This year I helped judge some of the video categories and watched dozens of videos from around the world - both produced in-house and by external video experts. The overall quality was amazing - well composed and shot with smooth panning, great use of drones, smooth bokeh and great scripts.
With this level of quality, the key for me was to find the videos that stood out in a positive way from others. Some of the ways that this was done effectively were...
1. A great start. There are a lot of cliches in school marketing videos, whether that be a drone swooping over a school or a group of students walking into a hall. Some of the videos used humour to mock these approaches, while others took a totally different tack and started with something completely different and engaging.
2. A story. There's a temptation to in school video to use up as much time as possible listing all the benefits of the school. But the best videos focused instead on smaller, focused stories that reflected some of the benefits, built up over time and kept the viewer's interest.
3. On-screen innovation. The use of text and icons on screen has been growing over time and can be done really well. But one winning video used a much older technique - a simple split screen - while another used different camera positions to create optical illusions.
4. Tailored audio. The soundtrack was perhaps the weakest area across all the videos, with many schools opting for generic (and presumably free) stock audio. Those who used their own music, or opted for a different set of sounds, really stood out.
5. Use of students. There's nothing wrong with using staff in school videos, but the impact is best shown through the impact of the school on their students. It was great to see even the youngest pupils effectively engaging with the camera, while a number of videos were entirely student-led.