1.You can spread the word about your nonprofit simply by uploading a video regarding your message, goals, and story to social media and your website. Videos can go viral, which means more exposure for you.
2. Videos can help explain your mission and needs.
3. Trustworthy messages delivered in a video helps to establish credibility. People who view videos are more likely to understand the significance of your nonprofit if they see it rather than hearing about it.
4. People are drawn to stories. Nonprofits are full of stories. You can have a video showcasing how your organization started, or who benefits from your organization. The sky is the limit for nonprofits regarding stories that can be told.
5. Video can be creative and fun. You are not only sharing your message verbally but your adding visuals. These two combinations go a long way.
6. Testimonials are a very powerful too. You can choose community members who have truly benefited from your organization. Testimonials give your organization trustworthiness. There is something very special about hearing someone rave about how they received help when they needed it.
Here are a few written testimonials I have received for producing videos for nonprofits:
" The talent and insight displayed within our organizational video is outstanding. We love how Mr. Cook was able to flawlessly connect our heart directly to the vision and mission of Breaking the Chains! We are in awe of your artistic creativity and cannot wait to work together again on future projects. GREAT JOB!"
-Debra Woods, Co-founder Breaking The Chains
"Working with Jeff was a pleasure. Being that our films took place in an elementary school setting, I appreciated his patience and ability to work well with children, and really, people of all ages. The shots he obtained were of a very high quality and led to the creation of some beautiful short films about our organization and the work we do here in the US."
-Kacie Renfro, Sponsorship Community Specialist, US Programs, Save the Children
"We hired Jeff to film and edit a promo video for our campus outreach programs, and Jeff significantly surpassed our expectations. Jeff's first draft was great, and he was quick to make little changes to improve for the final version. Jeff was very professional and a joy to work with. We would absolutely hire Jeff again, and I couldn't recommend him or his work higher."
-Josh Brahm, Right to Life of Central California
Who are the key interviewees? How many do you actually need to interview? Can you interview all key players in one day?
Where will the interviews take place? If outside, will you be far enough from unwanted noises such as: vehicle traffic, loud individuals, birds chirping. Also, if you plan on using a shotgun microphone you’ll want to use a blimp. Using a blimp will damping the sound of wind.
If you plan on interviewing in a room, are there any windows that may cause issues, such as glares or unwanted light? How many lights do you want to use for the interview? Is the space large enough for all your lights and gear? Do you plan on using a lavalier microphone or a boom mic? If you plan on using a boom mic, you’ll need space to place either a C stand or a microphone tripod. Using the correct boom mic will also help reject echo sounds entering the mic during dialogue (hard surfaces contribute to this).
Are your interviewees dark skinned or light or both? You may need to add gels to your lights for different skin tones. Use 3200k for light skinned individuals, and 5500K for dark skinned individuals. If you use 5500k (daylight blue) light on a light skinned person, they may appear to look ill or sick. Warm the lights up by using a 3200k bulb. If you are using 5500k lights, just put a 3200k CTO gel in front of the light to warm the light. If your interviewee is dark skinned, they are better suited with a 5500k light.
What questions will you ask? Know what info you want from your interviews.
If you do not have the ability to light your scene or talent with natural sunlight, you will be forced to use LED, florescent, or tungsten (hot) lights. Which ones should you choose? In this article I will be talking about LEDs and tungsten lights. They both have great benefits and drawbacks.
Led is now a common type of light. They are light weight, energy efficient, and most importantly they are not hot. LED lights can come in a few varieties: 5600k (daylight) 3200k (tungsten) or both. If you are confused about what tungsten lights are, you have them in your home. They are the lights in your lamps, ceiling fans, and other home lights.
Advantages of LED
They use battery power
They do not get hot
Disadvantages of LED
They are not too bright
Light is not easy to control
Not 100 CRI
Many are plastic
Many videographers now choose to use LED lights because they are quick to setup, the lights themselves can last a very long time some 50,000 hours, and because they are so versatile when having to match color temperature. For instance, say you are in a room with some daylight shining through a window. Your talent will be sitting on a couch and there are some tungsten lights located above them on the ceiling. You could dial in your bicolor LEDs to match the overall color temperature of the room. This is very convenient, because you will not need to add CTB (blue gels) to your lights in order to match the color of the sun shining through the window. We also need to remember that there are tungsten lights above, so even if we needed to add blue gels, we would then need to turn off the tungsten lights. See how wonderful LED lights are! They are affordable now, but just because they are affordable does not mean they will yield top notch color. Many of the affordable LEDs on the market cast a greenish hue. CRI, or color rendering index measures the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. See, sunlight and halogen (tungsten) have 100 CRI score. This means they represent all the colors evenly in the spectrum.
