Mastering In-House Video Production for Independent Schools: A Comprehensive GuideJan 20, 2024
In the digital age, video has become an essential tool for independent schools to effectively connect with their community. In-house video production, even on a low budget, can significantly contribute to marketing efforts and support retention strategies. Having logged thousands of hours recording videos armed with only my trusty ring light, iPhone, Yeti mic, and two feet, I've navigated the ups and downs and honed a special recipe for success.
Whether you are reaching out to prospective families, engaging with current ones, or connecting emotionally with donors, here are some tried-and-true tips and tools to enhance your in-house video production.
Supplies You'll Need:
- Ring Light
- Yeti Microphone
- iPhone (or any other smartphone with a decent camera)
- Step Stool (can double as a microphone holder)
- Tripod (for camera or use your ring light holder)
Note: A whiteboard for bullet points can be used, but it should be placed above and behind the camera to avoid distracting the speaker.
Tips for Effective In-House Video Production:
- Utilize Natural Light:
- Whenever possible, shoot videos outside with natural light to enhance visual appeal.
- Optimal Indoor Setup:
- If shooting indoors, ensure you face both the ring light and a window. Avoid putting the window behind you.
- Mind the Surroundings:
- Maintain an organized and reflective background that aligns with your school's image. For outdoor shots, choose beautiful and quiet locations.
- Start and Stop Between Takes:
- Limit the need for video editing by starting and stopping the recording between takes. This helps maintain a natural flow.
- Camera and Dot Focus:
- Instruct individuals to look at the phone's camera, specifically at the dot, to create an engaging and friendly visual connection.
- Pairing Uncomfortable Speakers:
- Pair less comfortable speakers with those who are more at ease, fostering a conversational dynamic during joint sessions.
- Encourage Gestures and Engagement:
- Prompt speakers to use hand gestures and varied vocal tones to maintain audience engagement.
- Share Questions in Advance:
- Provide speakers with the questions in advance to ensure they feel prepared and confident.
- Express Gratitude:
- Thank participants for their time, effort, and contribution. Consider sending a personalized thank-you card.
What Not to Do:
- Avoid Reading from Scripts:
- Encourage speakers to speak from the heart, avoiding scripted content that may sound rehearsed.
- Minimal Editing:
- Small schools may not have the time for extensive editing. Shoot efficiently to minimize the need for post-production work.
- Set Editing Expectations:
- Inform participants in advance that minimal editing will be done, emphasizing the importance of starting and stopping between takes.
- Automatically removes filler words like "umms" from audio recordings.
- Offers various editing software options for more advanced post-production needs.
- Useful for adding text, graphics, and minor enhancements to your videos.
How to Use Your Videos:
- Share on social media platforms.
- Incorporate into email sequences for admissions, open houses, and more.
- Utilize in weekly newsletters to engage with current parents and prospective families.
- Start drip campaigns for school admissions.
- Upload to your school's YouTube channel with detailed descriptions for improved SEO.
- Feature on your school's website to showcase authentic and engaging content.
- Coordinate during faculty in-service days.
- Use a mandatory sign-up system for convenient slots before and after school, and during lunch.
- Schedule during faculty meetings, professional development days, and other times when staff may be on campus.
Common Video Ideas:
- Personal reflections on why individuals love the school.
- Favorite lessons or projects shared by teachers.
- Seasonal videos about the best times of the year.
- Theme-specific videos to highlight school values.
- Interviews with faculty, staff, students, and parents.
Other Video Options:
- Consider alternative video platforms like Vidyard and Loom.
- Embed videos in emails for more personalized communication.
Mastering in-house video production for independent schools is about authenticity, simplicity, and efficient planning. By following these tips and utilizing the recommended tools, your school can create compelling videos that resonate with your community, enhance marketing efforts, and support retention strategies. Whether capturing the excitement of a new school year or expressing gratitude to constituents, in-house videos can be a powerful tool in your communication arsenal.
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