There have been several promotional library videos that have caught my attention this year, so I thought I would share some of my favourites and reflect on my own experience of producing one for my own Library and Knowledge Service.
The motivation to produce a short promotional video was inspired in February 2015 by a need to capture the impact of our service, and recognising that a short film might be a good way to do this.
We were inspired after seeing this excellent offering from Pennine Acute NHS Trust. We loved the fresh graphics and contemporary feel of the video, but we knew that we didn’t have the resources or expertise to produce similar effects.
More recently this video produced by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has caught my eye with its slick graphics and clear branding.
We also really like the message of ‘the library everywhere’ that was at the forefront of this video from St Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada. However, we felt it was important that our video was from a customer perspective, rather than the library staff.
So, what we wanted was a way of demonstrating the impact of the LKS, using the stories of our customers in their own words.
We produced a series of storyboards, liaised with our Communications team to discuss key messages, intended audience and purpose. We agreed that the core messages we wanted to convey were that we were a service for all staff groups, and could be accessed anywhere, anytime, in any place.
We approached key LKS members that we knew had a story to tell about the impact of our service. They were customers with whom we had built a good relationship and who indicated they would be happy to be involved. We arranged a filming schedule over several weeks in April and May 2015 which included interviews these customers as well as some additional footage of the library and departments in the hospital. We made sure that we filmed in a variety of locations, including Pharmacy, Accident and Emergency, Intensive Care and the Undergraduate Centre. We were keen to illustrate the wide variety of our customers and access points.
The footage was edited by the Communications team and a first edit presented to us in May 2015. The first edit was presented to the Workforce and Communications Group as well as the wider HR&OD team for comments and feedback. Following some minor changes (captions illustrating name/role of interviewees and additional graphics) we launched the final edit on the Trust’s YouTube channel on 1st July 2015.
So, what worked?
We had an extremely good working relationship with the Communications team who prioritised the project and worked to our deadlines.
We filmed in various locations (inside and outside the library) to illustrate the accessibility and flexibility of the service.
We identified people from different staff groups to film so that the video featured a diverse customer base.
Each person being filmed was interviewed in a very informal style and we didn’t use any scripts. This put them at ease and the end result is a very natural and meaningful series of statements from the customer.
And what didn’t work?
We originally intended to have more graphics – however no resources or expertise were available within our Trust.
Filming took longer than expected due to availability of the people we wanted to film so our timeframe slipped slightly.
Some locations were not suitable filming locations due to technical or logistical issues (lighting, shared offices, patients in background).
The video was promoted on Twitter via the Trust’s official Twitter feed which has over 2000 followers. It was re-tweeted by many people including other librarians and senior managers from within the organisation.
We got some feedback from people who viewed the video:
“That’s really good, I like how you got interviews with people we’ll have to do that!”
“It is fabulous! It has the right amount of services information and flows very naturally. The narrator captures your attention without sounding boring. I also thought the length is just about right.”
“This is really great! It’s a really good idea having customers talking about the benefits of the service.”
“Involving the staff of the trust makes this one stand out from the crowd! Must have been difficult to organise but well worth the time.”
The entire process from drafting storyboards and approaching customers, to arranging the filming schedule and editing, took months. However, the project was exciting and fun for the LKS team to work on and strengthened our relationships with the customers that were featured in the video. The project has also improved our relationship with the Communications team, who now have a more in-depth understanding of the services that we provide. Less than four months following its release the video has been viewed nearly 500 times on YouTube, and we now have a ‘ready made’ video that we can use at events and library inductions.