Video rules as a powerful communications tool. There is nothing like being able to express your of the moment experience with your audience, or experiencing someone else´s. And as it turns out, voyeuristic tendencies are more widespread than we´d ever thought. In 2010 YouTube exceeded 2 billion views a day with more video uploaded in 60 days than all 3 major US Networks created in 60 years. We´re using YouTube to connect to all sort of information and, in addition to cute cat videos, we´re learning from other´s expertise, showing off what we´re doing and experiencing reality as it exists on the other side of the globe. Making the jump from video consumer to maker is easier than ever with the advent of low-cost digital cameras of the stand alone and even mobile phone variety.
In my communications role at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (a non-profit) I find great value in video, although given my budget and time constraints vlogging is my only option – highly produced and expensive video productions are out. Vlogging or video blogging, roughly defined as the capturing of an experience, if done with energy, passion and clear message can be powerful content, populating your social media properties like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. As I rely heavily on free communications channels like these to get our message out, video is a cost and time effective way to engage and connect with a wide audience.
All you need to get started with vlogging is a message, some basic equipment and real energy and passion.
What´s your message?
Great video turns your message into something people can relate to. When real energy, passion and enthusiasm comes together on camera your audience gets caught up in it. One of the best´organisational videos I´ve seen is Craig Kielburger´s well digging video for Free the Children. He not only demonstrates the organisation´s message, he literally shows you why you should support them. (Check out my own of the moment plea). When it comes to message the keys are easy to navigate: keep it simple, concise and real. Get out the essential information, tell people where to find out more and provide a call to action like donate now or come to our event. If you are not comfy in front of a camera find someone who is, but make sure they share your passion. And do it all in under 3 min.
The right camera for you.
Finding the equipment that fits your needs and budget can still be tricky. There is a lot to choose from, and with the rapid advancement of digital film, I´m always hesitant to pay any more than I have to. I choose the Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera ($168) for the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery for a couple of reasons. It had built-in usb arm that allows one click uploads to YouTube, eliminating the need for a double upload (once to the computer, then to YouTube). The reviews also gave it a thumbs up when it came to sound, and as one of the only cameras under $350 with an external mic jack (an additional $25 at The Source) I felt confident that I could capture both candid and more formal moments. Best of all it is easy to use, can be strapped to a tripod (perfect for solo recordings), is HD and has a decent editing software package included.
Harnessing knowledge and passion.
I recently tagged along on a Gallery tour looking for a photo op. Kate, the tour leader completely blew me away, she made the exhibitions come alive with her insight and commentary. The next week we filmed a mini version of that tour to provide a virtual intro to the exhibitions. I think she´s as good on camera as off because her knowledge (the accessible expert voice), energy and passion are very clear. If you´ve got it – share it.
So you´ve filmed and uploaded your video, now what? Spread the word – use your social media and in person networks to let people know that it is there. Post a link on Facebook, tweet about it, include it in your eNews, put it on your blog or website, get your friends to post it on their sites. Videos go viral because word of mouth passes them around. You may not get a million views, but those that watch it will not only know who you are, they will “feel” it, making them more likely to engage with your organisation or brand again.
Creating video can seem daunting, but once you´ve done it a couple of times it becomes a lot of fun.
I want to hear about your experiences vlogging, the good – the bad – and the ugly. Suggestions, ideas?