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Sarah Gordon, Assistant Director of Communications
Choate Rosemary Hall

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Sarah Gordon, Assistant Director of Communications
Choate Rosemary Hall
  • Independent Schools
7 Video Marketing Questions Your School Should Ask
Charlie Gauvain, MD Eye Film

Video marketing is a great way to engage your target audience and show your school’s unique personality to potential students, parents and grandparents. In some instances, as the British School In Tokyo  (BST) learnt while working with the film and television company Eye Film, the importance of a project extends well beyond the creation of a marketing video. Principal Brian Christian said, “The team from Eye Film worked hard to become part of the team at BST and, having taken the opportunity to get to know our students and teachers, they were able to identify benefits we hadn't considered for ourselves.”

In this blog, Charlie Gauvain, Managing Director of Eye Film, shares his top seven points that schools should consider when video marketing. Eye Film have been telling genuine stories for over 45 years. They have worked with Finalsite schools to produce incredible video content all over the world. Throughout the blog, Brian Christian, Principal of the British School of Tokyo reflects on his recent experiences working with Eye Film who also train school staff and pupils to produce their own video content.

What’s trending with school videos this year?

Visual video marketing is what's on trend right now and schools across the world are using it to promote and enhance their school presence in a variety of different kinds of content. You can make a singular marketing video for your school but you could also include multiple films all about life at your school, using content based around sports, pastoral care, music, arts and so much more, the possibilities at your school are endless! Having decided to use Finalsite to help them develop a more dynamic website, Eye Film recently worked with The British School of Tokyo to showcase their far-reaching outdoor activity programme with a short film to give a flavour of what BST students get up to well beyond the four walls of the classroom. Principal Brian Christian said “After careful planning, Charlie and Max (Eye Film) flew out to Tokyo in September 2017 to film our students on some of their adventures. These included trips to Mount Fuji, para-gliding, kayaking, mountain biking and much, much more. As part of the process, a short drama was improvised, providing the structure for an action-packed and attention-grabbing short film to highlight the importance of experiential learning.

Currently, there is a trend for more and more content to be produced by the school itself, so do consider some professional video training, as this will help ensure high-quality content is produced, whilst being a handy skill for your students to learn for post-school life. Once the filming for the British School of Tokyo was complete, Eye Film conducted a professional film-editing workshop using some of the many hours of footage shot on location to empower students to make high-quality films of their own.

A final tip on video trends...you must make sure all your video content has subtitles as 80% of videos online are viewed without sound.

film crew

How long should it be?

56% of all videos uploaded to YouTube in the last year are less than 2 minutes long. For schools, the majority of marketing films should be two minutes or less and even a two-minute version should have a sub-sixty-second version so that it can be used on Instagram. In fact, the recommended length for an Instagram video is 30 seconds, 45 seconds for Twitter and 60 seconds for Facebook. However, school films no longer consist only of just a marketing film. You may want a film to explain boarding, or wellbeing, or perhaps a news piece about events coming up? Just consider your audience and how much time they will be willing to spend watching a film and produce the content accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with a 15-second film!

Where should I host my marketing video?

For your main school marketing film we would advise hosting it on Vimeo and linking that to your website, or Finalsite will host it for you which is easier than ever with its Resources module. Vimeo has a better compression rate than YouTube so the quality of the film is higher and you won’t have any inadvertent adverts appearing or other video suggestions at the end. However, we would definitely recommend all your video content is uploaded to YouTube and a page designed and created to host it on YouTube, as it is the world’s second largest search engine. Just make sure you tag the videos properly and add in metadata and potential subtitles from the film.

For shorter social media content we would expect your content to be uploaded to the various social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. By uploading it the videos play automatically on your feed, and in exactly the same way as on YouTube, make sure you use relevant hashtags to get your video seen by your target audiences.

What should it cost?

You are likely to pay at least £5,000 or above for a good quality video and quite often two or three times that amount, but really there is no definitive cost for a school marketing video, it depends on the idea and how creative the company is in bringing it to life. If you want animation, be prepared for costs to increase depending on the type of animation required. If you want a concept/story brought to life expect to pay more as it requires planning time as well as recces of the location, finding the right cast for the film (which more often than not will be your students) and a clear direction. However, with that planning, you can also minimise some of the disruption filming can cause. What you should ask from a company is that you have a clear breakdown of the cost of the production to understand where the costs are and if necessary give them a budget that you are prepared to spend. Remember also to ask for a copy of all the footage when they have finished, as you should be the copyright owner.

How to track ROI?

With your main marketing film make sure you carefully track how it is being used on each of the chosen platforms and channels that you have posted it on. This is available on various free tracking sites, various social media channels and your website provider. If you do find that people are clicking off before the end of the video and missing your call to action, you may need to re-strategise your marketing. Make sure you have a clear marketing strategy for your video and set a goal for what you want to achieve, this could be increased applications to your school or increased visitors at open days or even just enquiries. These all need to be tracked, so get them set up in advance of your video launch.

What can we do ourselves?

With the appropriate training, staff and pupils at school can and should be producing great quality content on a regular basis. It is probably best to get them to start creating short forms of social media content, such as behind the scenes filming, calls to action and school events that can be shared with parents, grandparents and other pupils. With a one or two day training course, staff and pupils can learn enough to start making their own professional content, although all of this needs careful planning and agreement of responsibility of content and supervision.

What about music and copyright issues?

We find music is one of the biggest issues with copyright, basically, you’re breaking copyright law if you are using commercial music tracks without permission in any content. In fact, you will find many of the video platforms will remove audio if they think you are breaking copyright law. You can look and choose copyright free music online by searching for copyright free music or you can join music libraries, such as Art List and Audio Networks to use music without copyright, but they do come at a cost. We suggest getting your students to compose their own music from software from Spotify through www.soundtrap.com .

On sites such as Creative Commons and Archive, you can search for useable music and you can also use various archive material if you have the correct permissions. Regarding permissions, most schools have obtained the right permissions from their pupils and staff to be included in videos but just make sure your databases are up to date and if you are based in the European Union make sure you understand various data laws, such as GDPR, to use data safely and correctly.


Free Video Marketing eBook: Download Now


Charlie Gauvain

Charlie began his career in 1994 as an intern working in feature films in the USA. Initially working on low budget features before moving onto 20th Century Fox’s Independence Day in New York, as a location’s assistant. Since then Charlie has produced, executive produced or series produced over 100 hours of documentary and drama for C4, ITV, BBC, Five, UKTV, Crime and Investigation and Animal Planet.   

In 2012 Charlie established a unique education scheme with City College in Norwich, setting up the country’s first ’Learning Company’, where students work 9-5, 5 days per week whilst studying for a Diploma.  Working on professional briefs the students produce content for real clients, to real deadlines and are currently producing content for the Local Television Channel, in collaboration with Eye Film.

Throughout his career, Charlie has worked with students, schools and colleges to help find, nurture and create the next generation of filmmakers.  Charlie now runs short training courses for staff and pupils on how to create video content.  He is passionate in his belief that schools should work with their students to create video content which can benefit the school, the local community and most importantly the staff and pupils.


  • Marketing/Communications
  • Video Marketing

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