This LinkedIn discussion on staff-generated content got me thinking about the use of video in HR / Corporate Comms.
Video (obviously) an excellent form of user/staff-generated content, but it also can be an empowering tool to allow staff to air their views, thoughts and feelings. It is a medium which is fairly easy to collate and discover organisational themes. And it is a powerful way of reporting back on those themes to senior management and boards. With far more impact than a collated report from a staff survey.
We have worked with businesses, schools and charities in projects which use video not just as an means to and end – content – but as a process – to aid the content makers to uncover the issues, stories and themes that are important to them and their communities.
As I sit here writing this I can see my Kodak and Sanyo little HD cameras, Canon 550d with Rodeo shooting mic. I type this on an iMac fully loaded with Adobe CS5.5 – but the tool that I most use is the camera on my smartphone and if I need something fancier than the onboard editing it comes with, iMovie (and I say this as someone who knows there way around AVID, Premiere and FCP – don’t tell the editors!). Another tool I can advise on to collate and collect (and tag) all of the content Aframe (http://aframe.com/) which can take the pain out of finding, storing and sharing footage.
It is this ubiquitousness of technology, coupled with far easier kit to operate, and the removal of the barrier to entry being cost, that is making video the primary choice for self-expression; every 60″ sees 600+ videos uploaded to YouTube with equates to over 25hrs of content! If the content is strong enough the audience will happily sacrifice quality (i.e. the football fan watching a hacked video feed of a European away game on a mobile phone on a crowded train) for the content.
Of course, I am not saying that technical and editorial standards should be abandoned – and a strong brief is essential – but if the intention is to use the medium as a tool to listen and understand, and not just transmit, then don’t let too many things get in the way of the stories.
If, on the other hand, if the aim is to come out of it at the end with ‘nice’ broadcast-able videos then the option I have used in the past is to create production teams, give them the tools (HD camera – usually a DSLR, plus a laptop with the relevant software) and a professional mentor, whose brief is to support and advice but not to direct or dictate. Add to this a ‘client’ as this is the main thing that stops self-obsessed film making. (See this for an example – a film made by 16 year olds as an advert for a local cafe.)
So, knowing what the purpose is of the project (control and broadcast vs listen and understand) can help inform your technical and workflow decisions. But understanding that video can be the greatest tool to uncover what is really going on can help create staff content that can impact on the entire business.