August 9, 2011

16 tips for making video interviews come alive

nonprofit video


How your nonprofit can capture the best stories on camera

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

This is part 2 of a two-part series on video storytelling. Also see part 1:
How to find amazing, powerful stories for your nonprofit video

By Lindsay Oberst
Socialbrite staff

Lindsay OberstStories are a great tool, which nonprofits too often don’t take advantage of. Whether you’re running a campaign or conveying your organization’s mission by spotlighting the people you help, you should be thinking about how to find stories that move people to action.

Once you uncover those stories, it can be hard to get people to tell them on camera and to get the details needed to make an awesome, powerful story. But by following the suggestions below, you can come away with great visual stories that should resonate with your community. And remember, a photo collage with a voiceover can be just as effective as a traditional video.

The following are tips from people who regularly make videos for social good, including Chris Yates of Huddle Productions, Cara Jones of Storytellers for Good, Tritia Pocci, who has created strategy for marketing media content, and Danielle Bernstein of Clear Films.

1Understand your goal. Think about what you want to accomplish with the video: Enlighten people about a cause? Move them to action? Don’t muddy it up with multiple missions. Have a plan.

2“Research, research, research,” Pocci said. Take the time to be inspired, know your subject and figure out what will work in your video.

“Interviews can take on a life of their own, and sometimes that is where the magic happens.”
— Tritia Pocci

3Keep it really simple. “Start with a simple storyline, get clear about the message you want to communicate and visualize the most concise way to convey this message through an interview beforehand,” Pocci said.

4 Don’t bring notes to the video session. This will help the person on camera feel more at ease and will cut down on distractions. “Subconsciously they’ll think they’re being interviewed and they’ll clam up,” Yates said. So just memorize a few key points that you want to cover. Adds Pocci: “Interviews can take on a life of their own, and sometimes that is where the magic happens.”

nonprofit video storytelling

5Don’t have the person look directly at the camera if your subject will be sitting down. Place yourself to the left or right and have them look at you. This will help them feel more comfortable as they talk.

6Work with only a two-person crew: a videographer and an interviewer. “I generally start these conversations while the videographer is setting up and just have him or her tap me on the shoulder when the camera is rolling,” Jones said. But remember: You can be your own crew, too, and do a one-on-one interview.

7Use people who want to be on camera. “They are generally the most articulate and comfortable,” Jones said. Continue reading