How to: Create and edit a school video on your smartphone

Creating videos for your school marketing does not need to be complicated or expensive. No need to hire Spielberg or rent out a £100,000 camera to capture your #SchoolStories.

Instead, make use of the tools that are readily available - you likely have a decent camera and full editing suite sitting in your pocket or handbag right now.

Being mobile

A large part of what we deliver to schools is this idea of capturing #SchoolStories as they happen. How? By using mobile devices (i.e. smart phones and tablets).

It gives the user the easiest method of recording a quick video - or montage of pictures, or audio bite or whatever it may be - without having to lug around additional equipment. It allows for spontaneity and mobility. 

Recording a video

Every modern smart phone will have a native camera app that allows for video recording. There are, of course, hundreds of other apps that can be downloaded / purchased, but try using the native one first to get a feel for it.

The goal to begin with is to understand basic principles of good film making:

  • Lighting - knowing what is good and bad lighting can have a huge impact. Try to shoot your video in brightly lit areas. This will help avoid unnecessary shadows and grainy areas in your video. On the flip side, you should be careful not to point the camera directly at bright light sources, as it will cause overexposed footage and lens flaring.

  • Keep it steady - if you don’t want your video footage to come out distorted or blurred, try to keep your phone steady while recording. Use both hands to hold your smartphone as close as possible to your body as you record the video. Alternatively, invest in additional gear such as stabilisers and tripods.

  • Audio - a good video with poor audio quality is not good (unless you plan to add an overlaying track during editing). To help mitigate poor audio be mindful of background noise and wind conditions (if outside). 

  • Stay close to the subject - staying physically closer to your subject ensures better image quality, less digital noise and better focus in your videos.

  • Shoot horizontally - do not shoot vertical video! A common mistake when recording video on smart phones is the phone vertically (up and down rather than sideways). Hold your phone horizontally so that videos played back on other screens will look fine.

Editing a video

Now you have shot something, you can make use of a plethora of mobile apps to edit it.

The sun shines on the Class of 2016 as they celebrate their last official day of school! #goodluckgirls #wewillmissyou

A post shared by North London Collegiate School (@nlcs1850) on

There are a lot to pick from so here are 4 top apps:

  • iMovie (iOS) - this is the gold standard, go-to video app for Apple users. It is a versatile and powerful application (plus it comes in a desktop version for added options). Add visual effects, on-screen text, and include music.
  • Splice (iOS) - this editor (owned by GoPro) offers separate tracks for video and audio to help create more complex videos. Add on-screen text, voice narration, and animations.
  • Magisto (iOS / Android) - uses artificial intelligence to automatically create an edited video for you. It also adds visual themes and music.
  • Adobe Premiere Clip (iOS / Android) - allows you to create simple social media-bound movies. Requires Adobe ID to be used, but links nicely to other Adobe products.

There is no one guide for these - everything will require a little practice and patience at first. Alternatively, try asking pupils to have a go at editing your video (and be amazed at how quickly they pick it up!)

Video options

Feeling a little more brave? How about trying a few different video styles to add spice to the content you are creating? Here are a few of our favourite:

  • Slow motion - record in slow motion! Great for capturing beauty that is hard to spot with the naked eye.
  • Time lapse - the opposite of slow motion, play videos at a much faster rate. Perfect for capturing the turning of time - perhaps the sun's path across the sky or a full day at school in a few minutes. Give it a go.
  • Hyper lapse - similar to time lapse with the exception of allowing the camera itself to move (time lapse the camera is generally static; hyper lapse the camera moves).
  • Boomerang - takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward. Great fun.

Sharing your video

We often get asked about the implications of low-quality video content - so, knowing the right place to share your video is important as part of your marketing.

In general, if the video has been shot on a smart phone the quality is unlikely to be spectacular. But this does not mean it should not be shared!

The point is, your school community (i.e. your parents, teachers, prospectives and pupils) will be invested in this content because it is part of your school culture. Share these #SchoolStories on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We promise the content itself will outweigh concerns over video quality.

For the more "professional" standard videos, use channels like YouTube or Vimeo. You can then share these clips as URL's on Twitter and Facebook. 👍


We hope you have enjoyed this quick guide to recording, editing and sharing your #SchoolStories in video format. We'd love to hear about what you think about this topic - please comment below. 

