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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Tag: tips

7 Videography Tips for Farmers

I recently taught a couple of workshops on photography and videography for beginners to some of our communicators. It’s amazing how advanced technology allows us to produce good videography by just knowing some of the basics.

Now does this mean that you will never need a professional videographer – absolutely not! Professional videographers have thousands of hours of training and can see things that you and I would never catch.

And I don’t claim to be an expert at this at all. I’m just passing along the basics that I’ve learned and that I believe will help you capture better video while you are on the farm or at the restaurant/market.

Here are seven tips that I’ve picked up on videography – I hope they help you out.


1. Lighting is everything.


You need good lighting. What makes good lighting? Indirect natural sunlight is awesome. Then after that sunlight. Gray days can be really good as well because they will make the shadows less harsh.

The problem with this video is that the sun is making her squint, but if the sun were behind her we wouldn’t see her face.  So, I guess it’s not all bad.  (And depending on what she’s talking about – like if she’s experiencing tough times or a rough situation, squinting is a good thing.)


2. Frame your subject to the left or right (try not to center).


There’s a Rule of Thirds in photography that basically wants you to put your subjects on the intersecting lines of the nine boxes created by a grid.

With videography, you definitely don’t want to center so you have the opportunity to put more information on the screen if necessary and it also makes the composition more interesting to the eye.


3. Mic them up because you need great sound.


While cameras and phones have come a long way in the past few years with video, they still have issues with picking up sound. You are better off to getting a good microphone (wired or directional) to get some good quality sound from your subjects. Without it your video will suck.


4. Look at the background first and add depth if you can.


This video has some great depth and strong diagonals to help the eye. You want to make the background as interesting as possible without being too busy (background movement will distract the viewer from the subject) so scouting your location for lighting, sound and background is all very important. Be intentional about your environment unless you can’t be.


5. B-Roll is awesome. Get some and then get some more.


B-Roll keeps the viewer from getting bored and helps explains your subject’s words. While you can talk about kids dumping milk into a metal canister, the ability for them to see tells them a whole lot more about the entire process.

I usually try and add b-roll around every 4-6 seconds. When you capture b-roll, get at least 5-10 seconds worth a shot. You can always trim it down.

P.S. A pro once told me that he used extensive b-roll to keep people engaged especially when filming a boring or stutter-filled speaker. You can only edit a rough subject so much.


6. A cheap tripod is worth its weight in gold.


Some cheap tripods aren’t, but almost all tripods will help keep a stable, steady shot when you need it. Take the time to get one and it will save you a lot of hassle especially when you are shooting multiple subjects in the same place – a place with good lighting and excellent sound quality.


7. Zoom, zoom, zoom is for Miatas – not your audience.


I know it’s fun to play with auto zooms (bringing things in and out of the frame), but I would forgo it unless you have a serious need to act like a filmmaker.  If you want to zoom in and out, try lining up a different shot, zoom in or out to how you want the shot, and have them say the same thing. Or get another phone/camera and shoot at the same time. Then you’ll have more angles to chose from.

When it comes to good videography, being intentional is very important with your shots but don’t kill yourself over one video interview. Take lots and lots of them and sort through the ones you don’t like. That’s what is so awesome about today’s technology. Get lots of practices, definitely take a few classes if you have time and keep producing those amazing videos.

Also, if you need help with video editing, I  have a quick tutorial on editing with iMovie on an iPhone 6.

If you have a tip you want to share feel free to leave a comment or email me at don.schindler (at) gmail.com.

If you want to use my deck, you can download it from Slideshare.


What should you be posting on Facebook Farm Page? Top ten tips on what you should post to Facebook.


What does the other 98% think about farming?

So if you know that most of today’s U.S. population is disconnected from farming, then giving them an inside view is important. Notice, I didn’t say “educate” them on farming – it’s not what they want and definitely not how they want to hear it.

