U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Clean Cities

Tips for Producing Videos

Clean Cities coordinators often find success building support for their coalitions through videos they post on their websites and share with the public. Complete the Clean Cities video production process to include your video on the Clean Cities YouTube channel.

Follow these tips developed by MotorWeek to create successful videos.

Tell a Story

  • Tell a brief story (with beginning, middle, and end) focused on one topic.
  • Choose stories with action (e.g., vehicles moving or being fueled).
  • Answer the traditional who, what, where, when, why, and how questions.
  • Tell stories as if viewers are interested but not experts.
  • Create a simple script or storyboard to mock up your visual and audio ideas.

Use Technique

  • Find a professional videographer if it fits your budget.
  • Shoot your own video with a digital camera if you have a limited budget; amateur footage can be as effective as professional footage.
  • Produce high-quality videos using these recommended accessories:
    • Microphone (example: Audio-Technica Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone)
    • Remote control (example: KODAK Remote Control)
    • Memory card (example: Transcend 16- or 32-GB SDHC Memory Card)
    • Tripod (example: Digital Concepts TR-60N Camera Tripod)
    • Dashboard camera mount (example: Delkin Fat Gecko Mini Single Suction Cup Camera Mount)
  • Create movement with controlled zooming and panning for inactive objects.
  • Shoot videos in well-lit locations with good background-to-foreground contrast.
  • Use simple, still backgrounds (e.g., a wall or building); add a potted plant for flavor.

Interview People

  • Use the interviewee release form to obtain and document permission to record people.
  • Conduct "off camera" interviews where interviewees look at you instead of the camera.
  • Write interview questions before; take notes while interviewing if possible.
  • Ask interviewees to repeat your questions in their answers.
  • Avoid fine lines, stripes, and major contrast in clothing, and look professional.
  • Get business cards from interviewees to identify in the video.