The art of making short video messages

The last couple of weeks, I have been involved in making one-minute video messages as part of the preperation of the IAF-Benelux Conference 'Facilitation as a {2nd} profession.  The conference will take place on the 23rd September, 2011 at Kontakt der Kontinenten in Soesterberg, The Netherlands. The event has 24 workshops and aims to have approximately 150 participants. My role is to make short video messages, where the workshop presenters explain in one minute what they will do and what participants can expect.  In addition, testimonials are filmed where participants from previous IAF-Benelux conferences share some inspirational stories.
See video ( in Dutch)  of one of the testimonials:

Conditions to be created by the client
Making a short video message is an art.  There are six conditions that need to be created by your interviewee or client, before taping the video interview.
1.   A space with enough light:  Ensure that the interview takes place in a room or a setting, where there is enough light.
2.  Prevent disturbing noises:  The interview should not be distracted by disturbing noises such as cars, people talking on the background, machines or other distracting noises, which do not add any value to the video.
3.  Prevent a space with too much wind:   A windy surrounding affects the audio quality of the video. Make sure that the interview is done outside the wind, so that the voice recording goes smoothly.
4. Decor is part of the story:  Before the interview takes place, the interviewee is recommended to think through what he would like to show on the background. Posters, facilitation materials or a surrounding where the interviewee peforms his services can already tell part of the story.
5.  Match the dressing with the audience:  Dressing and clothes are also part of communication.  The dress of the interviewee should match, the needs and perceptions of the target group.  Therefore, remind the interviewee to wear the proper clothing during the interview.
6.  Prepare the interviewee what he is going to tell:  A telephone call or an e-mail with a number of questions, are a helpful way to get the client prepared what he is going to tell in one minute.

Conditions to be ensured by the videomaker
So on a number of aspects for a successful video interview, you depend on your client/ interviewee. However, as  videomaker you have control on a number of situations:
1.  Take time to warm up:   Plan at least 2 - 3 hours for an interview.  Normally it is advisable to talk first half an hour with the client, before you start to make video's.  A cup of coffee and a small conversation can be helpful on to finetune the video interview.  Making a one-minute interview is hard work for both the interviewee as well as the videomaker.
2.  Create a relaxed atmosphere during the interview:  Spontanity does not come by itself.  Allow the interviewee to make mistakes while talking and phrasing the message to the camera.  Normally it takes 4 - 5 times to tape the same video message.   Afterwards the videomaker can edit and compile different parts of a videomessage, to a fluent video story.
3.  Check the videotapes together:  Always, check with your client the video tapes, you have been making.   It happens regularly that the interviewee still would like to correct some slight details in the interview.   For example the decor,  the hair, lipstick or the message.   Checking the videotapes together, therefore allows to make some additional video material.  In this case, it is not much of an hindrance to redo the interview another 2 - 3 times.
4. Ask for comments while or after editing:   While or after editing, give the client one or two opportunities to respond and provide input for corrections.  Normally I advise a client to collect feedback from a couple of colleagues or friends. One or a maximum of two rounds can help to optimize the quality of the video message.  Be careful that the client does not get unlimited opportunities to correct the movie.   The danger is that it can create a lot of frustration on both sides. Normally a maximum of 2 rounds of corrections is sufficient.
5.  Have the right equipment:   Make sure you have the right equipment.  Nowadays, with user friendly, relatively low cost and good quality digital video camera's (JVC, Sony, Canon),  you can document successfull interviews to be published at youtube, vimeo or websites.  Make sure the camera has high density digital recording and that the audio is of good quality. It is also convenient to have a camera tripod.  This prevents you from making video's with a shaking hand. 

Up to the 23rd September 2011 Simon Koolwijk and Marc van Seters  will continue to publish the short video messages at the IAF-Benelux Conference site:   'Facilitation as a {2nd} profession'  and at the Youtube Channel of IAF-Benelux.


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