A good story is the most important part of a video. First and foremost, you want to tell a compelling story. Production quality doesn’t matter nearly as much as the story you are telling, so focus on getting a complete and coherent story rather than having Hollywood-perfect lighting and sound.
Good production helps you tell a good story. That being said, however, good production can help you tell a story, or at least not distract from the story. Good sound is important – what’s the point of an excellent interview if it’s hard to hear and understand? Good light is important as well, because what’s the point of a good shot if the audience can’t tell what they’re looking at? All parts of a video should support the story you’re trying to tell – from the lighting to the music to the font you use in the titles.
Fortunately, you’ll find a lot of resources on this page to help you both tell a good story and figure out some of the production elements.
Elements of a good story:
Decide whether you think interviews will help in telling your story, and who will be best in expressing that story. The leader of your group or organization? Someone who has been helped by your group? Both?
It helps to have an idea of how much interview material you want to have in your video. Interviews, if they are good and informative, can serve as much of your video’s “voice”, and have the benefit of being information straight out of the mouths of those who know the subject best, and of making the video a little more personal. On the other hand, relying mostly on your own written and recorded narration gives you a lot of control over flow, timing and word choice. Both styles can be effective; here are some examples of videos that use narration and interviews in varying amounts:
Of course, if you plan to use a lot of interview material and yet don't end up with the amount of good material you need, you can always go back and cover the gaps with your own written and recorded narration.
And remember, you should get a signed release form from your interview subjects. A sample form is linked below.
More information on interviews:
Consider the images you might need in order to illustrate what your video says. In some cases, this might mean going back out for photos and footage after you record your interviews and have written your script, so that you have an idea of what you need images of. However, make sure to research and gather all the photos and footage that have previously been shot of your subject so you know what you already have.
Once you’ve made your decisions on what you need to tell your story and looked at what you already have available, it’s time to get out there and record what you need! Keep in mind that, when editing, it’s best to have a variety of kinds of images to work with. Be sure to get both wide shots and closeups of buildings, signs, people and, in some cases, surroundings (if your agency relates to a particular part of town, a college campus, etc.). Get several different angles of the same thing to give yourself lots of options once you start editing.
Here are a few tips to help you get good footage:
More production resources:
Editing a video is a bit of an organic experience, meaning that there’s no right or wrong way to do it, and different elements often develop simultaneously, not in sequence. However, here is a general process that you can follow in creating videos: