When looking to spread the word about exciting project plans, most beneficiaries think about getting their story in the media or shouting it from the rooftops on social media, but many think that video would be beyond their reach or capability. It’s not! It doesn’t have to be a Steven Spielberg production, just something simple, clear and engaging. And you don’t need a video recorder – a modern smartphone will be just fine – plus it’s often easier to upload videos to social media later. ‘People will spend 100 minutes a day watching online videos in 2021’ (Insights, 2020) so let’s face it, video is the way forward!
Where do I start?
Planning is key. Even if you’re making the shortest of videos make sure you have a clear plan of what you want to show and what you want to say. Trust me, it will save you a lot of time in the long run and will produce a more polished product.
Start with a storyboard, plan each frame and make sure to include any crucial information and calls to action!
How do I know what to include in my video?
Talk about your project and the difference your grant will make. Give a little background about your organisation, tell people what your grant is for, what your plans are and how it will impact your community.
Interviews are a great idea! Grab your CEO for a quick ‘on camera’ chat about the project, or arrange an interview with someone who has already benefitted from the project or other initiatives you’ve been running. This will make your project more tangible and credible to your audience.
Oh, and top tip when filming, encourage your interviewee to look at you and not the camera; this will give the feel of a proper conversation and not something that’s staged for video.
How do I make my video visually appealing?
As I mentioned earlier, please don’t feel that this has to be a complicated film with graphics flying across the screen and artistic shots you’d expect to see on Planet Earth. Here are some ideas for making your video look effective, without a degree in videography and 10 years in the film industry:
- Vary the shots and angles – here’s some homework for you; next time you’re watching the news, look at how they shoot a news package, they will use a lot of different camera angles and techniques to draw your eye. This can be as simple as a pan of your building or bringing a shot slowly into focus – it just keeps things interesting!
- It’s all about the people – audiences relate to videos including people, so as well as lovely shots of your local area, or beautiful church building, gather footage of individuals, groups and activities to bring your project to life.
- Use some text – if you can, layer text over the video when there’s talking. This way people sneaking a look at social media at work will know what your video is about without the sound, and it also makes it more accessible for people with hearing impairments.
- Video slideshows – if the thought of a video is still quite daunting, why not put a slideshow together with music? This is more interactive than a picture and very simple to do using free or low cost online software that you can search for online.
Lighting and Sound
Just a quick reminder to be aware of your environment, make sure to film where there is enough light – nobody wants a dark and dingy video they have to squint to see. It’s also important to remember sound quality. There’s no point filming near a busy road or that’s the only thing your viewers will hear!
How long should my video be?
Keep it short and sweet. In a digital world most people have a very short attention span, so make sure your video is snappy.
Some useful stats (Hubspot, 2018)…
- Facebook audiences engage the most with videos around 60 seconds long.
- Twitter audiences have an even shorter attention span, so aim for a video around 45 seconds long.
- Instagram is all visual, so you have 30 seconds on this channel to make your mark before they move on to the next video.
- YouTube is a platform designed for videos and videos only, so go wild and create something up to two minutes long, if you fancy.
If you have a lot to say, I would advise making shorter teasers of a longer video for social media and linking through to a full piece on your website (also a great way to get more people to come to your site!). In this article, there’s some helpful information on a range of free video editing software.
The trick is to have a play around, get a feel for the camera or phone and what you can do, and start small. The more confident you get with producing video content, the more adventurous you can be with different techniques.
And lastly, if you need some more advice and guidance on how to publicise your grant using video content, we’re always happy to help. Feel free to tag us on social media (Facebook: @BenefactTrust and Twitter: @BenefactTrust), or send us your video content so we can share directly on our own channels.
Just remember, you have a great story to tell, so get rolling!