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.

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!