If you are lucky, there’s a handful of things in your career that you’re really proud of.
I’m lucky. I’m proud of several. I bet you are, too. But one of the things I’m most proud of is helping to develop a workshop to make better use of video that has helped comms, PR, digital, internal comms and frontline people.
It came about through a beautiful mix of data, serendipity and experimenting about three years ago.
I’d been looking at the data at how people in the UK were using video far more but that the quality had lagged. People had the tech in their pockets with a smartphone but didn’t know how to use it. So, bumping into filmmaker Steven Davies who was talking how to shoot video with a smartphone it made sense. I come at things as a former journalist and comms person. Steve comes at it with a filmmaker’s eye. So we developed the session and we’ve continued to adapt it.
Our sessions give people baby steps and set them on a path. One of our delights is to see someone grow in confidence and do amazing things.
Here are 30 things we’ve learned in training comms people:
- You don’t have to be Steven Speilberg. In fact, if the only video you’ve ever shot is by accident, that’s fine.
- You need to know the data to help understand why video is important. 80 per cent of the internet will be video by bandwidth by 2019. 78 per cent of the UK population have a smartphone. And 54 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds watch short-form video once a day or more.
- You need to know that its not a golden bullet. If the answer is a poster, use a poster.
- You need to be able to argue just as effectively against using video as for to be a truly useful comms person.
- You need to know where your audience is before you decide to make video. What platform they dictates how long the video should be. The optimum length for Facebook is 15 seconds and for YouTube it is just over three minutes.
- You need to know that mobile phones sold in 2018 shoot broadcast quality footage.
- You need to know that people watch shaky footage online all the time. If you make content with a few rough edges and you are public or third sector people are unlikely to shout.
- You absolutely need to know that video should be one of the core skills that any comms person should have in 2018. How to use it and how to make it.
- You need to know when you are editing to put your best content at the start. It keeps people watching.
- You need to know not to use copyrighted music unless you have permission.
- You need to know where to find royalty free music. Here are more than a dozen sites.
- You need to read the licence before you use royalty-free music to check what your end of the bargain is. It may be as simple as crediting the author.
- You need to know that 85 per cent of video is watched without sound.
- You need to know its okay to be creative with video.
- You need to know that a man in a suit talking against a wall is more than a million times less interesting that baby ducks on a waterslide.
- You need to know how to film using the smartphone in your pocket.
- You need to give frontline people the skills so they can shoot when they are out and about with the right training.
- You need to know that GDPR affects video, too. You’ll need permission.
- You need to relax a little.
- You need to practice making video in a risk free environment. So, your cats, your dogs, the view from your commute can all be chopped and edited.
- You need to know that snapchat and Instagram stories video is upright and the rest is broadly wide.
- You need to know that a video of a GP giving earache advice led to 100 fewer parents bringing their children for an appointment at a single practice.
- You need to know that including real people in your video will see more people watch, like and share to their network and friends.
- You need to take your video and put it in front of people. Go find the local Facebook group about local history for the video of the new exhibition at your museum.
- You need to know that a 35-year-old parent talking about why school gate parking is a bad idea while standing outside a school will cut through to parents far better than someone in a suit in an office.
- Your best content is outside an office.
- You don’t need a new expensive video camera. You need a smartphone that is ios or android.
- You need to know that sound can be a struggle without a microphone. Steve recommends this clip-on one for around £60.
- Social video clips are a quite different thing to live video where a different set of rules apply.
- You need to relax a little.
If you are interested in how you can stay ahead and use video yourself or in your team take a look at upcoming workshops in Exeter, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and London. Or if those dates don’t suit give me a shout firstname.lastname@example.org.