Chip Dizárd discussed the seven sins people commit when creating videos.
- No Plan. Create a plan before you start filming. You should identify your goals, who you want to talk to, the number of cameras you'll need, what the final format will be, and so on. (See the pre-production checklist Chip shared for a more complete list.)
You will plan differently depending on whether you are filming in a studio or not. In a studio, your environment is controlled. Planning is easier. If you won't be filming in a studio, you need to be flexible both to take advantage of opportunities as well as to cope with unexpected changes or problems. Before starting, make certain all of your equipment is working. You won't get a second chance. Also, don't rush. When you rush, you make mistakes.
- No Story. Tell a story. It should start with an earthquake and work to a climax.
- No Talent. Have someone who is comfortable on camera. He or she needs to be prepared and to think through how to tell the story and capture people's attention.
- Bad Video. Follow the rule of thirds. Divide the screen into a tic-tac-toe board and aim to have the key visuals where the lines cross. For example, if you are interviewing one person, you would want to have his or her eyes where the top horizontal line crosses the vertical lines.
- Bad Audio. Choose the right microphone and use proper microphone technique. (You want to speak firmly into the front of the microphone.)
- Poor Lighting. Use a three-point lighting stance. Lighting is especially important if you are using a green or blue screen. If you don't light a person well, you can't key out, or remove, the green color from behind people as easily.
- Poor Editing. Pay attention to detail. In particular:
- Avoid dissolving images. This isn't how the eye sees the world.
- Pace your videos appropriately. Chip recommends looking at mediastorm.org for examples of nonprofit videos with great pacing.
- Choose your music carefully. It can make or break your video. Chip prefers music without lyrics because lyrics can have unintended meanings or associations.
- Select fonts that are easy to read. Sans serif fonts are usually best for videos. Chip uses Helvetica and Arial a lot.
For nonprofit organizations that are looking for help making videos, Chip suggests using student volunteers. Five Baltimore City Public Schools have video programs:
A few resources that Chip mentioned.
Materials from this session are available online: