About the Author

Who is Robyn
Robyn Braley is committed to helping Rotarians grow their clubs to become better equipped to help people who need help. He has led two club teams that were awarded RI PR Awards and served as the District 5360 PR Chair. He has been a Rotarian since 1999.

Rotary Speaker
Robyn draws from his experience as a Rotarian and as a Communications Professional to share ways to more effectively tell the Rotary story to your community. He starts by asking the questions, "Is your club ready to grow, and why does it matter?" The ultimate focus is on attracting new members.

He is available to speak at District Conferences and Rotary leadership training institutes. Content also applies to other not-for-profit organizations.

Free Content for #Rotary and NFP Use
Please use any posts for Rotary District or club Newsletters. Include the profile at the bottom of each article, Robyn's headshot and a link to this blogsite. Let him know and he'll promote it to his social media followers.

Contact him at robyn@unimarkcreative.com

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Lights, Camera, Action! Tips for Shooting Service Club Videos Using Your Phone

Written by Robyn T. Braley

News flash! Video is a highly effective way to tell your story and build your service club’s brand. 

Why? It is the next best thing to being there. You can look viewers in the eye and speak directly to them. You can show them the background to your story. 

Video connects at an emotional level. Sound mixes with moving visuals to create a sensory environment that stimulates viewers.

Anyone with basic knowledge can shoot a short video, edit it, and upload it for the world to see. All from their phone!

Videos add tremendous value to your social media content arsenal. They are also useful for live, group or one-on-one presentations.

The online use of videos began when they were embedded into websites in the 1990's! Later, YouTube came onto scene as a standalone social media platform. Since then, a tsunami of applications have spread as other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others developed video capabilities.

The rushing tide was fueled by the availability of inexpensive cameras followed by the rapid improvement of phone cameras, tablets and other communications devices.

The Big Question; Why

Why does video make such good sense for Rotary and other service clubs? Pages of written information can be condensed into a script that quickly gets to the nub of your story.

As we've established, video can be used for a variety of social media platforms. Incorporating key words into the script makes them search engine friendly which adds marketing value. Some search engines automatically transcribe narration tracks to further optimize your online presence.

Mobility means videos can be watched on laptops, IPads, phones and other mobile devices. Exposure through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook channels that are linked to your website brings media convergence full circle. People can interact with your brand at different levels and through different entry portals.


I have spent years as a television personality and producer. I've produced videos for businesses and not-for-profit organizations. I've also TV commercials and TV shows.

What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. In fact, professionals can make video production overly complicated. It doesn’t have to be that way.

So, as a note to myself, KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid).  I will limit myself to 1,000 words outlining simple production basics that will enable you to shoot a quality video using your phone.

For more information, JGI (Just Google It). There are excellent tutorials online about shooting technique, performing, recording audio and editi.

There are limitless online tutorials about the various
aspects of video production. JGI - Just google it.  

Defining Your Purpose

What are you trying to achieve? What message are you trying to deliver?

When those questions are answered, all else follows in logical order. For example, if you are shooting a series of 10 second testimonials, identifying your purpose will dictate what questions to ask to get interviews started.

Answers to those questions will also dictate where to stage them. What statement does the background make?

  • Provide an overview of a service project
  • Describe the project needs
  • Challenge collaborative partners to help fund it
  • Record testimonials of people who were helped by a donation
  • Profile your club as one worth joining
  • Interview a notable speaker
  • Record testimonials of members sharing the benefits of Rotary 
  • Promote an upcoming fund raising event
  • Give instructions and training to volunteers
  • Communicate important information to membership
  • Video interesting field trips
  • Benchmark an historical event

Scripting for Dummies

Brand-building is all about telling stories. Every story has a beginning, middle and end. When producing video – whether it is a 5 second background clip or a 2 minute feature – begin with the end in mind.

  • Write the story into a three-sentence paragraph 
  • Write the first sentence at the top of a blank sheet, the second half way down, and the last one at the bottom. 
  • Write short bullet points expanding each sentence 

Voila! You have a script outline that also serves as a storyboard. For simple videos, you will soon be able to process outlines in your head.

Phone Videography 101 

  • Always hold the phone horizontally so the video can be shown full size on a monitor or TV screen
  • Your phone is hard to hold steady with one outstretched arm. Hold it with both hands locking your elbows into your body for extra stability. Squeeze until it hurts
  • If you plan to shoot a lot of video, buy a stabilizer or clamp that attaches to a traditional camera tripod. It is worth the investment!

Creative Basics

  • Use basic composition rules to draw the viewer's eye to a specific part of the image. Start with is the rule of thirds (JGI)
  • Light can be a friend or enemy. If indoors, find the brightest available light. When outdoors, locate a space that is evenly lit. 
  • Shade is not always a bad thing. On a brilliant day, shade may be the answer. 
  • Inside or out, change your location, position and angle to find the best lighting. (JGI) Sometimes a few feet one way or the other makes all the difference.

Downloading a white screen for your desktop screen
provides quick lighting for home or office headshot videos

If shooting interviews indoors, find a private room and set up lighting in front
 of a white or blue photo paper backdrop. Google cheap video lighting tips.

  • Mix shorter and longer clips shot from different angles with long and closeup shots to provide variety and keep viewers engaged. 
  • Shoot background “B” roll showing different elements of the story. 
  • You can also import still photos with most editing programs. These can be used for cutaways while the narrator or person being interviewed is speaking. Helps tell the story.

Voice Recording

Audio will make or break your production. Sound that is distorted, has distracting background noises or sounds like it was recorded in a giant cave is a turnoff.

If you can’t hold the phone 3-4 feet from an interview subject, buy a cheap lavaliere or shotgun mic. Polish your video aby adding a scripted narration track after the video is shot to introduce the topic or to bridge interview clips.

You can also reask the questions in a controlled space and add the new audio when you are editing. If the original track is fine quality wise, just leave use as it may have a "real, live" feeling that you might loose.

Editing Simplified

Mobile apps streamline the video-editing process and will transform your video from "ho-hum" to "WOW". Apps allow you to do basic trimming and add transitions, titles, and effects on OS and Android mobile devices.

Apple's iMovie for iPhone even allows you to produce theatrical trailers in the field. Pinnacle Studio, Videon, Magisto and Adobe's Premiere Clip app are powerful editing tools that are simple-to-use. What I mean here is that even I can use them.

That's a Wrap 

Finally, upload the finished product to your social media and website. Promote it using a targeted email and social media campaign. You’ve put in a lot of work. Now make sure your target audience ‘gets the message.’

Think about it. You can shoot, edit and upload a video of club members making a difference among the poorest of the poor in developing nations the same day the action took place. Imagine the communication and story telling power that would have!

What do you think? Do you have phone video advice? Do you have lighting or audio tips? What editing app do you use? I want to hear from you. Please comment below.  

Robyn Braley is a brand specialist, professional speaker and writer. He is also a Rotarian who is passionate about Building the Rotary Brand. He has led two teams that received the Rotary International PR Award. He has also served as the PR Chair for District 5360. He often speaks at Rotary clubs, conferences and leadership development assemblies.

Contact Robyn

Email: robyn@robyntbraley.com   Connect on LinkedIn Follow on Twitter: @rtbraley_rotary 

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