Hollywood and the Nonprofit Cinematographer Merge

Have you seen “Act of Valor,” the 2012 feature film starring a cast of real Navy SEALs? The interesting thing about this movie is that it was the first feature film to be shot primarily with a DSLR camera. A typical digital cinema camera used in Hollywood today starts at about $90,000. But the DSLR (the Canon 5D Mark II) used in “Act of Valor” can be purchased from Best Buy for less than $2,000.

As a video professional, I can actually see a big difference between a $90,000 cinema camera and a DSLR. I’m not even all that excited that a feature film has, in my opinion, dipped below the typical standards of Hollywood. But what does my opinion matter? The movie was a huge success. Let’s go back a decade further. Remember “The Blair Witch Project?” That movie made almost a quarter of a billion dollars and had the production value of a mom shooting home videos in the early nineties.

So what does this have to do with your nonprofit? At the end of the day, people just love a good story. People like things that are real to them. People want to connect with the interesting people your organization serves. The best way to create that connection (other than face-to-face) is through video.

But people still appreciate the basics (in spite of Blair Witch) like good sound and cinematic images. The cool thing is that today you can get cameras that shoot amazing, cinematic video for less than $1,000. These cameras are typically referred to as “HDSLR’s.” They are basically a still camera with an interchangeable lens that also shoots HD video. Shooting on one will get you a big step closer to captivating your audience.

Become a great storyteller and learn the basics of video production. Then use the power of social media to distribute your video and captivate the masses. This is what we’ll be talking about at the “Video Storytelling That Gets Results” breakout along with our case study partner Tiny Hands International. We hope to see you in DC this summer at Bridge 2012!

Let us know what you think!


About Mike Sukraw