Video is one of the most engaging ways of telling your charity’s story online. Creating your own need not be a daunting prospect – each one only needs to be two or three minutes long and your audience won’t be expecting a small charity to produce something very polished and slick.
What equipment do you need?
Most digital cameras shoot video these days but a small camcorder is still a worthwhile investment. You can pick up a cheap Flipcam or Minicam for about £60 that will do the job fine. It’s a good idea to get a cheap tripod as well. Personally, I wouldn’t bother with High Definition (HD) videos. The cameras are more expensive and the HD format is harder to work with. You’ll need a much more powerful computer to edit the footage and if you’re just using the video online and for presentations then HD is a bit of overkill.
It is often the audio quality that is the stumbling block – especially if your film includes interviews with people. If you can get a camcorder with a socket to plug an external microphone in then that can make a big difference.
Once you’ve shot your video you’ll need package it together – even if that’s just trimming the beginning and end and adding a title. You might well need some music – try doing a Google search for royalty free music, or get some loops and backing tracks from somewhere like Audiojungle.
Windows comes packaged with Windows Movie Maker. It’s fine for really basic edit jobs and uploading to YouTube. Once you try doing some basic transitions and captions you’ll soon see how limited your options with Movie Maker are though. If you own a Mac then you’ll find iMovie to be much better.
PC owners especially will probably find that you need to buy some video editing software. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get something that will do the trick.
The two best options are Sony Vegas Platinum or Adobe Premier Elements – both of which are under fifty quid. You can download a free trial of both to try them out (if you decide to buy them though, they’re cheaper to buy from Amazon than to download from their respective sites).
For Mac owners – Final Cut Pro costs about £100 and it is the software that lots of the professionals use.
All of these editors have quite a steep learning curve and aren’t particularly intuitive for newbie users. Work your way through the YouTube tutorials and be prepared for some frustration. I’ve tried them both and found the Sony one to be best.
YouTube Nonprofits Channels
As part of its Nonprofits programme, Google allows charities to regster for a Nonprofit YouTube Channel. This means that you can add overlays to the videos you upload. The overlays are basically your own ‘adverts’ that are at the bottom of the video. Without these, YouTube might insert other people’s ads on your videos. (Note that your overlays won’t show if you have used some music in your video that YouTube recognises and can link to iTunes).