They want to be insiders on how farming works and they want to know farmers (farmers are still one of the most respected industries in the nation – check out the latest Gallup Poll) so they can ask questions directly.

When you look at it from their point of view, what do you think they would like to know?

How cows are milked? How hay is cut? What do dairy cows eat? Where do they sleep? How long after the milk leaves the farm does it take to get to my house? Are dairy cows treated well?

You can answer these types of questions easily. But instead of just answering, think of showing them and telling them a story around the answer.

If you’ve got your smartphone with you, then think of how you would answer questions on farm life using photos and videos.

Here’s a top ten list of things to post on your Facebook Farm page…

1. Post photos of farm life

Photos are half of all posts on Facebook and are the top shared posts. If you want your status update to be shared a lot, your best shot is with a photo.  Table Rock Farm and Hahn-Way Holsteins does a great job of showcasing a photo with insider information.


Top Tip – use a photo program like picmonkey.com or Over app for your phone to put text or your farm’s logo on the picture. This keeps it from being misused or stolen and it helps your brand.


2. Post videos of farm life

Videos are the next best thing to a photo and you can get more of the story of what you are doing. The only problem with video is that it takes more effort from the user to actually get the story. YouTube is the most shared website on Facebook so if you can put together a short video (2 min) then you’ve got a good shot at getting your message across.  Dairygood posted several videos on sustainability and dairy farming.


3. Answer questions without them asking

If you ever want to know what people are searching for answers, simply use the Facebook search or a Google search and read the autocompletes. These are the top searches in your region.


Type in your search and see what Google displays for you – make sure you log out of Google.

4. Get fans to engage and participate

You can ask people to help name calves, give them insight into how does modern farm equipment works, or just let them know what happened today on the farm.

This post by Dairy Carrie does a great job at getting people involved with naming a calf and showing how calves look when they are born.


5. Give farm tours virtually

LeCows Dairy gives insight into silage, what it is and why they use it along with photos to engage people.  This takes time but the engagement is high and people love it.



The Farmer’s Life also gets a question in this picture asking about what these tractors are used for.  It’s a great way to answer a question and engage someone not familiar with farming.

6. Ask them what they want to know.

Sometimes all you have to do is ask and people will let you know what they want to know.  Now you will always have people that will be distractors.  The main thing here is to engage when people really want to know vs. people just trying to get you to fight.  If that happens, you can check out this post on arguments and what to do.


7. Share the best photos, videos, status updates from other farm pages.

When Redhead Creamery started its kickstarter campaign, they needed help from everyone – including other farm pages to spread the word.  Dairy Carrie stepped up to help and got the word out.  I’m sure Redhead Creamery will return the favor.  This should be the Golden Rule for all farmers on facebook.  Help spread the word and it will come back to you.


8. Treat other pages like your page – post comments and share on their walls.

When Al Roker of the Today Show visited the Hatcher Family Dairy,  DairyGood tagged them in the post to let them know that they were talking about them on Facebook.  This also encourages the other pages to comment, like or share the post.


Tagging other pages lets them know that you are talking about them.

9. Be active at least once a day

It’s hard to argue when you are getting information directly from the source.


If you can post more than that, it’s ok. Just don’t go too crazy.

10. When you share on your page, make sure to share on your profile as well.

So should be a no-brainer, but many people fail to do it.  You can easily switch to your page and then back to your profile via the desktop version of facebook.  With the Facebook Page Application, you can do it on your phone as well.

Ray Prock of Ray-Lin Dairy is very good at pushing his blog posts through Twitter, his Facebook Page and his personal Facebook profile right after a post.


BONUS TIP – Use hashtags to reach new people

Will Gilmer of Gilmer Dairy uses the hashtag #dairy to reach people who may be using Facebook’s hashtag search to find out more about what people are talking about when they talk about dairy.  Don’t use more than three hashtags per post.


So what are your best practices for posting on your family farm page?  I would love to add them here.

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