Quick Tips: Good content deserves good delivery

I had the pleasure of stumbling across a nice take on creativity from Mr. Preston Trombley, a musician and artist and Toastmaster.  His 7 minutes on Beethoven, Einstein and You is a great Monday morning pick me up.

So why am I linking and not embedding?  Well, the video quality is unfortunate.  Shaky cam, shot vertically, and while Mr. Trombley uses the room effectively, the videographer hasn’t really planned for that, so there’s a lot of quick pans to keep him in frame.  It’s bad enough that I feel it needs a warning (it may make you nauseated; feel free to just listen to it instead of watching), and also a disclaimer – that I know it’s terrible production quality, but I think the content is worth a listen anyway.

Two things to take from this: first, you have it in you to be a more creative person…but also – be sure that you’re not obscuring whatever messages you have for the world by not taking the time to master the basics of new technologies as they whiz by us.  

The cellphones on our cameras are better than what mid-level professionals were using 20 years ago.  That means you probably SHOULD be thinking of taking videos and photos for professional and organizational use.  For those of you in fundraising, you know that stories are a great way to motivate new supporters, and you know that videos can be very effective…but they tend to be underused because they’re intimidating.  For those of you in other fields, I’m sure there are ways you can creatively use video to distinguish yourself as well.  Here’s how to distinguish yourself by impressing your audience, rather than leaving them with a peculiar taste of nonconformity…and nonconformity is not a virtue, it’s a tool.  Comes in “ooh, a maverick” and “hmmm, that’s odd” varieties.  You aren’t looking to ever be the latter.

The guys at Gizmodo give an excellent primer on how to record cellphone video reasonably well.  Watch their presentation and read their article.  Take notes.  Practice.

Also, take into account two other positional things to make sure your clips are usable without intensive editing:

  • Where are you going to be filming?  If it’s a 7 minute presentational talk, make sure you can see the majority of the area where your speaker will be, so that you avoid the need to constantly chase him/her.  Maybe you want part of the audience in the frame, maybe you have features you want to capture (sponsor signs, for instance; cool architectural features that identify your organization; etc.).  Think just a little bit like a cinematographer.
  • Be a little mindful of sound.  It’s very easy to make a video virtually unusable if you’ve got audience members chatting over the cute pre-teen string quartet you’re trying to film.  Or if you talk.  Or…well, there are tons of ways for sound capture to go wrong.  Do your best.

And one more quick tip – this time for static photography.  If you have an iPhone, you can use your headphones as a trigger for your camera…meaning that you can position your camera and take shots without needing to touch the screen.

We have amazing technology these days.  Hiring a great photographer and/or filmmaker for important events or publications is still a good idea…but you should also be supplementing, period.  With just a little bit of self-training, there’s a ton of upside potential to having more usable photos and videos for your organization.

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