With 2.71 billion smartphone users in the world, does anyone need a producer to help them make videos? With 4.3 billion Internet users worldwide with access to word processing and slideshow software, does anyone need a producer to help them create PDFs and slideshows?
We believe the answer to both questions is yes when content is intended for large audiences. A cell phone camera is great for home movies. A do-it-yourself office document or slideshow is great for one person’s job. To move beyond these limited uses, a producer and professional equipment is critical.
Unstructured content, consumer-grade equipment, non-professional audio, and lack of a producer put experts at a major disadvantage.
What goes wrong when experts try to shoot their own videos?
Case #1: The Expert Who Can Make Good Videos.
Some experts have a nice camera and controlled environment. They might be able to get some good content but it takes a lot of time. The time demand becomes prohibitive and the expert stops producing.
Case #2: Content is inconsistent.
We see experts who require that random forces line up in order to make a good video. For example, many experts are educators who make videos on summer break. They have extra time and get good results. They try to carry their practices forward throughout the school year but the results get worse and they do not know why.
We have found a common reason is that experts have great lighting until solar patterns shift in the winter, resulting in dark videos. They turn on the lights in their house or office and get weird shadowing or glare. They may consider buying little studio lights for $200, which may have rave reviews online, but cheap lights are almost never the answer. Mixed results frustrate experts. They want the videos to help the message get through, not act as a distraction.
Working with a producer with professional equipment helps experts find their own voice and style, resulting in a consistent on-camera presence. When experts film alone, they often become distracted between producing the video and focusing on their craft. They may be enthusiastic and caffeinated for some videos and slow and dragging on others. The audience does not know that the expert looks distracted and unorganized because they had to reshoot the video repeatedly due to a memory card malfunction. Frustration comes through on camera, taking away from the message. The expert should focus on what they do best: delivering important information in an expert and compelling fashion.
Solution: Structuring the Production Process.
The presence of the expert trying to work both sides of the camera often creates difficulties in the production process. When Cumulative Records Documentation Society (CRDS) producers get involved, we establish a structured and reliable production process. Results are consistent and effective. Experts stop fumbling with equipment and can actually focus on honing their craft as presenters.
Role of Equipment
Equipment plays an important role in the production process. We bring years of experience and professional broadcast equipment, creating high quality productions that deliver the message.
How we help.
CRDS is designed to give experts the professional educational content production experience their message deserves.
Start to Finish: Our Production Process
Our production process has four stages.
Stage 1: Initial Idea
The production process starts with an initial idea, followed by collaboration with CRDS production professionals.
Stage 2: Agreement with CRDS
CRDS is a public charity and only produces archived works for public use. We are able to work with private companies, schools, government and nonprofit sectors, and individuals toward that purpose.
CRDS enters into a formal agreement (contract) with the creators in this stage. We provide educational resources to help creators make informed decisions about what rights they will release or retain depending on the agreement they select for their works.
Stage 3: Development in Open Drawer Archive (Incubation)
Generally, we encourage creators to produce many small works as an evolving collection. This allows time to develop their voice and presentation style, building comfort with the production team. Examples of small works may include slideshows (e.g., PowerPoint), instructional videos/tutorials, songs, audio recordings, documents needed to run a 1-hour learning event, handouts, data sets, labs, code, books, and other creative works.
During our “incubation” phase, we release these works on an ongoing schedule through our own Open Drawer Archive (ODA). Under most agreements, members of the public can use, copy, modify, and distribute the materials for non-commercial use. We provide creators with training and feedback as they gain experience organizing and presenting materials.
Reaching a Standalone Collection
Eventually, creators develop enough small works to build a self-contained collection. Producers help creators combine works into a single, standalone release such as a video series with an accompanying self-study manual.
Stage 4: Submission to Long-term Archive
When the standalone collection is polished and ready, we submit it to the Internet Archive. We also provide long-term support to continue developing and improving the materials. This allows us to release a subsequent edition of the work in the future, if applicable.
Who We seek
CRDS embraces diversity and welcomes creators from non-privileged backgrounds whose voices have been marginalized historically. We take great pride in supporting creators throughout their process and bringing their voice to center stage.
Now that you have learned about our production process, please contact us with your idea for a consultation.
For those who are developing their expertise, consider joining our Technical Production Assistance Program (TPAP), where we develop creators through the course of 1-3 years.
CRDS is a nonprofit public charity that can only survive on the generosity of its donors. We ask that you please consider donating to CRDS, even if it’s just a few cents or a few dollars.