Cumbria Action for Sustainability learn the skills to make their own videos on a bespoke course with Eden Lighthouse

How to make your own videos

Ever wanted to make your own videos…?

Time was when making even a simple promotional film generally involved hiring in a professional crew, often at considerable expense. The shots were then edited in the traditional way by physically cutting and taping film together, a laborious process and that’s even before adding in the sound!

Roll forward to 2015 and digital video has now become a medium accessible to all. Increasingly we have the means to capture and edit own video content ourselves, and more and more of us are aspiring have-a-go filmmakers. With a bit of creative effort it’s possible to produce effective videos even on a pocket device such as a smart phone, and social media channels contain the results for all to see.

To get started with making your own videos, here at Eden Lighthouse we’d highly recommend making the most of the kit you might already have available. This includes the camera devices you’ll probably have already as organisations or individuals, and entry level editing software that will often come pre-installed with PCs (e.g. Windows Movie Maker) or Macs (e.g. iMovie).

Our latest 1 day video training workshop in Penrith saw the group of video novices divide into 3 teams to plan out their own video projects, developing ideas based on real communications needs for their local charity.

They then set up and captured the shots to tell these stories, using their own camera devices ranging from a DSLR to a compact camera and an ipad. Content was then uploaded to their existing desktop PCs that had come installed with Windows Movie Maker, and the teams edited up their material to produce very worthwhile videos for screening by the end of the day!

The real achievement in this is to complete the full video process – planning, capture, edit, and upload, all using the charity’s own tools available in-house. Doing so should give you and your organisation the confidence that you can produce a basic video, plus it also allows you to explore the tools you already have to the maximum, helping decide whether video is for you and if so whether you wish to invest in additional kit.

From the basics you can then build on the process to develop further video ideas. For instance these might include promotional videos to explain your organisation, products and services, introducing your team, or creating simple video blogs about newsworthy stories such as events and case studies.

Having these skills in-house allows you to expand your communication channels, and can mean that colleagues effectively become roving reporters, able to share details of their work activities in an engaging way as they’re out and about.

What could video do for you….? Find out more about our video workshops if you’d like to learn the skills to make your own videos.

ClimbforCAN raises funds for Nepalese earthquake appeal

Images of the destruction caused by the earthquake in Nepal this summer inspired people across the UK to do what they could to help – not least here in Cumbria, the heart of the British climbing scene.

As a climber myself, I’ve visited Nepal several times and have been so moved by the heartbreaking scenes from the many areas I’ve been to. I was delighted to get involved with the recent fundraising event #ClimbforCAN in aid of local charity Community Action Nepal (CAN).

I was contacted by Rupert Bonington about the ClimbforCAN 24-hour ice-climbing challenge, aiming to scale the equivalent height of Everest on the indoor ice wall in Keswick. The ‘expedition’ was led by climbing legends Doug Scott and Chris Bonington who ably climbed the first pitches, after other members of the team had already spent a chilly night out on a portaledge suspended from the wall.

I was there to record the action and cheer them on. Get the whole story in this short video.

PassivHaus sets the new standard for eco building in Cumbria

Now you might think life up here in the grim North (well, Cumbria) is all about living in old draughty houses, as we huddle round an open fire wishing away our winter blues. Not so – I was fortunate to recently be invited to video early stages of construction of a ‘PassivHaus’ project in Kendal, the first such house to be built there.

PassivHaus is a concept which originated in Germany, and which now also sets the standard for eco housing here in the UK. Architect Andrew Yeats explained that it’s all about some very clever use of design principles and materials which focus on very high levels of insulation and airtightness, meaning that the finished dwelling needs little or no heating. In fact most of the heating needs are met simply by solar gain on sunny days, plus the activities of the occupants and their appliances.

The PassivHaus in Kendal was constructed using timber frame panels built by Eden Insulation in Appleby, with highly specialised airtight materials supplied by Ecological Building Systems in Carlisle.

Pace of construction was very impressive; ground floor panels arrived for unloading at 9am, and were installed like clockwork by noon, along with the floor for the next storey. The rapid build schedule continued with first floor and roof trusses all unloaded and erected during the afternoon, essentially completing the house structure by 5pm the same day!

The roof was then felted the following day, making the shell of the building weatherproof from above in only 36 hours, and allowing follow-on tasks such as slating and first fix to continue.

All in all it’s a very exciting concept in high quality housing construction which will surely soon become much more widespread in Cumbria, minimising the costs to run our housing stock plus helping our environment as well. Look out for the Eden Lighthouse video shortly!

Work to begin on real Eden lighthouse

We are really excited to announce that we have just got planning permission to build a real lighthouse here in Eden! It will be styled on the Green Cape Lighthouse in Eden, Australia, which not only is our area’s namesake but it has a solid style to withstand the Helm Wind and also mirrors the radar on Great Dunn Fell.

Nigel explains: “In the past few years since Eden Lighthouse began, many of the clients we’ve helped are in the tourism sector, whether accommodation providers or local events. It has inspired us to branch into a new venture ourselves and bring this unique tourist attraction to Eden.”

Nigel adds: “We’re often asked whether there’s an actual Eden Lighthouse, and we’ve even had people ring up to ask about visiting. Soon the answer will be yes! I’m very much looking forward to being a real lighthouse keeper.”

The new Eden Lighthouse will be in Appleby, and visitors will be able to climb to a viewing tour at the top, for unique views of Eden’s beautiful countryside, flanked by the mountains of the Lake District and Pennines.

We, the soon-to-be lighthouse keepers, are unperturbed by the fact that the landmark will be many miles from the sea. With rising sea levels, it’s not unimaginable that the lighthouse could one day guide local shipping, and in the meantime it will be a beacon for tourism in the area.

Construction is due to commence within the next few weeks, working to an ambitious schedule of opening this day next year.

Permissions for filming – what you need to know

So in today’s world of YouTube, filming anything anywhere is fair game right? We’ll actually no….

Setting up your camera can result in a wide variety of audience reactions, ranging from wannabes desperate to be get their 15 seconds of fame, to people who instantly run a mile when they see a camera.

Recording images and sounds can come with a whole set of complex rules covering permissions for filming. With a little commonsense though, hopefully any potential issues can be averted.

A few general guidelines include:

Locations – some locations will require permission to be granted, often in advance. This will be very likely for filming on private land, and regardless of the location it’s a courtesy to ask for permission anyway. In some situations it may be necessary to sign in / sign out, and to discuss your plans when you arrive before you get the camera out.

People – reactions and attitudes to cameras vary, and again it’s common sense and a courtesy to ask permission where possible. Filming in public places such as a street scene or public event should not normally cause issues. However using a suitable media consent form for anyone appearing prominently in the film, particularly someone named / interviewed, is definitely recommended to avoid possible issues later.

Particular care is needed when seeking to film with children or vulnerable people, ensuring appropriate permissions (usually in writing) are granted from parents, schools etc. before you get started.

Aside from undercover investigative journalism, whatever the situation it’s generally never a good idea to use clandestine methods such as hidden cameras or microphones!

Media such as music, logos, graphics, and other imagery are generally all owned by somebody, so generally permission will also be needed.

Capturing wild track audio of a non-professional band (for example street entertainment) playing in a public place may well be permissible, but again it’s a courtesy to ask permission and credit the players by name in your video project.

Ultimately every situation is different and it’s best to always check whenever possible, of course still without missing capturing that crucial shot!