    The evolution of the iPhone

    Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.
    — Steve Jobs

    Today we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone - a symbol of the modern world and a landmark piece of technology.

    Let's be fair - smart phones and tablets have become standard household objects for many of us; as common as refrigerators or washing machines. In the UK, it is estimated that at least 65% of the nation own a smart phone. The smart phone has also replaced laptops as the number one device for accessing the internet. 

    The first generation iPhone might not seem much by today's standards but it really was the first phone of its kind. On January 9th 2007, Jobs took stage as he announced Apple's newest product. He said: 

    Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone. 
    Today, today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, and here it is.

    Later that year (June 29th to be exact) iPhone was released to the US market. It took 74 days to hit the first million units shipped mark. 

    Fast forward 10 years and over a billion iPhone units (across all generations) have been sold to a global market.

    What's changed over the past 10 years?

    Schools have seen a great change over the last decade. How we learn, communicate, and collaborate has shifted online.

    Here's just a few adoptions schools have made in their marketing since 2007:

    • SMS alerts
    • Prospectus apps
    • Mobile sites
    • Responsive websites
    • iCal calendar syncing
    • School apps / parent apps
    • Social media
    • Augmented reality prospectuses

    What next?

    We're constantly analysing consumer behaviour to understand how people are shifting their attention and technology usage.

    Where do we believe the growth over the next 10 years will lie for #SchoolsMarketing?

    • Mobile
    • Virtual Reality
    • Augmented Reality
    • Voice-activated Devices
    • 360 Video
    • Smart Appliances (Fridges, Washing Machines)
    • Smart Cars
    • Big Data
    • Personalisation

    Innovation is inevitable, and those that can see and adapt to change will be the ones that succeed.

    What does it mean for schools?

    The evolution of the iPhone - while not always regarded as the most innovative year-on-year - has undoubtedly changed how people of modern world interacts with each other.

    For schools, it means that your information / online presence is just a few swipes & taps away! Marketing is no longer all about paying money to be seen - it is about offering value and service to your community.

    This can largely be done via mobile technology, social media and apps! 

    What changes have had the biggest impact on your school over the past 10 years?

    We'd love to hear your views on this article - please comment below.

    The #FutureSchool: Evolution or Transformation?

    For hundreds of years pedagogy has formed the core to teaching and learning. 

    Learning outcomes and academic results have become the focus for educators and the community around them - a narrow view that is having less and less to do with today's modern needs in education. While striving for educational greatness is not necessarily a bad thing, the single-mindedness desire to top league tables and churn out the best grades is failing our children. Schools need to be adaptable to new styles of education, otherwise the only losers will be those who are receiving an education.

    Schools tend to focus on buying technology, without considering the human impact.

    Schools talk a lot about ‘educating the whole child’, and ‘giving them opportunities beyond the curriculum’ to thrive in what they are good at - but are we missing the point? 

    The Reality

    Teaching practise has had to evolve to the changing world around us. However we, as people, have not evolved at the same rate. Sorry humanity but humans are lazy by design. We typically look for the easiest path, so long as the result is acceptable. Technology has played a significant part in making knowledge far more accessible - and when used correctly it has helped make learning a more immersive, engaging and fun undertaking. But these are the exceptions!


    Because schools tend to focus on buying technology, without considering the human impact. It's easy to see why - tech is more often than not wrapped up with simple labels and the promise of being the answer to everything:

    • Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
    • Parent Portals
    • Management Information System (MIS)
    • Learning Management System (LMS)
    • ...and so on!

    All of these have one thing in common - they invariably fail after the point of implementation. This is because users (real people) have not been considered enough, nor trained to unleash the full potential of these innovations. 

    Schools are left with these technology silos - slowly becoming digital graveyards to old ideas.

    Users are often only defined as the end-user (at the point of consumption) but we must consider this both in terms of management (someone needs to manage the data / content going in), and also in terms of the consumer (accessing this data / content in their personalised way).

    So schools are left with these technology silos - slowly becoming digital graveyards to old ideas. The entire platform is doomed to fail the very moment a user gives up using it for the intention it was originally brought in for.

