How Video Can Rock Your Online Portfolio

By Priti Dadlani

Like many of you, some of the enduring memories from my childhood are caught on tape.

Back then, producing video was a laborious process and required special equipment, like a SUPER 8mm film camera.

There’s a tape of me being pushed around in a miniature car. Another of my brother Adhir and I playing with the Rao kids – Atul, Ajit, Sheila – at Waterloo Park. And yet another scene at a birthday party.

The Raos have been family friends ever since our parents, both new immigrants to Canada from India, met when they overheard each other speaking their native language, Marathi, in a Canadian Tire store.

Atul Rao describes the process of converting that SUPER 8mm film to video:

“My Dad had taken several three-minute SUPER 8 film clips and edited them together using a splicing kit. It involved lining up each clip’s beginning and ending points in a precision way on a metal plate with film sprockets.  He cut the film before the leader with a razor blade. He then used a very small transparent adhesive tape to join it with the other three- minute film clips he had cut in the same way.  The tape was applied while the film was held by the metal plate and sprocket holes. He then hired a specialist to transfer the cut film to video and add music using an audio dub button on the VCR to give it some flavor.”

Whew!

Nowadays of course, anyone with a mobile phone can take high quality moving pictures, and with the help of online editing software, can produce a pretty snazzy video quickly.

As I told you in a previous post, I am taking a Digital Strategy course at the University of Toronto. As part of a class assignment, we had to produce a short video in class. Our group of five had two hours to shoot, edit, add voiceover and music and present it in class. We produced it using a laptop, an iPhone to shoot the footage and iMovie to edit it online. More on our video later.

Award-winning film-maker Maureen Judge offered our class some tips on how to make great videos.

In terms of content, Judge says the story always comes first. Before you start, ask what makes it unique and compelling? Why will people want to watch it and share it?

Judge says these elements hook people:

  • Humour
  • Surprise and shock
  • Offbeat and bizarre
  • Breaking news
  • You factor – make it personal
  • Cuteness – use kids and animals
  • Celebrity

A video can be a great addition to an online portfolio of your work, which you can showcase on your own website or blog. Mashable.com has a handy list of 20 Tools to Showcase Your Portfolio.

Even if you’re not looking for a job, a portfolio lets you keep track of your achievements and tracks your career progress.

The New York Times has a great article on this topic: Showcasing Your Work, in an Online Portfolio.  What should be in your portfolio?

“It should include your resume and samples of your best work, including articles, reports, PowerPoint presentations and links to blog entries. Portfolios are especially useful for work that can be presented visually, like photography, illustrations and ad campaigns,” according to the Times article

Your “About Me” page should include your education, work history, and awards.

An online portfolio can also demonstrate how you think, Scott Belsky, chief executive of Behance, an online platform, told the Times.

“When managers look to hire or promote someone, they want to see more than just experience. They are also looking for that person’s process, how they do their work, who they collaborate with, how they test ideas.”

Online portfolios are not just for people in creative fields but can also be useful for those in more traditional fields like accounting, finance or law, Angela Hills, an executive vice president at Pinstripe, a recruitment company, told the Times.

“Having a consistent, online record of your accomplishments will make you visible on the Web and stand out to recruiters. People with very specific technical skills, like engineers and programmers, can show examples of websites they’ve built or projects that used a particular programming language. Don’t just tell me you have this knowledge; show me how you used it.”

At the to this post is the video we produced in class. I’ve added it to my online portfolio. The video is called The Potty Project Canada and is posted to YouTube.

We did the video to raise awareness about the lack of access to clean, safe toilets worldwide. A shocking 2.5 billion people in the world are forced to defecate in the open, which can spread disease, is humiliating and can sometimes have deadly consequences. India tops the world’s nations in lacking access to toilets.

The idea for the video came from the tragic story in the news recently of two female cousins in India who went out to the fields to defecate because they didn’t have an indoor toilet. They were gang-raped and murdered; their bodies left swinging from a tree.

The tagline of our video is: Having to go is a basic human function. Having a safe, clean place to go should be a basic human right.

I used the video to launch a fund-raising campaign on indiegogo.com. The goal is to raise funds to build more indoor toilets in impoverished areas in India.

Watch our video, share it with your friends and family. Please support the campaign and give me your feedback on it.

What’s your experience with making videos? Do you have one you’d like to share with me? I’d love to see it!

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