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