Top Tips for Making a Campaign Video from Your Smartphone

Get tips on how to make great campaign videos from Bootcamp 12 trainers!

With smartphones getting smarter every day, it’s becoming easier to make high-quality material with a low budget, whether you are designing flyers, generating Facebook memes, or making a campaign video.

At our May Bootcamp, three trainers showed us how to make top-notch campaign videos straight from our smartphones. We spoke to each of them and asked for their top tips!

The first session was presented by Faizan, a Bootcamp graduate.

Faizan is an award-winning video journalist and a communications consultant who has worked with international news organisations such as  the Associated Press Television News, BBC World and the New York Times, as well as local charities such as Age UK and Imaan.

Here are Faizan’s top tips:

  1. Get your sound levels right
    ‘Eliminate extraneous noise by filming somewhere quiet, filming up close or using a microphone.’
  2. Lighting
    ‘Always film with the light (natural or LED) falling onto your subject.’
  3. Film horizontally on your phone
    ‘Unless you are filming content for a platform where horizontal film makes sense, like Snapchat. Also, make sure your camera or smartphone is stable by either placing it on a level surface or using a tripod.’

Our second film workshop was presented by Richard and Bootcamp grad Kahra.

Kahra’s background is in youth work. She helped develop a network of young mental health activists at Youth Access. She now does communications for the Progressive Alliance.

Here’s what Kahra had to say:

  1. Think about your audience
    ‘You can’t please everyone in one video. If you’re looking for donors, go for your core supporters and tell them something really empowering and motivating. If you’re trying to change the minds of your opponents, think about how you’re going to get their friends, who might be more sympathetic to your cause. They’ll be the ones to share it and get it into the timelines of people outside of your core support group, and they are more likely to have the ear of those people, rather than a sponsored ad.’
  2. Don’t set the bar too high when it comes to production
    ‘People don’t want to share adverts. The message is often more important than slick editing.’
  3. If you can’t get a message that fits into the simple structure of hook, problem, solution, sharing motivation, then you’re probably trying to fit too much in
    ‘It’s hard when you’re immersed in your policy area to cut out the details, but in the grand scheme of things it’s more important to tell people how they can change things at this moment than shoehorning in all of the awful things happening in a topic area. You’ll lose them, they won’t understand, and they won’t feel motivated to take action or share. If they want to know all the juicy details, that’s what your website and blog posts are for.’

Through Alter Eco and VideoRev, organisations that he founded, Richard produces and trains others to create viral campaign videos.

Advice from Richard:

  1. Videos don’t share themselves
    ‘Once you’ve made a video, you need to get it out there by sending it to friends, colleagues, and other campaign groups.’
  2. Respond to the news
    ‘People love to have their finger on the pulse, so if you can link your message to people who are already talking about, you’ll reach way more people.’
  3. Be regular
    ‘Scoring a smash hit on your first try is incredibly unlikely. By creating videos regularly and getting feedback, we skill ourselves up and create more chances for that one video to take off.’

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