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A Solid Video Library Is Two Tiers of Content

Conservation storytellers

A Solid Video Library Is Two Tiers of Content

I’ve heard every excuse about why some conservation organizations don’t want to use professionaly filmed and produced video in their marketing and educational efforts.

OK, I get it. Your organization actually is using video. But most of that video content is the kind your staff shoots with their smartphones and then you use an app to stitch clips together. Well, that’s a start. But does professional videos also have a place in your organization’s mix too?

Well, you certainly can’t dismiss doing video today. Video is now the king of content. Take one look at audience behaviours today and you’ll see why. When as the last time a photo went viral, compared to the daily flood of videos going viral? Fact: Humans crave and consume video today like never before.

There will be a lot of eyeballs and various demographics looking at your video content. This is why a two-tier video library is a must. A two-tier library of video content recognizes that smartphone-generated videos are one part of the equation. And only one part. There’s another tier too. It’s professionally filmed and produced videos.

So let’s look at the top four excuses that I’ve heard in recent years for why some conservation organizations shun that other tier of content:

How much does a video cost in Canada?

We cant afford professional video.

Most of you are not planning some epic documentary destined for Imax or a 30-second commercial for TV. Most of you are looking for a professional video to use across social media, and perhaps to have playing on a loop inside a store or conferences and trade events. And guess where most of your videos will be watched? On a smartphone, not at the theatre. This means your video doesn’t have to cost thousands. In fact, it may cost just hundreds of dollars. The bottomline is this: The cost of a video depends entirely on what you want. As a solo professional video filmmaker, I do it all on location, including set up and take down, and I also produce your video. That means doing video will be affordable. If you have a multi-person crew coming to the scene, doing set up, doing massive post-production, you can definitely expect to pay hundreds of dollars per hour per crew member for on-location time alone and pay thousands for a final video. Yes, there are times when paying thousands of dollars for a high-end video production is warranted. But today, professional video can also be ridiculously affordable depending on what you want to do.

Filming professional video takes way too much time and we don’t have time.

Geesh, I blame Hollywood for this excuse! People hear about a blockbuster taking 16 months to film and immediately think a film crew will be tying up their time and occupying their store for days to shoot a 30-second video. Wrong! As video filmmaker, here’s my reality: Filming a 30-sec video at a single location usually takes two to three hours or less. And the best part is this: You probably aren’t needed for the entire two hours! That’s because filmmakers also shoot b roll during those two hours. B roll is that extra footage that helps overlay voices to show what someone is talking about. Want the hard truth? It will likely take you longer to upload a 30-second video to YouTube using dialup internet, than it takes to film all the scenes needed for a 30-second video.

Outdoors tourism videographer

We don’t look good on professional video.

Groan! Stop fretting about how you look and how you sound. Focus on the one thing that matters: Being yourself! Hey, we’re all conscious of how we sound and look on video. But it’s simply a hurdle. Once you get over that hurdle and see the reaction that audiences have to your video, you quickly realize that you’re at your best just being you. And that’s what audiences love. The person they see and hear in the video is the same person in real life. And don’t worry….. a  big part of the on-set job of professional videographers is making you comfortable and at ease. Think of them as a coach. They help make you great (and confident)!

We shoot our own smartphone videos.

Fantastic! That means you’re probably way ahead of all those other organizations that are still making excuses. Actually, the “We shoot our own videos!” really isn’t an excuse. It’s more of an admission that you believe one tier of video content is enough.

I’ve watched literally thousands of videos shot by organizations’ employees. Many are terrific and informative. And 99 per cent of those thousands of videos are all one type of video: Vlogging videos shot with smartphones. That’s perfectly OK! In fact, it’s fantastic! Every organization should be doing vlogging videos with smartphones. It’s so easy and accessible. But but but (you had to figure there was a BUT in here somewhere). Vlogging doesn’t mean your organization is filling the void lost by not telling other narratives that have a much longer shelf life than a vlog of the week video post on social media. Vlogs by their nature have a short shelf life. They are in the moment glimpses. Truth bomb: They fade from memory a few hours or days after being posted.

The Difference Between Smartphone and Professional Videos.

Look, I’m not trying to convince you that you absolutely need more professionally filmed and produced videos in your mix. That’s up to you. But I can tell you this: Many organizations know that a video library usually has two tiers. Those tiers usually consist:

1) Internally created videos (many with a smartphone) by employees. They aren’t as slick. But they communicate some simple themes. And you can churn them out weekly. But you rarely re-use them. They live briefly on social media and then they fade further and further into history on your timeline.

2) Professional videos that become signature pieces in your library. They are about conveying brand image and a narrative. They get used over and over again on social media, as a proud source to point traffic to on YouTube, as a marketing tool, and for outreach to prospective customers, donors, and supporters. That’s the big difference between 1) and 2). Never confuse the difference between internally created vlogs and signature professional videos.

I film lots of videos for conservation organizations that are already doing vlogging and short social video clips with smartphones. But these organizations realize that they need another kind of video too. Signature ones. The kind that represent the ideals of their brand and have a call to action that makes these videos one of the the organization’s most valued go-to tools for marketing annual causes, events or campaigns.

Gregg McLachlan
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