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  • Cathy Thompson

Video 101 Part 2 - How to create a video to be proud of...

Update your digital presence, reach out to your target audience and create a quality video that engages your clients, represents your brand and, bottom line, generates sales.



Can I create a video myself?


Maybe yes, maybe no, is the honest answer. Consider the following to help you decide whether to 'Go it alone' or 'Call in the creative cavalry'...

  • Your video goals: Defining the quality, length & style of your video. As we explained in our Video 101 Part 1, there are many different video types, and a short and snappy social media asset is a very different project to a 6 minute explainer video.

  • Your skill set and experience: Think IT skills, creativity, eye for detail.

  • Your time: Video creation is not a quick project to be sorted in a few hours... each stage can take a long time if you are doing this solo, and more so if you are new to production and editing, or using unfamiliar software.

  • Budget: You may feel forced down one pathway or another, but remember that your time is also money!

  • Access to the tools of video creation: Editing and production software, filming equipment, actors, props, location etc.

  • Urgency/deadline: Do you have time to up-skill and be independent?


Regardless of who is creating your video, follow a process that ensures you put sufficient effort into each of the planning, production and editing stages.


Planning


As is so often the case, careful planning will save you time and money in the long run, and result in a video that meets your original project objectives and you can be proud of.



1. Story

Start with a relatable premise, introduce an element of conflict, and then round your story out with a resolution.

Have a clear objective that defines the following;

  • What is the purpose of your video eg. Explainer. Q&A. Vlog. Product Demo. Social Media?

  • Who is your target audience?

  • Where will it be seen (consider language, size of screen, device style)?

  • What are your key messages?

  • How will you represent your brand?



2. Style framing or concept

Above all, aim to 'Engage & Delight' your audience.

Once you have developed what you want to say, and to whom, you need to think about how you want to say it; the look and feel of your video.This will need to be done with your brand values and brand guidelines in mind.


Consider:

  • Do you want 2D or 3D?

  • Animation or live videography - or both? We know we need another blog on this question alone!

  • The style of your 'characters' - how they are presented, their voice/accent

  • Background / location

  • Colours

  • Mood / ambiance

  • Music

  • Balance sales with authenticity

  • Keep it personal

  • It may not need to be flawless: you want to ensure personality and relatability

  • Make it memorable (use humour/music/emotion)

  • Keep consumers engaged by asking questions


3. Length matters

Keep it short and sweet.

According to Social Media Examiner, 80% of marketers are creating videos of under 3 minutes long, for good reason. The 2019 Video in Businesss Benchmark Report analysed first hand data from a sample of Vidyard customers in 2018 and found that over 2/3rds of viewers will watch a video to the end if it's less than 60 seconds.



Videos up to 2 minutes long get the most engagement, after which there is a significant drop off (Wistia), so Microsoft have got it right here.


A Social Media post video would (and should!) be shorter than one being used as an Explainer / Webinar, which would justifiably be much longer.



If your content demands a longer video, then Wistia also found that there are few drop offs after 6 mins but only 25% finish watching if it is 20 mins or more.


With this in mind, it also makes sense to front load your video with the key concepts that you want your viewers to access coming first.


4. Focus on the Start, and the End

How you begin and finish off your video (video title frame and end frame) are worth special consideration.

As well as being key in terms of attracting your viewers attention, your title frame needs to set the scene and the style of your video, and portray what your video is about, as well as indicate its purpose.


Your end frame should clearly signify the end of your story and include credits as required, plus a message or call to action... what are the next steps that you would like your viewer to take?



5. Pull it all together with your video storyboard

Use simply drawn boxes and sketches; you will soon realise if your story flows or not.

Bring your video to life with a storyboard aligning a selection of small thumbnail illustrations with your video script. Include key stages in your story with simple drawings or sketches, following a timeline.



For those of you familiar with website design, this is a little like the wireframe stage: it is a way of viewing the complete project, but without too much detail, and without high quality imagery.


As well as script and an image suggestive of the visual story, you might add your subtitles on here and include any actions being shown in the thumbnail/frame eg. ball rolling across screen.



6. Video Scripting

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of video creation is hitting the right content and tone for your script.

A good script will portray your messages (to meet your original objectives), engage and retain the interest of your viewers (remember humour/emotion/music), and represent your brand. This is a tall order at times, and support from someone with experience may really save you time and money in the long run.



7. Subtitles

A significant 50% of people rely on captions so it is imperative that you create a video that is optimised for silent viewing.

This also ensures consumers with a hearing impairment are able to access your product/ service.


Whilst google will create auto captions for any video without them, we'd advise keeping control of the content of your video by thinking through what you want the exact captions to be, and including them as part of your production.


