up having to try and edit yourself out.
Well this should be an article on it’s own. So, I’ll try and answer what software should you use? The free software of iMovie or Windows Movie Maker will get you started, but they are very limited. If you are working on an Apple machine then Final Cut Pro X can be bought outright for around £300, whilst Premiere Elements works on both Mac and PC and is around £80. If your Association happens to use Illustrator of Photoshop and have an Adobe Creative Cloud License you will have access to Premiere Pro, which is an amazing piece of software, but you are then tied into a monthly license.
Editing is really where films are made, so it’s worth spending time and getting training in how to use the software to the best of its ability. There are lots of video tutorials out there too, once you’ve got started.
So, to conclude, if your Association isn’t already using video it should. If you are, are you doing it as well as you can? Perhaps it’s worth employing an apprentice, someone young out of school or university who can become your digital specialist?
Charlie Gauvain, Managing Director EYE Film
Charlie has over 20 years’ experience in producing film, television and videos, including over 100 hours of TV. He is a regular speaker at conferences and runs video training courses for businesses and associations, schools and charities. Eye Film is currently involved in delivering video production and training to organisations in the UK, Europe and Asia.