GUEST BLOG POST: My brother, Donny, has recently spent some time getting more and more into video production. I asked him to share some tips for this post:
I recently spent some time helping with the video production of a great 5 minute “story telling” video. I learned a great deal from listening to the video production and editing crew that I wanted to share with you. Follow these 5 tips to help you tell a great story for your private Christian school:
- DETERMINE THE STORY: Everyone wants that “viral video” that gets lots of clicks and lots of shares. We’ve all seen those great, compelling videos on social media or on someone’s website. And we all assume that we could do the same kind of video. But FIRST, you must have the story. What is the message? Is it compelling? Is it exciting? Does the story resonate with your prospective families and make them want to take action in contacting your school? Does it cause current families to rush to the re-enroll button on your school’s website. The “story” is key and you need to have it written out like a script before an SD card is placed into a camera or someone yells “Action!” (not that they would in making a short video but it sounded fun to say! HA)
- VIDEO EQUIPMENT IS CRITICAL: If you are shooting a well-produced video, getting the right equipment is extremely critical. Do you have an older DSLR camera? If so, it may be time to upgrade to a more modern camera that can shoot 4K video. Are you wanting to shoot the video using your iPhone? Yes, it’s possible to do that with most smartphones improving their camera quality with each and every release. The latest iPhones can produce 4K video which is amazing. But if you are using an old iPhone 6s or some older version of a Samsung phone, your video will suffer because of the quality of the video. Also, beyond the video, make sure you have good lighting too. Maybe God has produced some amazing natural light and that’s great. Or maybe you need to invest into a 3-point lighting system so your subject(s) can be well-lit … I mean we are going to be staring at them for a while so the lighting needs to be good.
- CAPTURE QUALITY SOUND: This one will be short. The bottom line is your subjects need to be mic’d in some form. Do NOT rely on the microphone from your camera to pick up quality audio – it just won’t. Whether you are using a wired or wireless lavalier microphone, a boom mic overhead or some kind of directional recording device, it’s critical to get good audio. Plain and simple.
- FIND A GOOD EDITOR: If you think you can pull this off from your mobile device and some cutesy app you found online, you’re just flat out wrong. Find someone who is a good editor. Most of the good editors are skilled in Adobe Premier or Premier Elements. If the person you are using has never heard of that program, it’s time to run. There are other programs out there but this seems to be the standard. But don’t let them use Windows Movie Maker – please!! It’s not 1987. You can do some good stuff in iMovie but the precision and details you get with Premiere are worth it. But finding the right person to do the editing is key as well. The editor I used on the recent project was in his early sixties but was a wizard with Premiere and brought a great many years of video editing experience to the table. We also had a co-editor on the project who was just finishing high school and he was able to teach us old dogs some cool new tricks. In the end, the video was about 5 1/2 minutes long. For some, they would think that’s too long. It didn’t follow the “well it has to be under 3 minutes or people will lose interest” theory. But this video had tremendous pacing all because of the editing. The almost 6 minutes flew by and no one who has seen it would want the story to be told in any shorter length … and that’s because we had good editors.
- USE “NATS”: This was a term that was new to me but made so much sense after I learned more. So often we produce videos that have the “talking head” subject and some good music behind it. Then we throw in some b-roll footage which is helpful. But all you have are 2 layers of audio – someone talking and the music. When our video crew introduced the term “nats” it didn’t make sense to me at first because I’d never done it that way. But when we starting capturing “natural sounds” (that’s the nats), it made the whole video take off. A flag waving in the wind just “sits there”. But when you add the sound of the flag whipping in the wind or maybe a chain hitting the flag pole repeatedly, it takes it to a whole new level. Video of kids playing is great but what if you actually had the fun sounds the kids are making in the background. It brings them to life. Even showing a waterfall can be a peaceful look but adding in the water dripping sound can take your video to a new dimension. Those “nats” or natural sounds can do wonders for your video – give it a try!
And those are just 5 simple tips to help you tell a great story for your private Christian school. And here’s a BONUS: Find a videographer or a video production team who you can trust and use them when you can. You may not always have the budget but when you can, use a professional. The “look and feel” of your video will be amazing and you thank me for it!! 🙂
Thanks for letting me guest post!!