Professional Looking Video
The simplest way to produce video is to talk directly to the camera. All you need is a camera and someone to do the talking and you can produce a piece of video content in 20 minutes. However video needs to look and sound good because its an extension of your brand. There is nothing worse than dark, shaky video with unintelligible sound and a presenter who bores you to tears. With that in mind, we produced this video with our top tips for producing professional looking video.
In this type of video, sound is generally more important than vision. If you can’t hear what the person is saying, then there is no point watching. So invest in a decent microphone, you can even get good microphone for your i-phone. And when you’re shooting get the microphone as close to the interviewee as possible.
Mount your camera on a tripod to keep the shot steady. Once again, i-phone tripods are available.
Where ever you’re shooting, you need to make sure you have enough light. Either shoot next to a window, using daylight or invest in a light. The advantage of lights is you can shoot any where, making a broom cupboard into your studio.
Here’s the catch with this type of presentation: its actually quite hard to do. Even people who are used to presenting can struggle with video. There are a few ways to get around this. Practicing the presentation will help, but even then most people won’t get it in one take. So either shoot on two camera, at different angles and different shot sizes and when you make a mistake go back to the beginning of the line and start again. Having two cameras will make it easy to edit between shots. Alternatively, you can shoot the whole presentation a few times, with the camera zoomed in or pulled out wide for the different takes, and this should give you the material to edit out mistakes. The final option is auto cue. Having the words in front of you will help you make fewer mistakes.
Presenting to camera is best when its short, dynamic and the personality of the speaker comes through. If you are presenting a white paper, use video to get your audience excited and curious to read it, rather than presenting the whole white paper as a video presentation.
Video is a great medium for communicating ideas and personality, and hopefully these tips will help you produce professional looking video that your audience wants to watch. “Presenters to camera” videos are limited, and will never be the most dynamic communication tool, but used sparingly they can be very effective to produce content at very little cost.
I went to a conference yesterday in Sydney called The China Gap focused on social media and digital marketing in China. Since we have been working in China this year shooting Hoopla and are starting to get an understanding of the culture and some of the hurdles that China can throw up, and how to deal with them, I thought it might be interesting.
The three points that came out overall were
1: the Chinese market is big
2: The digital market is growing
3: China is difficult (some people said “different”)
The population is approx 1.2 billion, with 500 million online, and of those about half are purchasing online, so that is pretty big. The Chinese economy overall may be slowing it’s rate of growth, but the digital economy isn’t, with 10% growth per year. But its difficult because language, culture and the digital landscape are so different. There is no Facebook, Twitter, Google or Youtube, and even if there were it seems they wouldn’t be dominant because the way Chinese people look at the world is different.
Video is dominated by Youku Tudou , which were two separate platforms that merged a few years back. Tudou is more youth focused, and Youku a bit more grown up. Both sites have user generated content, but Youkou has a large and growing library of licenced content which they offer as pay per view, and to support advertising (think Hulu or Netflicks).
The interesting thing from the video point of view is that of the 500 million Chinese who are online, 490 million are watching video. Video is the growth driver of the Chinese online boom according to Lee Liang from Youku. The Chinese audience are also watching video across multiple platforms with mobile views reaching 200 million per day recently. When I was in Beijing a few months ago I was struck by the number of people watching video as they travelled on the Metro. I even had a cab driver watching video as he drove. Combine that with the rise in foreign education for Chinese, the growth of independent travel, and the Chinese penchant for wanting to research before buying, and to appear knowledgeable about a brand or product in front of friends and family members and there would seem to be a real opportunity for smart marketers to use video to make inroads into the Chinese market.
Online video as a tool for business is coming of age, whether in marketing, or internally for training and communications, and there are a whole heap of statistics around to support this. Some of the most interesting have been collected together in the “10 Reasons” video. It makes a compelling argument for why video to be so effective.
Some of the most interesting statistics are about the appetite for video. Youtube is still the second most popular search engine after Google, and 28% of Google searches are for Youtube. So there is a huge audience not only looking for video content, but searching only for video. On top of that Forbes found that 75% of executives surveyed said they watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly with 52% watching the videos on Youtube. So whether its for business or consumer, the audience is hungry for video content.
The way people behave when interacting with video is also very interesting. People will watch the video on a page before reading the text, and will stay on the page far longer with video than they will with text. On top of that, people recall video content significantly better than they do text. And because Google likes video content, a page with video is likely to rank significantly higher than the same page without video.
Of course the content is more important than the medium and engaging, audience-focused content whatever the medium is of great value, but presented as video its easier for the audience to find, more likely to be consumed and will be remembered far longer. As a test, why not watch the video, and see which you remember better at the end of the day, the video or this blog.
Producing Effective Online Video Content
Video is one of the most powerful communication tools in our arsenal, but creating effective video content is a form of alchemy. We can take the elements of story, vision, sound, emotion, music and create something that is greater than the sum of its parts, that can hold the audiences attention and push ideas into their minds, and more importantly make them stay there. But while putting your stories out there as video can increase engagement with potential clients, provide a better understanding of what you offer, and ultimately increase sales, it has to be done right. That doesn’t mean it has to be expensive though
Here’s a few things to think about before you get stuck in to producing video content. Its not a definitive list, but it’s a good start.
Probably the most important thing to think about before you jump into creating video content is the audience. Who are you making the content for and what is going to interest them enough that they will give you a few minutes of their time, and come out the other side feeling like it was time well spent. If you can leave them feeling like they’ve been entertained, or they’ve learnt something, they are more likely think positively about you.
Like cooking, and probably alchemy, you get the best results with video if you’re well prepared. Write a script. It doesn’t need to be a “learn you lines” type of script. We write bullet-point scripts for doco style content, so we know the elements we need to make the story work. Knowing what you’re doing, and getting buy-in from all your stakeholders in advance will save time and money down the line, and also produce a much more cohesive and effective piece of work.
We’re all busy so keep it short. People will commit to watching 2 minutes, but ask for 10 minutes of their time and you’ll start to lose your audience. In my 20-odd years experience as a video editor I can remember very few stories that we improved by making them longer, so as a rule of thumb, shorter is better.
Video is a visual medium, so don’t treat it like talking text. Sometimes you can get away with a piece to camera, but in general “showing” is more memorable and engaging than just telling.
It seems obvious but…be interesting! We’ve already thought about who the audience are, now we need to think about what is interesting to them, which may be different to what you think is interesting to them. If you’re going to the effort of producing or commissioning video content, then make sure it has value, whether that is in entertainment, information or education. We spend our lives skipping ads now to get to the content, so make sure you are producing the content that we skip to, rather than the ad we’re skipping.
There are other elements that go into making engaging video content that people want to watch, but these five points are a pretty good start.