How to make sure your school gets involved in the final video ??????


Over the last 4 years of the lifetime of the VATW project lifetime, we have received a lot of video footage of youngsters involved in our project. This is amazing! You can imagine how excruciatingly difficult it is to choose the video clips we use to go with the final recording ....suffice it to say there are many tough discussions here in the VATW studio!! We get video in all shapes and sizes from professional footage shot and edited by by people who clearly know what they are doing, to some very shaky video shot on a phone! 

What we look for, generally centres around short video clips that will be interesting and entertaining on final mix video - content that will make people laugh or show interest and drama so they will want to watch the video over and over.

With a bit of imagination it's surprising how you can really enhance your video clips. Here are some pointers:
  • ?First YES it is OK to send us phone video if you do not have access to using flashy cameras or¬†professional level video equipment. The important aspect is to, as we know from basic photographic lessons...keep the camera/phone steady. As those who are in the project over the last few years know ...VATW regularly goes to our adopted school in Otjikondo, Namibia! Famously there, my good friend Sara always says OMG, please don't let Laurie near the video camera. This is partly because I always forget that just because it is called a MOVIE it does not mean the camera has to move all over the place! So basically the lesson is any scanning shots should be slow and steady!
  • ¬†?YES - shoot in good light. Shots taken in dark halls etc are rarely successful
  • ¬†?NO - please avoid shots from far away - generally close ups work the best, especially as it's often the expressions on faces that are the best bit to capture.
  • ¬†?YES - do listen to your students - often they ¬†(especially older students) will give you some good ideas for shots.
  • ¬†?YES - if you are working with older students - why not give them the job of making the video - LET GO!
  • ¬†?YES/NO??? ¬†Getting parents involved in the video making?? One time we were wondering why¬†a good quality video received, heavily featured one particular pupil. MMMMhh you can guess the rest. Joking aside there are sometimes some professionals/people proficient with video work¬†out there who would love to help, but you just don't know about them....a letter to the parents can be a powerful tool! e.g. one school we went to in UK recently - they discovered that there was a parent who was also a BBC cameraman that they had not previously known about.
  • ¬†?YES entertaining video! To actually say what we mean here it is probably interesting to look at what we don't want.
  1.  As mentioned very shaky video or fuzzy video shot in poor light is not usable
  2. Static shots where students are not looking very happy about life and there is no song context i.e. no obvious involvement in the VATW song activities.
             Now - what we do want:
  1. Close up shots that show strong musical involvement and students generally getting a lot of fun out of working with the music
  2. Shots with students showing lots of expression and interacting with one another
  3. Dramatic shots - shots where students are acting out an associated bit of drama to go with the song. e.g. one piece of successful footage we took recently was of a class of students sitting in their classroom studying during the song intro -  Heads down. We filmed from above, standing on a table. When the singing started, they all looked up sharply at the camera and sung - giving a sense of a story starting to unfold. 
  4. We have a number of schools that have got into 'signing'  - this is always interesting and useful for our potential audience. Younger pupils can often be involved in simple word associated actions.
  5. DON'T FORGET - for the video you submit... the sound quality DOES NOT MATTER - we will synchronise any video you send to go with the final sound track. You WILL need to play the song for students to sing along with to help us place the video. You can explain to them that often when pop videos are made the artists are miming to the song or not singing along in a performance way.
  6. Location location location. You might have a local location that will be interesting for our audience e.g. what is distinctive in the place where you live that would make your video stand out as representing a country e.g. how cool to have a few camels or giraffes wandering across the back of your filming location. 
  7. Dancing moves ......ohh YES everybody loves to watch a few good dancing moves!

We could go on ....but by now you have probably got the idea.  So shake loose and have lotsa of fun with the video shoots and lets make this year's VATW video the best ever! Thanks as ever