Understanding Videography: Knowing Some, but Not Quite Enough

Hear from One of Our Students: One Nonprofit Film School student’s excitement for getting started.

On a cloudy Tuesday morning — the kind that teases you that Spring might be here — I enjoyed the company of Brenda Weyers, one of our very first Nonprofit Film School students. She is the Associate Vice President of Visual Brand at Nebraska Children.


While enjoying my hot cup of coffee and Brenda’s ecstatic and contagious positivity, we talked all about how Nebraska Children uses video in their marketing. I asked her a handful of questions: about her familiarity with video, the camera she uses and her hopes for all that Nonprofit Film School can teach her.

I’m sure that much of her story will resonate with your own!


Why do you do what you do?

At Nebraska Children, we’re trying to give children an opportunity that they might not have otherwise. Some kids have a really crappy deal handed to them in life — let’s fix it.


Why do you use video?

Video is something I want to do. Being that I have my hands in most visual aspects of Nebraska Children marketing, it seems the next logical step. Plus, I love learning new things – keeps life interesting!

We know the power of film, and it’s only getting bigger and stronger all of the time as all these different platforms and ways to share video keep growing.


How does Nebraska Children currently use video?

The videos we make serve a lot of different purposes. We’ll hire a production company to create a package of high-quality videos, then we’ll make more in addition to that on our own. 

We’ll produce some spots to help encourage community members about the work that we’re all working to accomplish together! We recently compiled footage from work we’ve done all over and created a :30 thank-you video to share with donors to tell them, “Look at some of the things we were able to do this year because of YOU.”

I hope to get a library of video clips that we can use for all sorts of things, to have a better library to represent all of the communities we’re involved in. Even if it’s not super in-depth, it’s good to show a donor the work we’re doing. 


Why do you want to learn how to make better videos?

Moments always come up. We’re finding so many ways that video can help us, and we’re trying to use video in new and different ways. If we can do these videos in-house, we can be nimble and turn it around quickly, but still we want it to look somewhat professional. 


What kind of cameras and equipment do you use for making videos? Do you feel comfortable use your equipment?

We use a Canon DSLR, though I don’t feel familiar with it as a video camera, since I’ve only really used it for stills (photography).

We have some equipment, but no lights. We do have a little lapel mic that we’ll hook into the Canon for better audio.

I know just enough about videography to realize how much I don’t know.


Why did you decide to enroll in Nonprofit Film School?

When we are really strategic in our budgeting and planning, we’ll set aside projects to hire a production company. But there are so many events that come up out of the blue — or an expert will be in town and we want to do a little interview — those are the things where we need to be scrappy enough to pull something together. We want it to look nice; we don’t want it to look terrible or have people distracted by the quality.

For a quick, two-minute video we’ll be trying to put together, it’ll be good to have the education from Nonprofit Film School. It’s more than just pointing your camera somewhere. You have to think about editing, positioning a person in the frame and the audio quality (eg. Is there an air conditioner blowing loudly in the room?).


Which Courses are you most excited to go through?

Pre-Production and the Equipment Courses. I’ve been getting my feet wet with Premiere with some tutorial classes. But the rough part is getting good footage to work with...not a clue.


Tell us more about Nebraska Children.

Our mission is to give all of the kiddos in Nebraska an even playing field. So many kids are behind — at no fault of their own. It’s a balance between helping them out and teaching them personal responsibility.

Nebraska Children works with communities to:

  • Prevent child abuse and neglect.
  • Ensure that every child can succeed in school.
  • Support youth in foster care as they transition to adulthood.
  • And more!