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April 12, 2019, by Linda Presley

Using Video for Your Pack, Troop to Reach New Members

One of the new trends online is video for reaching busy families. It gives people a visual experience of your story and can be very powerful. We found this video from Troop 50. Watch it, you’ll be impressed. However, when your Pack or Troop is creating their video, it doesn’t take much work to make something that looks good. We asked Hilary Kitzman, the producer of the video, how they made such an awesome video.


What was the inspiration for the video and why was it created?
The Sponsor of our troop, Arborlawn Methodist Church, dedicates one of their services to the scouts each year. In the service they recognize the scouts, and incorporate them into the service. In 2016 they asked the Troop to create a video to highlight all their efforts, to show to the congregation on Scout Day. The Troop incorporated all scouts sponsored by the church (including a Cub Scout pack and Girl Scout troop), but had a further vision to create a separate version of the film that would be Troop focused, with the theme “I am Troop 50.”


How was it created (technical specs)? And how can other units create low budget or zero budget videos that achieve similar goals?
We used two Nikon cameras (D5100 and D7200), as well as a Zoom H5 audio recorder. The film was then edited in Adobe Premiere. We had two volunteer cameramen (adults – but could be scouts with media-savvy adults supervising), and a volunteer to assist with audio. We also had two scouts as production assistants who helped bring interviewees to the filming location. Therefore our cash budget was minimal – just snacks for scouts and crew for film day. But budgeting timewise – it took a lot of volunteer/scout time.


How can this be implemented in another pack or troop? What should they do to start the conversation?
It’s important to have a clear vision up front of what the troop wants their message to be. Be concise and keep it simple. The first step would be to brainstorm on what they want the message to be (is it a recruitment video, and showcase video for the sponsoring organization, something to show at Court of Honors, or something to highlight specific events, such as a fundraiser or Philmont). Decide how long the video should be – 3 minutes is a good benchmark). And be sure to have signed release forms for students to participate.


Who was involved in making the film and how can Scouts lead the process?
In our case we were fortunate to have a couple of media professionals in the troop who did the filming, editing and were able to ask the filmmaking community for our extra volunteer who assisted with sound. However, technology today means that most troops can achieve high-resolution content even from their phone! Many communities now offer access to edit equipment (such as the Maker Spot at the Fort Worth and North Richland Hills Library, many schools with media programs).

One word of caution – making a film takes longer than it would seem – so scouts should create a realistic schedule. Just trying to gather up photos can become an arduous process if not careful.

Additionally, our scouts had a “Premiere” – on one particular camping event which we call a “Camp-In” the students attended a pretend premiere with blow-up Oscar statues and a red carpet and got to screen their video with their parents. That way all the scouts got to be a part of it, even if they didn’t get to be on the crew or in the video.

So, while Troop 50 may have had a couple professionals in the mix, you don’t need to hold yourself to perfection. Many smartphones have amazing cameras today and audio can be done with inexpensive tools. Alternatives to the Zoom H5 mentioned above include the lower cost Zoom H1. The company Rode also makes professional, yet reasonably priced audio recording hardware that attach to your smartphone or DSLR directly. If you are looking to do this and are lost on what or if you should be buying something: reach out to us at [email protected] You can make these expensive looking videos using nothing but your smartphone or go big and consider one or two accessories mentioned before. You can record, edit, and publish all from your phone using apps such as iMovie, KineMaster, and Adobe Premiere Clip, among others. If you make a video, also be sure to share it with us!

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