How to Create Amazing Videos for Your School

The use of video is becoming essential when it comes to content marketing. Video is definitely something to consider adding to your marketing mix if you haven’t already.

Here’s why videos are an important asset for social media marketing.

  • Video conversion outperforms other types of content
  • Stronger emotional connection to content
  • Easier to produce than in the past
  • Better email click-throughs
  • Video has a built-in feedback loop, so it’s easier to optimize your content
  • Higher retention rates
  • Video technology is improving due to the high-consumer demand
  • Increased audience engagement
  • Stronger audience attention
  • Improved search engine optimization (SEO)

Have I convinced you yet? If so, here are tips to help you create amazing videos for your school that will help you get started or improve the quality of your videos.

1. Use the right equipment

Here are the core elements you need for video recording.

  • Design a clean background set. You don’t need to be a professional set designer; you just need to have a clean background and be aware of how your background is going to appear. Take the time to get organized and eliminate clutter.
  •  Add a hairlight on the subject.
    • Use a light stand ($10 on Amazon)
    • Multi-shoe adapter
    • 2 LED battery powered adjustable lights. Point one towards the background set but be careful to not let it create too much harsh shadowing. The hairlight will light up the back of your subjects’ heads; you will be able to separate the subjects from the background. In order to create the right effect, use a diffuser on the lights and use a medium setting.
  • Use a fill light (main light) to film the main shooting area. Example: Studio Pro LED lights. Look for lights that give you control.
  • Camera. Today’s mobile phone cameras have evolved to the point that you can get some good footage very conveniently as most people carry them with them. Some marketers still adhere to the norm of using a DSLR camera. There are so many professional grade models that it really comes down to personal preference. Basically, Nikons and Canons dominate the DSLR market. Go for a model that fits your needs. Make sure the model you select has the 1080p standard HD video capacity and includes video editing software, and you’re good to go!
Exclusive Bonus: Download the pdf of How to Create Amazing Videos for Your School to reference in the future and/or share with colleagues in your school.

2. Know how to use your mobile phone camera

  • Get up close and personal (subjects should be 3-4 feet away from the camera)
  • Shoot from the back of the camera. It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget. While front cameras have gotten more reliable for Facetime and video calls, they are not at the point yet where you can get decent, consistent video quality.
  • Stability and focus. You need to keep your phone as stable as possible. Use a tripod if possible or place your camera on a hard surface for best results. To ensure a smooth flow and to maintain the right focus, keep your eyes on your phone, not the scene you’re recording.
  • Record in landscape mode. While it may be tempting to record in portrait mode, especially if you have a larger phone, videos are best viewed on a big screen, like a PC or TV. Get in the habit of always recording in landscape mode, so your videos will look right on all screens.
  • Add a grid. Most devices will have an option to add a grid to use your background as a point of reference so that your recording is always straight. You might have to enable this setting within your camera app. A grid helps you align your video against a grid so that you can place your subjects in the scene using the grid lines. For example, if you’re recording people, position their eyes in level with the top grid line. Enthusiasts know that adhering to the rule of thirds will help you compose your imagery in a balanced way that is pleasing to the eye.
  • Lighting. Lighting is an essential element in videography as well as photography. Basically, you want your subjects to be illuminated from a source that is behind you.
  • Angles. The best way to position yourself when recording video is a few feet away so that you can record everything without having to move the camera. This is called “wide angle.” A useful angle to use, especially for events, is to position yourself, so you are shooting downwards so that you capture all the action from above.
  • Try to avoid:
    • Movement. Try not to move around. Smartphone cameras are not good at instantly refocusing, so moving will reduce the quality. If you do have to move, make sure it’s slow and deliberate.
    • Zooming. Smartphone cameras are not good at zooming in and out. If you need to focus on something, it’s better for you to move in and away slowly.
  • Experiment with effects. There are some really cool effects you can use with your videos, sort of like using filters for photographs. Check your camera app to see what effects you have built in.
  • Timelapse. A timelapse is where you position your camera for a prolonged time over an area that’s changing – like on a bridge to capture a sunset or star trails. This can be effective in storytelling.
  • Cinemagraph. A cinemagraph is a GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) that is mostly a still image with one small section being animated. Because there is stillness and motion, it seems like you’re watching a clip from a movie. There are some free tools that make it easy to create GIFs and cinemagraphs.
  • Editing. Editing and filters make everything look better to the eye. Here are some free video editing programs and tools that let you remove unwanted parts of your video clips, merge clips and photos, add a soundtrack, video filters and create mini-movies that your audience will love and want to share.
  • Blurred background. Use a filter if possible to slightly blur the background, making your subjects have a cleaner, more crisp appearance.
  • Automatic Montages. A video montage is a series of video clips that show a progression of time. Not everyone wants to take the time to painstakingly edit multiple clips into a montage though. Thankfully, there are apps that will do this for you. A couple to try out are Google Photos, Movavi or GoPro’s Quik.

3. Try using an animated video template

There are some great tools on the market to help you make professional-quality videos in just a few minutes on a PC or Mac. These types of tools come with pre-designed templates, making it easy for you to arrange the slides in the order you want, add your own images and text and then customize. Easy peasy! (Anyone else geeking out on these awesome tools?)

4. Record a screencast.

Sometimes it’s just easier to demonstrate what you’re talking about or create a presentation using PowerPoint or Prezi. Here are few tools to check out.

5. Consider using stock clips and images. 

Stock video clips can make the difference between a tedious, boring video and one that comes to life with videos that augment and illustrate your story. It’s easy to search and locate video clips online these days.

Have you used video for your school marketing mix? Are there other video-related tools you would recommend to your fellow school marketers? Let me know in the comments below.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the pdf of How to Create Amazing Videos for Your School to reference in the future and/or share with colleagues in your school.

About the author 

Brendan Schneider

Hey, I’m Brendan, and this is my blog. After 28 years working in private, independent schools in mostly admissions, enrollment, marketing, communications, and fundraising roles, I decided to make SchneiderB Media my full-time job, where I help schools get more inquiries through my Fractional Digital Marketer program. I also started the MarCom Society, a membership created expressly to help, support, and train marketing and communications professionals at schools.

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