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TOT FOSTER: Welcome to the course Low-Budget Video
Production: Visual Communication for Small Charities. I’m Tot Foster and this introductory video is made using some of the techniques we’re going to be looking at later. It’s not rocket science. I truly believe that anyone can produce a great video. Many people seem to think that they lack an essential ingredient called being creative or artistic, or that video is just too technical, and that puts them off. But I think that we can all successfully get our ideas on screen by following some simple rules, building up our skills step by step, working within our resources, and taking inspiration from watching videos that are out there already.
This course aims to kick start your journey into video production, offering you tools, advice, and confidence building to ultimately produce fantastic videos.
But first of all, a bit of background so you know where this is coming from. I started in the 90s by volunteering for a charity in India, buying a home video camera, and just giving it a go. I hadn’t had any training. I learnt a lot through trial and error. I shot far too much and not the right things. And editing was painfully slow. [SINGING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] The result wasn’t sophisticated, but it did capture an essence of what the charity was doing with the local community. And for viewers in the UK, seeing the environment and people brought the charity’s work to life.
And for me, not only did I enjoy myself, but I built my confidence in production and learnt techniques I could take on. Now, for years I’ve been working with charities. And I’ve also been doing academic research into what kind of support might help small charities with their own productions. This course is based on that research and also the work of your other course leader, Theo Zamenopoulos. Theo works with communities on all sorts of different design projects, helping people see what brilliant creative skills and resources they already have and then using them to improve their communities.
We hope that this course can offer you ideas and techniques that will help you produce videos that achieve their aims and that you can be proud of.

Welcome to Low-Budget Video Production: Visual Communication for Small Charities. Small charities often have little time and money to invest in video, so this course has been tailored to their specific circumstance.

This simple introductory video was made at home, in lockdown, as have all the materials for this course. The resources used were minimal and to hand: a printer, coloured card, scissors and a phone and laptop. Tot Foster has developed her low-budget production techniques over the years, and this course stems from that experience, as well as from the course leaders’ own teaching and learning.

This course aims to support you to develop video production skills that you can use for the benefit of your organisation. You might be a member of staff looking to produce videos yourself, or to manage their production. Perhaps you are a volunteer – research shows that many low-budget charity videos are made by volunteers. Or maybe you’re someone developing your skills to seek work in the sector. If so, this course will help you get going with production.

The skills you can build on this course are also relevant for anyone who wants to begin producing their own video, or indeed manage a video project for very little time, resource and a minimal knowledge base.

Meet the team

A head and shoulders portrait of Theodore Zamenopoulosv (left). A head and shoulders portrait of Tot Foster (right). Theodore Zamenopoulos and Tot Foster

This course was created by Theodore Zamenopoulos (academic coordinator) and Tot Foster (author). They both have extensive experience and knowledge of video production for the charity and commercial sector.

Production notes: This video was made with a phone, mini tripod, voice recorder, printer, coloured card and free internet downloads. Editing level: Difficult.

Share your thoughts

Introduce yourself to the other learners and choose one word that represents your confidence with video, then add one sentence on why you chose that word.

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Low-Budget Video Production: Visual Communication for Small Charities

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