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3 Ways to Use User-Generated Video Content for Your Charity

So, your community has spent weeks filming their own content for you. You open the WeTransfer link. You download the footage. But what’s next? What on Earth do you do with all of these clips sitting on your hard drive?

Here are 3 ways that you can utilise user-generated content for your charity.

1. Aestheticise

You don’t just have to post the raw footage straight onto social media. You wouldn’t do this with the raw files from a hired filmmaker for a campaign, would you?

Think about what additional graphical elements you want to add. Branded name captions, logos and subtitles in your brand font might be the first things that spring to mind. You’d be surprised how far some colour-correction can go to making the footage more palatable.

Beyond this though, spend time thinking about how you want to frame the footage for your campaign or purpose – both metaphorically and literally!

Check out this campaign by Adidas

Here, they have designed a campaign-branded graphic frame for the raw footage to sit which helps provide a highly professional feel to the content. The design also helps standardise the inherently variable self-filmed footage.

2. Narrativise: collective message

Beyond using the clips individually, a common practice is to string together a number of the clips to form one single film purporting a particular message. This message can be informational or inspirational.

From an informational perspective these can include video listicles or videos with different experts responding to Q+As.

From an inspirational perspective these can include a video of community members worldwide completing a virtual charity challenge (think ALS Ice Bucket challenge) or on an awareness day.

Check out this highlights video we made for World Encephalitis Day 2019

People performing the same action (like, tipping a bucket of ice water over their head) or wearing the same colour for an awareness day (red!), or even saying the same words, really fosters a sense of community and sense of scale.

This can be seen on a huge scale in Ridley Scott’s 2010 film ‘Life in a Day, a film made up of user-generated clips from people around the world on 24th July 2010.

There are a number of great uses for editing together user-generated clips from different members of the community, but it’s important that the most pertinent ‘sound bites’ are selected. This is so that the message of the film is clear for the audience and that juxtaposition of clips is done to support the flow of the narrative, rather than jar and conflict. It’s a skill that many editors, who construct films from talking head vox pops, have honed over the years!

3. Narrativise: individual stories

One of the most powerful and inspiring ways that user-generated footage can engage audiences is through the vlog, or video diary, format.

Unlike the other formats, the vlog requires a lot of pre-production work beforehand briefing the contributor on not only how to film, but also what might be pertinent to film, for how long and how frequently to pick up the camera.

There are a lot of hugely successful films comprised solely of user-generated footage, among which is 'Ida’s Diary', a video diary of a young woman with borderline personality disorder.

The short films might have seen if you have been watching Channel 4’s The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C are also a fantastically executed example of this.

Do check out two of our own favourites too - Effie's Story and Mask

User-generated vlogs, focused on one individual and their life and experiences, are extremely powerful not only in engaging audiences through raw and authentic portrayals, but also empowering the individuals in your community; it can afford individuals the opportunity to make visible their lived experiences and tell their story in a way that can be hard to capture with a film crew.

We have put together a vlog guidance document to help brief your contributors if a video diary, or vlog, is something you think your community would love to engage with.

For more information, contact Mary at

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