Deep Dive Into: Producing Great Video Content
Grab your snorkels and step into your flippers as we take a journey into the endless depths and possibilities of your #ContentStrategy. Welcome to our new ‘Deep Dive Into’ series, first up, producing great video content.
Think about it, 300 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, so what will make your video stand out?
So your school has the perfect idea for a video, an upcoming sporting event, an open day or the latest video trend to jump in on. You think everything is going to work as it should, you have the camera to use and the people to film, what could go wrong? Then the shoot happens and you come away with an SD card full of unusable footage. The video is out of focus, the audio hasn’t been recorded and the people being filmed all look like they want to be anywhere but on the screen. Great.
With video production, as with anything in life, planning is key and thinking you will be okay just going for it will result in an unprofessional video. One that will either never make it online or worse damage the image of your school. Video is one of the strongest ways to advertise your school, whether this is to prospective parents, students or even potential staff. You need to make it the best it can be.
There are certain basic rules you can follow in the planning stage before filming any video content to ensure what you record will be worth the post online:
Decide where your content is going. Is this a piece of long form educational content for YouTube? Is it a short form inspirational/news piece for Instagram or Twitter? Maybe you want to mix short-form content with an overall longer piece? This is an important decision to make and it will help guide your planning process for the video itself.
From filming on a phone to a DSLR make sure you know how to use your camera. No, you don’t need to learn how to adjust the aperture mid recording in accordance with the light, or even understand what aperture is. But you should know how to start and stop recording, how to zoom, how to focus and how to playback images to ensure you captured what you wanted.
Sound is key. Often regretfully overlooked, sound is a key factor that can make or break your video. You need to know how you are recording your audio. If it’s through a microphone make sure it is plugged in to the camera and switched on. If it is through an internal microphone, check your settings to see audio recording is enabled. With both of these methods you will then see feedback levels on your camera display.
Know what you are filming. Are you recording the school sports day? A production? Student interviews? Or even a leavers video? Different content require different approaches, there would be no use in recording a student interview outside on a windy day, but a sports day would be fine in these conditions. You need to plan ahead of time what you are filming and where it will be filmed.
Make sure your subject is comfortable on camera. This rule is more so for staff and student interviews than sporting events or productions. Whoever you choose to be on screen will be representing your school, with that in mind you need to ensure they are comfortable being filmed and express themselves with clarity. If time permits then ease them into it, make them feel like the camera isn’t even there before you start the interview.
Equipment is second to content. If you plan well then what you produce, whatever it was filmed on, will show the effort. Don’t assume that just because you only have a phone to film on you can put in less effort, especially with the quality of phone cameras.
Never assume it will just work. Always keep the action within the frame, the focus correct and the microphone (if needed) pointed at the subject.
Now writing for video can be a different challenge, your school may have a blog but keeping readers interested and keeping viewers interested are two separate beasts.
Video content is 9 times out of 10 shorter than its written counterpart. As a result you won’t have the space to explain every detail to your viewers and realistically they won’t remain interested if you do. Keep your video and your interviewees focused on the content and you will keep your viewers focused too.
Decide if you want your video to be scripted or natural, would you rather see what your interviewees have to say or keep a consistent tone across all of them by preparing what they will say beforehand?
Try to avoid the talking heads video. Use shots of the school to break up the video while keeping the audio running underneath. Sure it seems simple but it really works to keep viewers engaged and not tire of watching one person talk at them.
Alternatively, don’t rely on just one voice, utilise the different members of your school to put across a message. This can also be a useful technique of representing your school as a community with a shared system of values.
Finally, keep in mind that video content is the perfect chance for people to see your school so keep things light wherever possible and have fun making it!