Video making tips

Video can be a really easy and effective way of telling people about your group or event. Here are a few tips to help you make a video that is interesting, inspiring and keeps people interested.

Before you start filming:

Learn how to use your camera. Make sure you know how to:

  • start filming quickly if something interesting happens
  • zoom in and out smoothly
  • scan across a room or landscape smoothly
  • know when you need to replace the tape or battery, and how to do it
  • use the tripod – this is one of the best ways to improve your video and ensure that the images do not move around like a ship sinking

Aim to make a short film of just 10 – 15 minutes and plan what you will include in it.

We also suggest that you find a ‘filming buddy’. When you are concentrating on the camera it is easy to miss what is going on somewhere else. It makes a really big difference if you have a buddy to help to plan your film, carry the kit, interview people, give you a break, and have a good overview of what is happening.

If you are recording an event…

  1. Think about:

What are the main highlights?

Where will they take place?

What is the best position for you to be when you film them?

  • Check with people that they don’t mind being in your film.
  • Interview some of the organisers and people taking part. Think of some questions in advance, but be flexible so the interview is more like a conversation.
  • Check that the microphone on the camera is good enough to pick up the sound of musicians, performers or speakers.
  • Remember, you don’t need to make a film of the whole event. Just showing the highlights will be much more interesting.


If the film is about your group or campaign…

  •  What are the main points you want to get across?
  •  What is the best way to do it?

For example:

  • If you want to show that a lot of people came to your party, one minute’s film of the party is more powerful than an interview with somebody saying “Lots of people came to our party”.
  • If you want your viewers to know why people came, an interview might be the best option.

What are the tricks?

  1. Be deliberate when making adjustments, don’t make changes without a reason. Take a shot of something and leave it there for 10-20 seconds, stop the recording and take another shot. Don’t quickly move the camera from one subject to another.
  2. Use slow, smooth, and deliberate motions when panning and zooming. This will make your videos much more watchable.
  3. Do a ‘little shot composition’: before you hit the record button, look at your shot and see if you have everything in it that you want and that it is framed nicely. Do this as you would if you were taking a photograph.
  4. Think about lighting: whenever possible, film in a well-lit area. Try to have your back to the sun or any bright lights, rather than pointing the camera at them.
  5. Only take footage that you think you will use, as editing video footage on a computer can take a long time.
  6. Keep your film in clear clips. Take some footage, stop the camera, get ready for the next bit of filming, start recording again.

Using interviews

Use interviews with people to bring your story to life.

Before you start filming have a short chat about the questions you will ask them and the things they would like to say.

When doing an interview:

  • frame the shot with the head and upper chest showing and with the person off-centre to one side or the other
  • you, as the interviewer, should stand next to or behind the camera, so the interviewee is looking at you
  • tell the interviewee NOT to look at the camera, but just carry on a normal conversation with you and keep eye contact
  • leave plenty of space in the shot to allow for the interviewee to move naturally and nod. This way they won’t slip out of the shot.


Turning all your footage into a short and interesting film can take a very, very long time.

If you are making your first film you will find Windows Moviemaker is one of the easier packages to use, and you may have it on your home computer. You can use it to save and cut clips, put them into whatever order you want, and add titles, text and music.

Alternatively, the Resource Centre has Adobe Premiere Elements on one of our computers in the centre, and on our laptops for hire.

A word of warning:

Video footage takes up a lot of space on computers and can really slow them down. We suggest that you save all your footage to an external hard-drive.

Would you like to make a donation?

We hope you find this page useful. Would you like to make a donation?

All Resource Centre information is available for free because we know small community groups have small budgets. However, we are a small charity, so if you are in a position to make a donation, it will help us to keep running this service into the future.