Automated Video – more video with less effort

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As you already know, video is a key element in your NGO or social business communication. The problem is that you don’t always have the money to hire a professional to do your video. And let’s be honest, you don’t need a high quality video every time – sometimes is better to invest in more regular videos with less quality (for Facebook, for example) to maximize the impact of your communication. It all depends on your needs, possibilities and on your communication strategy.


So, in order to help you resolve this problem, in today’s article I’ll talk a bit about ‘automated’ solutions that help anyone with basic knowledge in video and photo to accomplish a basic and satisfactory video with less money and in a shorter time.

Basic automated video

There are a number of apps for desktop and mobile that can help you edit a video, using custom algorithms to order and cut video clips, mix them with a music and add some filters.

Editing basic videos and slideshows

If you just want to mix up some photos, add a music and even a filter, you can use the basic and free Google Photos. This solution is focused for those really fast and basic videos to share on the fly and at no cost in the social media (let’s say, with selected photos of your event).

Obviously you have minimal control over the outcome, but it can be really useful in certain situations.

How to do it:

  • Go to the ‘Animation’ option of Google Photos Assistant.
  • Select the photos/videos and hit ‘create’. This will create your video, apply a music and a filter for your video.
  • Afterwards you’ll be able to select a different music and filter.

Go a little bit further

There are several apps in the market that can help you edit a little bit more complex videos. As they allow the use of videos and text along the project, with a bit of more control over them. Plus, any of these programs integrate quite easily with Social Media, so you can publish the final video directly to them.

Be aware though that the final result isn’t professional. But it can be used in several types of communication focused on educating and promoting your cause. For example, you can use them in content marketing, as regular 1 minute educational videos about a theme related to your organization.

Here are some of the apps and programs out there:

Tips to improve these videos:

  • Select a very good music. Apart from being key to the emotional side of the final video, it is also the start point for the editing these automated programs do. As the majority of them uses the music’s beats to place the transitions between each shot.
  • If it allows you, trim some of your shots yourself. Some of these programs fall short in selecting the best part of each shot to use.
  • Select the theme/filter that best apply to your project. Just avoid too many transitions and effects.
  • Adjust the automated editing afterwards. Some of these programs (like Fastcut) offer you basic editing tools to adjust the final video.

Again the result in not good, but it can be adequate to your intent to create a more constant and dynamic communication to your social networks.


From script to final video (promo solution)

Another good option to create more professional video ads on a budget is to use YouTube Director. This is a free app that offers you several templates that guide you step-by-step on how to shoot your video with your smartphone, editing the final video in an instant. It also allows you to add some customizable text and animation as well.

You can use this solution to create small promos to your social business or NGO, or even adapt these templates for other types of promotional videos (for a specific project or a crowdfunding, for example).

The YouTube Director app is currently only available for iPhone in the US and Canada. Coming soon to Android.


From Text-to-Video

Finally, I couldn’t leave this article without talking about Wibbitz solution. Although it is focused on news related world and its big players, it can help you to have a clue to where some of these technology is evolving to.

Basically, what this platform does is to transform text into video in 10 seconds. Yep… it’s amazing!

Obviously, it is limited to the videos it can find in public media, licensed images and allowed sites. But this app can actually do small and professional looking videos, based on general themes, and related mainly with the headline you choose to each section of the video. More or less at the level of a newsbreak you might see on CNN Headline News. All this with a reasonable amount of customization for an automatic video editing service.

In other words, if your organization already has a considerable dimension and if you are looking for an on the fly video solution to publish news and other similar product on your website, this is it. Don’t expect this service to find images about your particular project though – it will use more general public videos.

So, as you see, you find different automated video solutions for specific communication strategy needs. The majority of these solutions are cheaper than hire a video professional, but also come with some limitations to quality and customization.

Give your team, volunteers or  beneficiaries access to these solutions. Together with a small training on how they can film and use this technology, they can be more autonomous, more connected and maximize your positive impact.

And remember that if your communication strategy calls for a more professional look that gives more credibility, or a video adapted to the specifics of your project, you can’t avoid hiring a video professional.


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