Video & Animation
The TEAM video below was a project for the Athens State University College of Education. Participants of the TEAM Program recorded their own testimonial videos on mobile devices and uploaded them for compilation into a project summary video. Tess Olten managed the project communications, collection, support, and ultimately designed, produced, and narrated the video. The project was produced in Camtasia 9 per CoE protocols and there was considerable editing of the testimonials due to the nature of unscripted, impromptu speech patterns (ums, ahs, ands, etc.) and the limitations inherent in smartphone, participant-recorded video.
Animated Explainer Videos
Short animated "explainer videos" are all the rage in Web and mobile marketing circles. Sparkstone Media has the skills and resources to develop quick marketing or training videos for any purpose.
A NOTE ABOUT INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO FORMATS
Instructional video that includes important information, especially as pertains to process and steps in a linear movement, must be handled differently than video that is meant to inspire, orient, or otherwise provide informational less specific and more conceptual in nature.
For instance, consider the steps to a mechanical process, or the clicks necessary to navigate an online database. Those videos are good for initial training, but performance supports to be used later in application of the knowledge must be searchable by keyword in order to be of use "in real time"—otherwise, a learner has to watch an entire video to get just a tiny bit of information, such as a setting.
By providing both video and written instructions in a keyword-searchable format online (available to both computers and mobile technologies), the learner is given both the initial orientation from the video as well as the reference material needed later when they are in a workflow that may or may not match exactly the experience they viewed. Even the best of memories need resources and these videos are ideally captioned, transcripted, searchable by keyword, and available on a media platform that allows for the video to be played at variable speeds (an ADA accessibility compliance issue).
VIdeos for social media are a snap!
The Power of Simplicity
In 2008, I produced my very first video for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, and it has remained the one of which I am most proud. Although the production quality of In Our Own Words is admittedly perfunctory and basic, there are other aspects of this sample video that bear highlighting.
This video was produced while I was working in an administrative role at East Tennessee State University. I was given $300 and approximately two days to design and deliver a "multimedia project for young adults"—wards of the state struggling to find their own way through and beyond foster care. This video was to be used to promote fostering older children within the foster care system for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.
With prior clearance by our Principal Investigator, I quickly ran to Walgreen's and bought disposable cameras, while striking a deal with the store manager for free photo development as a donation to our cause. I went to a discount store and bought art supplies for every attendee of the conference: markers, colored paper, and scissors. By the next afternoon, I was ready to present my idea to the young adults involved in this Youth for Youth Leadership Academy hosted at ETSU. I had only minutes to explain the project, its goal, and the methods we would use to produce it—and to get them excited about the project!
After explaining the concept, I assured them that all they had to do was open their hearts, take photos, and trust me to compile the video in a way that was respectful and highlighted their message: that older children in foster care need to be loved as children yet treated as young adults in order to foster their long-term success.
The aspects of this video sample of which I am most proud are not the spectacular production features--those came later in my ever-developing skill set and with the addition of tools like Camtasia and Adobe Creative Cloud to my toolbox). It was the simplicity of the production that allowed the silent voices of the participants to be heard most clearly. At Sparkstone, I believe strongly that form follows function, and that unnecessarily flashy or complicated designs actually detract from the clients' message rather than strengthening it.
I am very proud that I was able to produce something of meaningful value and mission that met the requirements of my deadline, stayed within budget (which so often is scarce or nonexistent), and yet conveyed a powerful message, achieving its ultimate goal despite extreme time and resource limitations.
I am most proud, however, that I was able to engage a cohort of highly challenged youth in a project such that without adult/staff oversight or guidance, they propelled themselves and each other in a highly collaborative model that gave them a meaningful takeaway from the leadership conference. After giving them unfettered freedom with the art supplies and cameras for the duration of their conference, I had only to airbrush out two cigarettes and one middle finger! The digital enhancement of their signs was necessary for readability and returned the visual focus to the heartfelt messages and the honest, vulnerable faces of these incredible young leaders in development.
Your video projects deserve thoughtful, customized design and resources that serve to highlight your message, rather than drown it out.