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Learning by doing video (i.e. @ Family Unity tour event in L.A.)

March 14, 2009

“Good effort,” is what staff at a nonprofit organization told me when I sent them a recent community-generated video that I helped produce. While I was initially struck by the backhanded nature of the compliment, I’ve been thinking it’s kind of an accurate assessment of making video content.

I’ll admit the above video is no masterpiece of cinematography. That’s not the point. I’m learning about what makes good video content. And it’s a process. When I went to the Family Unity tour event, I hadn’t planned on videotaping anything. I happened to have my Flip camera with me (this is not paid advertising, I swear) and thought I’d capture a sense of the event. The thing I love about the Flip camera is how low-tech and user-friendly it is, both in shooting and editing. Sure, the quality isn’t perfect, especially in zooming. I guess that’s why I like to add the little Flip

NY Times: Michael Moritz, a venture capitalist who was an early investor in Silicon Valley titans like Google and Yahoo, saw the potential in the Flip video camera, developed by Jonathan Kaplan, foreground. http://is.gd/nxim

NY Times: Michael Moritz, a venture capitalist who was an early investor in Silicon Valley titans like Google and Yahoo, saw the potential in the Flip video camera, developed by Jonathan Kaplan, foreground.

animation at the end: it’s kind of an explanation for the quality. But, hey, it’s handy and it works.

I knew I couldn’t get the definitive video footage of every speech and component of the event. I wanted people who didn’t attend to understand a little of what it was like to be there. I’ve been thinking a lot about video and how it’s inherently different than the text-based communication that dominates so much social media online (i.e. blogs, Twitter, social-networking, etc.). Due to language differences between communities, it seems to me that video might be more effective in crossing barriers and promoting understanding. As humans, we communicate a lot without language, such as facial expressions or physical action.

That’s why in the video above, I took a snapshot perspective of the event rather than something that captured whole speeches. I wanted to capture the little human scenes you’d see if you came. I particularly like the shot of the mother and son from behind. Even though we can’t see their faces, we can still sense a scene we’re very familiar with: being close to a parent and how that feels. That’s exactly what the Family Unity tour is getting at: if immigration law separates families, parents won’t be able to comfort their children like this.

So my question to you: do you think this works on some level? What suggestions do you have for improving the next one?

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