Why video production isn’t just for the big budgets
In the world of Video Production, no one job is the same, and there’s no such thing as a typical week! Already this summer I’ve produced content for an electronics firm to launch a new mobile device; produced a 2D infographic animation for Lidl; filmed a conference in Shanghai, and directed a series of training videos for Curry’s
As the Producer, I’m responsible for the entire video production lifecycle, from ideation and creative direction, through to production and delivery. It’s my responsibility to ensure content is delivered on brand, on message, time and budget.
Video Production was once considered a luxury or a high-risk marketing strategy. When I started producing video content ten years ago, the range of cameras and software available often meant smaller companies and/or marketing budgets couldn’t afford video. Since those days, lower cost equipment with the same professional specifications have launched and online platforms, hosting video for free, have been introduced.
Video content comes in many shapes and sizes, from animations, training videos, promos and product launches to highlights packages and video news releases for media. So where do you start? If you’re new to video, how do you know what would work for you?
I’ve listed some tip tips below to help you get your ideas off the page and onto the screen…
A Brief goes two ways
Briefs help set and align expectations for both yourself and your production company. It’s an important way to ensure your supplier fully understands your needs and wants. If the project changes course unexpectedly then use your brief to steer the video back in the right direction.
Not sure what to write? Start with the basics
What: What do you want, is it an animation or do you need to film original content? Is it an educational piece or a promotional video? Is it for internal audiences or your customers? Essentially, what are you making?
Why: Why do you need this video? What problem is it solving? What does it need to achieve, is there a set call to action?
How: Is the film live action, animation or combination of the two? Do you have existing stock footage?
Where: Where is the video being used, at an event, hosted online or used at a presentation? (You can use videos for more than one purpose, but you may need to factor in different formats and sizes!)
When: Deadlines! When do you need the video by? Who will need to review/approve the video and when are they available? Are there any hard deadlines or areas of flexibility? Be honest, don’t leave it to the last minute for delivery, and allow time for testing and playback internally.
Also, consider what you don’t like as well as what you do. What’s worked for you before and what hasn’t?
Start with a Storyboard!
It may be tempting to jump straight in, but without agreed ideas in written or visual storyboard form, all you have to go on are your interpretations of ideas and discussions.
How you envisage a filming style or animation technique may be completely different to someone else. Use the storyboard phase to iron out any differences; decide on shapes, sizes and colours. Let your Producer know what is acceptable for your brand and what isn’t. And always supply your brand guidelines!
Scripting for Voice Overs
Don’t be shy, always read your script aloud before signing off. The spoken word will highlight flaws that otherwise wouldn’t be detected from reading alone (and yes, I read this blog aloud too!).
If you know someone with a voice that resonates with your target audience, ask them to record it on their phone so that you can listen back. That way you can better brief your Production Company or studio when you come to select a professional voice-over artist.
Avoid over branding your interviews
It may seem like a quick and easy way to get your name and logo across, but as video content is now used so frequently, audiences are savvy to when they’re being over-sold to!
Allow your brand to seamlessly come through in the accompanying footage. Your interviews needn’t have the branded t-shirt, pop-up banners and branded blimp all at once just to make your point!
When supplying content to broadcasters or other media outlets, the more branded the footage, the less likely they are to run it for advertising reasons. Call ahead and ask the broadcaster what they would need from you, what is acceptable and go from there! By supplying content you do still deserve credit, but it should be done tastefully.
Know where it’s going to going and when
Many times I have seen videos produced that don’t reach their audience promptly, as there was no distribution strategy in place. All that effort and you’ve minimised its window of opportunity for impact and views.
Know where the video should go before you sign it off, how you upload it and who is responsible for doing so. Have logins ready, descriptive text prepared and video formats identified for any online hosting sites.
There’s no point having a beautiful video if no one gets to see it!
And remember, if you’re commissioning video from a production company, don’t be overwhelmed by technical terms, a good Producer will always explain what they mean and break down the process for you.