Workshop helps Epping Forest DC create more engaging website videos

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Video offers a powerful way to get our messages across because you can tell a story comprehensively and deliver it in a way that’s easy and accessible to receive.”

Tom Carne, Public Relations Officer at Epping Forest District Council

Video Arts has delivered a video workshop to help Epping Forest District Council create interesting and engaging content to better communicate with its residents, businesses and visitors.

Arranged by the council’s learning & development manager, the two day workshop was designed and co-facilitated by the Head of Content at Video Arts. It was delivered for the council’s video production team which includes representatives from the marketing and ICT departments as well as the council’s website editor, its senior democratic services officer and its arts officer.

The council creates its own educational and promotional videos and embeds them into its website to showcase specific initiatives and events such as youth projects and family and community fun days. It also creates advice-related videos, for example showing councillors explaining the local planning process.

“Our use of online video has evolved from webcasting our council meetings. We’ve become quite experienced, having produced a number of videos, but up until now, we’ve been completely self-taught,” said Tom Carne, Public Relations Officer at Epping Forest District Council. “At the Video Arts workshop we were taken through the process of proper video planning, including creating storyboards, scripting and budgeting and we were then given tips and insights on filming and editing a high quality production. The Video Arts facilitators were experts on the subject and they were able to clarify the whole process of video production and show us examples of good and bad practice. Apart from being fun, it broadened our horizons and we learned a great deal. For example, lighting and sound are two areas that we’d struggled with previously. Video Arts showed us how to overcome these challenges and all of their advice and insights were really useful.”

The workshop included a practical exercise in which the participants created an interview-style video and an instructional ‘how to’ film from scratch.

“The technical processes we learned on the workshop will help us to greatly improve the way we plan and produce videos,” said Tom Carne. “Using the principles we’d learned, we were able to produce two fully-functioning videos in minimal time. When we first started making videos, it was quite an inefficient process as we shot too much footage and then had to spend more time editing it. The technical processes we learned on the workshop will help us to greatly improve the way we plan and produce videos and, as a result, we’ll be able to create more efficient and engaging content in less time.”

The council’s video production team plans to showcase the potential of video as a communications medium to the senior management team. It also wants to encourage councillors to develop video blogs in the future.

“It’s easy to see how we can apply the lessons from this workshop in many different ways, in order to help our residents, businesses and visitors to better understand and access our services,” said Tom Carne. “For example, we’re keen to promote ourselves as a visitor destination, to benefit the local economy. We have a great opportunity to do this in July when the Tour de France, one of the world’s biggest sporting events, will pass through our district. The sprint section will come down Epping High Street and we’re expecting 20,000 visitors. The skills we developed on this workshop will help us to create engaging videos that will enable us to make the most of marketing opportunities such as this.”

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