Video in a pandemic: How to make the right decisions

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Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

The pandemic has prompted many B2B newsrooms to rethink how they’re presenting content, and video continues to rise up as a compelling storytelling format. Annie Pancak, senior video producer for Legal News & Data, based in New York City, shared some takeaways with ASBPE on how to get started in video during a time when staffs and budgets may be stretched thin.

ASBPE: Video is emerging as a powerful storytelling tool in B2B journalism. What do you say to reporters and editors who are apprehensive about getting into video?

Pancak: I actually think it’s fair to be a little apprehensive because video is not right for every story, and so I don’t think there is going to be – or should be – a grand pivot to video in B2B journalism. But if you cover an industry that is about or impacts actual people, there is no more powerful way to relay emotion and connection than video. Plus, if you’re hoping to attract younger audiences, video is essential.

ASBPE: If an organization has only a small budget for video equipment, what’s your advice on how to allocate money? For example, would you spend more on audio and less on lighting?

Pancak: Video equipment can get very expensive quickly, but it’s certainly possible to get good results with a small kit. I’d recommend investing in a camera, tripod and audio recorder to get started. Something like the Canon 6D or 70D is a relatively affordable DSLR, coupled with a Zoom recorder will get you professional quality picture and audio.

ASBPE: Can you share some challenges you faced shooting video in 2020, mid-pandemic? Did you find creative ways to create effective video despite social distancing and mask wearing?

Pancak: Over the summer, we produced a short documentary following three households facing eviction due to the pandemic. One of the most challenging parts about filming was working with sources to put on lavalier microphones. Our process was to wipe down the mic, leave it on a table where the source picked it up and then show them how to put it on by demonstrating on ourselves. It was a test in patience. Similarly, when we did remote filming, I had sources film themselves on iPhones, and setting up the shots remotely took nearly as long as the interview itself.

Pancak will speak more on this topic on a Tuesday, May 11, webinar as part of ASBPE’s “Charting B2B’s Path Forward” month-long online event. The “Beyond Print: Brest Practices for Telling Great Stories with Podcasts and Videos” is available to event attendees live on May 11 and archived after the event.

For more information about this webinar, the four-week webinar series and the complete programming lineup, visit asbpe.org.

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