DoGooder Video Awards

The DoGooder Video Awards is a fantastic way to highlight your organization’s videos and to see what other nonprofits are doing with digital media.

See3, one of my favorite organizations creating multimedia for nonprofits, puts the contest on every year, and it has grown in size as well as impact over the years. In partnership with YouTube and NTEN, this year’s contest is now accepting submissions. Head over to the DoGooder Awards YouTube page to see past winners and entries!

Participating in the contest will expose the good work your team has been doing and give you new ideas for what works well in the nonprofit video field. See how other organizations are making fundraising pitches and telling their stories in visually compelling ways.

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Music: Vimeo Music Store

If you have ever tried to make a basic video for your organization or campaign, you may know the headache that comes with finding accompanying music.

Videos are more interesting and digestible when there is consistent sound in the background. If you have really good mics and audio, you may have clean enough room tone (the background wssshhhh a room makes, humming with machinery, etc.), but usually you want to put a song behind your speakers so it’s not so jarring between audio and silence. Or you may not have any speaking and need something to keep your video interesting instead of a silent parade of images.

If you don’t think it’s a headache to find music and are wondering why we don’t all just go into iTunes and grab the song that fits the best, you might want to research copyrights and licenses. They’re kind of a big deal, and if you want to present your organization in the best light you’ll follow the rules and use public domain tunes or license your music.

Vimeo Music Store to the rescue! Vimeo saw the struggle their users were having with finding songs to put with their videos. Often people used copyrighted popular music and just credited the artist. If you do this, you lose the ability to use the video for marketing or really put it out there because it’s not legal to use that pop song without the artist/label/someone’s permission. I’m not taking the time to go into the intricacies of this legal situation, but I am here to let you know about resources that allow you to sidestep the mire.

The store has free tracks but you can also search by price range. Or search by genre, tempo, theme, mood, or instrument. Vimeo has a great FAQ section that should clarify any questions you have.

Mostly, the good folks over at Vimeo HQ just wanted to give their users what they needed.

We wanted to provide a place where our users can find music that they can put in their videos. Unlike music that you might download from a store for personal listening purposes, the Music Store allows you to find music that you can license for use in videos.

Thanks, Vimeo!

If your video is advertising a local block party only your family and friends are going to see, you may risk it and use your favorite pop song anyway. But at least now you know there are places to find licensable tracks. Happy listening!

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Tutorials: Vimeo Video School

I love Vimeo. It’s a beautifully executed video sharing site with a super clean design, a smaller and more navigable community than YouTube, and a focus on high quality video production.

At first glance, Vimeo may seem like a club for amateur and professional HD filmmakers and animators to share their work, but there is a lot the site can offer a nonprofit looking to up their media game.

The most obvious resource the site provides to individuals and groups trying to refine their video presentation is their Video School.

“Vimeo Video School is a fun place for anyone to learn how to make better videos.”

Starting in December 2010, the school has grown from a handful of starter tutorials put up by the staff to over a hundred well crafted video guides submitted by users. Lessons range from the general (Video 101: Shooting Basics) to the super specific (How to do a Sky Replacement with Adobe After Effects CS5) and staff and active members are really good about responding to comments and questions you may have.

Here’s one with some basic tips for shooting video with a DSLR camera:

If you feel like your org just doesn’t have the skills to create a compelling video, sit an intern or your communications director down in front of Vimeo Video School and let the learning begin. Sometimes it seems like nonprofits use the excuses of spending time and money elsewhere to justify lower quality video and photo products. But with a resource like this, there’s no place for excuses. You can create videos that tell the stories that matter most to your audience without hindering the message with poor execution. Isn’t that exciting?!

And who knows, after you become a super Vimeo user, maybe you’ll start submitting your own tutorials that somehow sneakily highlight your organization’s work in the background…

Check back for a profile of the Vimeo Music Store. If you’ve ever needed music for a project, you know it can be a confusing hassle finding something appropriate and legal to use. See you soon!

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