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Tips for Shooting In-House Association Videos — Affordably - 2/23/2016 -

Tips for Shooting In-House Association Videos — Affordably

Sure, there are some initial hurdles to jump — finding story ideas, investing in equipment, training staff — but they’re not as high as you might think. Here’s what you need to do in-house video and where to begin.

By Mario Medina

If you’re not using videos as a way to engage with your association’s members, you’re missing out on easy opportunities to enhance membership benefits and interact with members. Sure, there are some initial hurdles to jump, but they’re not as high as you might think.

What’s more, if you have a smartphone, you’re already in business. Yes, there’s a lot more equipment and software you could and should eventually invest in as your video-storytelling capabilities grow and improve, but smartphones can get the job done in a pinch.

Even organizations that have invested in the latest and greatest equipment sometimes rely on video shot with a mobile device, especially for time-sensitive stories. Heck, even media companies have laid off staff because high-quality consumer technology is so accessible these days.

Quality and Budget Considerations

You can spend as much or as little on a video as you choose, but it's important that your expectations match your investment. Consider the expected return on investment for the video, along with your overall marketing budget. For example, don't overlook the cost of traveling to and shooting on location, equipment rental, and the value of your own time spent making the video.

The great thing about videos is that you don't always have to invest large amounts of time and money to harness their power; you can create engaging videos on any budget. In addition to high-end professional videos, you may find that "quickies" or "business-casual" videos are sufficient. The best video marketing plans often incorporate all of these.

1. Video quickies. By quickie, we mean that someone from your company is simply shooting with a smartphone or consumer-grade camera and uploading the clip to a social media site, such as your company’s Facebook page or YouTube channel. Editing is generally not required, but when it is, it can easily be done on an app installed on the user’s smartphone, such as the iMovie app for iPhones.

If the topic you’re covering is time-sensitive, straightforward, and requires little B-roll (footage that plays while someone talks over it), you may be able to shoot with a smartphone or tablet. Examples of these types of videos include:

  • Fun, informal events (e.g., an impromptu fundraising challenge)
  • Breaking news or coverage of time-sensitive topics
  • Conference footage (e.g., a short video taken of an important message during a conference or presentation)

A word of caution: Mobile devices (iPhones, tablets, etc.) are handy, easy-to-use, and almost always readily available in your back pocket or bag. But before you try to record a video with your smart device, consider this: Will the video need to be edited? If so, you’ll have to either download an app to edit the video on your smart device (such as iMovie for Apple devices). Or, you’ll have to transfer the video from your device to your computer to edit, which will also require editing software.

You’ll need a plan for transferring your iPhone or iPad video to your computer. Consider whether the computer is a Mac or PC. Two options for getting the video to your computer are email and an app called Dropbox.

In most cases, it’s easiest to email the video to yourself, save it to your computer, and begin editing it in video-editing software. If you do a lot of file transferring, create a Dropbox account. Upload video files from your device and download them to your computer.

2. Business casual videos. If your video needs a little more polishing than a quickie, but doesn’t require highly trained, expert videographers, then business casual may be the way to go. Even someone without a radio/TV/film degree can use affordable, "prosumer” equipment (such as a Canon Vixia camcorder) to achieve a high-quality video.

Examples where you might use business casual videos include:

  • Short, interesting tips that you’d like to share with customers
  • New product demonstrations
  • Coverage of a fun campaign or team-building event your company is doing
  • Your company president’s response to a major industry announcement
  • Informal webinars

Business casual videos are ideal for conveying a somewhat relaxed — but still polished — tone. To do it yourself, you'll need equipment that's more sophisticated than a smartphone, along with access to basic editing software.

Understand that you may need a professional videographer for videos that require B-roll and lots of editing — in other words, for anything other than quickie and business casual videos. If your subject matter needs a detailed explanation, tells a narrative, requires a narrator (i.e., a voiceover), or is intended for a VIP audience, consider using a professional videographer. Keep in mind these projects usually start at thousands of dollars per day for a professional videography team.

According to a survey from Accenture, 86 percent of U.S. consumers watch video over the Internet on a device; 65 percent of executives say they have visited a company’s website after watching a video; and 59 percent of senior executives say they prefer to watch a video over reading text when both are available, according to Forbes. Thanks to technology and easy-to-use apps, producing effective video is now attainable for most any association.

Mario Medina is the co-founder of madison/miles media, a content marketing company that helps associations, health care companies, and fast-growth start-ups improve brand positioning and win new customers. A member of the Association Media & Publishing Content Creation Committee, Medina is a communications veteran with expertise in content and brand strategy, product development, and content production and management. He has won more than four-dozen awards for his team’s projects, including EXCEL, Folio, Magnum Opus, Telly, and Pearl awards.

Don’t miss Medina’s upcoming feature article on how to maximize association videos in the March/April 2016 issue of Signature magazine.


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