I have been involved in charity video production since leaving the BBC and going freelance in 2009. I have now produced, filmed and edited films and videos for well over a dozen different charity projects. Recently, I was commissioned by the charity Joy of Sound (JoS) to film and edit a short video. The video was to tell the story of Katie. Katie is a JoS volunteer and helps to co-facilitate musical-based workshops. These workshops are provided for a group of people with challenging special needs.
Charity video production aims
The aims of the video were to promote the benefits of volunteering. The video was also targeted to help JoS recruit more volunteers. Volunteers assist with the running of their well-attended workshop sessions across London. William Longden, the founder and director of JoS, briefed me about his concept of this new project. William was keen to arrange a meeting with Katie. He wanted to determine how Katie would feel about her volunteering story being filmed.
First meeting with volunteer Katie
This first meeting with Katie took place before a JoS workshop session taking place in West London. I talked with Katie about her life’s journey. William had previously asked Katie to compose a song about her experiences of volunteering with JoS. During that first meeting, Katie sang some of the lyrics to me while playing her guitar. After this meeting, I was advised that Katie was very happy to take part in the filming project. A date was then set to film her co-facilitating at a JoS workshop and also to film an interview with her.
Preparing for filming
The filming of Katie volunteering in a workshop session took place at a Salvation Army Community Centre. So that I could film as much as possible, I set up two cameras to film UHD 3840 x 2160. This would enable me to use the full size and cropped versions of any shots if required in the edit. One camera was fitted to a tripod and filmed a high, wide shot to capture the whole group in progress. The second camera was fitted to a Manfrotto Fig Rig. This enabled me to move around and quickly change positions. I filmed close-up shots of the proceedings and the participants’ reactions to the music.
Recording the sound
In record the sound I fitted a directional microphone onto a suitable stand. This microphone was plugged into my Tascam DR60 audio recorder and directed to the middle of the room. I fitted Katie with a radio microphone and also plugged that radio receiver into the Tascam. I fitted a Sennheiser MKE 400 onto my Lumix GH5 on the fig-rig. This has rubber vibration mounts so is perfect for recording great sound on a moving camera.
Filming the workshop
I set everything up early before everyone started to arrive with their Carers for the workshop session. During the actual workshop, I positioned myself for filming as unobtrusively. This ensured I could to capture Katie co-facilitating the events and the participants’ reactions as they unfolded. This included Katie singing the song she had composed to everyone at the workshop.
Filming the interview
After the workshop session had ended and I had packed up my kit, I fitted a GoPro camera to Katie’s bicycle. I filmed Katie as we walked up to Regents Canal for her actual interview. Using a GoPro, I filmed Katie cycling along the canal and also of the canal path from her cycling. We then found a quiet, green spot to sit and have a relaxed conversation. Here I filmed an interview with her talking about her experiences of volunteering.
Editing the charity video production
The interview with Katie was to form the body of the content. I first edited that down until I had the best of that interview in a well-ordered and concise form. I then edited in elements from the workshop session, and so the edit began to form. Once the edit starts to take shape, you gain a sense of the strengths of the story. It’s at this point that you can adjust the contents and edits accordingly.
JoS then arranged for Katie to record her song about volunteering in a professional recording studio. The final mixed version of this session was sent to me to edit into the end of the story. With the addition of the supporting partners’ logos and sign off from JoS, the video was complete. This charity video production was then distributed through the JoS networks and on social media. This video has proved to be very popular on social media and has been extensively shared by the films viewers and JoS supporters. You can view all of the charity projects I have delivered on the charity tab of my portfolio.