The Search for a Good Webinar

I am, as a rule, pretty skeptical of webinars that promise to teach me all about “social media best practices.”   My mind tends to want to find similarities in information rather than the differences, so all of these best practice suggestions quickly blend together in my brain, no matter how different they may be.   So when I hear about new webinars I immediately wonder, “Will they tell me something I don’t already know?”

Now, this is unfortunate, because the amount of things that I don’t know about social media could probably fill the Library of Congress.   I think I end up feeling this way because of the nature of webinars.    They are time limited, usually under an hour.   The presenters have to make sure they plan for participants with an unknown range of backgrounds and familiarity with the subject matter.   And the ones I attend are always free, so they are more often than not presenting introductory level information.

So when I find a free webinar that I learn something from, it makes me do a little happy dance in my office chair 🙂   Just such an occasion took place this past Tuesday, when I attended the webinar, “Social Media Video for Your Nonprofit” hosted by Artez Interactive and presented by Aaron Bramley, founder of  a cause-driven film festival called Lights. Camera. Help.   If you click on the link above you can access the recording and the powerpoint slides, and if you are delving into video making for your nonprofit, I highly recommend you check it out.

There were two especially useful things that I got from this webinar.  First, I learned about Tubemogul, a website that allows you to upload your video to one place and have it go on a number of video sites all at once.   I have not tried to use it yet, but it seems like a very helpful tool, especially if you want to see where people are watching your videos, and decide where to focus your efforts.

The other useful tip was about lighting.    Having never taken a visual media class in my life, I had operated under the assumption that this aspect of filming was either up to the heavens (when outside), or just needed some strategic positioning on my part to make sure no windows end up behind the people I’m filming.   Aaron talked about some simple ways to adjust the lighting in a shot, without spending tons of money.    I also learned about the 3 point lighting system, where you place two lights on either side of your subject in front, and a third light in back.    If you are going to be filming a lot of interviews, then this set up will make them look much more attractive and professional.

There are many options for creating videos for your nonprofit.   We here at Volunteer Maryland use a Kodak Zi8 camcorder, which I like because you can attach a microphone to it and get better quality audio.    Flip offers a program where charitable organizations can get approved to receive discounts on their camcorders.    Another way to do it is to connect with a local college or university film class, and have students be the photographers.   Breanne, one of our Volunteer Maryland Coordinators at Volunteers for Medical Engineering worked with students at Stevenson University to create a video for their organization.

So, if you have been thinking about making movies for your nonprofit, get out there and start filming!

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