VIDEO PRODUCTION GUIDE FOR
ACTIVISTS AND CHANGEMAKERS
Here’s our take on making media,
for those out to change the world.
Your cause deserves the opportunity to shine.
To change minds, shape opinions, and inspire action, mission-driven organizations require a steady stream of innovative and effective messaging. Lucky for them, today’s persuasion media playbook includes more powerful tools than ever before. Chief amongst them is video. But what does it take to produce strategic video content that effectively moves the needle?
We’ve channeled our decades of experience working with associations, nonprofits, NGOs, and the agencies who support them into this Video Production Guide for Activists and Changemakers to help answer this question and help you advance your mission.
57% of viewers take action after watching a cause-driven organization’s video.
Source: Fast Company
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the need for innovative video production and distribution solutions in an increasingly virtual world. What’s the best way to handle shooting and post production at a time when in-person collaboration is limited? Here are three C’s to help you effectively deliver the quality you need, only this time, from a safe distance:
Working face-to-face is no longer a given.
How will you acquire footage to best serve your mission?
How will your team
create the best quality video?
How will you meet deadlines and budgets?
With the virus peaking and travel limited, filming on location might not be practical or even possible for your upcoming projects. Thankfully, today’s technology transports us around the world, connects us in an instant, and facilitates the capture of compelling content along the way. Creative professionals everywhere are responding to the pandemic with an extraordinary spirit of collaboration, determination, and innovation. Join them. Embrace your DIY spirit and take on a new approach to creating content. Empower your team members to contribute in new and different ways. Enlist partner organizations to handle production tasks on your behalf, and from afar. The key is to think differently about how you capture footage and generate assets for your edit. MeanGreen’s arsenal includes a “studio-in-a-box” that can be shipped across the country, enabling subjects to shoot their own footage. Instead of large film crews carrying multiple cases of high-end gear, the “studio-in-a-box” uses the latest iPhones and iPads, basic lighting, and audio gear for the reliable capture of high-resolution 4K footage. When paired with our cloud-based virtual control room, an internet connection, and a healthy dose of advanced planning, the “studio-in-a-box” is a highly effective remote traveling studio for contactless content capture.
In a typical year, your creative department may find itself bouncing between airports and studios in an endless pattern of travel-shoot-edit, travel-shoot-edit. Today, even as we reimagine everything, one thing hasn’t changed - the edit studio will be at the core of your creative process. Only this time, the studio is in the diaspora. In addition to being safer, live-streamed edit sessions and meetings are creating exciting new efficiencies and enhancements to the creative process. Frequent chats over video and text are keeping everyone aligned throughout the day and the lifespan of the project, and there have never been more tools for the job. From Meet to Zoom, SMS to Slack, and Box to Dropbox, there are many virtual platforms at your disposal. You’ll want to choose a standardized, centralized set of communication tools for your team. That way you’ll be free to communicate with your crew of content creators no matter where they’re located, to ensure your vision and goals are woven into the final product.
Witnessing your vision come to life through the creative process can be super satisfying, but facts is facts. You still need to meet deadlines, stick to your budget, support your boss, and satisfy your stakeholders. Planning each step of your production from the outset will minimize delays and maximize efficiencies. Choose your review team wisely. Consider who you want to be on the team and who you need to be there. Share what you will need from each of them and get key meetings and reviews on their calendars ASAP. For reviews, make sure everyone is aware of how quickly their feedback is needed. On the tech side, ensure your production team has local access to any high-resolution media assets, fonts, and video tools required to finish your deliverables from their home offices. This will help them meet your critical deadlines without the worry of disruptions caused by issues with internet speed. With so many eyes on screens these days, you may want to customize your content for multiple platforms and channels. Help your team plan ahead by providing a complete list of required deliverables when you kick off your project.
Poor communication - you know it when you see it. But by the time you’ve experienced its consequences, it may be too late to course-correct for the results you need. Since “good communication” means something different to every organization, it’s important to establish early what’s acceptable and what’s not going to fly.
To avoid a fourth-quarter kerfuffle, follow these five tips:
the ghosts of
What's one of the worst roadblocks for a successful video project? Realizing you didn’t communicate an important detail effectively and now your deadline is too close to make the changes you need. Establish communication best practices upfront and stick to them.
Err on the side of over communication
It’s hard to know what you can achieve together without first being honest about your budget. A realistic budget is critical for a successful project because it generally determines the time and talent available to achieve your goals. Conversations up front that include a target budget help distinguish the must-haves from the nice-to-haves, generate creative problem solving, and sharpen your purpose for making the video in the first place.
Know your budget, share your budget
The smartest orgs and agencies know how to work well in partnership with specialists to achieve their missions. What’s more valuable than one successful video project? Dozens of successful projects, built on an effective relationship with a creative team! Share resources for maximum collaboration. And get on the same page by having open, honest conversations about the question marks associated with the project.
When you establish a timeline with expected milestones, ensure that all stakeholders are involved in the buy-in. A plan only works if it’s agreed upon by all, and if everyone is accountable to that agreement. Answer any questions at the outset and continue strong communication throughout.
Plan your work and work your plan
One thing is certain: change happens. While you can’t see into the future, getting familiar with the nuts and bolts of your project from the start will prepare you for whatever comes next. Understanding how the costs of your production will be impacted by change requests, for example, will make you less likely to get blindsided or blow your budget unexpectedly.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
READY TO TALK?
Otherwise, take a break and watch some videos. Go ahead. You’ve earned it!
(Studies show that watching videos is 897% more fun than homework.)
Elevating a worthwhile cause means making a difference at every level. National nonprofits can use video to help their local affiliates effectively promote the cause in their community. The question is how to customize messaging for local branches and maintain national-level production value, all while sticking to a budget. Ultimately, it comes down to having the strategic foresight to get as much mileage out of your video as possible. With the potential to repurpose quality content, the payoff grows for each video. Not only is it important to find overlap between national and local content, but also across channels, whether that’s on TV or in bite-sized content for social. Optimize your video for use across multiple formats to ensure it reaches the widest audience and achieves the strongest results.
Inspire collective action nationally and locally.
Sometimes the best results come from taking creative risks, but when you’re working with limited time or budget, relying on a first-timer or freelancer can do more harm than good. The last thing you want while you’re in the midst of planning for an annual conference or a big fundraising push is to be wrangling all the moving parts of your productions. You’ll need a production partner with the resources and know-how to bring your organization’s mission to life, reliably and without a huge price tag.
Where to take risks.
And where not to.
Persuasion media creation isn’t easy. For your videos to make an impact, you’ll need a video team with the technical chops to translate your vision into something compelling.
At MeanGreen Media, we make videos that change the world; we can’t wait to help fine-tune your cause’s message, inspire collective action, and champion that message to the ends of the earth.
But we won’t just make your videos; we’ll be your partner in production. This means no outrageous prices, no one-size-fits-all approach, and no surprises. It’s time to bring your big ideas to life - reach out to our team today to get started.
the world together.
With decades of experience working with organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ACLU,
MoveOn and more, we’re here to perfect your
video content and help you do good in the world.
LET'S START YOUR VIDEO PROJECT
Actions speak louder than words.
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MeanGreen Media is a Washington, DC based strategy-driven creative video production company. We help candidates, causes, and brands tell stories through video. From strategy and creative development to production and post-production we develop, produce, and deliver high quality video content.
MeanGreen Media | 4400 MacArthur Blvd NW STE 300, Washington, DC 20007 | tel: 2026292401