If you are creating your own video, then check out the intuitive Invideo online editor that allows you to easily add and edit text to your videos.



8. Voice Over


Another potential article... but in the meantime have a read of this one; doing your own Voice Over.


AND not mention the top tips from Jacky, our motion designer;

  • Head into your wardrobe to record your speech. Its soundproof and free from distraction!

  • Large rooms, hard surfaces and air conditioning units are not your friends.

  • Don't get too close to the mic

  • Do try and record all your voice overs in the same place and at the same time

  • Pause after each sentence to slow you down a bit. Though don't worry too much - pauses can be added in later

  • If you are going to be doing several videos, invest in a mic, they don't need to cost the earth and will elevate the sound quality to make you sound like a pro

  • Use a Teleprompter app to follow along as you record

Bear in mind that Wyzowl reported in 2017 that 75% of consumers decided not to buy a product because the video Voice Over annoyed them.


Production


The demands of production depend whether you are going down the animation or live videography route (or incorporating both). And whether you are doing this yourself or outsourcing.


Consider where your video will be launched (eg Social Channels or a HD screen at a conference), your budget and your skill level and confidence.


Capturing live footage

High quality digital cameras and production supplies are easily available and affordable, and relatively easy to use. Even your iPhone (in landscape mode, using the back camera), will give you a 'reasonable to good' quality outcome, especially when you overlay some branded graphics.


Consider getting to grips with tools like the Camo Studio app which effectively changes your iPhone into a webcam.


If you are producing in house but have a small budget, then invest in a gimbal stabiliser to help cut down on stay footage. Cut from one angle to another (slowly!) to increase interest.


Guidelines for production at home

  • pick a space free of distraction

  • choose a background that isn't too 'busy'

  • find / create the right light

  • ensure noise levels are low

  • centre yourself in the shot

  • get to the point

  • if you have a script use a teleprompter app to keep things natural

  • be yourself and keep it real

  • use props or special guests to grab your viewers attention


To represent a quality brand, and to look professional you should ideally work with a videographer to capture footage in HD (4k).

TOP TIP: You can scale your footage down, but not up!


Animation and video key frames

One of the key attractions of using video over still images is the use of motion which captures the attention of your audience and works to keep them engaged. Live footage allows you to easily dictate the start and end points through direction, ie telling your actor to walk from the door to the window or rolling a ball from point A to point B.



In animation where you are, in essence, knitting together a range of drawings to give a holistic illusion of movement, you use video key frames; video markers, added onto the timeline of the video to enable you to establish a change of action over time.


One key frame or marker is placed at the beginning of a change and the other at the end. They can dictate properties such as position, rotation, scaling and opacity.

Effective use of key frames is a cornerstone of animation... this is one of the reasons you might need support from a creative team.


Editing


This is a really time consuming stage of video creation; even with animation, which is much simpler to 'tweak' than live footage. If time is not of the essence then there are plenty of editing software options to learn your way around and you can have a lot of fun learning and playing.


If you don't have the skills or if time is an issue, for a reliable quality edit, Call in the cavalry!


  • Music: ensure you have a license for any music you use (Music Bed or Epidemic Sound are good places to start)

  • Text: Consider text overlay

  • Size: Consider re-sizing for different placements; if you are presenting on a big screen you will need to work to a specific ratio

  • Movement: Consider adding Animation and Motion Graphics

  • Data capture: Consider using conversion tactics (forms / CTAs and lead flows) to capture information from consumers whilst they visit your site

  • Encourage contact: Consider making it easy for people to book time with you by dropping a calendar link into your videos (to reduce the chance of them bouncing out when heading to your contact page)


Sonic branding

An 'Audio Identity', also known as sonic branding, is "your brand's audible expression, translating your brand's overall message and attributes into audible elements and using them consistently across brand touchpoints".


With your video working on both a visual and audial level, you need to give some thought to whether or not you are working to, or perhaps even creating, an audio ident.



Help! What to expect from a creative team...

An agency with experience in digital video can use their expertise to create exactly what you are looking for to meet your objectives.


Available to help at any stage of the planning and development, production or editing process, a creative team can help fill in the gaps in your skill set, and ensure you keep 'on brand'. It may seem a more expensive option (if you don't account for your own time), but an experienced team will maximise your resources and work to a deadline. The earlier. you involve them with your concept and plans, the easier it will be for them to help you achieve a quality product that meets your goals.


At Sparkloop we would love to discuss your ideas for increasing your digital presence through video use. So if it feels too daunting or too much to do yourself, get in touch for a complimentary 30 minute Spark Session and we can explore the parameters of your project with you and help you on your way.


Gayle Carpenter, Creative Director Connect

 

Thinking about a video project?


Request a Spark-up Session or get in touch to see how we can help.