Tips to Make a Great Marketing Video
Video marketing is not just an amazing tool for businesses, it is a necessary tool in an age where visualization is everything. Research shows that videos shown online are 600 percent more effective in business marketing than direct mail and print marketing combined. Basically, if customers and clients can’t see it, they are less likely to consider buying or using it, which means lost business and income.
But, just making a marketing video isn’t enough; the video must be high-quality and effectively say what the company wants customers to know. This type of video is the specialty of 25 Customs Digital Production Agency. As California’s leading video production agency, we understand the technical and artistic requirements to make videos our customers want and need. Here are a few tips to craft a great marketing video.
Before filming one frame of video, planning is necessary. Planning helps guide the production in the right direction and can mean the difference between getting the right message across and having the message get lost or misinterpreted. From determining verbiage to stepping behind the camera and calling action, there are multiple steps to plan and execute.
What’s the message of the video? As simple as that question is, the answer can easily be lost in a poorly produced video. Writing a script helps refine the message so it is clear and concise and easy to grasp. Consider the following when developing a script for the video.
Get the basic message out in the first 30 to 60 seconds, which essentially tells viewers what’s in it for them. Grab their attention by talking directly to them and telling them what to notice in the coming video. If viewers get the point early on, they are more likely to watch more of the presentation.
Go into more detail later in the video, making sure to avoid dry or dull information and lifeless content. Tell a story that is engaging and informative. Make sure viewers hear what they need to know about the business or product to take action.
Whether it’s on a website, through email or any other method of delivery, people have a short attention span. Make the video only as long as necessary, which is whatever amount of time it takes to get the message out and keep the audience captivated. Also, keep the script tight, using no more than 150 spoken words per minute.
- Scene Development
Figuring out what shots need to go with dialogue is easier with a storyboard, which is a look at how the video should appear through camera angles. Storyboards usually include scene drawings that look like comic strips. Drawings can be complex or as simple as stick figures. Some storyboards include photographs instead of drawings. Each scene of a storyboard should mirror the scene in the final marketing video.
Choose a location for filming well in advance. Don’t just assume the office conference room works because it’s big enough for the video shoot. They tend to be visually bland, so scout a different location. Find a place that is roomy enough to hold people and equipment, has some architectural appeal and is relevant to the message, if possible. Also make sure the room works acoustically, meaning there are not echoes and audio for the film sounds clear.
Unless professionals, like our team at 25 Customs Digital Production Agency, are hired and bring all the equipment, plan to get a camera and all the accessories needed for the video shoot. Research to find which camera has the quality level needed for the video. Because viewers place entertainment value over video quality, the camera does not need to be top-of-the-line. Other necessary equipment includes microphones, lighting and an editing program.
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of created a good video. One that is too dark or too light looks like a lower quality production. While some lighting issues are remedied in the editing process, it’s best to get lighting right during filming.
Be aware that artificial and natural lights have different color temperatures. These differences cause uneven lighting when different types of lights are used together during filming. When filming indoors, use rooms without windows, but if windowless rooms aren’t available, shoot video away from windows to avoid mixing natural and artificial light sources.
Check and manually set the white balance to let the camera know what true white looks like. Humans have the ability to automatically compensate when light sources change, meaning we see an object’s true color even when light around the object makes it appear darker or shaded. A camera lacks this ability and puts a color cast on the image, bathing the entire scene in blue, green or orange to compensate. By manually setting the white balance on a camera, it captures accurate colors needed in the video.
No spotlights, please. Avoid putting direct light or bright pools of light on people in the video, which often causes unflattering reflections. Consider using reflectors or diffusers to reduce shadows and minimize harsh spotlighting.
Marketing videos may include one or more actors or may just be video images with voice-over narration. Either way, it’s important to use the right people. A casting director can help, but if none is available or not in the budget, consider these casting tips.
The voice-over actor should be right for the message or product delivered in the video. If it’s a product aimed at young adults, use a narrator that sounds like a young adult. If the video is to be shown regionally, choose a voice-over actor with a regional accent. Make sure the tone and quality of the voice works for the video’s message.
Will the stars of the video come from within the organization or be professional actors? Several factors are worth considering when casting actors.
Remember the target audience.
People want to see video of other people who look like them or remind them of themselves.
Actors should be approachable and someone viewers can identify with.
Actors should be attractive, but not overly so, and should have something about them that is unique or memorable.
Actors should project a trustworthy and genuine quality.
Actors should be comfortable in front of a camera. Do screen tests if needed to be sure they are comfortable and a good fit for the video.
