27 August 2007

Using video to communicate

Video can be a great tool to communicate some ideas, but please make sure it is well done!

Even a mobile telephone camera can take reasonable video (if it is equipped).
It is important to learn some basics: firstly, you must tell an interesting story (focus and scripting are needed); Know your subject and your audience, get the audio right (re-record it later if needed), and pay attention to things such as lighting (don't make it too dark) and a balance between long shots and close-ups, stills vs panning and zooming.

The following are two videos about the same concept (a cafe in India with a new outlook on 'business': visitors pay for the next person's meal, and receive their own for free, served by volunteers). The first is a far more appealing effort, while the second suffers from poor lighting and sound (though YouTube's very poor quality does neither any justice).

Video 1 (Seva Cafe, India):

Video 2 (Seva Cafe, India):

Lastly, I have added a different video here, about a project designed to enhance diaster preparedness among children living in tsunami-affected areas in Sri Lanka.
The style is very different - a series of still images and slides (words on screen), supported not with narration but with music. It is an interesting approach, though I would suggest (if the 'editor' has the tools) to put key words over top of the images and to pan and scan some images to give a sense of movement. Some video creation tools enable this, especially iMovie on the Apple Mac.

Video 3 (Disaster Preparedness, Sri Lanka):

See also:
How to advocate with video
How to film a revolution

19 August 2007

Congoo News Circles

Congoo is building audience share in a number of ways. It encourages you to register and create a news circle: a customised list of automated news items about specific topics. This is similar to the automated list of items on the far-right column of this blog. However Congoo focuses on publishers with subscription-based content and its biggest attraction is giving people free access to selected items. Judge for yourself. I have put a link below to a news circle about journalism, online content, and the media in general. Much of it is not applicable to development issues, but you might find something of interest.
Also of interest is the networking element. It is a bit me-too, because it simply adds elements already found in dedicated sites such as Xing or LinkedIn, by encouraging professionals to register their profiles. Such sites have proven to be a useful way to find expertise (or to advertise your CV).
We will have to see if Congoo can find some synergies between the social networking and news items, and any other elements it bolts on.