Videos with Heart

  • Author: NCMM Staff
  • Date: March 31, 2014

Pedicab on Central Park South in New York City.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a two or three-minute video equals a whole report, with the information delivered quickly and in a more human, less dry, fashion. Outreach, a mobility management program in San Jose, CA, is using videos - via its youtube channel - to show off its services and what they mean to the people served.

According to mobility manager Tim Egan, citizen journalism finds a place in mobility management with the following five videos. They illustrate real-life stories of individuals who have benefited from the mobility management movement.

Capturing the Moment

Tim tells us that OUTREACH's videos are shot real-time and in-the-moment, capturing raw moments that portray the enthusiasm and joy of individuals wanting to tell their stories. With smart phones, anyone can capture moments like these. (Confession: I send videos of the family dog to my daughter in college.)

OUTREACH Collaborates with VTA to Respond to Bench Request. An interview with two seniors who collaborated with OUTREACH & Escort Inc. and the VTA transit agency to get a bus stop bench placed on a route leading to the Southside Senior Center.

Bike to Independence. This video features OUTREACH's Bike to Independence program. See how tricycles can assist seniors with their mobility needs.

Bike to Independence [2]. This is another video that features a tricycle recipient of OUTREACH's Bike to Independence program.

OUTREACH Senior Walking Group @ Mountain View Senior Center. A short film on OUTREACH's popular senior walking program that features the walking group from Mountain View Senior Center.

OUTREACH Senior Walking Group @ Southside Community Center. A short film on OUTREACH's popular senior walking program that features the walking group from Southside Senior/Community Center.

Music and riders stand out

What makes a video - other than a tutorial - stand out? Music helps to lend some character as do statements of riders. Their voices, unscripted and genuine, have more impact than a transportation staff member discussing statistics, problems or accomplishments.

This video from the Lower Savannah Council of Governments is obviously not glossy in its presentation, but it effectively transmits the message that there are riders who depend on publicly available transportation and that educations, incomes and health care do not happen for people without transportation. (Note that the video is entitle CTAA video because it was created for a mobility management conference that CTAA hosted.)

Tutorial videos, in contrast, are an entirely different creature. They require a slow pace conducive to teaching an audience unfamiliar with transit, demand-response service or other transportation options. These videos are not telling stories so much as providing a dose of education and familiarity to demystify taking a bus, using car share, or finding the right volunteer transportation service.

A good example of tutorial videos can be found on the way2go website, which has tutorial videos on pages devoted to each mode. Way2go operates in Upstate New York's Tompkins County. An advocacy or informational video has a very different purpose from a tutorial video and the character and pace of the video content will depend on its purpose.

Video tutorial
Mobility managers who have asked me for advice on producing videos cheaply and easily know I always recommend Streetfilms University, a 30-minute tutorial on shooting videos of transportation achievements and challenges on the street. Though Streetfilms, a maker of livable streets videos about walking and biking, probably has too edgy an attitude for most, the tutorial gives solid lessons on planning for, taping, and editing videos in terms of your objectives. Watch a couple of the Streetfilms videos and get a sense of connecting objectives to what is captured in the videos.

Think in terms of the transportation you help to provide or the transportation that you need more funding to start and how you can portray these accomplishments and challenges through riders and potential riders. What does a ride to the doctor, to church, to work or to the grocery store mean to one rider or another?

What is your purpose?
This is advice differs from what would be suggested for an instructional video, whose purpose is to teach how to use a transportation option. That type of video needs a different tone and pace.

Please share your video links and send information about your video and social media strategies.


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