One of the challenges we face is effectively getting a message out to the audience that will benefit the most from it. One of the things Social Media enables us to do is to be able to get a message out using multiple different types of media beyond plain text but also through audio and video formats. With so many choices, ultimately it is up to us to pick the right media format for the message.
I came across this great example of using the right media format to the get the message out in a way those that need it can easily receive it on the Fire Department Of New York City’s YouTube channel:
This is really a great video on many levels because it addresses a problem in a media format that is understandable by the audience it is focused at and it is easily shared through the ability to embed the video.
Obviously this video took quite some time to produce and some special snazzy editing equipment was used, but don’t let that deter you from doing something along the same lines! Develop the message you want to communicate, read our 5 Video Production Tips for PIOs, and go out and make that video!
A social media public service announcement, just like any other PSA needs at least these things:
1) A key message
2) An authority on the message
3) A cause and effect
Toronto Traffic Services posted this PSA on YouTube that features WineLibrary.com owner and social media advocate Gary Veynerchuk. A video like this could be recorded and posted with a smartphone in minutes. Then it can be posted and shared.
Have you made a social media PSA? Share the link in the comments area.
The following video appeared on YouTube in the wake of the earthquake this past weekend that occurred in California:
With the decreased cost and increased availability of video cameras this sort of video is not uncommon anymore when events happen.
What will be more important will be the ability to upload videos with geo location data similar to how geo location enabled Tweets are being monitored by TED. This is a topic we discussed briefly on our first podcast, and it is one that we expect to spend a lot of time on in 2010.
What use of geo location data do you see as being relevant to you in your work as a PIO?
Paul Bollinger of Medical Teams International alerted me to this video from Sri Lanka EMS that is available on YouTube. The video will be going live as a Public Service Announcement to educate citizens about calling 110 in case of an emergency.
You could make a video like this for your service with not much more than a handheld camcorder, free video editing software, and a YouTube account. Have you done a video like this for your agency or service? Share the link in the comments. What questions do you have about making your own public service announcement (PSA)?
Learn more about the Sri Lanka EMS system and medical teams international in episode 41 of the EMSEduCast – the podcast by and for EMS Educators.
Officers from the Kenosha Wisconsin police department have put their own twist on the 12 days of Christmas song in this YouTube video. I think it is OK for emergency response agencies to occasionally have fun with social media tools. Positive and fun interactions with your community can be really important for building relationships.
What do you think of this video? Is it appropriate? Is it useful to accomplishing the department’s mission?
Adding video is a simple and low cost way to quickly add multimedia content to your Agency’s social media hub. By far the easiest method is to copy embed code from an existing YouTube video and embed that video into the HTML programming view of your blog post. Below the text portion of this post is a screencast that shows how to copy, customize, resize, and embed video code from a YouTube video. Since many public service and government agencies, like FEMA and American Red Cross, have YouTube channels you can find plenty of videos with emergency preparedness and injury prevention themes that would likely fit the mission of your agency social media hub.
Creating your own videos allows you to select the content best suited for your audience, localize the information for your agency, and conclude with a specific call to action for your viewers. There are many methods to capture video. You can use a smartphone, laptop with built-in web cam, stand along web cam that connects through a USB port, or a handheld video camera. I use the Flip Camcorder (Amazon link). A video camera is an essential item for your social media PIO jump kit. Your organization may already own a video camera that allows data transfer to a computer and upload to a video sharing site.
These are my five tips for beginning social media PIOs to produce video:
1. Shoot lots of video. Get familiar with your camera by using it to shoot video. Bring the camera to training programs, public events, and actual incidents. Practice videoing subjects from different distances, angles, and view points. You may never post much of this video, but by shooting and watching the video you will learn a lot about basic camera operation, composition, audio pick-up capability, scene lighting, camera stabilization, and media transfer.
2. Learn to edit as you shoot. When you playback a patient assessment and treatment simulation you will realize there are lots of pauses where not much is happening. Edit as you shoot by pausing the recorder during low moments in the action. Even in a fully involved structure fire or automobile extrication there will be significant lulls in the action. It is better to have a few minutes of really great action packed content than an overwhelming amount of footage with long runs of low activity. Learn to anticipate action and be ready to film that action where and when it is occurring. Shooting small bursts of activity (three to ten seconds at a time) will result in a video that keeps a good pace for viewer interest.
3. Stabilize the camera. Hand held video cameras are small – some no bigger than a deck of cards. Make sure image stabilization is enabled if available or learn to hold the camera steady. I hold my Flip camera with two hands much like I hold an SLR camera. If the video subject is not moving use a tripod. For subjects talking straight to camera a tripod is essential. Holding a digital camera at arm’s length might work for a still shot, but it is no good for video.
4. Frame the subject like a filmmaker. Next time you watch a favorite movie pay attention to the film technique. Rarely does the actor fully occupy the center of the screen. Instead the actor is one-third of the screen. Lighting is not directed only to the front like a simple point and shoot camera flash. Instead it is diffuse and either fills the scene or only highlights important aspects of the scene. When I film indoors I use as much light as possible to fill the space. Many of the lights are not in the scene but simply light the scene. Also on simple video cameras the light balance will set on the brightest object. If the background has something very bright, like a computer screen, that will throw off lighting of the entire scene.
5. Pay attention to the backdrop. Before I start filming I always scan the entire scene that will be captured on film with my eyes and ears. Listen for noises that may be distracting to viewers – like exhaust fans, music, appliances, doors opening and closing. To the degree you can control those noises do so. Look for items that you might be accustomed to seeing everyday but would look out of place in a video without the context. For example, if you are filming a straight to camera shot at your desk do you want the artwork from your children in the video?
Are you using video for your Agency Social Media Hub? Share your video production tips in the comments area. Do you have a video you would like us to critique or share? Contact us with the link and we will take a look and offer suggestions for improvements on future video shoots.