We all know the most powerful asset of a live virtual tour is the personal connection that it creates between prospective students and your school. With HelloCampus Live, we build that personal connection through the live presentation of stories and emotions, the spontaneous reactions and quirky conversations that arise with each tour stop, fun, laughter and, in the end, a lot of helpful answers to questions and curiosities. These are all ingredients for a memorable experience that also help students better imagine their future life at your school.
We're here today to help you with the context in which these live connections take place. The content of your live virtual tour, and in more particular the videos your tour guides can use to portray life on campus. And whether you will want to use these videos to fill up a moment when words are not enough, or just to better paint the picture on facts and numbers about your school, we've got you covered! Follow these 5 simple steps on how to create videos that will enhance your live virtual tours.
The most important step to creating meaningful video content is defining your video’s purpose and place in your tour. What do you want to achieve with this video? (support an idea, show an example, offer atmosphere to a story..). Then, think, who is your target audience? Is it a different segment of students from tour to tour? Do you want to create a specific video for international students, low-income students, or students from a certain identity group? And, what do you want to communicate to them? When you have clearly defined your video’s purpose, put together a storyboard and script to start visualizing what type of content you would like included. We recommend checking out this guide on What is a storyboard! This can help you decide where you need to film, who or what will need to be in the video, and what kind of lighting/camera shots will help you achieve your video’s message.
No matter what you are filming, whether it’s an aerial view of your school's entrance, the mascot's traditional dance at the home football game, or even a professor's speech, it is important to set the scene. Make sure there is nothing in the background of your shot that doesn’t add value. For example, if you are filming a professor explaining some key aspects of the biology department, you will want to make sure the background does not include any unnecessary distractions like people walking by or talking loudly. Any kind of clutter in the background will take the audience’s eye off of the subject and away from the message you are trying to convey.
The best and cheapest light source you can possibly use is the sun! Especially when it comes to your campus outdoors, you should take advantage of the natural lighting to film the beautiful buildings and facilities, spots to hang out, and open air activities! The best time of day to shoot some video footage is during golden hour, which is either early morning or late afternoon, right after sunrise and before sunset. Here is a good source to learn more about golden hour specifics. The lighting at this time is much more even and soft which produces less shadows. Another great time to record is on cloudy days. The less harsh your light source is, the more flattering your video footage will be. If you do have to record on a sunny day, it is best to try and find a shaded area.
Having somewhere to place your camera while recording can make a huge difference to the quality of your content. Even if you have a great storyline, shaky video footage can be very distracting and takes away from the overall message. We suggest purchasing an inexpensive tripod to stabilize your camera when recording. Your goal for each video should be to move the camera as little as possible. If you would like to move to different locations, we suggest cutting from one shot to the next. That way, you will save a lot of valuable time and your audience won’t see too much movement on their screen.
Once you have recorded plenty of raw video footage, an editing software can help you simplify everything and make sure your message comes across. Think of these softwares as fine-tuning tools for your audio and image. Depending on how much time and money you want to invest, they can go from simple to very complex adjustments. Check-out some tools like iMovie, Wave.video, Camtasia, or more complex options like Adobe Premiere Pro. When editing your videos, you will have the ability to use noise canceling to clean up any unnecessary background noise, adjust lighting if needed, cut out any pauses or awkward silences, and even add some background music or transitions. Just make sure you don't go too far with your editing, these are videos you will include and use in a virtual setting, keep it simple.
With these 5 simple steps, you can produce quality videos for your school and enrich your live virtual tour experience. And the best part is, you don’t even need a professional camera! You can do all of this right from your smartphone, if needed. We hope this inspires you to create more video content and include it in your next HelloCampus Live tour!