Saturday, March 30, 2013

Promotional Video for the Psychology Department of Agnes Scott College

My wife is the head of the Psychology Department at Agnes Scott College, a women's college open since the 1880s in the city of Decatur, Georgia. They are currently redesigning their web site and each department was tasked with developing a promotional video. This is a pretty tall order for many people who do not make videos all the time. I offered my services to help my wife out, but I wanted to approach the project from a photographer's point of view.

(UPDATED) See for yourself below or click here to watch it on YouTube if the video does not play for you.

I am not a video professional per se. I consider myself a photographer who is sometimes tasked with making videos. To me, still photos and moving video are worlds apart that require different equipment, techniques and most of all editing time on the back end.

The plan was simple and necessitated by the fact that I would only have about 10 minutes with each ASC student who was going to appear in the video. I would take a variety of still portraits of each student and then make a recording of their prepared statement of "why I like the Psychology Department". To simplify this, I had a mic hooked right into the Canon 5D Mkii that I was using. This kept the recording with the person's images so I could easily combine them later in iMovie. Yep, Apple's consumer video editor.

This approach worked well for several reasons. First of all, I am better at taking portraits than making video so I decided to stick with my strengths. Another reason is that taking portraits can be much faster than making video. The students would have had to memorize their text and multiple takes would have been required to get the perfect performance. That can barely be done in 10 minutes with professional speakers, much less regular folks.

My wife and I wanted there to be a consistent theme throughout the video to tie everything together. I used a picture frame that read "Why I Like Psych" that would appear in every scene. Each student was also named in the video to make it more personal.

The students that participated did an excellent job, and I believe that they show the diversity and independent spirit alive at that school. Agnes Scott College is a unique school, and I got the feeling that the women who go there love it.