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Video in #Eval Week: Kas Aruskevich on Telling the Story Through Video

Greetings from Alaska. I’m kas aruskevich, principal of Evaluation Research Associates (ERA), I work in rural Alaska with a great team of evaluators, associates, and local intermediaries. In the unique Alaskan context in which we work, telling the story through video helps us to show the context of people, place, and situations. Video clips, compiled into a video report, can be used as evidence of accomplishment as well as to educate an audience (often the funder) holistically about a project. Shorter impact videos can also motivate participants, giving the evaluation an effect beyond reporting.

Most of us have used written interview quotes in our evaluation reports. As example, below is a quote from an interview with a Gaalee’ya STEM project student:

Uvana atiga Nanuuraq (my name is Nanuuraq) I’m from a place called Noatak, my name is Brett James Kirk, 18 years old, incoming freshman at the University here in Fairbanks. So far what I know about STEM seems great. I really agree with how they’re incorporating the indigenous ways with the western ways here because we have a chance to talk about the similarities and differences between the two. And I’m looking forward to all the other meetings throughout the school year.

Compare the 40 second video clip below of the text quoted above. If the video does not show in your browser or email reader, go to https://vimeo.com/62366707 to view it on Vimeo

Gaalee’ya-AEA from kas aruskevich on Vimeo.

Lessons Learned – Generally:

  1. Good audio is EXTREMLY important.
  2. Shooting footage is easy, editing the video is challenging.
  3. Editing is time consuming. One minute of finished video may take 8 or more hours of editing – and that’s after clips are selected and cut to approximate size.
  4. Take good pictures. It easy to put motion to a photograph and use it as background to an audio quote taken from an interview.

A good evaluative video starts with data collection in the form of video and photos that gives evidence of accomplishment and provides visual description.

Lessons Learned – Taming the technology:
For the majority of video reports I work with a local videographer who has also mentored me in both camera use (Cannon 7D) and audio (Zoom H4n 4-Track Recorder). After three years of video production, I primarily stick to photographs and video editing (Final Cut Pro 7). I’ve produced video reports 20 minutes in length and less, however now I prefer to produce supplemental impact videos that are 3 minutes and less. Remember it’s technology, and with technology comes glitches.

Rad Resources to explore:

But most important, know how to conduct an appropriate evaluation, be reciprocal, gather good evidence, and report out. The rest is technology.

We’re focusing on video use in evaluation all this week, learning from colleagues using video in different aspects of their practice. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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