Tool 22: Working With a Video Producer or Video Curriculum Specialist

Learning materials can be brought to life through the use of well-produced video segments. By using strong visuals, graphics, narration, music and more, video can go a long way toward capturing attention and inspiring learners to want to know more about a topic. Video development can also be quite costly and requires careful planning and teamwork. This tool is designed to help you work effectively with a video producer or video specialist on a curriculum project.

  • Be well-prepared for your first meeting with the video producer. Avoid the mind set of "We just want to do a video" (which, unfortunately, is quite common). Try to think through very carefully why you think the use of video will enhance the learning goals for your curriculum project and be prepared to discuss these with the video specialist.
  • Complete the Project Request Form as thoroughly as possible and bring copies with you to your first meeting with the video producer.
  • Never start out by asking "How much does a video cost?" This may well be the most dreaded (and laughable) question posed to producers and video curriculum specialists. Think about how you would respond if someone asked you "How much does it cost to build a house?" It depends, right? The cost of videos depends on many variables and a good budget estimate cannot be given until several aspects and parameters of the proposed production are discussed. Refer to Developing a Curriculum Project Budget for information on getting the budget discussion started.
  • The producer cannot begin to give budget estimates until preliminary decisions are made about the style, format and length of the program. Will a documentary style be used that requires several video shoots in diverse settings around the state? Will the program incorporate a theatrical format and require auditions, rehearsals and a professional video studio for final taping? Will original music need to be created and produced? (Several 4-H educational videotapes have included music created with young people specifically for the curriculum project!)
  • Be very clear about who your audience is for the video program. Is it adults who work with young people in a variety of settings? Is the video for kids? What age group? People new to curriculum development may need to take extra time to think through, with the video specialist, precisely who the audience for the tape will be. Refer to Identifying the Need for Your Material and Defining Your Audience to help answer these questions.
  • Think visual! Be prepared to brainstorm with the video producer shooting locations, people, programs, events and other visuals that will help bring your topic to life. If nothing comes to mind, video may not be the best approach for your curriculum project.
  • Be prepared to have the video producer become an active member of your curriculum development design team. Most video projects require an intensive team effort that includes the video producer, videographer, editor, content specialists and other curriculum developers working on the project. When kids are involved in video projects - which is often the case in 4-H Youth Development - extra help, flexibility and good humor are always in great demand!
  • Video producers and specialists have a variety of personal working styles. Some may want you to draft a script for the program. Others may want background information so that they can do their own writing. Be prepared to supply information to the video producer in a timely fashion in order to keep your project moving along.
  • Don’t plan to use video footage from other educational video programs or feature films without prior consent and written approval. Stock photographs, film and video footage are widely available for a fee. Consult your video producer for more information about how to tap into the wealth of visual resources available. Refer to Addressing Copyright Issues for more information on what to consider in this area.

Meet often with the video producer as the project progresses. Give feedback and suggest changes along the way, if necessary. Some video producers like to have a final script approval meeting before editing a project. Don’t wait until the very end of the project and then expect to make a lot of changes. Video development requires careful planning and ongoing discussions to avoid wasted time and money.