GV Expo: Staying Within the Budget When Creating Video

Mathew John, an audiovisual production specialist with the National Park Service, will address Government Video Expo attendees at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, just after the expo opens. His session “National Park Service Centennial — Thinking Outside the Box With a Low or No Budget” will take a look at how he created the signature video to celebrate last year’s NPS Centennial on a very tight budget and share strategies for other institutions to do the same. Government Video spoke with him about his work with the National Park Service.

GOVERNMENT VIDEO: Tell our readers about the types of videos you and your colleagues create at the National Park Service. Are they all for visitors to the NPS website and social media outlets? Or are there other purposes?

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MATHEW JOHN: I produce videos for both internal and external purposes and audiences. In addition to videos created for the National Park Service (NPS) website and social media accounts, I create videos that are used internally for training, development, conferences and awareness, including messaging videos from agency leadership to communicate with employees, partners and volunteers. In addition, my video footage has been used for B-roll to highlight national parks on news and entertainment broadcasts.

GV: So far, what has been your most memorable video project working at the National Park Service?

MJ: My most memorable video project with the NPS so far has been the Relevancy, Diversity and Inclusion (“Yeah We’re Beautiful”) video I had the opportunity to produce. The video was very personal to me and part of the script was written by employees of the NPS, specifically for the video. Everything came together so well and I was able to share a portion of my life while also meeting and working with so many of my amazing colleagues.

GV: What has been your most difficult assignment and why?

MJ: The most difficult assignment for me was a special detail I had with a program for Tribal Nations. The detail was almost a year long and required weekly travel with heavy equipment. Despite the extensive amount of travel, I learned so much about the program and about many of the Tribal Nations I set out to film. The people I was able to work with and film were so patient and gracious that what started off as difficult for me, ended up being the most rewarding experience. I’m so grateful to everyone for that time.

GV: Many of the videos I see online involve people. Do you film animals as well?

MJ: I don’t really have the chance to film animals. Most of the videos I produce do involve people and I’m not out in the parks enough where I can focus my time to film animals. But I would like to change that one day.

GV: You’ve been able to travel to many of our National Parks. Do you have a favorite?

MJ: When our last NPS Director was asked this question he would always reply with, “I love all of my children.” I would say that I do feel the same way; however, as a visual artist, I believe there are two parks that come to mind with regard to filming. I was able to film a video at Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) and no matter where I turned I would have the most gorgeous backdrops. And the other park that comes to mind is Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland). It’s a very solemn place; however, I am always taken by its beauty. I love to film there.

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