Filming and editing videos myself is one thing, but teaching others to do the same? Luckily, back in November, I was asked to do just that, which proved to be a very enjoyable experience.

WiRE (women in rural enterprise) specialise in helping out new businesses with regular networking events and workshops all over rural Britain. With video still being a concept that people haven’t been able to get their head around, in addition to it being one of the best ways to get your business seen by your customers, I was asked to take a series of workshops covering the subject.

This was not just me stood in front of a group of people, waffling on about how vital video is in the 21st century, before handing out some business cards and hoping for the best. The aim was to give everybody there the knowledge and confidence to be able to produce videos on there own to promote their business. While nobody at the workshop has yet gone on to create any Hollywood blockbusters, many have created introductory videos and testimonial videos that have since appeared on their website.

The 2 day course began looking at what videos each person wanted to be able to make, as well as finding out what works best for their personal business. The majority wanted the ability to create introductory videos, product demonstration videos and walkaround videos of their workplace.

We then went on to discuss basic concepts of filming, focussing on the framing and set up of interviews (the kind that would be used for a testimonial or introductory video) along with the reasons behind this, allowing them to understand some basic filming principles, in order for their videos to not ‘look weird’. While getting on and filming from the off would have been slightly more entertaining, if people aren’t aware of certain techniques and a video doesn’t look right, their customers will not take in the information presented. They will be asking questions like ‘Why is her voice weird?’ and ‘What’s that thing in the background’, meaning they don’t sign up for the yoga class that was being promoted.

Everyone then split into groups and recorded a pre recorded script to the camera while others took care of the set up and positioning. While this first attempt was probably un usable in many ways, it is a good way to get people over their initial fears of speaking in front of a camera, which can be quite a large barrier for some. When recording testimonials, you are not looking for perfection in the interview, the aim of a testimonial is to show potential customers how others see you and the services you offer. Pitch perfect testimonials, as often seen in classic American infomercials, can often seem forced, scripted and not genuine. If a testimonial looks that way, then you may as well get rid of it. This was a good concept to get across, so people no longer felt the need to stop rolling every time there was a slight stutter or a stumble (in the case of a physical stumble however, I would urge you to shoot it again).

Video Editing – where I thought I would struggle

Whenever I have taught anybody anything about video editing, it is usually to somebody that has a grasp of it already or has a high interest level in learning it. During day 2 of the workshops however, for many, the editing stage is a horrible hurdle that has to be jumped in order to get their video on line.

Whenever anybody asks me about my job, it’s always about the filming. the filming is the exciting part, the interesting part, the part that contain the most hilarious anecdotes. Video editing on the other hand, is seen as dull. So here I was, in a room full of people, some computer literate, some not, attempting to teach them a computer program.

In the weeks leading up to the workshop, I was still unsure what program I could use to teach people. Some would be on Macs, some would be on Windows, so the editing software that comes with each computer was not feasible as teaching 2 pieces of software must be twice as hard as teaching just one! Any professional edit system can set you back hundreds of pounds, which meant this was also out the window. I found a free program called Lightworks and thought I had hit the jackpot, but after downloading it and realising the heavy amount of documentation would take me a good while to master, the aim of teaching a room of people about it in 1 day was a bit far fetched.

Luckily enough, I stumbled across Video Pad, an editing program from NCH Software that was not only very easy to use, it was also free for a a non commercial license version of it. the full license works out about $60, so is very inexpensive anyway.

While it was still demanding to teach people who had zero experience in video editing a full program, as well as keeping their attention throughout, was quite challenging, but glad to say that each workshop was a success. I provided every person with some pre recorded footage that we all edited together, which included all of the key editing concepts that I wanted to get across including adding logos, text, music and delivering a final file to upload to the internet.

When thinking what to get people to edit, we ended up with what was known as ‘John’s Book Covers’ and you can see the final edited version here in all its glory.

With 2 workshops down, we have one to go that is in March and I am very much looking forward to it. For more information about WiRE, take a look at their website www.wireuk.org.