Use Your Phone To Capture Video

Categories: Blog

Author: Chelsea Bland 

Capturing videos can help your stories come alive. With a few best practices and your mobile device, you can easily introduce video into your everyday communications. From short interviews to rally clips, video helps to visually tell your story. So grab your video-equipped cell phone and start creating! Be mindful as to any agency rules, policies, or regulations about videography and photography in the workplace.

Here are some tips to get you started:

There are lots of opportunities to capture video footage and interviews.

Rallies, lunch & learns, and canvassing campaigns are great opportunities to capture video. Use these events to record b-roll and interview members about their experience. B-roll is simply capturing short recordings of actions taking place at an event.

These actions can include interesting facial expressions, rally signs, people walking a picket line, groups of people holding signs, featured speakers, spokespeople talking to the press, crowd shots, and/or signing up new members. 

Composition is key.

With a few composition basics in mind you can create good-looking videos that tell an important story.

Watch out for your thumbsMake sure your fingers are not covering your camera lens.

Record your video in landscape.Turn your phone horizontally. 

Remain on your subject’s levelSteer clear from recording upward, downward, or canted/tilted at an angle when capturing interviews. 

Keep in mind the rule of thirdsA number of devices will let you turn on a photo grid that will help you frame your shot. You don’t have to center your subject in the video. Try framing your subject slightly to the left or the right.  

Fill the frameYour subject should take up most of the frame. This tip works for rally signs and interviews. The background should not be a distraction from the main subject you are recording.  

A little movement is okay when recording b-roll. Movement in your shot can help add interest to your video. Try this with your b-roll shot. Select your subject (a crowd, rally sign, new member signing up, etc.) and pan left to right or up and down. Panning is slowly moving the camera in one direction.

Keep steady! Even when panning over a scene, you don’t want a shaky video. Use two hands when recording or a stability device, like a tripod.

Get ready to record interviews. 

Interviews help you personalize an action. It’s always useful to get a few folks on camera talking about their experience.

These can be 20 -30 second interviews that you record while at an event. Simply ask the subject to step away from the action (but you’re still close enough for the event to be visible in the background). Ask a couple general questions, such as, ‘why are you at this action today’ and/or ‘why is it important for members to get involved’. 

Recording interviews that aren’t on-location at events can also be useful. For these interviews you just need a quiet, well-lit room. Stay away from positioning people in front of windows!

The sound is just as important as the composition. Make sure your fingers aren’t covering the built-in microphone. Also, a quiet location is key so that you are not also recording a lot of distracting background noise. 

Additional tips for your interviewees:

  • Make sure your subjects are not on official time
  • Have your subject identify themselves as union members, not federal employees
  • When AFGE members are at a rally they should remove their badges, uniforms and any reference to AFGE PAC.

Use mobile apps to create a quick and easy highlight reel.

Mobile apps like Google Photos allow you to easily compile your photos and videos into a highlight reel for an event.  

Download the video tips flyer

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