Friday, 20 January 2012

Project Managing the University of Lincoln Videos

  I started an internship at the University of Lincoln back in June and one of the first things I was asked to look at developing some new promotional videos for the University.  The old ones were about 3 years old and so were definitely in need of a refresh.

  The main challenge in the project was understanding what was wanted from the videos in the marketing department and being able to transform them into filming plans and relaying that to the external company that were commissioned to make the videos.  Then I got down to the dirty work.

  I put together a file for each video idea (which we came up with in team meetings) containing headings of: overveiw; purpose; audience; narration; shooting; inspiration; text.  These were there to help everyone in the project get a clear understanding of what the videos were going to look like.  Then I created some storyboards for each one (they were rubbish to look at but did the job!) and compiled shot lists for each video.  It created quite a nice list of tourist hotspots around the city which I then planned a route to get round them all.

  To find the people to be in the videos I used contacts, social media and even asked strangers around campus!  Social media was by far the best way to find willing volunteers and we were happy with those we selected after doing screen tests.  I also searched to find academics happy enough to have us invade their classrooms to film students at work (some lessons worked better than others...!).

  Once all that was done, it was finally onto filming.  We had three days to film all location shots and interviews for the four videos and on our first planned day it rained all day.  Scratch that one, we now had two days to do pretty much all the filming which was tough.  Early starts and late finishes helped us on our way and for those two days, not a drop of rain fell even if it wasn't the heat of summer.

  The process of having an external company edit videos for you is tough, going back and forth with feedback and trying to make small and particular alterations over internet cables.  It was four sessions overall of feedback (which I thought wasn't too bad and was owed to by our comprehensive preparation) plus a few extra bits here and there over phone before they were finally ready.

  It's been a really valuable experience having such a project to work on and it has been rewarding, not only being a part of a film production like it but learning how it all works in the context of the University's marketing strategy.  We've launched them on YouTube, promoting via social media, and hosted them on the University server to be viewable on the website globally (where YouTube is blocked) and it's just a matter of getting them seen now.

  The aim is for them to convince more and more students to study at the University of Lincoln so the proof will be in the pudding to see how much the numbers of applicants increase in the coming years.  Have a look and tell me what you think: