Museum video podcast-in-a-day

by Stephanie Weaver

Last week I attended a daylong workshop at the CAM Conference sponsored by the California Exhibition Resources Alliance (CERA). The workshop was a Technology Salon for Small Museums and featured presentations throughout the day on how to use technology wisely and efficiently for marketing, interpretation, and in exhibits. It was hosted by the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University.

I offered to show people how to create video podcasts and use the video for both promotion and education. So we decided we would create a podcast during the workshop, with the goal of having it up on YouTube by 3 pm. Online video is the most important tool a cultural attraction can use, as it's now the most compelling online content. In addition, one video podcast can be placed, for free, in over 25 outlets. That means one short video is out there in 25 different online spaces, promoting your museum 24/7.

Here are a few of the steps we went through to make this podcast a reality.

  1. Choose content. I asked curator Lindsey Kouvaris to choose three items from their permanent collection that a) would be interesting to talk about, b) could be used to talk about behind-the-scenes aspects of museum work, and for which c) she had permission to broadcast the image.
  2. Prepare still images. Lindsey sent me high-quality stills in advance, along with their museum's logo, and the necessary credit line for the photographer. I pre-loaded these into iPhoto in advance, and created a title card with their logo. The still images can then easily be pulled into iMovie as stills, and you can zoom in on them.
  3. Choose music. I chose four options from Garageband's library that I thought might work for this museum. Once I arrived, I had Lindsey choose the one that best suited her institution's personality. See my handout for more on legal music use.
  4. Charge camera, double-check equipment list before getting on plane.
  5. Shoot interview. I start by telling a joke to get the subject comfortable, and make sure they're looking at me, not the camera. Once I've set up the camera on the tripod, I start recording and then make sure I'm nodding and smiling a lot to keep their energy up and focused on me.

For this workshop, I shot the last portion of the interview in the workshop space, so all the attendees could see how I did it. Lindsey was a trouper! Then I began editing while the other presenters were doing their thing. At about 1:15 pm, I plugged my laptop into the projector and showed them the partially completed podcast (about half done at that point). The sound levels weren't quite right, but they could see everything coming together. And by 3 pm, it was indeed up on YouTube. I also showed them another video piece, and the multiple locations it had been used. Here is the final video:

While this felt a little crazy to do under the gun, it was a fun challenge and I think it illustrated that video has become both accessible, affordable, and easy. Click here for the handout I created, which lists all the outlets where I place my video podcasts and details about the hardware and software I use. Before I left, Lindsey had already embedded the link in their Facebook Page. :)

Thanks to Rebecca Schapp and Lindsey Kouvaris of the de Saisset Museum for hosting, and to Adrienne McGraw and Lexie Smith Kliebe of CERA for putting together such a terrific day.




Lindsey's a remarkable curator, tour guide, technologist, interpreter, and (now) video personality. :-) Yay Lindsey!

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