    Data, then, becomes inconsistent and untrustworthy. Likewise, the point where users access this information becomes confusing, duplicated across multiple systems and completely lacking in data integrity. The true foundations to a sustainable and scaleable technological infrastructure need to be revisited and challenged

    Perfect Harmony

    For this to work, a #FutureSchool needs to bring into perfect harmony:

    • technology
    • big data / content
    • the environment
    • human behaviour

    When technology is integrated correctly into our lives it is invisible. It has been weaved seamlessly in to the fabric of the environment and our day-to-day living. It is easy to use and easy to manage (this part is often forgotten). Most importantly, we must start to put people at the front of all our IT decisions. We need to understand the innate behaviours that people have for using technology - and what they wish to consume. Only then can schools deliver amazing, fantastic, super user experiences.

    If we are to educate our children for a #FutureWorld, then the #FutureSchool needs to correlate to this.

    This requires immediate transformation within schools. We are probably at the only time in history that our children know more about the real world around us than the teachers. This is certainly true when it comes to technology and social media.

    Schools and teachers seek the easy path and bury their heads (human nature again). But we must invest in more staff training. We must spread this knowledge to parents (organising parent training events) to better help and support them. It is pointless to say that this huge change is coming - the change has happened! If we wish to support the next generation of students this educator / parent knowledge needs to be in place - now.

    #Disruptive Thinking

    If we are to educate our children for a #FutureWorld, then the #FutureSchool needs to correlate to this - and not just be an attempt to introduce technology into a classroom and hope that it is enough.

    We all need to challenge the way we look at things if we are to truly impact the future of education.

    Put the ‘human first’. Ignore this basic principle - and it will all fall down like a house of cards.

    Simon Noakes (Founder & CEO)
    and father to four children aged 5 - 13 years!


    2017 Social/Digital Predictions (Part 2 - School-Specific Predictions)

    Following on from last week's industry-specific predictions, we take a look at 6 predictions for schools in 2017.

    So, let's get started...

    [1] VR

    2017 is a big year for virtual reality (VR). We've already had exciting hardware releases with Playstation VR and Samsung Gear.

    Facebook is betting big on VR, with Zuckerberg believing VR will be the future of the platform.

    Schools are going to play a big part with VR too - in both education and marketing.

    Children in schools are going to grow up and enter a world that has heavily adopted VR - just as computers were. Google are already pledging to bring VR to 1 million pupils in the UK.

    We'll start to see more schools using VR inside classrooms. We'll also see schools offering VR tours of the school, and to watch concerts, sports fixtures etc.

    There's no more immersive way of a experiencing a school, without physically visiting it, than through VR.

    [2] 360 Tours

    This is the year of 360. More schools will be recording 360 videos, and offering 360 tours of the school. 

    We've already set up 360 tours within Google Street View - and this has seen huge success. 

    This works with VR too. Prospects can put on a VR headset and have a tour of your school. An exciting opportunity for any school - particularly for international schools, where families cannot physically visit the school first.

    These can be built directly into Google, and Google Maps. Notice when you search for 'Eagle House School' on Google, it shows a 'See Inside' option.

    [3] Live Streaming

    Schools are going to do a lot more live streaming compared to 2016. Many have already experimented with Periscope (Twitter) and Facebook Live, and found successful engagement with parents.

    We talked about this back in 2015 - and it’s worth taking a look at how we saw schools using streaming services.

    We are going to see more schools offering tours of schools through live streaming.

    Schools will either offer open-group style tours - open to anybody (or select people) at a specific time. Or one-to-one personal tours.

    We'll start to see more social media posts like this:

    "Our next LIVE Open Morning will be at 11am on Tuesday 7th February. We'll be going live on Facebook and Twitter - sign up now to receive a notification!"

    Here's a quick guide to getting started with Periscope - and some tips for Facebook Live.

    [4] Head Vlogs (#NotBlogs)

    A few years ago, the question was: ‘Should my Head be blogging?’ Today, the question is around vlogging.

    As we see vlogs becoming the new TV shows, schools are looking to their Heads for vlogging material.

    Now, we don't expect heads to go into full ‘vlog mode’, capturing and editing every part of their day. However, we expect some to turn their weekly newsletter, or blog post into video format.

    You’ve got to play to your strengths. Some people are great in front of a camera, some are better face-to-face, and others through writing.

    If your head is excellent in front of a camera, it may be worth exploring video content / vlogging.

