While most people will see February 14th on the calendar, and think "It's Valentine's Day," our first thought this morning was "There are only two weeks left until February 28th!" That's right -- in fourteen days, the entry period for Treehugger and Seventh Generation's Convenient Truths contest will be over, finished, done. Don't let your first thought on March 1st be "Oh, man -- I missed the deadline." Get out your camera and start recording the things you do to lessen your personal impact on the climate. You don't have to be a video professional to have a shot at the almost $30,000 in prizes; you do, however, have to enter.
Even though we're most interested in the content of your video, we're sure there are still a few folks thinking "I don't have chance: I've never made a video," or "I don't have a video camera!" Don't worry -- no experience is required, and if you only have the video camera on your mobile phone, or even on your still digital camera, that's enough. If you don't have that, you probably know someone that does. Borrow the camera, and start shooting. If you feel like you need a few pointers, they're only a mouse click away. For instance, the University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communications has a page devoted to shooting better online video. Some general shooting tips they offer:
- Each shot should be 10 to 15 seconds.
- Use your tripod whenever possible and always use your earphones.
- Let the tape run for about 20 seconds at the beginning of a tape and leave a little tape at the end as well.
- Get as close as you can to your subjects and shoot close-ups whenever possible.
- For online video, avoid pans (horizontal movement of the camera) and zooms (focusing in or out using the zoom feature on the camera) because not only does it look bad on the Internet, but unnecessary movement also slows down the video stream.
- Divide up the frame mentally into three vertical strips and place your subjects within those strips in such a way as to create screen balance.
So, now that you have no excuses, what are you waiting for? Submit your video (or videos) to the Convenient Truths contest. While you're at the site, start looking at other submissions: voting begins here on March 1st.