Monthly Archives

October 2015

Raw and authentic – user generated charity video

The DIY aesthetic is right up front on this week’s blog: I’m looking at user generated charity video. The RNLI showcase dramatic rescues shot by their crews, MIND builds on the Vlogging style with mental-health selfies, and Anthony Nolan uses low budget cameras to capture real donor journeys.

Although the charities featured at some of the larger ones, the techniques they use are super cheap and can be adopted by any charity. The secret of this type of film making is to curate rather than create:  encourage your staff, volunteers or supporters to start shooting and upload to your YouTube Channel.

1. Kinsale RNLI rescue cows from the sea: RNLI

As well as these cows, the RNLI’s channel features on-the-spot footage of many dramatic rescues – windsurfers, a 12 year old boy and fishermen.

Shot with Go-Pro type cameras mounted on the rear of in-shore life boats, these films give a real insight into the work of the RNLI’s crews. Simply edited and with minimal sound, none the less these films are a direct and powerful way of showing what the charity does. Each of the clips have racked up a respectable number of views on YouTube and I suspect that the footage could also be used for local media too. Clever, consistent and right in the heart of the action.

2. Mental Health Selfies: MIND

I’m a big fan of the channel that MIND curates. As well as the mental health selfies there are round table chats, people’s own tips on what works for them and guest blogs by ambassadors such as Zoella.

None of these films are particularly polished with jumpy editing and a homemade feel but they are all authentic and they’re all really watchable. The really clever thing about them is that they feature real people swapping notes or sharing stories. It’s a wonderfully human way of passing on advice or creating a supportive network. Well curated, immediate film making that’s full of compassion.

3. Leigh’s donor vlog: ANTHONY NOLAN

Anthony Nolan are amazing at encouraging their supporters to make films for them. The channel is bursting with video diaries showing people’s journeys, the results of their work or their fundraising activities.

They’re all very low-fi and simply made but films like Leigh’s video diary are compelling and wonderful. The charity also uses the channel to address some issues and concerns too – such as the lack of BAME donors – through the use of comedy, personal experience or testimony. They’re also adept at gathering and featuring endorsements from celebrity supporters. Well rounded, good insight and very brave use of video.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films

sign up and stay inspired!

Jeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with the charity sector, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

email us!

Low-budget charity videos

Not everyone has a big budget or a huge team to help them make a film: 40% of charities have incomes of less than £10,000. So how do they make use of video? They get clever and they get creative, pulling in favours, using supporters and making the best use of new technology. Here’s our round up of low-budget videos or creative films made by small charities.

Thanks to everyone on Twitter who’s made suggestion and shared their films with us and an especial thanks to the Small Charities Coalition for helping compile the list. I’ve picked out three films that I think show some really original ideas but I’ve also included a list and links to all of the films that we were sent.

1. NEEDLECRAFT: Forward UK

Probably not a low-budget production (!) but a stunningly creative film from a small charity that really pushes home their message in a shocking way.

This film from FGM charity Forward UK uses a clever combination of live action, stop frame and drawn animation to alert the world to the horrors of FGM in a startling way. The film starts in a sweetly innocent way with a happy home being stitched into a tapestry and we see a little girl grow from crib to toddler to young woman. Then abruptly, the innocent tools of needle craft – scissors, thread and needle – become the tools of mutilation. It’s not a subject that can easily be illustrated and the film cleverly – but unflinchingly – makes the comparison with snipping off an ear or nose and crudely sewing up the wound.

An imaginative and powerful film from a small charity.

Created and produced by Ruth Beni and made by Animage Films, Tandem Films & Forward Productions. There’s a making-of film to watch too..

2. ELLIE’s FRIENDS ANIMATION: Ellie’s Friends

A warm and friendly animation from this tiny charity (they have 2 staff!) that makes wonderful use of a celebrity supporter in the shape of Holly Willoughby.

Ellie’s Friends is a charity that brings a little treat to sufferer’s lives by putting them in touch with people who can donate or give discounts on fun things – like yoga or acupuncture or beauty treatments. The animation is beautifully drawn and gives a fun and bright explanation of the charity and makes compelling use of the founder’s own story to make it personal. Produced pro bono by their friends at Princess TV.

3. STUDENTS IN THIER OWN WORDS: PIP

Very simple and very straightforward this film uses  Adobe Voice to combine stills with a voice over.

London based charity PIP (Pursuing Independent Paths) makes clever use of photos that workers and members have snapped and combines them with simple voice recordings to tell the story of their charity and the experience of students they’ve worked with.  The app – Adobe Voice – allows you to use your smart phone or iPad to record a voice-over and then animate it with still or video clips. Lovely!

4. 30 SECONDS OF RAINBOW TRUST: The Rainbow Trust

A cheeky extra this week because I’m a sucker for ‘second a day’ films…. and this one from children’s charity, The Rainbow Trust is sweetly simple.

Made by Jess, one of their family support workers, this film edits together 1 second clips from videos taken every day over this summer. An inside look at the work of the charity and the people it helps. A great example of a clever technique being used to good effect.

SOME MORE INSPIRING EXAMPLES

Here’s a round up of the films that charities have sent to us for review – they’re all good examples of what can be done with low budgets.

Community Network

This small charity created a short film to showcase their work, which helps build telephone communities for older people who are isolated and lonely. It’s a simple film but I like the genuine interviews featuring real people sharing how the work has helped them.

Volunteer Centre Milton Keynes

Clear purpose, shows what volunteers can do and gives a sense of progression and shows people of all types.  I like the narrative, calm  and relaxing, Nice use of scenery and nature shots

The Back-Up Trust

A simple clear film that uses the stories of several beneficiaries to explain how this spinal injury charity helps.

Roise’s Rainbow

The story behind the charity told through simple still and presented by their Patron, actress Joanne Froggatt from Downton Abbey! We’re always keen to make use of a charity’s celebrity patrons to ensure maximum publicity..

The Encephalitis Society

This film makes a virtue out of the fact that people don’t know what encephalitis is by taking to the streets and asking people what it is! Their honest reactions are fun and revealing. Combined with a clear presentation from their chief exec, this makes a short and clear film.

Boots and Beats

Presented by staff members, interns and volunteers this film gives a colourful view of the charities work. Simply made but interesting.

St Chads Sanctuary

Cheeky use of Mumford and Sons combined with still and graphics allows this film to give an insight into the work of St Chads.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films

sign up and stay inspired!

Jeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with the charity sector, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with casestudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

email us!