LED lights have varying CRI scores. Some lights have a 75 CRI and others are 95 CRI. If you choose to use LED lights for your video production you’ll need to add gels to your lights to correct the CRI, or you can color correct your video in post-production. Many of the LED lights are sold as panels. You get a large light source that shines everywhere. There is really no way to control the light. You could add light modifiers to limit the light shining to the left or the right, but that means you need to bring more equipment. For instance, say you have an interviewee who will be talking about a very serious and dramatic topic. You use your LED panel to light him and you notice that the background is lit too. The background for this interview does not need to be fully lit, because of the dramatic topic. You actually wanted to just use a spill of light on the wall in the background to add dimension. Because your using your LED lights you do not have the ability to break up the light. Like I said before, you could use flags and bring in more c stands, but those are quite heavy and if you are like me who shoots alone, you may not have room in your vehicle for the extra light modifier equipment.
Using LED lights can be very beneficial, but they do have their place. If you needed to conduct a few stand up interviews in a location where there was a lot of foot traffic, you may want to use your LED lights. There would be no cords for people to trip over and you would not need to look for outlets, since many LED lights run off of batteries.
LED lights light up the whole background. I only wanted a little light in the background.
Advantages of tungsten lights
Built like tanks
Many accessories to choose from
You can shape the light with barn doors
Disadvantages of tungsten lights
They get very hot
They need electricity
Too many cords
I used to work in the news business and we used Lowel lights. These lights were located in all of our trucks and live vans. These lights are built like tanks and they can take a beating, unlike the LED lights I currently own. They do not typically run off of batteries. Tungsten lights like Lowels, need to be fired up by electricity. These lights are called “hot lights,” for a reason; they get extremely hot after just a few minutes of use. Many of these lights use anywhere from a 100 watt to 1000 watt bulbs. The light that is emitted out of them is very hard. This means that the light is harsh, unlike the soft light that comes from many LEDs. You can make hard lights soft but you can never make soft light (LED) hard. In order to make these Lowel lights soft you will need to add diffusion to them. You can use a scrim or specialized paper to reduce the harshness of the light. Many of these lights have barn doors that allow you to shape the light. You can also add the diffusion to the barn doors by clipping it with a few clothes pins. Personally, I like to use the lowel frames that connect to the light itself.
Just one Lowel Pro light. This was used for a hair light.
Omni light with diffusion and hair light.
I like these lights because you can actually shape the light without having to bring a ton of light modifiers. Lowel lights can also hold umbrellas, flags, and other accessories. That is what is so cool about these lights, the developer created this lights to be pretty handy in the field. The omini light comes with a rubber grip handle so you can move the light around without getting burned. If you do use these lights I highly recommend heat resistant gloves. There is nothing worse than trying to move the barn doors around after the light has been on for a few minutes.
There are several types of Lowel lights to choose from. If you are looking to light up a large area you can buy the DP light which holds a 1000-watt bulb. The Omni light can use a 500-watt bulb but can also use a 300-watt bulb. I use the Omni for a key light with a scrim and diffusion paper tucked into the gel frame. Pro lights can be used as fill lights or a nice hair light. These lights are just so very versatile.
I also like the fact that you can go to http://lowel.tiffen.com/edu/ and get educational tips on lighting. You can see what lights works best in certain situations and get more info on light kits.
Omini as key, Pro light as hair light, and one Pro light as fill.
We live in a digital world now. People communicate via text, skype, emails, Facebook, and through other digital platforms. Using these digital platforms can be very convenient and fast. Sometimes when you’re conducting business in another state or county, communicating via text or email may be the only way, oh wait we still have telephones. I am a big advocate of meeting my clients face to face. Maybe I am old school, well I know I am old school because I feel very comfortable in doing business this way. Not only will you be able to meet the client, but you will get to know them personally; something that written text or emails can’t really provide.
