Sometimes greatness is thrust upon us, when our video production skills actually serve a noble purpose. Such was the case when we were asked to produce a fundraising video to help raise money to expand the undergraduate computer lab for UT's Astronomy department.
We scouted the location and it was immediately apparent that the expansion was sorely needed. The students were packed together in a small, noisy space. Our quest was set. Use our great story-telling techniques to dramatize this bottleneck towards the pursuit of higher education.
The fundraising video has really become an important tool today. With sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo now well known, we've produced several videos in the past for worthwhile causes. This particular video would be online and also shown to potential money donors to raise money to double the space allotted to the lab.
First, we interviewed students and educators who had unique insights into the computer lab situation. Having the interview scenes overlooking the lab would be the perfect combination of elements. But how to do it? By placing the on-camera subjects up against the lab's window, seated on high stools borrowed from a chemistry lab, and elevating the camera to look down on the computer lab we had the proper scenario. Our interviewer was mostly hidden in the shadows behind the camera, but it looked right on-screen.
Now to acquire the real stuff. What the French call "la reason d'entre" (the reason to act). The too-crowded lab in full cry. Oh, the humanity...After acquiring interviews all morning, a large group of students had volunteered to be cast as extras playing themselves. They knew why we were there. They eagerly cooperated. Shooting the illustrative "B-Roll" footage was a dream. The camera could weave in and out and between the students. They interacted. They took direction. They pointed on cue. They "hooked-em." It was glorious. And fun to shoot.
There was no need for scripted narration. The interviews provided plenty of appropriate commentary. As usual, we had more than enough cover footage. The editing process was quick and easy, with our producer calling out just the right shot.
As video producers based in Austin, Texas, it doesn't get much better than this. The university folks loved the final product, which turned out quite heart warming. We felt good about working with a purpose, for a cause. For us, each day in the life of a video producer is different. But some days are really special, when it all comes together.
Some days it's like falling downhill. We're happy to please the clients, but we are REALLY happy when we please ourselves, too. And raise money for a very worthy cause.
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