The use of videos has become a vital tool in communicating news for your nonprofit organization. Videos draw people in more than still images. So, how do you make a professional-looking video using tools you already have? Here are a few nonprofit technology solutions and film-making secrets that will make your video look great!

1.     Lighting. One of the most important things to consider when making a video is your lighting. A simple solution to this is filming outside under a shaded tree, or during the “golden hour” which is about 20 minutes before the sun goes down. However, if you cannot film outside, try to film in an area that is well-lit.

2.     Shot variety. In film, you need to do what is called the “video cha-cha.” This means you want shots that are wide, medium, and tight. Wide shots include the whole picture. Medium shots are more targeted at a single person or object (for a person you want from their waist up in the frame). Tight shots are close-ups on a person’s face (should include the whole face in the frame comfortably; don’t invade personal space). Remember that you want more tight shots than anything else.

3.     Angles. Have fun with your video. Get a wide variety of angles. If you are filming a group of people talking, you can film from high up looking down on them, get on the ground and film up, film their feet, film someone talking with their hands, or film over the shoulder of someone. Every different angle you can think of!

4.     B-roll. This may seem unnecessary, but I assure you it will help. B-roll is extra footage of things you will use when you edit your video. For example, film places you will be talking about in your video. If you are talking about online education (Khan Academy, TED) film someone using a computer. You can film their hands or film them looking at the computer.

5.     3-cut Rule. When you edit your video (using Final Cut, Premiere, etc.) you want to follow a simple rule. For every 10-15 seconds of video, you want to make 3-cuts of video. This means you want to cut to another visual. This may seem like over-kill but sit down and watch your favorite TV show and start to count. I guarantee you they will have made 3 cuts within 15 seconds. People get bored, so this is visually appealing.

Remember, when it comes to making videos, practice makes perfect. Experiment with new ideas! You can never get enough video, so don’t feel like you are recording too much. This is just more video to work with later when you edit.  

For more information on how to use video for your nonprofit organization, feel free to contact us!