The social media toolkit for sport communicators is intended to help B.C. sport organizations, clubs and other sport-related organizations navigate the confusing and rapidly evolving word of social media.
A sport communicator’s guide to making videos on a budget
Video is an excellent way to share the intensity, speed, and skill of your sport via social media. Unfortunately, many sports organizations struggle to reap the rewards of this highly shareable medium because of budgetary concerns. Thanks to advances in video technology, however, video production is more accessible than ever. In this module, we’ll learn how to make high-quality videos without a blockbuster budget.
In Module 35, you fill find:
- Start with an idea
- Look for inspiration
- Unleash your inner “guerrilla"
- Make a plan
- Assemble Your Gear
- Call in reinforcements
- Keep it simple
- Lighten up
- Make a sound decision
- Use Creative Commons music
- Use free or low-cost video editing software
Unless you’re Michael Bay, even the flashiest special effects won’t compensate for an uninspired or cliché idea. Without a unique angle or “hook,” your video might struggle to gain the number of views needed to justify your time investment.
To start brainstorming, think of some of the videos you’ve enjoyed recently. Chances are that they start with a simple but creative concept that can be described in one sentence, such as “hamster eats a tiny burrito” or “monkey rides backwards on a baby pig.” Sometimes, a simple twist on a classic video type is all that’s needed to elevate your video’s concept. For example, at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Australian Paralympic Committee reinvigorated the classic athlete interview by dressing up all athletes in animal-themed onesies for their “One-On-Onesie” series.
When coming up with your idea, ask yourself:
- Who is my target audience?
- What is the goal of this video?
- What tone do I want my video to have? Will it be funny? Thought-provoking? Inspirational?
- What story am I trying to tell?
- How could I tell this story in a new way?
- Many Internet marketing videos contain a stunt or public display. How could I bring my sport to the public in an unconventional or interesting way?
- How will I make my point? Will I use emotion, logic or a combination of both?
Sites like The Inspiration Room or Trend Hunter are a treasure trove of well-produced videos. When you find a video that inspires you, make sure to note what elements drew you to it. Was it the use of images? The music? The emotional response it produced?
You may never have the budget to produce professional video, so why not make your challenge your strength? Guerrilla filmmaking embraces its low-budget style and goes for a gritty, authentic feel. In fact, guerrilla marketing is so popular on social media that big companies pay thousands of dollars to create videos that look like they were filmed on iPhones.
You might think that planning out your video would stifle creativity, but the opposite is actually true. Even if your concept relies on improvisation, having a clear storyboard will allow you to get the most out of your filming time and lead to a better finished product. To make a storyboard, try using free software like Logline or Amazon Storyteller.
Once you’ve created a cohesive storyboard or script, consider planning the following elements:
- Budget: do you need to rent or buy any equipment? Do you need to hire a crew or a graphic designer?
- Equipment list: See #5 below.
- Shot list: What shots do you need to make your video a success? For example, if you were filming a basketball video, you might want a shot of someone scoring a three-pointer, a coach yelling, fans cheering in the stands, and teammates high-fiving. Plan your shot list in advance and you won’t miss anything when the cameras are rolling.
- Shooting schedule: How long will it take to film your video?
- Location list: Your primary shooting location may be your field of play, but consider if you need any secondary shooting locations such as a quiet spot for video interviews.
While it’s possible to film very good videos with just a smartphone, it goes without saying that quality video equipment will improve the quality of your video…as long as you know how to use it. Many sports organizations already own a video camera or GoPro for scouting or video analysis and so have the basic tools to get started, but may need additional equipment to improve the audio and lighting. Click here for a list of a basic filmmaking gear.
If you don’t have the budget to buy high-tech video equipment and you want to increase you production value, consider renting it. Most cities have collaborative video editing organizations or Maker Labs that offer equipment rental to organizations and individuals working on a small budget. In Vancouver, check out VIVO Media Arts Centre. If you choose to rent equipment, make sure that you know how to use it and that it will work with your video editing software. It would be a shame to rent an expensive camera and film in high definition only to discover that your video editing software doesn’t accept the camera’s format or that the file sizes are so big that they make your laptop crash.
If renting equipment is not an option, you can also follow Internet tutorials to make everything from a green screen to a shoulder rig for under $20. Lifehacker has some excellent examples.
If camera specs and filmmaker kits are making your head spin, why not get some help? When you factor in the human resources it takes to learn video editing software and filming techniques, you might get a greater return on investment by contracting out your video production. Many media agencies offer non-profit or discount rates. Film students looking to expand their portfolio are also a valuable resource. Remember: your organization is filled with talented people. Put out a call for volunteers in your newsletter or via social media and you might be surprised by who answers.
Studies show that the most popular videos are between two and three minutes long and rely on simple concepts. If you can’t describe your video in a sentence or less, consider editing your storyboard.
Video experts agree that you can dramatically improve the image quality of low-budget video equipment with good lighting. In fact, it’s much easier to get the lighting right during filming than it is to correct it during editing. Here’s a great tutorial on inexpensive lighting fixes.
Because many sports videos are filmed in noisy gyms, sound is often a challenge. Rent or invest in a lav mic or a shotgun mic and make sure to monitor the audio levels as you film.
Music is a great way to inject energy into your video, but you have to have permission to use it. No matter how tempting it is to bust out “Eye of the Tiger” for your inspirational video, err on the side of caution by finding Creative Commons music. Creative Commons is a system of licenses that allow artists to control the rights to their material. Many will provide their music free of charge in exchange for credit and extra exposure. Make sure to follow the license of the Creative Commons music to the letter and to give credit to the artist.
If your organization is a non-profit, you may be eligible to receive heavily discounted software, including the Adobe Creative Suite, from TechSoup. Many organizations also handle basic video editing by using Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Some organizations also use Sony Movie Studio Platinum, which is only $80.
Got a question about video editing? Have a tip that isn’t listed in this module? Get in the conversation by tweeting @ViaSportBC or @arley_mcneney, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Thank you to all of the videographers at the Canadian Paralympic Committee Media Summit and Toronto 2015 Orientation Seminar who provided their knowledge and expertise to this module.
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