Forgetting Spielberg: Grassroots Video in a Digital Age


Video: 2012 Rehearsal of Iowa Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" at Simon Estes Amphitheater.

Overpaid actors and thousand-dollar microphones may help you win an ADDY, but what if it felt just as good to say you arrived under budget on a grassroots video project that satisfied a client, contributed to your professional development or put you on the fast track to a promotion?

Developing the ability to turn raw footage into compelling video content takes time, practice and a lot of patience. Yet with the right mix of curiosity and engagement, even the most novice camera-wielding storytellers can transform moving images into finished productions that illuminate the people, places and events most important to their companies, clients and communities.

In lieu of going Steve Spielberg on target audiences - and probably film school - how could a decent computer and reasonably priced "prosumer" or low-end professional camera help you create or enhance a pet project, build your portfolio, retain an important client, or nab that next job?

We offer three ways to sharpen your focus:

Stay behind the lens
Aspiring videographers, up-and-coming film producers and journalism majors rarely remove their fingertips from the record button. Regardless of how the footage will be edited, they know movie-making starts with jumping behind the lens. Searching for a story? Quit it. Now’s the time to stop looking and start capturing the events unfolding around you. Carrying a camera, keeping your eyes open, and displaying a willingness to point and shoot are first steps in capturing usable pieces of high-quality video. Repeating those practices leads to wowing employers, impressing clients and uncovering new revenue streams.

Right frame of mind
Research suggests mega-websites such as Google-owned YouTube will play a big role in determining how well brands fair in the world of search page rankings and social media optimization. Moving images are all the rage. And the socially charged YouTube mentality of modern audiences leads to millions of views of somewhat raw, yet professionally produced videos each and every day. Not only will capturing and editing video footage allow you to create rich content and grow as a media professional, publishing what you produce could give you a big boost in terms of improving visibility and overall SEO.

Forget Spielberg
Filmmakers rely on state-of-the-art sound recording equipment, top-of-the-line video editing suites and camera lenses that alone cost thousands of dollars. They’ve got movie directors, make-up artists and road crews. And that’s great, if you or your client is prepared to spend $10,000 or more for one commercial. What if they’re not? What if they’re waiting for you to show up with an HD camera and trained set of eyes eager to take pictures of their products, services and events?

The ability to discover unique angles, set up a scene and get people talking is what ultimately evokes an emotional response in viewers. Think "Super 8." And don’t let a fear of ins-and-outs of video production stop you short of meeting the needs of employers, clients and prospective customers. Find a camera, master some basic techniques and worry about other investing in nicer playthings and larger productions after your passion for grassroots multimedia leads brands to discover you.

Please join Three Razors and the the American Advertising Federation Dubuque for "The Entrepreneur’s Lens: Grassroots Multimedia," a lunchtime presentation focused on encouraging the growth and development of marketing and communications professionals in a digital age.

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