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Tips for Filming a Simple Video Update for Your School Community

One of the simplest, yet engaging, ways you can share key information with your stakeholders is through a simple school video update.

In fact, this is perhaps the most common type of school video. The subject—who is usually the superintendent or a principal—sits or stands in front of the camera and provides an brief update to their school community.

Below are some tips for filming a simple school video update:


Create a script

Know what you are going to say in your school video update before you start filming. This can take the form of a script or a series of talking points you want to hit. Preparing a script or notes will allow you to get your thoughts organized and get a sense for how long your video will be.

While there is no specific length that works best, we find that limiting a school video update to fewer than three minutes allows you to keep your audience engaged while keeping your points concise.

Also, if you can keep your video under 2 minutes and 20 seconds, you can more easily post it to Twitter without having to use a third-party platform like YouTube or Vimeo.


Find a good background

Before you start filming, find a nice-looking background in your home or office. A quiet space where you can close the door and set up your camera or smartphone is ideal.

A bookshelf often looks good as a background when filming video. Avoid recording in front of a window, which can backlight you, or a blank while wall, which can wash you out.


If you want to shoot outside, stay away from areas with a lot of background noise or wind, which can distort the audio. The video will look best if it’s a cloudy day, as the colors will pop more and you won’t have to squint like you would if the sun were in your eyes.

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo, superintendent of the Park Falls School District in Wisconsin, uses his one-minute “walk to school” to provide an update to his community nearly every morning. This has the added benefit of his audience knowing when to expect an update from him each day, making it part of their routine.


Frame the shot

To make sure you are properly framed on screen, use the rule of thirds. Here’s a quick tutorial to help you out.

If you are shooting alone, without anyone else to help out, you’ll need to see how you look on screen before you hit record. If your camera has a flip-out screen, that’s easy—just flip the screen around so it’s facing you. You can also hook up your laptop to your camera to show a preview of the shot.


Do a few takes

Before you start filming, know that you will allow yourself more than one chance to get it right. This is especially important if it’s your first time creating a school video update. Run through your script 2-3 times while recording, and then pick the best take to use as the version you share.

As you do more of these and continue to hone your skills, you’ll learn new techniques that allow you to make your school video updates even more dynamic. In the meantime, these simple tips will allow you to record quality video that enhances your connections with parents, students, staff and community members.

The Donovan Group offers digital video creation and editing services for schools and school districts across the United States. 

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