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Video Marketing With Your Smartphone

Today we’re going to be talking, largely, about two different things and one of those things is going to be five different things that you can do with a smartphone once you get back to your school without having to hire an external company, and then after that, we’re going to look at five practical tips in order to help you do exactly that.

So, let’s crack on…


#1 The Head’s Vlog

The Head’s Vlog is a bit like the Head’s blog but, of course, it’s a video instead of written content. Now the idea of this is that the Head, once a week, records a short video just talking about some of the things that he/she is doing that day or that week.

The great thing about this is that the Head can be really authentic, so anyone that’s watching the video can get more of a connection with the school because they’re recognising that authenticity.

You may have a Head in your school who’s not naturally good on camera, and if you have one of those then you might need to consider whether or not a Head’s Vlog is the right thing to do. It might not be if they’re the kind of Head that runs a mile whenever there’s a camera.

#2 “30 seconds with…”

The idea of “30 seconds with…” is that you go up to a member of staff, you give them about a 10 minute warning in advance, and then you ask them 3 different questions, and you capture these answers on your smartphone and then you can publish this as a short video.

Those 3 questions are really simple:

  1. What’s your name and what’s your job?
  2. What’s the best thing about working here in the school?
  3. If you could go anywhere in the world on holiday, where would you want to go?

That final question just gives the video a personality approach, so that the people watching the video can connect with all the different people in the school.

#3 News Updates

I’m presuming that all of you have news updates that you put on your website and social media, and you probably have photos and just then some text that goes alongside that.

Why not turn that into a news item by video instead?

The idea of a news item by video is that you go out with your smartphone and become a reporter.

For example, if there’s been a geography trip to Northern France, then instead of having a photograph of some of the war sites in Northern France and then some text, instead you could do a quick interview with the Head of Geography, and ask them to tsalk about the different things that happened on that trip. Once you’ve got your footage, you can overlay some photos on top of that.

#4 How-To Videos

This is to do with software as well because I’m going to make a presumption that there are different types of software that the parents in your schools might be using in order to communicate with the school, it might be something to do with paying fees, updating contact details or school trips.

However, I’m also going to make a presumption that not all parents understand how to work all parts of that software.

And that’s where you come in… you can use some simple screen recording software, use the microphone on your laptop or computer and you simply use the software and you talk people through what happens, and then you can put that up on your website in a ‘how-to’ section.

This way, your current parents know that they’re being looked after but also prospective parents, if they’re considering you’re school, will get more of an assurance that if they send their children to your school then they’re going to be properly looked after there, which is always a good thing.

#5 Department Highlights

So, this is where you simply choose one of the departments in your school and then you to create a 40-45 second video just on that department.

For example, let’s take the Art department. You take your smartphone into the Art department, talk to the Head of Art about why Art is different in your school, then you could shoot some video footage of some of the artwork that’s been created by the students, and then just a little bit of video footage of some of the students actually creating artwork.

Then you can put all that into a short video with a logo at the start and a logo at the end, a little bit of music that fades in and fades out as and when people are talking, and you can put that up on your website.

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#1 Keep the background far away

If you’re using your smartphone to video someone what usually happens is you step out of the school, and what most people do is they put that person in front of a brick wall and then video that person.

The problem with that is that the background just gets very boring, very quickly.

That’s why we want to move that person further away from the background, even if it’s just 30ft away from the wall, or 30ft away from the school building. Once you do that than the amount of background that you get in the picture increases hugely and it starts to go a little bit out of focus as well, which can help as it brings your attention to the person who’s talking.

So, keep that background interesting! Even if there’s just a few cars arriving and leaving in the background or there are some students walking or maybe a few teachers dashing to and from lessons.

#2 Turn the lights off

Ii you’re inside turn off the lights, and the reason for that is because we’ve all seen video footage where you get the flickering that comes through from the lights. This flickering is something the eye doesn’t see but the camera can quite easily pick up depending what setting the camera is on. You can control that to an extent but it’s easiest actually just to turn the lights off.

Now that may well mean that the room that you’re in is a little bit darker than it would normally be to your eye, but this is where these cameras are very clever. They’re able to change their own internal settings so that the room appears to be normal brightness despite the fact that the lights are actually off.

Basically, the camera can cope with a darker room much better than it can a flickering light so turn the lights off and don’t worry about it being a little bit dark.

#3 Audio

Audio is more important than you’ll ever know, and it’s one of the things that a lot of people disregard when it comes to shooting their own videos with a smartphone.

The important thing to do is to get the person that’s talking as close as you can to the camera.

If you have them 30ft away and they’re stood on the school field and you’ve got the sound of the motorway in the background, then they’re going to be fighting with that ambient noise. So, get them as close as you can to yourself or you can give them a clip-on microphone.

#4 Use a gimbal or a selfie stick

Now this isn’t crucial but if you can then use some kind of gimbal or a stabilising device, it just means that the video footage is going to be a lot more stable.

If you haven’t got one of these, then even just using a cheap selfie stick will just take away a lot of the shake that you introduce when you’re naturally walking around holding a camera or phone. Especially if you’re walking along then you get that up and down motion that goes with it.

Any kind of movement on the camera/phone is dramatically enhanced when you’re playing it back. So, if you can then get hold of a gimbal or a selfie stick, it will just smoothen out a lot of that footage and it’ll be a lot easier to play back.

#5 Keep it simple

At the end of the day it’s much better just to have something recorded and out there by keeping it as a really, really simple video.

If you spend too much time trying to get something perfect, then you won’t actually get it out there at all. It’s much better just to have simple videos that you get out once a week or more frequently than that instead of trying to be the next Hollywood movie director and then never actually getting anything out at all.

So, there we have it 5 simple tips to help get you started and 5 things you can easily shoot on a smartphone when you return to school.

This is a very small part of all of the different things that you can learn in order to create some really effective videos when you are back in your school. Simon is currently in the process of putting together an online training course which is all to do with how you can shoot better video footage yourself from a smartphone. So, if you’re interested in that and you want to get on the early notification then drop Simon an email on simon@bonjourlondon.co.uk

Thank you to Simon Jones, from Bonjour School Photography, for hosting this webinar with Ambleglow.