Tips for Producing Great Video (and Submitting It)

Digital story telling is now more accessible than ever, with the advent of YouTube and cheap video cameras. Consider taking video as a compelling way to get the word out before your event, document your action, and amplify your impact. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind to make your video stand out:

  • Check your camera the day before you shoot! Make sure your batteries are fully charged, and that you have three times as much tape or memory as you think you’ll need. You never know what might happen the day of the event!
  • KISS – Keep it short and simple: A video to promote or document your action should not be more than 5 minutes long. A minute-long mini-movie can have a lot of impact. Concentrate on what’s exciting and important — you don’t have to jam every last thing that happened on your action into the movie.
  • Hold your camera steady: Avoid the wobble-cam look — it makes viewers ill and steady shots are easier to edit. A good rule is to hold each shot steady for at least ten seconds when shooting (you can always cut them shorter when editing later). Use a tripod, or if you don’t have one brace the elbow of your camera-holding arm on your chest, breathe in and count slowly “steady one, steady two, steady three…”. It will seem like a long time when you’re shooting, but you’ll be very happy you have your ten seconds per shot when you start editing! If you want to move the camera across a scene (pan) do it slowly.
  • Shoot wide, and close-in: Vary your shots. Shoot some wide shots to show the general scene, and then others close-in on interesting details or characterful people.  Emphasise what’s special about your locale — movies showing character of place and character of people are more interesting.
  • Pay careful attention to sound. If you’re doing an interview, make sure there’s nothing noisy going on behind the person being interviewed, or it will drown out their voice. Don’t move your hands around on the camera while you’re shooting — this can cause weird clunking or squeaking noises on the camera body that will be picked up by the microphone. Monitor the sound while you’re shooting with a pair of headphones.
  • Avoid long shots of a talking head: Edit out the boring stuff that people say, only use the sentences that count.
  • Upload the video.  Once you’ve done that, you can edit your footage and upload it to a video sharing site.
  • IMPORTANT: Let us know! If you share your video with us, then we can share it with the world. You can learn more about video sharing or submit your video here.