October 25, 2012

How to create high-quality Web video interviews

Creative Commons image on Flickr by Reflection Films

5 steps to get you soaring on Skype or Google Hangout

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, video producers.

Guest post by Derek Singleton
Software Advice

These days, recording a professional-looking Web video interview is becoming easier and cheaper. However, it’s still easy to get things like lighting, studio set-up and the background wrong.

It’s now easier than ever to conduct video interviews or conversations over Skype or Google Hangout. If you want to interview a thought leader in your sector, or if you want to have your executive director or CEO sit down for an Internet interview, take the right steps to make it look good.

You have a lot of software options. For Skype, the Evaer Skype video recorder and Pamela for Skype both work on PCs and ecamm‘s Call Recorder for Skype is a good option for Macs. VIDBlaster is another solid choice. With Google Hangout, every Hangout On Air is automatically saved to your YouTube account.

At Software Advice we shoot a lot of Web video, and we wanted to share tips we’ve learned from trial and error along the way.

Here are five key areas to focus on to help you create great Web videos. Continue reading

September 25, 2012

What to consider when investing in video

Hardware & software for telling your organization’s story through video

This is the first of a three-part series on nonprofits’ use of video. Also see:
• Part 2: 7 top video editing tools for nonprofits
• Part 3: Video for your cause: Getting giddy over Viddy

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, video producers.

Guest post by Stacy Laiderman
Senior Producer, See3 Communications

I‘m going to let you in on a little secret: Producing video in-house at your organization isn’t as scary as it sounds. More than ever before, organizations are using video as their primary vehicle for communicating their issues and telling the stories of their cause while the tech becomes easier for laymen to use. That’s not to say that you don’t need at least one professionally produced video. You do.

But organizations rarely have the budgets to hire pros to create every piece of video content. Creating your second-tier video content in-house is within reach. First, you need to know how to navigate the galaxy of good, bad and in-between products that is the video marketplace.

Here’s a roundup of gear and other things to think about from a seasoned producer’s point of view. Continue reading

August 6, 2012

Storytelling tips from the experts at Pixar

Is this the chewiest infographic you’ve seen this week?

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

Lauren MajorStorytelling is often undervalued by nonprofits but is a key ingredient to furthering their mission and enhancing their fundraising efforts. ”Pixar’s 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling” was compiled by PB&J Publishing based upon tweets by Emma Coats, an expert storyboard artist at Pixar.

As we’ve written about regularly on Socialbrite, your nonprofit or organization has a story to tell, and it starts with effective storytelling techniques.

Below the infographic you’ll find the text version. Continue reading

June 8, 2012

Get prepared before designing a content strategy

Featured in PhotoShelter’s Photography Blog Handbook

Lauren MajorWe were thrilled to be profiled in PhotoShelter’s latest handbook as an expert on Blogging for Storytelling and Advocacy. PhotoShelter is the leader in portfolio websites and business tools for professional photographers.

This useful guide to blogging is a free download on their website.

A few takeaways related to the guide:

Get educated. If you are not comfortable with social media or blogging, take a class, hire a consultant, or read an online tutorial. You should understand what blogging can do for you before you even start designing a content strategy.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Determine exactly  who your audience is and the best way to reach them (where they hang out online). If you try to do too much, you may end up with much less traction.

Build a robust RSS feed of the blogs you admire, your competition, and your prospects and clients. This will not only help you keep up with news and trends, it can also be a great resource for blog topics.

April 13, 2012

10 secrets to video storytelling success


“Protect Our Defenders,” winner of the DoGooder Nonprofit Video Award among small organizations.

At NTC, expert advice on best practices in telling your nonprofit’s story

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, Web publishers, educators, video producers, storytellers.

JD LasicaIf there was one buzzword at last week’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, it was storytelling. On Wednesday Debra Askanse wrote about our Future of Storytelling panel. And there were at least two or three other sessions about nonprofit storytelling.

One of the most informative was the session “Sight, Sound, and Motion: Video Storytelling and Using Video for Advanced Messaging” put on by Michael Hoffman and Danny Alpert of See3 Communications, which works with nonprofit clients to create compelling video stories.

Michael and Danny offered these tips on how to make your visual story work — and I’ll second all of these recommendations, since I know a little about video production.

Choose one message

1Here’s one of the biggest shortcomings of far too many videos. Settle on a single message — not three, not two. One. You don’t need to cram your organization’s entire message into a single video. Be selective. The more messages you include, the more muddled it becomes. Marketing folks have lived by this rule for decades.

Decide who you’re trying to reach

2You’re creating your video for a reason, right? It’s not to communicate to your staff. Or even to the public. “There’s no such thing as the general public,” Michael said. Target your audience and speak to them. Frame the story in a way that touches and appeals to those people.

Decide what you want them to do

3After you grab people’s attention, what is your call to action? You want to gently but forcefully direct viewers to take a specific action on your behalf. “How realistic is the ask?” Michael said. He pointed to YouTube annotations (see our article How to effectively use calls to action in nonprofit videos) as a great, underutilized mechanism to make your call to action crystal clear — in text form that pops up during the video. “Every one of you should be using annotations in your video in some way.”

One video with a great call to action — Protect Our Defenders (shown at top, with screen grab immediately above) — won this year’s Nonprofit Video Award in the small organization category for best use of video for the social good. At the end of the 1:45 video you’ll see a way to take immediate action, transporting viewers to the petition page or letting them share it on Facebook or Twitter. (This gets a little technical: You add 15 to 20 seconds at the end of the video with these “buttons” hot-linked to your pages; only certain kinds of software can pull this off.) Continue reading

March 16, 2012

Come to the TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge

“Mountaintop Library Expands Horizons,” by Room to Read

JD LasicaIf you’re in the Bay Area, join me in 12 days at the 3rd Annual TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge. I was at last year’s event — where Room to Read grabbed top honors for the digital story above — and may hand out an award or two this year.

This year’s contest received 250 submissions from all over the globe, showing a flowering of talent and creativity. Check out the full playlist of videos on YouTube and gallery of photo sets on Flickr.

What: TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge Awards & Screening Party
When: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 7 p.m. Pacific
In person: TechSoup Headquarters, 525 Brannan St., San Francisco
Online: Live-streamed on Facebook and in Second Life
Hashtag on Twitter: #tsdigs
RSVP today!

In person and online

The ceremony is being billed as a “red carpet” event! Watch the live stream if you can’t be there in person. Winners, chosen by a panel of expert judges and the community, will receive products from TechSoup’s donor partners Cisco, Adobe, Flickr Citrix, Sliderocket, Blazon,SurveyMonkey and more.

You’ll also get to meet some of the expert judges, see dozens of the best videos and photo stories, and connect with fellow digital storytellers. Light refreshments will be provided. Hope to see you there!