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The Unbreakable Rules of Video - 3/12/2013 -

Check out these best-practice tips on how to improve video shooting, editing, and sharing.

By Melanie Padgett Powers

We all have our favorite online videos, whether you’re partial to kids doing the latest dance craze, cat bloopers, or unbelievable basketball shots. Such videos have racked up millions of views, but going viral may not be the best goal for your association videos. Instead, you want to get your videos in front of the right audience.

Video content is all about engaging your audience—it helps build your brand, improves your search engine results, and gives your audience something to talk about online.

By 2015, 62 percent of web traffic is expected to be video, according to Michael Wolcott, lead producer of television and online video at McMurry/TMG. During Association Media & Publishing’s January Lunch & Learn, "The Unbreakable Rules of Video,” Wolcott took questions from the audience about how to get started with association videos, improve shooting and editing, and share videos with members.

He presented six ground rules to keep in mind as you begin creating videos:

1. Have a clear purpose.

2. Create for people, not job titles.

3. Remember that distribution is your friend.

4. Embrace production basics.

5. Measure and improve.

6. Steal from everywhere.

Wolcott offers several shooting tips to make your videos look more polished:

· Shoot approximately 80 percent close-up and only 20 percent wide. "People tend to shoot wide, but really, most of the action is up close, most of the emotion is up close,” he says.

· Don’t forget interesting angles. When conducting multiple interviews, shoot everyone from different angles, which will give you more options during editing.

· Embrace variety. Stay away from shooting and editing only "talking heads.”

· Shoot extra footage. Be sure to get a lot of "B-roll,” supplemental footage that can be edited in between the interviews. Even if you don’t have a lot of creative options for B-roll, you can film the person working at a desk or walking down the hall. You can also purchase B-roll online.

· Don’t feel the need to hide the mic. "It’s OK to break that fourth wall and show the mic,” Wolcott says. Even "60 Minutes” now pulls back in interviews to show the audience the wide shot of the interviewer and subject, lights, and other cameras. Plus, if you try to hide a lapel mic, you may hear rustling from the shirt movement or a muffled sound.

· Don’t forget the audio component. Remember: Audio is half of film. "Audiences are much more likely to be tolerant of poor quality video than to be tolerant of poor quality audio,” Wolcott says.

· Learn how to pan properly. When shooting events—meetings, annual conference sessions, or press conferences—amateurs tend to pan the entire room quickly. Wolcott cautions against this: "Every shot is like a play—it should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.” He advises you to hold the camera on a shot for 8–10 seconds, then pan to another spot in the room, hold the camera on that shot for another 8–10 seconds, then pan again, and so on.

Good Editing is Crucial

Once you are ready for editing, you may think the hard part is over. But editing is where you have the opportunity to be more creative and spruce up so-so footage. It can be the most intense part of the process and is often overlooked, Wolcott says.

Regardless of your chosen editing software, Wolcott recommends watching how-to videos on YouTube to learn techniques and tips. "That’s how I figured out half of what I do,” he says. "And there’s no better training for editing than just doing it again and again.”

Finally, Wolcott points out that when you have a final product, don’t skimp on the marketing plan. Create a YouTube channel for your association to house all your videos. Showcase your videos on your homepage and promote them through all your social media channels.

You may not be creating the next viral cat video, but you can create videos that educate and entertain your audience, while enhancing your brand and interacting with your members.

Melanie Padgett Powers is communications editorial manager for the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Association Media & Publishing thanks Melanie for doing such a great job covering this Lunch & Learn for members who were unable to attend.

Don’t miss Association Media & Publishing’s upcoming cover story in Signature magazine on the rising power of visual content. Signature is a benefit of membership in Association Media & Publishing. Not a member? Learn more.


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