8 ways to make internal (and external) video a hit

Two masters offer their tips on apps, microphones, lighting, storytelling techniques and more.

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All right, you’re sold. Video is the wave of the future, and you hereby vow to use more of it in your communications.

But is there a way to do that without devouring all your time or busting your budget with major productions? Can’t it just be easy?

Drew Keller and Paolo Tosolini have some ideas for you. In a talk titled “Move at the speed of mobile: How to leverage smartphone and tablet video for internal communications,” the masters offer tips about videography, lighting, and apps that will make your job easier.

Tosolini is director of digital and emerging media at Run Studios, a Seattle production agency. Keller is an award-winning television producer, editor, Web developer, and educator at Story Guide.

Here is a grab bag of tips:

1. Turn the smartphone sideways.

If you’re shooting a quick video, frame it horizontally, Keller says. “Please, please … you have got to stop vertical video,” he says.

There’s a reason they keep chiding would-be contributors on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” to turn the iPhone sideways. If you don’t, ugly columns of black will frame your video so it fits the YouTube screen.

2. Use external microphones.

Want to shoot a quick video on your smartphone at a trade show? Great! Your staff will love the indistinct audio of your subject, the mumbling of the crowd, and the droning of the air conditioner.

Alternatively, buy a cheap external mic and create a video that viewers don’t click away from in annoyance. With a mic, the smartphone becomes a powerful video tool, Keller says.

3. Get the right accessories.

Keller discusses numerous handy gadgets, such as cables or an LED fill light for smartphones. Most are pretty cheap. In response to an email, he also sent me a mobile video shopping list of apps and accessories he recommends. Plus, he maintains a Pinterest board listing new finds.

4. Make your life easier with apps.

The app FiLMiC Pro enables you to adjust focus, manage light balance, and do color corrections. The app includes a “rule-of-thirds” grid that helps you frame your subject in the left or right third of the screen, as photographers often do.

Animoto enables you to combine still photos with music in a dynamic way, Tosolini says. The app creates an animation of the flipping stills that matches the rhythm of the music you choose.

This could help, for instance, if “you want to create a report out of your internal event, but you didn’t shoot any video,” Tosolini says.

Want to broadcast a live event to your Facebook pals? Check out Broadcast For Friends, another free app. Demonstrating for his audience, Tosolini says, “It’s a way to live-stream whatever is happening here to your Facebook friends.”

5. Edit on your iPad or iPhone.

At times you may need to do a serious edit from your desktop or laptop computer. But it’s also easy to quickly edit from your iPad or iPhone with the help of Pinnacle Studio, Keller says.

Drag in footage of that conference on your iPad. Trim it. Drop in a photo of your dog. Add background music. The apps make it easy.

In his email, Keller also mentioned a new editing app in the ever-changing field: “The one with the most promise is the paid version of Touch Edit.”

6. Collaborate through video.

Want your entire team around the country to get together for a meeting? Try Team Viewer, Tosolini says.

The presenter can show his or her tablet screen, create a demo, add slides, and broadcast voice to meeting participants.

Want to see each others’ faces? How about a Google+ Hangout? You get a “face-to-face meeting, synchronous, happens in real time,” Tosolini says.

Want to send a video memo from the Costa Rican beach where you’re vacationing and tell those no-account staffers not to slack off when you’re away? Remind them who’s boss via Eyejot—an app that lets you send video memos or make business cards.

7. Use video for ‘PR triage.’

A power company equipped its marketing team with Apple devices, Keller says, and communicators found a quick way to get the word out when they most needed to, video-recording power crews after ice storms or disasters.

“They cut simple sequences together on their phones and then uploaded it to their channel, so that they had content on their site ahead of the news cycle,” Keller says.

8. Learn how to tell a story

Apps and equipment aren’t enough. Your video must be concise and clear, with a call to action. It must have an emotional storyline, a prepared subject and suitable setting. You must have proper technical setup: lighting, sound, and equipment.


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