So you’re thinking about a video or photoshoot for your school, but don’t know where to start? Well that’s ok. Many other school leadership teams find themselves in the same situation.
Thats why we’ve created this guide on things to consider when thinking about a video or photoshoot for your school.
The good news is, we live in a visual age. People on average spend 40 minutes a day watching videos online and 65% people say great photography makes a lasting impact on their impression of a brand or organisation. Source (Medina, 2018)
Therefore, great videos and photos are an amazing way to communicate to parents, pupils and stakeholders.
When thinking about videos and photos for your school there are a number of things to consider and prepare for.
Planning & Preparation:
The first question we like to ask is have you done any video or photography projects before?
If the answer is yes, it is important to understand what the process was, what you liked about the results and if there is anything you would like to avoid based on past experience?
These simple questions will allow your chosen film agency to create a brief which avoids problem areas but maximises on the parts which have seen success. This will also allow your film partner to develop new and interesting ideas and concepts which will complement, rather than duplicate, work you have done in the past.
If you have not done any visual content work before, or even if you have, it is sometimes useful to have a look at what other schools have done. This can be nationally, or in your local area. It may help to define the parameters for what you want to get out of your new photos and/or videos.
Audience, Message, Style and Format:
The two most important parts of any creative piece are audience and message.
Who do you want to target and what action do you want them to take? Or how do you want them to feel after seeing the photos or watching the videos? What information do you want them to retain?
Common objectives we have seen in the past include increasing applications to the school, boosting the prestige and brand of the school, communicating key information to pupils, parents and stakeholders or introducing new members of staff. The list in endless.
Once you have both your audience and message in mind, you can begin to think about the style of your video.
You may ask yourself the following questions; do we want to produce a documentary style video? These types of video tend to capture authentic interactions in a more candid way. However, it does rely on suitable spontaneous activity.
Alternatively, do we want something that is more planned and fast paced? What impact would a script or narrative have in helping tell the story? Could this information be better told with animation?
In asking these questions you will be in a better position to decide what type of video will best suit your objectives.
Titles for these may include;
- School ‘Brand Film’
- Headteacher’s Welcome
- School tours
- Curriculum overview
- A day in the life of a student
- Life as a teacher at…..(staff recruitment videos).
Planning & Scheduling the shoot:
Once a concept and its objectives have been signed off, the next stage is to plan the shoot day.
On some occasions, the video may be entirely animation, in which case you may want to skip this section.
However, if there is any filming or photographing to be done on-site, getting the scheduling right will make all the difference.
The first thing to consider is the balance between staged scenes or studio style photography and candid filming/photography. Depending on the concept, there may be more scenes to ‘set up’ than there are to be shot candidly, and it is important to allocate enough time to do so. Sometimes this can take longer than the normal lesson time.
We normally provide our clients with a template listing all of the scenes and an estimation of how long we will need from set up to completion (taking the inevitable multiple takes into account). This allows the school to prepare for shoot day and get an understanding of the timings involved.
Once the staged scenes are set, any candid style shots can usually take place during the course of normal school operations.
The best time to complete any Drone filming is very early in the morning, or in the evening if there is still light. At these times there tends to be less people around which is preferable from a health and safety perspective.
Nominated member of staff:
One of the best ways to ensure smooth operations during the filming or photographing day is to make sure you nominate a member of staff to liaise with the filming team during the planning process and to help arrange the scheduling.
If this person is also available on the day of shooting, to help take the team from scene to scene, it enhances communication and ensures everyone knows where they need to be and at what time.
Health & Safety and safeguarding:
Producing video and photo content for external consumption requires some safeguarding considerations.
The first and most important one is to get written parental permission for film and photography, and also consider discussing it with any pupils that will be heavily involved. It is also key to identify any pupils that do not have permission early on, so that key shots do not end up unusable.
It is also important to consider the credentials of the production company concerned. They should have a written data protection policy, as well as ideally having DBS checked crew. In addition, they should hold adequate public liability insurance for working within your school.
Drones are a hot button issue at the moment. When used safely and responsibly, they are an amazing tool for showing off what your school has to offer. To fly in a school environment, the pilot/company should hold a ‘Permission for Commercial Operation’ from the CAA. They should be able to provide a certificate and ID number on demand, which can be checked by searching this list on the CAA website. A responsible operator will produce full risk assessments and safety plans for a flight, and will be happy to discuss these with you.
Delivery and Distribution:
One of the most important things to consider is how your target audience will view your new video or photos?
Will this be on the school website as a hero video or simply as a background video with no sound? Will the images be in the newsletter to new prospects? Will they be shared on social media, on a screen at the school’s reception, or in the case of photos, on posters around the school? If you want to target specific stakeholders or drive new applicants, will you be considering social ads?
These questions will all impact how your content is produced including its orientation, length, audio features and overall style. It is important for your filming partner to understand your chosen methods of distribution before filming starts.
When considering a new video or photoshoot for your school, it’s important to ask yourself a series of questions.
If you have done some visual content work in the past, pay particular attention to what has worked well before, or equally, what has not worked. Look at who the video or photos are aimed at and what message you want to get across. What styles and formats are appropriate for your objectives? These questions, and their relevant answers, will form the foundations for a great video or album of photos that really deliver.
With these parameters in place, great filming/ photoshoot planning will also help greatly in ensuring filming goes smoothly and avoids interrupting the normal flow of the school day. Minimal disruption should always be the priority and ultimately makes for a better video or album of photos.
Lastly, if you have an idea for how your videos or photos will be displayed, make sure you discuss this with your film partner. It will allow your content to be optimised for your desired platform, which can make a huge difference to the performance of your final film or images.
If you are considering video for your school or a photoshoot enter your email below and we will be in touch with more information. You can also view one of our previously produced school videos by clicking here.