“Authentic Best” Video for School Marketing

results

  • Supported the Marketing and Communications Department’s major strategic goals to incorporate video into content publication
  • Strengthened the school’s brand identity by creating an emotional connection to constituents
  • Showcased breadth of programs and initiatives available for students and families at Severn, increasing the value of Severn’s diverse liberal arts education

Authentic Best

When I joined the Severn School marketing communications team, one of my top priorities was to create high-quality written and visual stories to connect with our community while working with a limited budget. Severn had previously outsourced several video projects and wanted to transition to creating in-house “authentic best” videos to both save money and show the life of the school as it operates day-to-day. A professional production crew can only show what they capture in a few days — my challenge was to show the Severn story as it evolves each day in a high-quality, well-produced but relatable format.

[TLDR — go straight to the videos!]

Low Budget, High Quality

Severn’s marketing team had previously created some video content, but it was typically off-the-cuff with low production values. In-house video done right can be honest and relatable, high-quality and affordable. It starts with the right tools. I began with an inventory of their available recording equipment (one DSLR camera) and production tools (iMovie) and began researching additions for both filming and production.

Filming

Creating good video doesn’t mean blowing your budget on expensive equipment, but it does mean making the most out of the equipment you have. Working with a limited budget I knew I had to source as much equipment locally as possible and find cost-effective solutions to increase the production value of future videos. We were lacking in two critical areas for video: light and sound. I reached out to the art department for tripods they were no longer using, created an inexpensive two-panel LED lighting set-up for interviews on location, and purchased a budget-friendly lavalier mic. These small, inexpensive additions made a world of difference in the quality of video I was able to capture with the school’s Nikon D7000.
With the many spontaneous opportunities for recording footage on Severn’s two campuses, we also needed an even more flexible solution to capture events at a moment’s notice. I purchased Flimic Pro Mobile Video for my iPhone and a Zhiyun Smooth Q gimbal for an ultra-portable set up that produces pretty nice results, fits in your pocket and can be taken anywhere.

Production

I also reached out to the tech department to see if the school had any existing licenses for production software. iMovie is great for some purposes but too limited for the full scope of the school’s needs. Severn had just recently purchased a package of Adobe Creative Cloud licenses for the digital arts department so I reached out to see if we could allocate two for communications. Using Premiere Pro, Audition and After Effects, I could add a more polished look and sound to the videos while maintaining an authentic, homegrown feel.

Creating an Archive

Working with the Director of Communications, I developed a strategy for creating and distributing 30-second to 3-minute videos that fit within our larger content strategy to support Severn’s brand identity and school culture.  I decided which programs and events would shine most brightly through visual storytelling and began to develop an archive of video for the school.

I embedded longer form videos in the body of accompanying news stories to provide context while leveraging the school’s website news channel as the primary platform from which to share the content.

I created a plan for sharing these stories and videos on social media (YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo) and distributed them across the website in areas that made the most sense.

Each video focuses on a different program at Severn while giving current and prospective families a look at daily student life. They each speak to the school’s values and sense of community — highlighting the ethos of Severn School while also showcasing academic and extracurricular programming.

Severn Lower School’s Renaissance Drama Production of Madagascar Jr.

Severn School Middle School in 50 Seconds

Summer at Severn

Learning to Lead