Video producer Alexander Monelli joined the team at Franklin & Marshall college to create video content on campus and help F&M establish a visual style. Now, he’s built an incredible portfolio of moving alumni features, engaging fundraising promos, event recaps and more.
In our latest on-demand webinar, Al shares his step by step workflow, and why he believes a simple workflow is perfect for storytelling on campus. Plus, we talk through new challenges as higher ed creative teams across the country go completely remote.
Watch now to go behind the scenes with Al and get tips for your organization’s video strategy!
P.S. As you watch, you’ll see moments where Al shares one of his videos. We’ve added them below so you can hit pause and watch right here! Plus, get all your questions answered, from Al’s run and gun gear setup to his tips for proving the ROI of new tools.
All of Al’s Videos Featured in the Webinar – Follow Along!
All Your Questions Answered
Q: What’s your run and gun setup? Do you use a gimbal?
Kristin: I do use a Gimbal. It’s a DJI Ronin S, and it has really taken my videos to the next level. I didn’t for years. I always used a monopod. I love having the Gimbal now. It just added some stability to my shots when I was using my run and gun set up. For audio, I use a shotgun, a Rode shotgun mounted to the camera. But anytime I’m doing an interview, I’m always using a lav mic routed to an external sound recorder.
Al: I pretty much just go handheld with the Canon C 100 Mark II, or Canon C 300 Mark II. I use image stabilized lenses for the most part. I just feel like I’ve gotten into a groove with how I shoot, so I just stayed like that. I’ve tried other things, and certainly like them. Audio, I have the Rode shotgun mic on my Canon C 300, or C 100, and I use a lav mic for interviews also.
Q: What service do you use to log interviews?
Kristin: Rev.com – love their service and their marketing.
Q: How do you get your campus community to share their stories with you?
Al: There’s a number of ways. Obviously you can go through social media. I think we send out emails, it’s really a collaborative effort. So, if we’re going through alumni, we’re trying to get alumni stories. We go through the advancement office, they have all the contacts, email lists, they can send out an email, or just get in touch with certain alumni directly. And then, in terms of students, they are still learning, they still do have classes they’re just at home. So we go through the professors if we need to get them. And we have a few students here and there that the admission office, whether they’re tour guides, or they just work in the admission office, we have interns, so we have our ways to reach out and get in touch with them. But it really is collaborative. You have to use other offices, admission for students, mainly in advancement for alumni.
Kristin: I would also add, you just have to ask all the time. So always put it in your newsletter, put it on social media, start with a prompt if you’re looking for a specific type of story. For example, if you’re saying, we’re looking for an F&M alum who is a photographer to feature, you can put out more specific prompts like that. For us, it’s just really about reminding people that we’re here, and we’re looking for stuff. When I was working in a school, I would walk around with a camera every day taking pictures for social media, and we called it smiles of the day. It was just a fun way to fill our Facebook feed, and give families a window into the school. But if I hadn’t been in the classroom every day, I would never have found my favorite stories. Because I was in the classroom every day, the teachers would come to me and say, “Hey, you should come take pictures of this birthday party,” or “Hey, did you know this kid is working on this? Maybe that could be a story.” I found all of my favorite stories that way. Sometimes the little things turn into the best stories that you can come up with for marketing.
How do you sell your university on travel for a feature like that on your alumni?
Al: You have to start local. Do something local and make it good, and build up that. Start by finding a local alum, or just kind of prove that going to tell that story would be worth it. At first, they were sending me to Philadelphia, which is like an hour and 10 minutes from campus. And then finally, I think the first big one I pitched was Colorado. And also if you could narrow down why that specific story needs to be told, make a presentation, do a Don Draper, and pitch it.
Watch the on-demand webinar to see the full Q&A!