    Or maybe a student vlog… ;-) 

     The British School in The Netherlands have a  vlog playlist  for their CEO/Principal,  @Kieran_Earley

    The British School in The Netherlands have a vlog playlist for their CEO/Principal, @Kieran_Earley

    [5] Progressive Web Apps

    Native apps have been difficult for schools to manage, and costly to build, run, and support.

    We’re expecting more schools to go down the web app route - particularly ‘Progressive Web Apps’ (PWAs). These are:

    • Reliable
    • Fast
    • Engaging

    Google has publicly evangelised PWAs, as they combine the best of web and mobile apps. Think of it as a website built with web technologies, but feels and acts like a mobile app.

    A school’s main website is for prospects - anybody that doesn’t know about the school can get an immersive understanding of the school.

    This leaves parents being communicated to in a different way. A parent app breaks down the friction-to-use barrier. Instead of finding the app in the app store, downloading it, installing it, opening it - a PWA is instantly available to use, eliminating unnecessary stages.

    [6] Even Harder to Stand-Out

    Competition around the world is heating up for schools - and the challenge to stand-out is becoming much harder.

    Schools believe they are different, and they are. But many schools find it hard to articulate why they’re unique in a way that resonates with prospective families.

    We expect more schools to place an emphasis on their creative advertising - through their website, online ads (Google, Facebook etc.) and offline advertising.

    We're finding more and more so that the creative is the variable to a successful marketing campaign for a school.

    A campaign with great creative leads to:

    • A deeper emotional connection with a school
    • A better understanding of a school
    • More visits to the website
    • More people talking about the school
    • More enquiries

    There are many benefits to a campaign - with the emphasis placed on your school's particular goals. Is it to increase numbers? Change perception? Become more well-known?

    Take a look at some of our latest creative campaigns.

    And do let us know if you'd like to find out more.

    What do you think? Are you seeing these trends? What do you think schools should be aware of in 2017? 

    Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

    Oh yes, and don't forget to subscribe to #SchoolBytes for more weekly school marketing articles! 

    2017 Social/Digital Predictions (Part 1 - Industry Predictions)

    If you're reading this, you made it through 2016. Congratulations.

    Welcome to our inaugural social and digital predictions. In this first part, we'll look at trends we're witnessing within the tech/social industry. In the next part, we'll look at school-specific predictions.

    Firstly, let's revisit 2016... Gulp.

    Our 2016 predictions - how did we do?

    1. More Twitter characters [CORRECT]
    2. Moving further away from television [CORRECT]
    3. Periscope inside Twitter, and the real launch of live streaming [CORRECT]
    4. 360° videos and 360°live streaming [CORRECT]
    5. One-click purchasing on social media [INCORRECT]
    6. Snapchat to be sold [INCORRECT]
    7. Battle for news [CORRECT]
    8. Vertical video [CORRECT]
    9. Messaging apps = The new OS [CORRECT]

    To read more about last year's predictions, and an analysis of each, take a look at our recap of 2016.

    What does 2017 have in store for us?

    [1] (More) Live Streaming

    We called it last year, and it’s becoming clearer that live video on social platforms is the trend for 2017. We’ll start to see live-streaming move way beyond just early-adopters and into the hands of the mainstream users.

    How many Facebook ads have you ever seen on TV, billboards, etc.? None, unless you remember the awkward TV advert back in 2012, when Facebook said ‘Chairs are like Facebook’. Yes, that really happened.

    Yet, we’re constantly seeing the new Facebook Live adverts. Why? Well, Facebook know how important it is to win the live-streaming battle.

    [2] Chatbots

    The question 6 years ago was ‘should we have an app?’, but fast-forward to 2016 and the questions currently are around chatbots.

    What are chatbots?

    A chatbot is a program that is designed to simulate conversation with humans, using artificial intelligence.

    Chatbots are being built into current messaging products (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.).

    When we look at the state of social, it’s clear that the dominating platforms are messaging apps. In 2015, the number of active users surpassed that of social networks.

    • WhatsApp rapidly became the biggest messaging app, with more than a billion users
    • Messenger (FB) also reached the 1 billion user mark in 2016

    Chinese social media giant, Tencent, enables 600 million people each month to book taxis, check in for flights, play games, buy cinema tickets, manage banking, reserve doctors' appointments, donate to charity and video-conference all without leaving the app - according to Wired.

    We've gone from wanting a website, to an app, to chatbots.

