Nonprofit Video – Get More than the Speech

As a nonprofit, you probably have an opportunity to video speeches at your educational talks, panel discussions and galas.  We were recently asked to capture a keynote address on green business for an entrepreneur start-up organization in Finland, which is pretty exciting stuff as we are fans of sustainability.  Our speaker was Trudy Heller, a woman that is well known for this subject in Philadelphia.  After we were finished capturing her talk, we had her change clothing,  made some tweaks of the studio and then proceeded to interview her.  We weren’t asked to do this, so why did we bother?  Simply stated, video is a close-up medium.  The delight of video is that it allows for the intimacy that we can’t have in real life with a subject.    How many times have we caught a character on Saturday Night Live cracking up because the camera has zoomed in so close to their face that we see their eyes looking down and the movement of their chest as they start to chuckle?  You would have to be in the first row of their studio audience to get that kind of view, and we know that isn’t easy!  That camera is giving us the chance to feel like we are there and to recognize that universal feeling that we are all connected.

Now that we’ve painted this dreamy picture, why should you bother with that interview during your speaking events?  You first have to remember that by capturing a speech on video, you are already viewing the subject in its second best mode.  Speeches were made for people to view in rooms at a distance, not on video.  A video can’t replace being there because it can’t capture the reaction of others viewing the speaker at that very moment, and it can’t relay the emotional connection between audience members or the particulars of the environment.  Also, the expectation of what the audience will see on video is much more mesmerizing than the reality of someone at a podium, which is what they will ultimately get.  So, there is already a let down as the image is static.

Let’s look at how we can spice up this speaking footage with interview footage.  Ideally you would do some minor editing and sprinkle the interview clips in amongst the speaking clips, looking for common themes.  Now there is a feeling of being one on one with the speaker.   There is also the opportunity to answer questions that are more personal, because a time limit wasn’t set and the speaker was comfortable enough to allow the conversation to happen.  If you are trying to win an audience over to a cause, you are allowing them the chance to feel that personal connection.  You are also giving the audience a change of scenery, and that holds their interest more so than had you just showed them the footage of the speech.  Don’t want to break up the material?  Then just post some of the best interview moments on-line.  You are still allowing your audience another way to view a subject and to feel closer to the speaker.  In the case of Trudy Heller, our interview footage can be used for her website or even a demo reel for public speaking.  Options and re-use are what it is all about, whether it be video or sustainability.  So, get personal and make sure you grab an interview next time your record that speech.