Tips for Filming Your Next Event

Filming an event is a great thing to do, particularly for non-profit organizations. The resulting video is often shared via social media, (people love seeing themselves and post it everywhere) thus extending the life and the reach of your event well beyond just one day.

But lately I’ve seen some event videos that missed the mark a bit.

Whether yours is a non-profit or family event, to make sure you do it right, here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Be wary of noise.

Events are often places where many people gather, and when many people gather, they talk. They laugh. Loudly. They clink glasses. They listen to music. So if you are trying to get a heartfelt interview with someone at the event, please don’t do that interview smack in the middle of the event (unless you somehow have superior sound equipment, and even that will only help so much.)

We love interviews. They are a fantastic way to get testimonials and stories related to your event. But do them before or after the event, when all the people and the noise are gone. Or, if you must film them during the event, find a very quiet space somewhere nearby.

There’s nothing worse than trying to watch an interview and not being able to hear what someone is saying. (Trust me, people will quickly stop watching your video if they can't hear it.) Plus, if you film during the event, your interviewee may get completely distracted by all the people and hoopla going on around him and may not give a great interview. (Not to mention all of the people who want to yell “Hi Mom” behind him and get in the act.)

If you want good audio while filming during an event, consider placing a wireless lavaliere microphone on a key person, and whether they are on camera or not, as long as you roll tape continuously, you will likely get some good sound nuggets you can use later.

Establish yourself.

You want to make sure you don’t just get video of the people at the event, or even just the action of the event, but the things that help to establish the story. Take shots of the entrance to the building, or film signs or objects relevant to the event. Think about if you had to tell the story of your event using only visuals (no interviews or other audio allowed) - what would you need to see to understand the event? So that you know it’s not just another cocktail party, but an event to raise money for ovarian cancer patients, for example? Make sure at least some of your establishing shots are without people in them – this will ease the edit process.

Edit, edit, edit.

I recently watched an event video that went on a good five minutes longer than necessary. Viewers don’t need to see every great shot you took. Just a few that give a good overview is all you need. (For example, for the “Mom of Many Hats,” we didn’t need to see the honoree open every gift. We used just a few shots here and there to see a few different hats, so the viewer gets the idea.)

Use photos if you don’t do video.

If you don’t have a steady hand or a video camera, think visually and take pictures of your event. Use something like animoto to make a slide show of your photos and tell the story of your event, without using video.

Don’t keep it to yourself.

If one of the main reasons you are making a video of your event is to share with others, make sure you get it out there on Facebook, Youtube, Vimeo, etc. People want to see themselves on video, and they’ll be excited to share it with others. And you’ll gain additional reach and instant shelf life that lasts well beyond your event.