Video is an incredibly powerful tool. With video, you can inform and entertain a large group of people in a creative way without having to worry about your audience getting bogged down by looking at too many words. And not only is it more engaging, but it can evoke feelings and tug on heart strings in a way that words on a page can’t. But hiring a videographer can be expensive. Though the task of creating your own might seem nerve-wracking, with a little imagination anyone can make an engaging video.
A video tour is a great way to engage potential visitors. You don’t have to show everything about your site in your video. Leave some surprises for the actual visit. Instead give people a glimpse of what they might see can really pique their interest. And, remember to keep it short and sweet. Tour videos should not exceed a length of 1:00 – 1:30.
A big misconception about making videos is that you have to use video footage. This isn’t true. In fact, using photos in a video can be an effective way to capture and share moments that might be difficult (or impossible) to get on video. Use photos of your place – past and present. And, give them a sense of the experience by using photos of programs and events.
Gathering volunteers and workers from your historic place and asking them to introduce themselves and say a line about why they feel your place is important can be a great way to connect with the public on an emotional level. If you’re creating a call to action (e.g. a fundraising video looking for donations) then testimonials in video can work particularly well.
To create an effective video, you don’t need fancy lights or expensive cameras. Video shot on an iPhone or cellphone can work well especially for online applications. Of course, many digital cameras have the ability to take videos, and they often have greater storage capacity and higher quality lenses.
Once you have a device to shoot the video, you’ll want to make sure that you can access some kind of editing software. There are plenty of free or low-cost programs: iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere Pro are just a few you could use.
It is helpful to create a plan for your video. Planning things out will save you time and energy in the long run. As well, using a “frame-by-frame” template can be a great way to envision your video before you press record. If you are taking viewers on a tour of your site, for example, you may even want to have a script to keep the tour on track. But, there are no rules! You may also want to consider a simple, organic video. Both can work well.