When my company first contemplated video, the natural response was to hire a professional video company to come in and record for us. We organized a series of interviews with various employees, planning to release them internally. The professional video company entered our building in waves, pulling all sorts of equipment into our little conference room. They brought elaborate backdrops, lights, and diffusers. They had professional cameras on solid stands, wireless microphones that went into a 16 channel board, and a professional monitor that we used to watch what the camera was collecting. We had set up a perfect little television studio.
In terms of quality, the video was flawless. But there was a problem. The employees that we interviewed, looked anxious. Not only were they intimidated by the lights and the crew, but the heat caused our guests to sweat.
That experiment guided us to another one. What if we could take a little consumer camera, put it in front of an executive, and let them talk? We did exactly that, and released the video internally to rave reviews. People liked hearing from the exec; they liked the way it was unscripted; and they even commented on the fact that he looked relaxed.
That one video started something that we could not have predicted — employees started sending their own videos. It was this sudden rush of employee-generated video that made me rethink my belief that audio was easier than video, because I was staring at proof otherwise.
New Media is about unscripted, transparent, and ultimately human communication. To capture this type of programming does not need a big studio, expensive cameras, and lights that’ll melt the toupee off of a balding middle-aged man.
No need for expensive lighting, makeup and difficult edits. A simple camera, adequate lighting, and minor editing is all that’s required. Try it. I think you’ll be surprised at the quality that you can get through these simple and inexpensive tools — especially when filming for the tiny-screen at 320 x 240.
Now, if you are creating some video extravaganza, a highly produced piece that needs broadcast quality, this method won’t work. But if you are a New Media Evangelist who wants to convey meaning to employees or customers using this powerful medium, set your personal digital camera to shoot video, point it at someone, and ask a question. You won’t be disappointed. And you won’t be broke.