    Marketing / Admissions

    ‘What are the school fees?’
    ‘How can I get a scholarship?’
    ‘When are the next open days?’

    These are questions people have when they visit your website. To get the answer, people navigate the site structure to find the content. Eventually, people can open your school’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger, and ask it questions.


    Chatbots are going to be used more in education to help teach people.

    Duolingo have launched their own chatbots to help people learn a new language. Talk to 'Chef Roberto’ - a legendary pizza maker. 

    IBM’s Watson is being used to power a Teaching Assistant bot

    Maybe the future teacher’s aren’t robots, but chatbots? 


    [3] A Video First World

    We're in a video-first marketing era. In 2017, video content is the #1 focus for many marketers. Whether it be on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, video is playing a big part in reaching new audiences, and engaging with current fans.

    Fifty-five percent of the world’s mobile traffic is now video.

    Traditional video formats will be abolished, as we know it. We used to create content purely for horizontal viewing - but we no longer consume content in a singular way.

    How are we consuming video?

    The most popular ways of consuming content are through the following devices:

    • TV
    • Mobile
    • Tablets
    • Desktop
    • Virtual Reality 

    Which allows us to view content in a number of orientations: 

    • Landscape
    • Portrait
    • Circular
    • Square
    • 360

    On social, we consume a lot of landscape, portrait, and square content. Snapchat is currently leading the way with circular video - with the release of its Spectacles hardware.

    Creating video has never been easier. We have access to high quality hardware that enables to capture professional footages, on a budget. Everybody with a smartphone has the ability to be a filmmaker.

    The variable is the story you’re telling. You don’t need expensive equipment to tell an inspiring story, but a great hardware won’t save an uninspiring story.

    [4] Farewell, Google+?

    Will we finally see the end of Google+?

    It’s been 5 years since the initial launch, but the platform hasn’t evolved or seen the usage Google had hoped for. We haven’t seen that ‘killer’ feature yet.

    Yes, people do use it - it’s particularly popular for niche communities - but is that enough for Google to continue investing.

    We expect to see the platform continue to stagnate, or perhaps be quietly shut down.

    [5] Ads for Snapchat

    With a valuation of $25 billion, and the rumours of its looming IPO, it’s time for Snapchat to make some serious cash.

    Snapchat has allowed companies to advertise on its platform before, but it’s been limited to those with a very very large marketing budget.

    Companies have used promoted lenses, and advertised in Stories, and Snapchat’s Discover section. 

    However, to justify their valuation, Snapchat will need to come up with an advertising product that is affordable to the masses, and that works.

    We’ve seen the valuation of Twitter plummet, as their advertising products suffer. Snapchat will want to take a chunk of this market share.

    [6] Voice OS

    We’ll start to see the growth of the ‘Voice OS’. Our two key operating systems sit within desktops (Windows vs Mac), and mobile (Android vs iOS).

    Amazon has seen the opportunity for an ecosystem based around your voice. Amazon’s Alexa is a voice-based personal assistant within your home - able to control your lights, heating etc.

    They're not the first to do this, Apple has Siri, Google has Google Assistant, and Microsoft has Cortana.

    The difference is Amazon have a stand-alone voice-activated device (Echo). Other voice-controlled services are built through your phone, or desktop.

    Google have released Google Home too. We expect to see these devices to be the centre-piece of many homes.

    And we’ll start to see more apps being built for voice control.

    "What time is my daughter's hockey match today?"

    [7] Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality

    2017 is a big year for virtual reality (VR). We've already had exciting hardware releases, with Playstation VR and Samsung Gear.

    Facebook is betting big on VR. Zuckerberg believes VR will be the future of the platform.

    We'll also see AR to continue its growth into the mainstream. Everybody was talking about Pokémon Go last summer, and made everyone aware of AR - and they have been the common buzzwords since.

    The technology and behaviour around VR and AR will evolve over the next 12 months, and further. We're at the very early stages - similar to when computers where invented. Everything was bulky, but tech will continue to improve.


    Next week, we’re going to focus on school-specific predictions. We'll look further at live-streaming, 360 videos, virtual reality, vlogging, web apps, and more!

    What should your marketing team be thinking about? How will technology be used in 2017? What should parents be aware of?

    Subscribe to our SchoolBytes newsletter to find out!