As a former film student, it excites me to see video incorporated more and more into the marketing strategies of associations. After all, it’s an extremely effective means of communicating with your current and potential members.
But it can be intimidating — and that’s why many are scared to pull the trigger. How do you make a high quality video that doesn’t entirely overextend your budget? Not to mention, how do you find the time?!
With that in mind, I’ve put together what I consider the lean version of video making. As someone who studied this for four years, it can become extremely complex, but it doesn’t need to be. For very little money, you can create an excellent video to help you achieve your goals.
Here’s a list of steps from start to finish. At the end, I have provided a list of equipment you’ll need (none of which you actually, need by the way. An iPhone and the free video editing software probably already installed on your computer will do the trick).
STEP 1: RESEARCH AND GATHER IDEAS
Think of this part as a master brainstorm. Put all of your ideas into a Word Document. You want to get everything down that may potentially be of value in your video. Any and all ideas are encouraged – both audio and visual. I put together this document to guide you through a productive thought process to get you started.
STEP 2: EDIT AND DOCUMENT THE INFORMATION
Now is when you whittle down your brainstorm into something a little more concrete. I use this prep document. It is divided between “what you see” and “what you hear.” The “what you hear” will be your script, while the “what you see” indicates the accompanying visual element showing on the screen. Sometimes this will be a really straightforward document, as there may only be one scene. The “props” section will be extremely useful to keep you organized for filming. This should include anything from a specific T-shirt the speaker should wear to a particular item required in the background.
STEP 3: REVIEW / GET APPROVAL
Now is when you review the documents with other stakeholders to make sure you have full buy-in for the upcoming process. This is also a good opportunity to incorporate ideas you may not have initially considered. Essentially, this is about making sure everyone is on the same page! For the approval part, you can even add a signature line on the documents. This will potentially be an important backup in the later stages. For example, if one of your stakeholders feels an element is missing, you can refer back to the original document.
STEP 4: PLAN THE SHOOT
In this stage, you’ll refer to your “prep document” a lot. Make sure you have everything you need for each shot. The last situation you want is to be behind the camera with all of your people ready to go and then remember you forgot a prop. That’s why you created a list ahead of time.
STEP 5: SHOOT
Now’s the exciting part! Below is a YouTube clip of a video content marketer explaining the very basics of what you should know for your shoot. She goes over framing, stability, lighting, audio and set. She does such a good job explaining everything that I’ve decided to let her take this one entirely:
Now, these tips apply regardless of the equipment you use, or how elaborate you decide to make your shoot. Remember also there is no shame in imitating other videos. I’m sure you already watch plenty of video content (movies count!) but now you can watch them with a more critical eye to see what you like and dislike about certain shots. For example, notice in documentaries how the speaker is rarely in the very center of the shot.
STEP 6: ORGANIZE ON YOUR COMPUTER
I have made this its own step because, if you are not methodical, you’re going to end up wasting a lot of time. Create a folder for each video you make (articulated as a “project”). Keep everything you need for the project in that folder. For example, if you are planning on including your logo at some point, drop a copy of the file into this folder for easy retrieval right when you need it (note: make sure it’s a copy so you don’t risk tampering with the original file). Now, create sub-folders, such as Video, Images, Audio, Documentation, etc. This is to stay efficient and organized.
STEP 7: EDIT
Now is when you open the program and move in all of the necessary files from the project folder – and start editing!
If you’ve never done this before, it will feel overwhelming. The good news is that there are plenty of YouTube tutorials to walk you through the various steps, and I promise your first video will take longer to edit than all of the others that come after it!
STEP 8: SAVE OFTEN
I know. It seems like a funny step to be included in here. It is because from my personal experience, you will highly regret forgetting to do this! If you find it frustrating when you lose a Word Document, I assure you the sentiment will be amplified if you lose video edits.
STEP 9: SEEK FINAL APPROVAL
You can now reassemble the original stakeholders and show them your wonderful final product. Take notes on their comments and make any necessary adjustments to the video. You may need to re-shoot certain sections, but hopefully if you followed the prep document closely, it won’t be necessary.
STEP 10: EXPORT FINAL VIDEO
That’s it! You’ve done it! You now have an amazing piece of content that will continue to add value to your organization.
For cameras, lighting and headphones, the links bring you to a list I’ve compiled of products I’d recommend in order from least to most expensive. I’ve also included a short explanation of why I like each product within the links.
Camera: If it’s in your budget, I would recommend a DSLR, along with a mic and a tripod. It will give you a more professional look and sound with lots of flexibility. That said, as the YouTube video pointed out, your camera phone will work just fine, as long as you keep in mind the principles she laid out (such as stability).
Lighting: Natural light is your best friend, but if you need to buy lights, here are some reasonable options. After all, light will make all the difference in the look regardless of your camera.
Headphones: Here’s a list of good ones. I use the Klispch AW-4i. They are great for monitoring audio – as you record, when you are playing it back and during the editing period.
iMovie / MovieMaker: On your computer you likely have a program already installed that you can use to edit your videos, such as iMovie or MovieMaker. These are great in the sense that they’re free, but not great in the sense that they’re tricky to use. I would certainly try it out first, and if you find it doesn’t have what you’re looking for, there are some other great options out there:
Camtasia: This is a relatively new program and is very intuitive to use. It can take most file formats and allows really quick sharing to YouTube. It also has several call out animations you can use. For example, if your video is a tutorial, you can easily put in an arrow that points to the relevant part of the video. The other cool function that Camtasia allows is to do a video capture of your monitor. This is great for recording webinars or creating tutorials.
Adobe Premiere Pro CC: This program is one of several in the Adobe Creative Cloud. I’ve included it on the list because it’s possible your company already owns the suite (you get a discount for buying a membership to multiple Adobe products) and thus you will have access to this program at no additional cost.
In conclusion, the most important part is to make sure you have fun with it! This will really shine through in the authenticity of the video you create. You’ll certainly experience some frustrations throughout the process, especially with your first video, but if you’re patient and willing to watch a whole lot of YouTube tutorials, you will find ways to streamline the process and improve the quality of future videos.
The thing to always remember is you’re creating something extremely valuable. People pay attention to video. It is as close to talking to someone one-on-one as you can get without physically being there, making it an extremely effective communication tool. It also gives you the opportunity to share people’s stories, provide important information and build meaningful relationships. Essentially, this is one more tool you can use to convert people into believers of your association. And the good news is that with all of the resources available to you, it has never been easier.
Want to take it to the next step? Read The Beginner’s Guide to Shooting Good-Looking Footage to learn tricks on how to make your videos more visually appealing.