When I meet with my clients, I can show them examples of my work. This is important to me and should be important to the client as well. If you are spending money you should have the chance to view the product. In my case the product is video. For example, if I meet with a bride I will show her not only the wedding trailers I showcase on Vimeo and my website, but I will also show her what she should expect during her ceremony and reception. I provide full length ceremonies and receptions that we can view on a phone or tablet. These videos illustrate a better understanding of what she can expect from her own wedding.
Meeting a client in person can also help answer questions they may have. I like to explain what they should expect from me; everything from the time I arrive to capture the bride getting ready to the bouquet tosses. As I explain my plan for the wedding day, I also help the bride understand the importance of the creative process. For example, I explain that natural light is always best when they are getting their makeup done. If you have natural light shining through a window, it will be more flattering than lights that shine from the ceiling. Lights from above can cast shadows on the face, making the bride look kind of like a zombie with dark circles around her eyes. My job as a videographer and storyteller is to inform the brides and grooms of these types of conditions. This is why I feel it is necessary to meet face to face.
During my meeting with clients I inform them when they should expect their product. We also go over the benefits of having their video on Vimeo. I break up the wedding into several parts, such as the ceremony, first dances, speeches. The client can stream these videos from their smart device like a phone or tablet, or they can download the individual videos to their computer. Once they download the videos they can then save them to a thumb drive and play them on computers or televisions that accept usb devices.
In conclusion, meeting in person is beneficial to both you and the business owner. You both get a chance to get to know each other.
We specialize in nonprofit, wedding and promotional videos.
When you watch a movie you are more in tuned with the story, the actors, and probably the sound. Most people to not focus on how the movie incorporates lighting to help tell the story. Knowing how to light a subject and scene can really enhance your final product. I am sure you have watched a video and you say to yourself, “This does not look professional.” You can’t really put your finger on it but more than likely the video lacked proper lighting.
I shoot many interviews and lighting the subject correctly is one of my top priorities. Lighting is very important. It helps create the mood, and helps structure the story being told. I conduct several interviews and I continue to learn how to light better. When interviewing your talent most of the time you will have a key light (main light) a fill light (opposite side of key light) and a hair light. The key light should be on the side of the camera where you give your talent more nose room (look at this example). Notice the shadow on the left side of his face.
This light is the main light and should be just above your talents eyes. You can play around with the height, especially if your talent wears glasses. Glasses can show the light in the reflection of the lenses, so be careful where you place your key light. I have had good outcomes when I place the light a bit higher than normal with folks who wear glasses. The key light is usually 45 degrees between you and the talent.
The fill light will be on the opposite side of the key light. The main job of a fill light is to fill in the areas of the face that the key light does not cover. You do not want the light to be as strong as the key light either. By lowering the output of the fill light you are able to create definition on the talent’s face. However, if you were telling a happy story you may want the fill light to be almost if not as bright as the key light. But most dramatic stories have lower output light from the fill light. (This example show just a fill light and a background light).
To separate your talent from the background you can do a few things. You can place a light behind your talent. This light is high above your talent and focused on their shoulders and head. By putting a hair light on your talent you are separating them from the background, which in return gives a three-dimensional look. You can add to this by placing a light directly behind your talent low to the ground. The light should be pointed at the wall directly behind the talent. If you have a colored gel you can place that on the light to give a different color look to the background. (This photo shows all four lights. Key, fill, hair light, and background. In this example the hair light is too strong, the light spills on to the wall, which I did not want.)
For a more dramatic look you can simply use a key light, background light and no fill. (See example below).
There may come a time when you need to interview someone, but need to hide their identity. You can use a background light and that is it. Make sure you iris down on your camera so you do not expose the talent's face.
There are so many more things to lighting than what I covered here in this blog, but I wanted to show how you can start improving your lighting skills for interviews. I am constantly learning and hope to master lighting in the future. Thank you for reading this blog.
I have been working in television and media for over 18 years. My experience includes news photojournalist, editor, producer and storyteller. Throughout the years, I have been honored to receive the Edward R. Murrow award, Five Telly Awards, and many more. My motto is “THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME BETTER AT MY CRAFT EACH TIME I GET BEHIND THE CAMERA."