Transform your team into mobile video pros

One thing most charities have in common is great stories to tell – and video is the ideal way to share them. The good news is that with a phone, you are ready to roll. ACEVO’s partner Dashboard Media Mobile Video Pro courses have helped dozens of third sector teams to get their mojo working. In this post, they share practical tips and key lessons learned from half a decade training Cancer Research UK (CRUK).


Your A-List advocate is talking a great game, which is mobile-video gold. But then, the person capturing it gets a phone call and the shot is ruined. Or worse, the battery dies. Game over.

Insight: Don’t wait till the vital moment to do basic checks. Ensure the phone is fully charged with plenty of storage space. And put it into Airplane Mode to block incoming calls.

Think ahead

The worst way to approach any shoot is a vague intention to ‘do some video’. That’s a recipe for a mess. Instead, sketch-out a basic narrative plan to get the shots you need to make it work.

Insight: Recce the location before the event. If you don’t have lights or mics (probably not) set-up interviews before it’s dark and find a quiet spot to shoot them.

Choosing a handset

Most phones capture competent video. But not all of them run apps, such as FiLMic Pro, that enable you to get slick results.

Insight: This is a tricky one. Most iPhones are fine but Android is hit-and-miss. If in doubt, we give charities free advice on this – get in touch!

Grasp the basics

Wobbly footage is a deal-breaker, so learn how to hold the phone steady. Stable shots will help you rise above the noise.

Insight: Lash your handset to a water-bottle with a bungee-cable to make a ‘bottle-rig’ tripod. Watch how:

Mobile Video Pro Tips #1 – The Bottle Rig from Dashboard Media on Vimeo.

Sound advice

The joy of mobile video is to travel light, yet some items are vital. Top of the list is headphones to ensure speech is legible.

Insight: Keep your subject within three-feet of the phone and check audio BEFORE you leave. Ready to get serious? Get in touch and ask about our Mobile Video Pro kits.

Keep it simple

“The secret was to give our team the skills to grab quick clips at events” explains Martin McGlown, head of regional media relations at CRUK. “These were picked up by media outlets from day one. From there, the sophistication has steadily improved”

Insight: Not every piece has to be complex, especially on social media. What matters is to get the ball rolling.

Celebrate success

Momentum builds confidence, so find ways to support each other. “We are proud of what our media-relations team has achieved with mobile video these past few years”, says Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of CRUK. “A little training has certainly taken them a long way”

Insight: Share constructive feedback with immediate colleagues. And let the wider team know when you have big hits.

Get experimental

When CRUK wanted to shoot life-saving surgery, we showed them how to use a simple 360-degree camera with a mobile phone. This video achieved 250,000 views across all platforms and the accompanying story reached 40% of UK adults.

Insight: Sometimes it pays to think outside the box

Share the love

If a video is topical, speed is key. With a phone, you can edit and publish the piece immediately. Or even do a live broadcast.

Insight: When time matters, don’t get bogged down with a fancy edit. Get it done – and get it online.

Next steps

Acevo members save 20% on all in-house training with Dashboard Media during 2019 (then 10%). Members also get a £100 discount at the next public Mobile Video Pro event in London on 3 December.

If you are inspired by these ideas or want to find out how to support your team, contact Alex at

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