5 tips to help make your school film pop

If you’re making a school film this year, you’re not alone. Call them school promo videos or school virtual tours. This year, demand for footage is going through the roof.

A high-quality school film means you’re covered if in-person open days are cancelled. With COVID restrictions under constant review, it pays to be prepared.

There’s also an underlying trend towards more online research. Retailers expect that sales in physical stores won’t ever go back to pre-pandemic levels. Online shopping has taken off this year, which means that more people than ever are looking for information on the internet. This builds habits that then spill over into other areas of research. Like looking for schools.

Schools are making all kinds of films. Sometimes, it’s a quick lap of the school with a smartphone. Sometimes, it’s a full-scale professional production. However you’re approaching your project, here are five tips to help make it ‘pop’.

1) Start strong

Fact: people have short attention spans. Video marketers often say you only have a few seconds to engage your viewers. So start off strong and make an impression.

Include the name of your school, but don’t linger too long on your logo or title. Most viewers will watch your video via your site or social media page, so they should know what they’re watching.

Short videos generally do better than long ones. If a video is less than 60 seconds, over two-thirds (68%) of viewers will keep watching until the end. If a video is over 20 minutes long, only 25% of viewers will finish it.

2) Emotion counts

No one likes to feel bored. Prospective parents will be keen to get a feel for the atmosphere at your school. This is where a school film comes into its own, second only to an in-person visit.

That’s not to say that you can’t overdo emotion. An overdose of cheese is unlikely to come across as genuine. Planning your video in detail is vital. Think scripts and storyboards, feedback and discussion.

Once your plan is in place, it’s time to get started. Professional videographers are experienced at catching emotion on film, in a believable and effective way.

Did you know that good news and positive content spreads faster on social media than other content? Another reason to carefully plan the emotional impact of your school film.

3) Cast with care

Time for another true statement: some people are on-camera naturals and others would rather be eaten by a shark. If a student isn’t comfortable being filmed, they may hide behind their folders or just look grumpy. This isn’t going to create a great vibe.

School films should represent the whole school, but it’s best to avoid putting anyone on the spot. You may also wish to do a few dry runs with a smartphone.

If someone essential hates the camera (like the head), then give them the choice of keeping their segment short. And of handing over any narration to someone else. (Hello, drama department!) After all, we each bring particular strengths to our jobs.

4) Music vs graphics

Choosing the right music to represent your school is an important task. But 85% of people watch videos with the sound turned off. That means it’s best to rely on visuals to communicate emotion and meaning, not sound.

Without sound, captions and graphics are vital to set the scene and get your message across. They also ensure accessibility for disabled users. Finally, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a high-resolution version of your school logo available.

5) Master lighting and composition

There’s a reason why professional film production relies on storyboards. From poor lighting to dead space, the technical details matter because they can shore up or undermine the message of your video.

Imagine an exciting science experiment. Maybe you’re making dry ice, investigating air pressure or programming mini robots. Whatever it is, it should make for a great footage. Just not in front of a plain white wall and a smattering of chairs with school bags.

There are lots of online resources on how to get the best lighting and composition for your film. Or you could just ask the professionals.

If you want to create a school film that pops, please get in touch. At Blue Apple Education, we’re here to help. We can offer support with all aspects of film-making, from the initial plan through to the final edit.




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