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Putting the PR in Video Production

Video is a superb communication tool for communicating PR messages.  Yet most of us have little experience of creating videos beyond shooting the odd clip of children, pets or holidays.  That’s extraordinary, given video’s potential and popularity as a medium.

It’s 91 years since Scottish inventor John Logie Baird invented television, and ever since we’ve surrendered control of production to the professional broadcasters and production companies.

Historically, it’s not hard to see why.

Back in the day television was an impenetrable symbiosis of art and science.

Cameras were hugely expensive and required serious technical skills to operate.  Editing was a sullen craft guarded jealously by specialist tech ops in rooms full of complex equipment.

Opportunities to transmit directly to audiences didn’t exist and the media completely controlled who broadcast to whom.

It was a closed shop, and it’s time we opened the doors.

New world

The world is changing. The internet and social media now offers us full access to our audience, bypassing the traditional gatekeepers.

The use of video is burgeoning. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg expects that 90% of Facebook traffic will include video by the end of next year.  Cisco predicts 80% of all internet traffic will include video by 2019.

That’s a fantastic opportunity for message transfer and communicating directly with our audiences.  So what can we do to wrestle back control of the means of video production?


If you just want to get the job done and be reasonably assured of a quality result hiring a professional is still the way forward.    But drawbacks include lead time and high cost – £1000 a minute plus.

You can do it yourself.  Modern camcorders pretty much think for themselves and intuitive graphical interfaces make using current editing software a comparative doddle.  With the right training and practice excellent results can be had. But conventional video equipment costs money, and even the simple technicalities might be off-putting to the technophobe.

So it’s good that a third path is currently attracting huge interest in the PR and media agora: mobile journalism, or MoJo, shooting and editing video on a phone or tablet.

iPhone video is ideal for shooting and editing in the field

Flexible, cheap and easy

MoJo is now being adopted by many organisations – including broadcasters and newspapers – as the perfect way to produce simple quality video quickly and easily on a small budget.   The quality is fine for social media and online use and mobile video has significant advantages:

  • Low cost makes mobile video ideal for those with limited resources, such as individuals and small charities.   The basic accessories (microphone, tripod, etc.) and apps you need shouldn’t cost more than £150.
  • Most people are already comfortable and familiar with their phone or tablet, meaning a gentle, less frightening learning curve.
  • Phone video offers you a complete video studio in your pocket or bag, ideal for those working against the clock or away from base: field engineers, conservationists, event reporters and crisis managers, to name but a few.

This promotional video took just four hours to shoot and edit on site on an iPhone 5

Video fluency

On my CIPR video production courses I see delegates of all ages and backgrounds take enthusiastically to video production, their eyes widening in delight as they realise what they can do for themselves, by themselves.

And that’s good because it’s high time we started to gain fluency in the use of a useful, fun and powerful medium that dominates our lives and will certainly become a vital PR tool of the future.

Image courtesy of pexels

John Whyte-Venables

John Whyte-Venables delivers the CIPR's 'Creating Video Content for the Web' and 'Making Movies with iPhones and iPads' courses. He is also a media trainer with 30 years' experience. A former BBC multimedia journalist and Press Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, he is the author of 'What is News?' and 'Handling Media Interviews'.

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