Kyle Henri Andrei is a research assistant at Idealware and is a recent graduate of communications at Indiana State University. He authored a newly-published article comparing A Few Good Tools for Video Editing, as well as this blog post with tips on making video better.

Visit TechSoup's Digital Storytelling Challenge for more great resources on creating effective videos for your organization.

Want to make editing easier? Start out with better video footage. Shoot thoughtfully, and use the best equipment you can. You don’t necessarily need a lot of expensive gear, just a few basic items.

A good camera is easily the most expensive item you’ll need, and the most essential, but you don’t have to break the bank on professional-level equipment. Among the things to consider are the recording medium (flash drives are becoming ubiquitous, but some cameras still use digital video tape) and transfer method — can you remove the media and plug it directly into your computer, or can you use a cable? 

A tripod is the cheapest and easiest way to get better video. Holding a camera usually results in shaky footage that can turn your fundraising video into the Blair Witch Project. A tripod keeps the camera stable, eliminating the shake. Again, you don’t need anything professional-caliber, but don’t skimp, either. A heavy, expensive camera on a flimsy tripod will only result in a broken camera.

Most consumer video cameras have built-in microphones, but they’re limited — move more than a few feet from your subject and you won’t be able to hear them at all. Shoot outside, and you’ll find that even the slightest breeze can sound like a hurricane on video. An external microphone can drastically improve audio quality. Some, like lavalier or lapel mics, are small enough to clip onto clothing. Others are handheld.

Finally, photography — both still and video — is about capturing light. Different light sources will change the way your video looks, so consider where you’re shooting. A small, bright light like a reading or desk lamp can provide extra light when you need it, and can be easily moved to fill in dark spaces. You can also purchase a small light that attaches directly to your camera or tripod. When shooting outside, the sun is your light source, so pay attention to shade and glare.

For more on video production, visit TechSoup's Digital Storytelling Challenge and read recaps from a variety of events with experts on creating great video for nonprofits and libraries.

Photo: Photochiel

Becky Wiegand is the Webinar Program Manager at TechSoup.org
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