Find Your Inner Scorsese with 7 Basic Tips for Producing PR Videos

videoThe goal of a public relations campaign is to create, reinforce or enhance attitudes. In order to do that in today's media environment, it's essential to include good video content.

PR pros  shouldn’t fear video, as production platforms can be learned with ease. And it's well worth it, as video can successfully tell a story in a way text and photos can't. If people’s emotions affect their actions and opinions, what better way to motivate targeted audiences than through a well-told story they can watch?

As video production moves to the core of marketing communications there is a growing need for training PR people how to shoot and edit video because most people have never done it professionally. With that in mind, here are 7 basic tools for producing PR videos, courtesy of Jeffrey S. Morosoff, director of the public relations graduate program at Hofstra University:

  1. Sound: Bad audio hurts video. The mic inside your phone or camera is rarely sufficient. Using those mics, you won’t hear your subject very well in your video unless you’re very close to the him/her. Invest in a couple of good wireless microphones.
  2. Lights: Bad lighting really hurts video. When shooting indoors, make sure your subjects are well-lit  from the front and the back. Buy a set of lights for indoor video. Outdoor shooting is best when the light is diffused—cloudy days are ideal, shady locations work, but direct sunlight usually creates the biggest challenge.
  3. Background: Clear out the clutter. Keep backgrounds as simple as possible so they don’t distract your audiences, and move brand names out of the frame to avoid potential lawsuits or conflicts of interest. Try to avoid shooting your video subjects against a plain white wall.
  4. Releases: Make them sign. If you’re going to use your video for any commercial purpose, you must get releases signed by anyone who appears in it. If children are in your video, you must get a release from their parents or guardians.
  5. Framing: Center it up. Pay attention to where your subject is within the picture. Don’t cut off tops of heads or bottoms of legs, and make sure there’s enough within the frame to give the viewer a sense of where the video was shot.
  6. Scripting: Plan, plan, plan. Before you start shooting video, script what you plan to shoot. Even if you’re going to record an event in real time, put down on paper what you’d like the final product to include.
  7. K.I.S.S.: Keep it short and simple. With so much information available, audiences’ attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Don’t pack too much information into a single video. Make shorter, separate productions so a single thought can be simply and effectively expressed in each.

To learn more about how to develop your video strategy, check out PR News' Video Tactics for Brand Communicators webinar on November 24, 2014, 1:30-3 p.m. ET.

Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene