Make a High-Impact Video w/o Breaking the Bank–5 Great Guidelines Free til July 15th

Make a High-Impact Video wo Breaking the Bank--5 Great Guidelines Free til July 15thOur friends at Marketing Sherpa have done it again, bringing home a pithy guide to a key topic (especially for strong nonprofit marketing right now) and making it available for free until July 15th. Download the full article today to digest in depth and share with your colleagues.

More immediately though, here are the key guidelines for your nonprofit video:
1. Set a clear goal for your video, to focus your efforts and content.
May  be increasing e-news subs, site visitors, awareness, landing page conversions (e.g. for an online advocacy or fundraising campaign)

2. Select the format that’ll enable you to reach that goal: Short to increase conversions; how-to (start a local campaign)to portray your org as experts in your field; newscast to frame your nonprofit as a hot-topic expert (connecting your issues/work to key topics in the news). Start with a 3-minute or less video. You may need to go longer in time when covering a complex topic. YouTube caps videos at 10 minutes.

3. Assemble the right equipment.

  • You’ll want a camera with a hard drive, making the video easy to move to your computer for editing, and a tripod to stabilize it. A low-risk choice is the Flip Ultra, with 6o minutes of footage for about $150. It’s a good first step but lack some features you’ll want later on (unlimited zoming and external microphone port). And at the beginning, your content is more important than the quality of the video.
  • Lighting matters so get 1200-watt halogens mounted on a tripod (in the $50 range).Get the right editing software and edit BEFORE you post your footage.
  • Get the right editing software and edit before you post a thing online.

4. Avoid unnecessary costs and aggravation by doing the right pre-production work.

  • Craft a script and storyboards to keep the video on point. Best way to write a script is to tell a story.
  • Create a basic set that is clutter and noise free. Relate it to the video’s theme. If you’re an animal rights organization, filming in front of a pet store with caged animals in its window makes sense.
  • Set up lights and sound, and test for each. A nonprofit  staffer I know just took delivery on a video that was shot in front of a fountain. Although the story and lighting are great, you can’t hear a thing beyond water.

5. Edit strategically.You can easily suck the life out of your video story with too much editing. But don’t forget to brand your video with an opening and closing graphic  featuring your org name and  Web address so viewers can get more info. Most importantly, edit to minimize the file size of the video so it takes the shortest time possible to load.

Any tips to add? Please share them in the comments field below.

P.S. Take a look at these powerful nonprofit video models.

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Nancy Schwartz on July 10, 2008 in Nonprofit Communications, Video | 5 comments
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  • Jon

    Wow, thanks for this! What a great guide! On my way to download it right now. :)

  • Allison Daskal Hausman

    Another low-cost strategy for adding AV content onto your website can be to produce audiovisual slideshows. It’s a different approach, but can cost less and be equally effective. An AV slideshow can take single audio clips from recipients of your work or from staff. The audio conveys passion and humanity that is hard to achieve in print on your screen. It’s also an opportunity to showcase photos. Finally, collecting audio is much less imposing on your interviewee. Sometimes you get material that’s more personal, spontaneous and captivating.

  • Here’s a PSA I made basically following those steps outlined above. I use the video on MySpace, embedding the YouTube player on our profile and in friend’s comments. The video cost nothing to produce, but has produced great results.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYrs_aYWxII

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