Video can help to promote good causes

Video web

Sally Hall discusses what type of equipment might be worth investing in to help your organisation produce online videos

19th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Scroll through your social media posts and you will see lots of videos from a range of organisations and individuals.

Video is one of the most influential ways to market products, services...and good causes. And in 2018 use of video – including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360 cameras - is set to explode.

But the actual reality for many third sector organisations is that they’re struggling to even the get best use out of a camera, let alone invest in VR.

So, as you populate that spreadsheet for your budget requests, what should you be adding in to the communications column? This is the time to explore your options – especially as you’ll be able to pick up video kit in the festive sales.

I’m frequently getting asked what equipment people should buy. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before filling out your purchase orders:

Sally Hall

Sally Hall

Do we have compelling stories to tell?

Good stories make the best content and prompt people to give, to care to take action. If you can, put those stories in front of the camera.

If you can’t, and you’re mainly making advert-type content, then you may not need to splash out on camera, tripods and all the gubbins. Software, pictures and good graphics should do.

Keep everything short and sweet. No long interviews, no jargon, no going off on tangents. Tell the story simply and quickly.

What resources do we have already?

If you’ve got a DSLR camera in the cupboard, great. Now invest some money on a course so you know how to get the best out of it.

As for editing software, most packages have some kind of movie-maker, and there are plenty of free applications out there. Don’t forget that good old PowerPoint will suffice for a number of simple animations.

Who will be making our films?

There are three schools of thought here:

1.            Allow various staff to produce content.

2.            Leave everything to the communications and marketing bods.

3.            Put money in the budget for a professional film-maker.

If your organisation issues decent smartphones then why not let staff loose with them? Smartphones are getting…well…smarter and it’s possible to record interviews, edit and upload them all from the palm of your hand. All you may need to invest in is cheap smartphone mics, which can cost as little as £16 a pop, and time to train those staff and produce guidelines for them to follow.

If you anticipate your comms team filming group chats, action or events in public places then you’re likely to need a shotgun mic and boom and two people to get the job done.

You might be reading this thinking it’s all a bit much for your organisation. In that case, use an external film-maker.

What platform will this be viewed on?

There’s a social enterprise I follow on Facebook which supports families in poverty. Volunteers point their smartphones at donations in their warehouse and talk about the families the items will be going to. The picture’s wobbly, the sound awful, but it’s short, sharp and compelling. They do most of their engagement through Facebook. It totally works.

If most of your video content is hosted on your website, or if you’re going to be using the video in presentations (ie on a bigger screen) then you might need things looking and sounding a bit sharper.

What equipment should I buy?

Camera – something simple if lots of people are going to use it. If it’s just you, go for a make you’re comfortable with, phone a specialist, list your requirements and get them to talk you through the options.

Start with the top of the range and work your way back to your budget. You need a genuine battery, charger, a bag and basic cleaning kit.

Tripod – get one with a fluid head for smooth shots and make sure it’s sturdy too (we live in Scotland!).

Lens – I was advised to get an 18-135mm lens which means you can do close ups but also cover reasonable distance. 

Finally, earmark a project – something small and achievable which can fall slightly below your usual high standards. Film it, play with it, mess it up, fix it, but above all learn from it so your next project’s a belter.

We are living in the visual age. It only takes time and practice to see clearly what you need to do to keep up with it.

Sally Hall runs There’s Yer Dinner Creative Media