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Super-short videos have become one of the coolest (and easiest!) ways to tell stories in just a few seconds. Free video services like Instagram and Vine that feature short videos now attract millions of users, offering nonprofits, charities, and libraries an opportunity to connect with new audiences.
In our recent webinar on super-short videos, we heard from digital storytelling experts about how nonprofits and libraries can use these tools to easily make their own super-short videos. Here's what we learned.
Like it or not, to get our messages out, we need to make them more compact. Nicholas Carr’s prescient book, The Shallows, claims that the Internet is doing something to our brains. Our attention spans are growing remarkably shorter. The Internet, especially the mobile web, encourages rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Increasingly, messages need to be short. Really short.
This is perhaps why our super-short video webinar on August 27 was really popular. Of our 400 attendees, most had never done short videos, had never used Instagram or Vine, and don't have a budget for doing videos. Through our Storymakers campaign and webinar series, we're hoping to change that.
According to our webinar presenters, nonprofits are already using super-short videos in the following ways (scroll on down for examples):
Here’s a bit more about the two services. The free Instagram and Vine mobile apps let you record, post, view, and comment on short videos from your mobile device. Both apps limit video length: up to 15 seconds on Instagram, and up to 6 seconds on Vine. The apps are easy to use and don’t require fancy lighting, editing, or video experience.
The camera in both apps is very clever: It records only while the screen is being touched, enabling you to edit on the fly or create stop motion videos like the one here.
Both services are heavily used by people under 35, so if your organization wants to connect with younger audiences, these apps are a great way to do it. Since both apps allow you to share your video creations on other sites (such as Twitter and Facebook), Instagram and Vine videos are a low-cost and low-tech way to create and share short videos with any audience.
Instagram is a popular photo and short video-sharing service that enables users to take pictures and videos with their smartphones and post them on Instagram's website.
Using Instagram to create videos is simple: just open the app on your smartphone or tablet, click to record a 15-second video, then customize the look of your video using Instagram's menu of filters (see image at right).
Once you finish your masterpiece, the video is automatically saved to your device and shared to your followers on Instagram. You can also share Instagram videos on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels.
A few more things to know about Instagram:
Vine is the other popular short video tool. The company was founded in June 2012 and was acquired by Twitter later that year. The service has around 100 million users each month.
The free Vine app allows users to record and edit six-second videos called "Vines." One prominent feature of Vine is that the short videos loop or play over and over until you click on them to make them stop.
Like Instagram, the Vine app is designed to be very easy to use. Vine does offer a few features beyond Instagram, including the ability to snip or shorten your Vine, a grid and a level for accurately lining up shots, and a flash to allow you to shoot in low-light settings.
Once recorded, Vine videos are uploaded to Vine's social network and can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.
A few more things to know about Vine:
We had two super-short video veterans presenting at our webinar:
I really liked the examples the presenters shared.
This very simple video won an honorable mention in The Chronicle of Philanthropy's Six-Second Appeal Challenge. Their winner’s page is a great place to view some good fundraising short videos.
Find the webinar recording here or dive right in to the webinar below:
This webinar is part of a series of events supporting our Storymakers 2014 Contest, which is happening now through September 26, 2014.
We encourage you to submit your video or a series of five photos here and follow #Storymakers2014 on Twitter. We’re giving away $13,000 in cash prizes this year.
Upcoming Free Storymakers 2014 Webinars:
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This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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