Video Storytelling

Video storytelling

Groundswell is proud to celebrate the work of student stewards through its annual Groundswell Student Showcase. Each year, students share one-minute videos about their community stewardship activities. Parents, teachers, and community members come together to watch these videos on the big screen at a local movie theater.

These videos are powerful tools for telling people about all the great things students are doing. They’re also extremely valuable for educating the public about environmental stewardship. But they can take a lot of time and effort to create. This page provides some helpful tips and information for creating your video.

Where do I Start?

We recommend starting with a storyboard. Think of this as a visual outline of the video. It helps you plan how you will tell the story of your stewardship project. It also helps you plan what footage you need to shoot to tell that story.

Click here for tips on storytelling

Download a storyboard template

Thank you to our partners at WGVU for creating the slides and template.

How do I Capture Footage?

Use these tips to create a professional-looking video.

Create a Shot List to Save Time

Use your storyboard to create a list of footage you want to capture. You don’t need to shoot the video footage in the order it appears on the storyboard – you can use video editing software later to put it in the correct order. For example, if you want to include an interview of a watershed expert, you will want to shoot the entire interview at one time to respect the expert’s time. But you might want parts of the interview to show up at different spots in your final video. Or you might want to feature several outdoor scenes from the same local park, but you want them to appear at various times throughout your video. Shoot all the scenes at one time and edit them into place later – this will save you a lot of time instead of traveling back and forth to the park.

Use Professional Techniques to Inspire Emotion

Videos can be so much more than just a series of pictures illustrating some facts that took place. Done right, they can be works of art that inspire emotion in the viewer. Think about the feelings you want your audience to experience. Use lighting, angles, and zoom to add this extra human dimension to your video.

Click here for shot types professional videographers use to add emotion

Click here for tips on camera operation, lighting, and audio

Thank you to our partners at WGVU for creating these slides.

Ask Open-Ended Interview Questions

Interviewing experts, community members, and a variety of other stakeholders is a great way to research a topic and create footage you can use as “quotes” to tell a story. When conducting your interview, ask questions that will help the subject provide a detailed response in their own words. Avoid “yes or no” questions or inserting your own bias.

Click here for additional tips on interview questions

Thank you to our partners at WGVU for creating these slides.

Avoid Shaky Footage

We have all sat through shaky home videos that look like they were shot from a moving roller coaster. Don’t make your audience nauseous. Use a tripod. Please.

I'm Ready to Edit my Video!

Congratulations! You have entered the post production phase! Read on for next steps.

Download Editing Software

Free video editing software is available for both Macs and PCs. It is relatively simple to learn and use.

Remember the story you want to tell as you’re piecing together your footage. The editing (post production) phase is a great time to incorporate additional techniques to inspire emotion. Editing can be more than gluing together different shots.

Click here for tips on editing techniques

Thank you to our partners at WGVU for creating these slides.

Add Royalty Free Music

Music can be a great way to add depth and emotion to a video. Remember that most songs are protected by copyright and cannot legally be reproduced without permission. Luckily, free royalty free music is available online. Check out these two sites:

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Be sure to acknowledge your community partners, funding sources, and others who supported your project. Include logos for funders. And please don’t forget to thank Groundswell!