When you’re developing a video from absolutely nothing, it can seem incredibly daunting – I mean, where do you even begin? It can be downright scary to know that if you mess up any of the important bits of the process, it can result in re-work, expensive post-production correction and loss of profits. In these cases we almost always recommend hiring a professional, but if you want to give it a shot on your own, here’s a step-by-step video production guide on how to do that with the least pain:
1. Decide on your video objectives
Ask yourself… Why are you making this video? Is it to help your company garner more users, make more sales or simply explain your complex software or product?
Being unclear with this can lead to dire consequences later on as you might have just invested in a failing video from the beginning.
The notoriously bad Pepsi ad featuring starlet, Kendall Jenner completely missed the mark because the agency or Pepsi’s team clearly did not have a clear objective for their video. Corporations can afford to splurge on marketing that might simply act as reminders of their brands or sell a certain lifestyle, but small businesses need to be more discerning.
Small businesses that want to use videos for their marketing have to be strategic to ensure they see ROI for every dollar spent. As you read deeper into this video production guide, you’ll realise that the objectives affect everything else.
2. Think about who’s watching (target audience)
This is one the most fundamental steps before beginning to produce any video. What’s the use in making something nobody wants to watch or engage with, right?
The success of your video hinges on your ability to understand your target audience and how to speak to them in a non-salesy way.
Unless you already have a firm understanding of how your audiences tick, you’ll need to start doing some audience research to try to get some insight into what goes on in their heads.
If your video is to several groups of target audiences, you can either prioritise one group over the other by allocating more content/minutes to the more important group; or distribute the segments accordingly.
Unless you are making a public service announcement, if your target audience is ’anyone with a heartbeat’, then it will also mean that your video will likely interest no one.
– What words do they use on a regular basis that you can include in the video?
– What emotional hot-buttons can you use in the video to get them to take action?
– What are pains and pleasures that motivate them?
– Have they already been exposed to your category of solutions?
Speaking their language and getting a good grasp of what might appeal to them is crucial in ensuring your video marketing efforts are a success.
3. Plan your Think, Feel, Do
Similar to identifying your main objectives of the video – you’ll also want to consider how you want your audience to think, feel and do after they watch the video. For example:
Think: From not knowing about blockchain, to understanding the basics of how a blockchain works
Feel: From feeling skeptical about the company to now trusting the company and feeling it’s credible
Do: From being apathetic to now wanting to find out more about the company
Every video that your company puts out needs to take your audiences on a journey, to leave them better than when they started – or sometimes longing for more.
4. Gather inspirational video ideas
This is a step that most videographers and animators miss out on – they forget to expose themselves to more ideas and begin to live only in their own heads. The problem with doing that is that the client only gets access to a few ideas that the vendor is exposed to rather than the whole myriad of what’s out there.
As a client, it’s advisable to send swatches of the style and look you’re after to your video production agency to ensure that they immediately understand and include that in their mood board of video inspiration for the project.
You should almost always request that the agency then mirror back to you samples that are very close to your specifications to ensure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to describing the output.
That way, you’ll be able to align your preferences early to avoid disappointment (and extra charges) at a later stage.
5. Produce the script
As mentioned in our other article on storyboarding and script-writing, it’s no child’s play. It’s not something you should rush through or sting on simply because of how much weight it holds in the video process.
A great script needs to be:
– Simple and concise
– Easy to understand for the viewer
– Interesting and engaging
– Slightly novel so viewers get a shot of dopamine
– Pleasant-sounding when read aloud
– Convey the core messages
Scripts for live productions can even be more detailed with information like location, props and certain nuances that actors in corporate videos need to be able to communicate with visuals or dialogue.
6. Draw up a storyboard
With most kinds of videos especially explainer videos – having a video storyboard helps both the clients and the vendor. It helps the client get a visual perspective of what the video could look like and it offers the video vendor a guide to follow as they produce the assets to realize the final video output.
The output might differ slightly from the storyboard, but that’s fine because it’s meant to act more as a reference when shooting or animating.
The storyboards can come in numerous mediums, but most storyboards have scenes that come with a sketch and a short description of the scene. These scenes then continue in sequence to give editors and animators a rough idea of how the film progresses.
7. Planning and Scheduling
For corporate videos, it’s necessary to have a very strict schedule to shoot – because everyone’s on the clock – albeit a different one. Live production typically involves coordinating:
– Coordinating actor schedules
– Location bookings and timings for best lighting (natural/indoors)
– Casting actors or narrators/voice-over artists
– Putting a crew together with directors, animators, camera guys, lighting etc.
– Organizing rental of the equipment
– Ensuring makeup or costume is present for setup
– Acquiring necessary license and permits
– Putting in place contingency plans due to weather etc.
– A call sheet or timed plans of the actual filming to ensure no extra costs.
This function is known by most as ‘producing’ and typically is handled by an experienced producer
For equipment rentals, we use JRental Centre a lot as they have well-maintained gear at an affordable rate.
The search for acting and voiceover talents, however, can be a more difficult endeavor, but if you’re connected to creatives either via adjacent industry or personal references, this can be a shorter process.
8. Shooting/Producing the Footages
On the actual day of filming – all bets are off the table and video teams typically need to get to the set early and leave the set really late after dismantling setups.
The director on set is meant to ensure that:
– Actors and film crew are relaxed and focused on the output
– Video is well-lit, that shots are accurately framed and shot
– That there is sufficient footage for editing in the later stages
– That filming adheres to the script and storyboard produced earlier.
This typically spans over the course of one to two days depending on varying schedules of those involved.
For us, we usually head to the venue weeks before to plan our setup and arrive early on the day itself to ensure we shoot the video on schedule with a good buffet for re-takes and some rest time in-between.
9. Post-Editing of Footage
Using professional video software like Premier Pro or Final Cut, editors take over and turn the raw footage from filming days into a coherent video that adheres closely to the storyboard and structure determined much earlier.
The process here involves:
– Cutting away any excess footage that is unused leaving only the bar minimum to get the message across
– Including B-roll footage that fill empty spaces in the video
– Include transitions to move between scenes more naturally
– Syncing the sound design to match to videos
– Add visual effects to liven up scenes.
– Including Call-to-action at the end to encourage viewers to take action.
– Match voice-overs if any to the existing footage for timing and accuracy
This usually happens over a couple of rounds of revisions to get it just right for the client. To get to this stage without a hitch, usually ensuring that each part of the process has been specifically briefed will minimize chances of rework.
10. Formatting for the right video medium
Depending on where you’re hosting or showing your video, there will be certain considerations to be made. For example, if you’re planning to host it digitally, there a few places like Youtube, Vimeo or Wistia that you can use. All of which offer different quality in terms of their players that can work faster or slower.
If you’re planning to embed it on your website, for example, having it in a lower quality can allow quicker playback which is important for conversions. If you’re showing it on a big conference screen, you’ll want the output in the highest resolution possible to empower the full viewing experience.
The industry standard at this point is 4K video, but these files usually end up too large and most clients are better off with a 720p or 1080p output for digital usage.
The latter part of this video production guide focuses more on live production related processes, working with animation is similar yet a whole different ball-game altogether. Generally, if you take each step seriously, it’s very difficult to end up with a video that does nothing for you.
If you’d like professional help for your corporate video productions, reach out to us for a free consultation.
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