1. Types of videos we are looking for
Interviews: Sri Chinmoy asked us to show the public who we are. We are very keen for interviews with disciples talking about aspects of the path, that show it is possible to have a deep inner life and be perfectly normal at the same time. These are the kinds of videos we are most looking for at the moment.
Examples of interviews:
How you came to start meditation/be Sri Chinmoy’s disciple
Inner experiences you have had
Anecdotes or experiences with Sri Chinmoy
Example: Bishwas talking about Guru’s lifting
Aspects of disciple life: working in enterprises, running, singing, plays – anything that is inspiring to the public!
Example: Pranlobha, working in enterprise
Very often we make slideshows for our own functions, which with a little editing could be easily used for the general public.
Example: 2 mile race – New York
Christmas trip treasure hunt: This is an example of a video that was edited to remove some superfluous footage of interest to our members only, and some explanatory text at the beginning.
You could talk about the meditation classes you give
Adaptations of Sri Chinmoy’s stories:
Example: The Rogue Ascetic – an adaptation by Harkara & friends
2. How to share videos
Rather than creating your own Vimeo or Youtube account, we would prefer if the videos were instead shared on our accounts, in order to promote our activities in an organised way. (This is not always the case, but we would be very grateful if you asked first.)
The easiest way to do this at the moment is just to put in your Dropbox account and share a link with us.
Very often, the first thing we will want to do is put the video on Sri Chinmoy TV with its own post. If you could supply some text for us to use (you can send via MMS) – that would be wonderful!
3. General guidelines
Videos should be made with the intention of inspiring seekers and the general public, rather than disciples. It is tempting while editing to keep a lot of footage which would be of interest to disciples, but sometimes these scenes are of little interest to public.
Dignified videos. Videos are a powerful way of representing the centre’s activities therefore it is important to have videos which present the centre in a humble and dignified way. When asking us to build websites, Sri Chinmoy used the adjectives ‘simplicity, purity, humility’. This is useful to bear in mind for videos too.
Make sure people included in video are happy to be online. Don’t assume this to be the case, especially for more private events.
Use of Jharna Kala. Sri Chinmoy requested that Jharna-Kala reproductions on the web must be of artworks that are more than 10 years old. In general, we don’t show reproductions of Jharna-Kalas that are currently available for purchase.
Ask. A lot of work goes into making a new video, and it can be very frustrating if a we cannot use a video because of something that could have been checked at a very early stage. If in doubt ask before you invest much time and energy in a project which might be unsuitable. Try explaining the idea or showing unedited footage to a centre leader / established disciple before embarking on the hard work of creating the final product.
Things to avoid
- Moments that are too sacred. Some moments are too sacred to expose to the harsh light of the Internet. For example, Sri Chinmoy didn’t want the Invocation or the Aspiration-Ground Temple to be shown online. If in doubt seek guidance.
- Proselytising. Don’t try to convince we are by far the best.
- Giving a misleading impression
Remember that your video can be used in many different places. That means that it should be self-explanatory for people who are not familiar with the Centre. Some ways to do this:
- If conducting interviews, remind the interviewee at the beginning of the audience.
- A title card at the beginning of the interview is often the best way to make clear what the video is about. It can contain the subject of the video, and perhaps the names of anyone involved. In general, it should not be too long – you don’t want the viewer to lose interest.
Length of videos: In general, we have been aiming for a length of 5 minutes – that is a good number to aim for, especially for beginners. Longer videos might be appropriate if the speaker or the subject matter is especially compelling.
The first 30 seconds is very important. Most users don’t watch longer than the first 30 seconds.
Use of music/photos where appropriate
Good sources: Radio Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Centre gallery, Peace Run site
It can also be good to have some end titles. It is a subtle way of telling the user that the video is ended. Also it is a good place to thank anyone who’s photos/videos/music you have used.