Make sure the actors know everything that is expected of them during the filming.
Keep in mind that any amateurs used as actors may not be able to remember multiple pages of script lines.
With essential pre-planning out of the way, the actually filming runs a lot smoother. One thing to consider to make filming even better is the “Rule of Thirds.” When looking through the camera lens, imagine the scene is divided into nine boxes separated by two vertical lines and two horizontal lines. Places where the lines meet are called anchor points.
Put the main subject of the scene in position where two of the four anchor points intersect. This positioning draws the viewer’s attention to the main focal point and causes them to look at it longer. The Rule of Thirds also makes the video more aesthetically pleasing. Some cameras include a nine-box grid that overlays the shot during filming to help videographers get correct positioning for the Rule of Thirds.
Using this technique does not mean everything will go perfectly the first time. Self-producers, especially inexperienced ones, should expect mistakes and plan to reshoot parts of the video when that happens. Sometimes, even without making mistakes, reshooting occurs to make the video better or to have safety net when it comes time to edit.
Filming is complete, but the work is far from over. Editing, or post production, is just as important as shooting the video. Getting the final product just the way it is envisioned requires a few final steps.
There are so many software editing programs available that choosing one may be a challenge for those unfamiliar with or new to editing video. Some programs, such as Windows Movie Maker, may be free or already be included in many computers and don’t cost anything extra. These are typically user friendly and designed for novice users. Other programs, such as Adobe Premier Pro, cost money to use and offer editing options on a more professional level. Deciding which one to use should be based on price and if the program offers what’s needed to edit the video. Once an editing program is chosen, spend time looking through it and practicing before using it to edit the marketing video.
- Clean Up Clips
Editing software usually includes the ability to specify “in and “out” points for different scenes. Use these to cut down the length of scenes with unnecessary extras, such as false starts, pauses and random sounds that aren’t part of the video. Don’t trim information that is vital to the video’s message, but getting rid of useless video will make editing faster and easier.
- Cut on Action
Some videos are simple or have little action being performed and don’t require much editing. For videos with more activity, editing should always cut on the action. This means when an actor is doing something, edit the shots to match the action being performed. For example, if the actor is opening a door, cut from that shot to the shot of their hand on the door knob. If edited to cut away just before or after the actor’s action, the image looks jarring and is distracting to viewers. This type of editing may take practice for the inexperienced editor, but should be used to make the video look better.
- Don’t Worry About Timing
Edit all the scenes and rough cuts together without concern for timing. Putting it together in a rough format will show what areas need the most work. Cutting parts out too soon to try and meet a time requirement may result in the editor having to redo the work and add back in some parts that were cut prematurely.
- Limit Special Effects
Editing software includes special effects, but avoid most, if not all, of them. They may not be the best addition to a marketing video, since they will likely distract from the message or product being promoted. Transitioning from one shot to another with a simple cross-fade is acceptable, but keep those to a minimum as well.
Will there be music accompanying the video? Some marketing videos don’t need music, but those that do must use it appropriately. The first consideration is the music itself; does it work with the video’s message? Heavy metal or rock music may be inappropriate for a video about a charitable outreach, and classical music is not as effective for a video promoting extreme sports.
Another consideration is licensing requirements. Royalty-free music, music composed specifically for the video and music considered in the public domain are fine, but most music is protected by copyright, meaning it can’t be used without permission. Doing so is copyright infringement and could lead to a lawsuit. Penalties for copyright infringement include fines for damages, loss of profits, attorney fees and court costs, as well as jail time.
- Avoid Perfectionism
Amateurs should not expect their work to be perfect. It may come close, but things do go wrong. Self-producers should realize there may problems that editing can’t solve. For example, issues with lighting or audio may be improved but not be perfect. Editing is a great way to polish a video, but the best way to make the video as perfect as possible is by doing things right during the pre-planning and filming process.
Using video to deliver a strong message about a company or a product is one of the most effective marketing tools available. Getting the video from conception to final edit is hard work, but well worth the effort. Self-producers should plan every step of the process ahead of time, make sure to get the right equipment and have the actors be camera ready.
If a perfect video is the goal, it will likely come by using professionals, such as 25 Customs Digital Production Agency. From beginning to end, we understand every aspect of making great videos. We have experienced writers and filmmakers, as well as cameras, microphones, lighting, editing programs and everything else needed. As California’s leading video production agency, we deliver exactly what our client’s want and need. We are happy to handle video production so that our client’s don’t have to.