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Stacy Laiderman 7 min read

5 DIY Video Tips

See3 Communications is Taking Over Frogloop For the Week.

Check out our posts everyday on everything video. Today begins Day #1 of Video Week on Care2's Frogloop. We've started things off with "5 DIY Video Tips", written by our Producer, Stacy Laiderman. Over the week, we'll be covering all types of topics, including: why we believe in video, 11 YouTube features you may not know about, how to drive traffic to your video, and a video interview with a special guest.

If there's something you want to see, email us and we'll do our best to include it.

We love watching organizations take video into their own hands. The beauty of online video is that people are more interested in compelling content and stories than fancy camerawork. Pretty pictures can go a long way, but they’re not always necessary.

For those organizations jumping into video on their own, we’ve provided 5 ways to save money and do it right.

1. Plan Ahead

Equipment and software are not your only cost factors. Time, energy, and re-shooting all carry significant costs.

When scheduling a shoot, know what you need in advance and decide exactly what you want to capture. Even if you’re just documenting a live event, have a rough idea of what scenes and images you want to record. If you have these planned out in advance, then you won’t have to waste time going back and getting the footage right.

2. Choose the Right Camera for Your Needs

There are so many great cameras on the market today, but they’re not all going to be right for your organization. If you’re just shooting for the web, we recommend the Flip video camera. It’s cheap, portable, and perfect for online use. And nonprofits are eligible for good deals as part of the Flip Video Spotlight program.

If you’re looking for a solid, inexpensive hand-held, we like the Canon HV30. It allows for external mics and has high quality optics. If you do a lot of your own video and need to make a long-term investment, then go with what we use: the Sony EX3.

3. Get the Gear

Of course, making a video doesn’t end with the camera. There’s all the equipment that goes with it. Look for gear on Amazon.com or New Egg. Sign up for their alerts so you’ll be the first to know when something becomes available.

But also get creative. Instead of buying a tripod, use a table. Instead of buying professional lights, use the lighting around you and a couple of clamp lights from Home Depot.

Don’t skimp on the microphones, though! We’ve found that viewers are more willing to excuse poor visuals than poor audio. Good sound makes all the difference.

4. Take Advantage of Online Resources

For many people, Google is their #1 online resource. But for filmmakers and DIY video folks, try Lynda.com and Creative Cow for tutorials and training. For inexpensive music, try Music Bakery. For stock photos, try Fotolia. Check out Creative Commons, too—you might find quality photos that you can use as long as you attribute the source. (That's how we found the image for this blog post).

5. Create a Media Library

Get your calendar out and mark all the important events you want to capture on video. You may not have an immediate purpose for this footage, but it’s likely you will. If someone noteworthy visits your office, get the camera out and shoot a quick testimonial. If you’re on your way to a local rally, grab a still camera and take some pictures.

This article was written by Stacy Laiderman, the Coordinating Producer of See3 Communications a firm that provides interactive media and marketing to nonprofit organizations.

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