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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? My guess is: a lot. 

Video has been around for a long time at Akvo. Since the inception of Akvo RSR, videos have been an important way to see and learn about the work being done by our partners, all around the globe. Through video, stories started to come in vividly, from the field, as they happened. 

Over almost ten years, our video producing styles have evolved. Multiple distribution channels have emerged; we started publishing them in RSR, our own blog channels, and also in Akvo.tv. The different ways we communicate with each other internally and with our partners have blossomed and technology has changed the face of video forever. With the full adoption of the smartphone into our daily lives, I’d say video is here to stay. And it will only become more and more important, as anyone can create, edit and publish them, at a very low cost, to tell a story. 

Above: My GoPro – my favourite camera for videos. Texel, the Netherlands. Wednesday 23 September 2015. Photo by Paul Burt.

Despite all the proliferation of technology, channels and platforms, the basics on how to approach video recording remain the same. It’s all about storytelling – video is just another medium to choose from.

With this blog I’d like to bring video back into the spotlight of Akvo’s work; to spark the energy to shoot and produce more videos during the second half of 2016. Why? Because it’s a great way to share reality vividly, and a great medium to digest information in shorts periods of time.

Building our own institutional memory
A quick search into our Akvo blog archive brings back exactly ten blogs related to video content creation. Having read them recently, there are two that I really like. They outline some great points on why and how to approach video recording, and contain some really interesting nuggets of field experience, recording interviews. 

1) Keeping video really simple – an introduction by Mark Charmer
This blogs includes 27 great tips on how to approach a video interview. Things like “The three minute rule” or “Choose your moment” are great tips for people who are not experienced with this medium, yet.

2) “Practicing video in Zambia” by Kathelyne van der Berg
This blog contains fantastic advice on how to frame and record an interview outdoors. 

Up to now, through Akvo.tv, WaterCube.tv and WaterCouch.tv, RSR updates and our own website and blog we’ve brought online perhaps over 1,000 interviews and videos.

Powerful storytelling
As part of our staff talent development programme we have started a series of workshops that will run throughout 2016. In May, our colleague Maaike organised a workshop called Powerful Storytelling. In it, she gave some tips and tricks on how to perform a presentation with impact. She covered topics like energy, stage dynamics, leveraging your story with the use of senses and people’s imagination, etc.  

During the course of the workshop, we also dived into the structure of a presentation. Each participant had to choose a project, a product or something they were working on, and pitch it to the rest. We had great fun and also learned a lot. 

Lets make more videos in 2016
With all this in mind, it occurred to me that we could join some of Maaike’s ideas around story telling and presenting, and mix them with all our own organisational experience with video, to produce more videos in 2016.

How about we start sharing internally a bit more of the work we are doing? Pitch a new proposal, an idea, a new project etc. Its a great way to bring back some of the old school Akvo way of doing things, and also incorporate new ways of showing our work, to others. Plus, it can also help us improve our presentation skills, generate messages with more impact, and reduce the amount of emails and memos. 

In order to kick-off this wave, here’s an example of a recent video created by Jo, using Adobe Spark Video, introducing the Combi programme:

Akvo Combi Programme from Akvo on Vimeo.

Alvaro de Salvo is communications executive at Akvo, based in Amsterdam. You can follow him on Twitter @aj_desalvo.