An eye-catching and informative video can be a great tool for your campaign; it’s one of the best mediums for communicating and spreading a message, especially since the rise of social media.

A well-constructed video can generate a wealth of interest and new supporters overnight, for comparatively little effort. Dependent on the size of your organization, there are a number of options available to you.

Animation or Live Action

One of the first things to consider is whether your video will be animation or live action (or a combination of the two):

Live action (e.g. person speaking directly to camera) may be a lot quicker to produce, but the level of viewer engagement depends heavily on the abilities of the speaker.

Animation can be a more time-consuming process but it gives greater freedom visually, which can be very useful when explaining complex ideas / systems.

It may suit you to combine the two, either swapping between them during a video, or overlaying animated graphics over a presenter.  This is most commonly done using a green-screen (but given the right location that may not be necessary, example here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwv5EbxXSmE)

Hiring / Training

Depending on the size of your organisation, the number and scale of videos you want to create, and the amount of resources you plan to dedicate to it, you may wish to hire an experienced professional within that field. Alternatively it may better suit you to train up an existing member of your team.

There are a number of training options out there; one that we have particular experience with is Lynda.com, which covers almost all the major creative software programs. Their web-based videos are easy to follow and a great option for adding new skills to an existing team.

Video Cameras

If you plan to start filming live action then there is a huge range of products available, for the full spectrum of budgets. Again it depends on how much of your resources you want to dedicate to production. Always be aware of the savings in hiring equipment rather than purchasing it outright, alongside the situations where investing in your own equipment will save you money in the long term.

The internet, both in trusted review sites like CNET and professional/hobbyist discussion forums, is your greatest asset when it comes to choosing equipment.

Video Editing Software

If you are producing the videos yourself you will need to choose a piece of video editing software. There will always be a trade-off between ease of use and creative options. Some very user-friendly software may be limited in its capabilities, and the more professional products will require more training time, and may be considerably more expensive.

One thing to consider is the extent of training materials available, especially if you are using a online training facility like Lynda.com. A simply laid out, but little-known piece of software may take just as long to learn as one more complicated, but widely used, that has a lot of online tutorials available.

Other Alternatives

If you are just starting out, without the resources available to produce full videos, but you’re keen want to get your message out straight away, there are a number of alternatives available.

Narrated Slideshow

Most presentation software, such as PowerPoint or Keynote, will have the option to record your slideshow with a voiceover, and export this as a standalone video. This is a great simple solution, many people will already have some experience with this type of software; and while you won’t have the options visually that producing your own film can give, you can get your ideas out to the public with very little investment.

VideoScribe

This is a piece of software I’m only recently aware of, but it looks quite promising. It’s an easy to use application, designed to recreate the look of hand-drawn “whiteboard” style animations, made popular by RSA Animate. You create a presentation out of various clip-art style elements, which are the program then “draws out” digitally.  If the images are chosen wisely, it should be a quick and easy way to create a visually engaging piece of video. Their website offers a 7-day free trial, and a months subscription is around £16 (€19).