September 27, 2011

Techniques to add dazzle to your advocacy video

  • Buffer
  • Buffer

Matanya’s Hope tells stories of Kenyan schoolchildren through photos & video

Lauren MajorMultimedia storytelling can be an incredibly powerful tool for your organization to attract funders, motivate volunteers and demonstrate the power of your message.

Our friends at Matanya’s Hope asked us to create a visual story for their nonprofit by seamlessly blending photos and video footage that they have captured over the past several years with original interviews, music and graphics we developed.

Founded in 2005 by Illinois native Michelle Stark, Matanya’s Hope is a nonprofit dedicated to educating children in Kenya. Last summer I accompanied Michelle to Matanya Primary School and saw the destitution these children and their families face: severe poverty, hunger, lack of clothing. And I realized why Michelle is dedicating her life to this cause.

For nonprofits and other organizations looking to capture their stories through powerful imagery, here are some simple tips for creating professional-looking video:

  • Use “b-roll” (stills & video)
  • Incorporate stock music
  • Use narration or background sounds
How to incorporate b-roll

By using B-roll – still photographs and short video clips referencing what the interviewees are talking about – you can make the video much more interesting than by solely using “talking heads” (straight interviews of people talking without any additional footage). As we are hearing Michelle talking about the children with “no shoes and torn and tattered clothing,” the still photographs visually reinforce what the interviewee is saying. B-roll also allows us to edit the interviews without a noticeable cut (“jump-cut”) in the action or picture on screen.

Use background music to add texture

Background music was also selected to set the mood of the video. Royalty-free music can be purchased online from a number of stock music websites for a modest charge. One of my favorites is Triple Scoop Music. There are also a slew of free sites offering rights-cleared music, generally using Creative Commons — see Socialbrite’s Free Music Directory.

For the Matanya’s Hope video, we licensed a song from a local Kenyan composer we discovered while we were there filming the video.

Narration and background sound round out the piece

Using natural, or ambient, sound captured while videotaping b-roll is another effective way to make the storytelling more compelling. Background sounds of children talking in a classroom help create a more natural, captivating video. Natural sounds can also be useful in making transitions or in reinforcing a point the speaker is making.

Next up: We’ll share our learnings on professional interviewing techniques.

And please make a donation to support Matanya’s Hope’s efforts to educate children in this region of Kenya. All net proceeds from the sale or leasing of photographs from the Matanya’s Hope gallery will go directly to the children of Kenya this charity supports.

Related on Socialbrite

• Online advocacy video best practices
How to find amazing, powerful stories for your nonprofit video
How nonprofits should be using visual storytelling
• 10 secrets to video storytelling successLauren Major is a visual storyteller who helps nonprofits, NGOs and small to mid-size businesses create and share their stories of social good and corporate social responsibility. She is a visual artist, consultant, producer and a partner in Socialbrite. Visit her profile page, see her Major Multimedia site and blog, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email