What do you do when the person you want to interview for your video can’t be there in person?
I volunteer with a few non-profits and this is the system I use. It’s nothing fancy, but I can put together videos that tell a cohesive story without having to leave my laptop.
This can work for anyone who needs to get soundbites on video, but can’t record them in person. Also, it’s very budget friendly. Like when there’s pretty much no budget.
I recently made a few videos for the non-profit Canary Foundation, which focuses on the early detection of cancer.When I first volunteered with them years ago, I worked with a photographer/editor on long form videos. These days it’s just me with a webcam and some basic editing.
Employees Can Be Great On-Camera Ambassadors
This organization is comprised of accomplished researchers, doctors and other super smart people. Pretty much everyone on the team is very articulate and an excellent ambassador for the Canary brand.
With that in mind, it makes sense to hear from them directly on video. They can explain what they’re working on and how their findings are impacting their overall goals.
Below is my process for how I get simple videos done quickly without much fuss or time commitment from anyone involved.
This can be done by someone like me who volunteers or by a staff member who has some knowledge about video producing/editing.
My Simple Process for Interview Style Videos Using Zoom
Step One: Decide on the Content
- Staff at the organization and I discuss what they want to promote, so I understand the focus.
- They determine who will speak on camera and let me know more about their role at the organization.
- The staff writes up the questions and sends them to me and the spokesperson in advance.
Step Two – Record the Interview
- We set up a call on Zoom for the interview with the designated spokesperson. I have a pro account since I also use Zoom for live streaming, but a free account will work fine for this.
- A staff member from the non-profit scouts out a room with a nice background and good lighting. They set up a laptop with an external webcam preferably. I use this Logitech one.
- I start the Zoom call with the staffer, so I can see what the shot looks like. Once we have the background and lighting adjusted, the spokesperson comes in the room and sits in front of the camera.
- In Zoom, I click off of gallery, so you won’t see me in the video, just the person being interviewed.
- I hit record. With the Zoom pro account, you can record in the cloud, but with the free one, you can only record on your laptop. A side note here: my process shows you don’t have to be in person to get good interviews. I live about two hours away from Stanford University where Canary is based, so this allows me to volunteer while being in a different region.
- Next I ask the questions and listen for concise sound bites. I may ask the question in a different way if the response was too wordy or not strong enough.
- The interview usually takes about 10-15 minutes max. Then the spokesperson is free to go back to work. Easy peasy.
Step Three – Video Editing
- Once I have the recording, I upload it into some editing software. For the video in this post, I used WeVideo. This is a user-friendly option if you’re just getting started with video editing. There is a free plan to try it out and you can upgrade with inexpensive options.
- Next, I watch the interview and pick the sound bites that best convey the salient points.
- Then I string those together on the timeline.
- If there are any photos or b-roll, I will add those.
- Mostly, I look for opportunities to create some basic graphics which add visuals, so it’s not just a talking head interview the whole time.
- For the video featured in this post, I made the graphics in WeVideo. I chose the graphics with animation because they add a little more visual interest. One a side note, sometimes I make graphics in Canva and import them. This can be done with the free version of Canva which I actually used for three years and upgraded to the pro version last year for additional features.
- Then, I add some music which is also in WeVideo. The paid versions have more options for music, but there are some in the free version as well.
- I hit finish once I have the soundbites, graphics, photos and music together on the timeline.
Step Four – Send First Version of Video, Get Feedback, Revise
- Then I download the “draft” video.
- I send it to the non-profit using WeTransfer which is an easy and free way to send large files.
- The staff watches the video, provides feedback and sends me their changes.
- I make the requested changes, which are usually fairly minor. Sometimes they catch a typo (eek!) or ask for another graphic or a change in the wording.
Step Five – Send Final Version – That’s a Wrap!
Once the changes are done, I’ll send the final back to them. They then send the video out to their network in an email and post on Youtube.
Re-purpose the heck out of your video
Pitch to traditional media
In addition to communicating to donors, non-profits can use their videos pitch to media. This type of video can be sent to a reporter along with a press release or just an email with details on what’s new & newsworthy. When reporters see the spokesperson talking, they quickly understand, they are a good “sound bite” and/or someone who is quotable.
Post on social media & the website
Non-profits can also post the video their website and all of their social media sites either with a YouTube link or natively. Colleagues, partners and donors can help bring more attention if they like/share/comment on the videos that appear on social media.
Show at meetings/seminars/conferences
If the spokesperson is speaking at a event, organizations can ask to show the video prior to their talk. Also, they can look for opportunities to show the video at meetings or other events where there is an interested audience.
I hope this post shows that creating videos with little to no budget is possible. A small investment of time and effort can result in a long life for a simple video!
Here’s one of the Canary Foundation videos, so you an see how the final version looks!