Streetfilms University: Sometimes an Effective Video is Very Simple

I often preach in Streetfilms University that sometimes the most effective advocacy videos are extremely simple. They just show real events/conditions on the ground as they happen.  Fortunately, you'll only need a steady hand and be willing to stake out an intersection or problem area to pull it off.

Take the above video I took 15 minutes to shoot (and another 15 to edit) on my way home tonight. The Pulaski Bridge is currently being studied by the NYC DOT to see if they can put a two-way bike path on the south-bound roadway of the bridge by removing a lane of traffic. In the end, I'm sure the recommendations will be positive, but as we all know there's still likely to be plenty of grumbly opposition from Community Boards on either side of the bridge. So I figured why not put together a quick montage to have when those people claim no one uses the bridge (false!) and that all three car travel lanes are essential (two would be more than ample).

A few tips:

- If you are going to just show a montage of just clips, one or two minutes is the max.

- Add a music soundtrack. It makes watching the video a little more bareable.  The exception: if sound is pertinent to your film - perhaps a film about honking or if you feel the loud cacophony of traffic conveys lack of safety or comfort..

- Try to get a few different perspectives.  If you are shooting an intersection, shoot from a few different angles/places.  Get low and especially high (if you can shoot from a few floors up in building nearby that's always optimum).

- Of course it isn't a bad idea to interview users and get them to weigh in with some soundbites. However, that isn't so needed here, since there's been plenty of advocacy groundwork and the idea has good support. Still, this video could be a good tool for advocates to pass around when the plans debut. And it took so little time investment to compile.

Here's another montage I shot when we got a text that the Queensboro Bridge Bike Path finally opened in 2011, as people had been eager to use it. Over 5K people watched it.  Right place, right time.

Keep making videos and if you ever want feedback or have questions, feel free to contact us!