2 tips for professional #highered video by Mike Richwalsky from JCU

January 6th, 2011 Karine Joly 6 Comments

Like a Pro Webinar SeriesVideo is a lot of work.

As Susan Evans, director of Creative Services at William & Mary College, noted in a blog post earlier this week, great video isn’t as easy to produce as it looks.

Susan has even decided to wait to get a videographer on her team before doing another video. [CORRECTION: looks like I misunderstood Susan’s conclusions as she mentioned in this comment, that she and her team will keep doing it]

I don’t, and won’t ever, do video […]
Lights, camera, action? Just shoot me.

Yet, you (or your team) might be asked to shoot a “quick” video.

So if you don’t want to shoot yourself (Susan, seriously, don’t), it doesn’t hurt to learn a few tips and tricks from a pro – at least until you get your dedicated videographer (Budget? What budget? ;-)

That’s why I asked Mike Richwalsky from John Carroll University (who used to work at Allegheny College) to share what he has learned for the past 10 years while working on many campus videos.

Mike will present a webinar about professional campus videos that is part of our upcoming series Professional Photos, Videos and Live Streaming 101 (Jan 18-20, 2011)

Mike – who anyway can’t say no to me – was also kind enough to answer the following questions about campus videos.

1) How long have you been doing video?

I’ve been doing video in various forms for nearly 10 years, whether it was commercials at an ad agency to short and long form videos in higher ed.

2) Why does it make sense to incorporate video in higher ed content?

I think that video is an important part of a college or university’s marketing arsenal. It gives us the opportunity to really *show* our campuses, people, and tell our stories very effectively. I think video is also a medium that crosses many demographics, and its something that everyone from older alums to prospective students can access and get something out of.

3) In your opinion, what is the top reason for poor quality when it comes to video?

I think there’s a few reasons for poor quality. First, I think its lack of planning. If the extent of your pre-production is grabbing the camera on the way out the door, you’re not going to get great video. Spend some time planning not just where and who you’re going to shoot, but *why* you’re shooting something. What is the story you’re trying to tell? Thinking that through will really make a difference in the quality. Second, I think many videos struggle because of the lack of good equipment. I think videos being put out under the name of the institution should be as high quality as possible. You can get a good HD setup for under $1,000, including audio. We picked up a Canon DSLR this summer for $800 and have been shooting great looking video on it (1080p, 24fps) ever since.

4) You will share many professional tips and tricks during your webinar, but can you give us 2 to 3 don’ts to assure professional videos?

  • Don’t make your video too long

    There’s no magic formula, but a video that goes on 5 or 6 minutes will rarely get watched all the way to the end. I asked in a blog post what people found to be the right length of time for a video, and 37% of respondents said 2 minutes. Basically, the shorter the better.

  • Don’t rely on your camera’s built in microphone

    Nothing gets me to click off a video faster than bad audio. If you aren’t using some sort of microphone when you’re interviewing someone on camera, stop what you’re doing and get one. Many cameras have inputs that take an external mic, and it makes all the difference in the world for your video. Lavaliere mics, a fancy term for a clip on mic that someone wears, are inexpensive and will give you great sound.

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