A Guide to Great Video

Adding video to your marketing mix is a great way to increase engagement but be sure to approach the project with a well-laid out plan to guarantee success. Following are the basic steps to producing a “great” video whether you’re working with a professional production facility or going it alone. 

Identify your Audience

Determining your target audience will help when it comes to the messaging and approach you take with the production. A video targeted at incoming college freshmen will most likely have a totally different feel than a video targeting seniors promoting a new retirement community. The script, shots, talent, and editing will all need to speak to that target audience. In addition, you need to consider where the video will be distributed. Will it live on your website, social media, within a presentation, or broadcast via an email newsletter? Producing the video is only half the battle, getting it in front of your target audience is the other!  

What’s the Purpose and Approach?

You probably already know the “purpose” of the video. Are you launching a new product or brand, providing a virtual tour of your plant, or maybe it’s a “how-to” video showing your expertise in a certain field? Again, a clear purpose will help guide messaging and approach just as determining the audience does. You can get away with a longer, more detailed “how-to” video because that audience will put in the time to learn something new or important to them. Introducing a new product or service needs a quick catch to keep the audience engaged. 

Choose a Type

You’ll also need to finalize the “type” of video you’re going to create. This will impact the style and tone of your video and it will determine the steps you’ll take in producing the video.

Here are just a few types of video:

  • Interview style
  • Animated
  • Live-action
  • Whiteboard
  • Motion graphics

The types of video can vary greatly in cost and, depending on the application, some of the types will be more suited to different applications and uses. For instance, a whiteboard or animated video would be a great application for a high-energy product launch or quick social media video. 

Scripting/Creative 

The next step is the creative process and scriptwriting. The script will essentially be the blueprint for the video you’re about to produce. This may require research, interviews with subject matter experts, and lots of input from the team. If your video is going to be driven by interviews then you might have more of an outline as opposed to a word-for-word script. If the video includes various shots, motion graphics, or animation you’ll probably want a tighter script that would be read by a professional voice talent. Often scripts are formatted in 2-columns with the audio on one side and the corresponding video and graphics on the other. If you really want to get a better picture of the video you’ll be producing you might want to take it as far as a storyboard that visually lays out the scenes in the video. 

Scout Locations

For the sake of this article, we’ll assume that we’re producing a video that includes on-location shooting and post-production. 

Locations for gathering the various shots for your video need to be planned out in advance. Lighting (both natural and artificial), audio, and composition all need to be taken into consideration. For example, if you’re shooting the latest piece of equipment on your shop floor and the engineer is taking the viewer through the features, you’ll need to consider when the equipment is not in production, is the plant floor quiet enough to hear the speaker, is there enough lighting in the room or will you need to bring in supplemental lighting? These are just some of the things to consider when it comes to on-location shooting. 

Shoot Day

You’ve scouted and chosen the perfect locations for your video and now it’s time to shoot. The complexity of the video will determine the size of your crew. This may include a production coordinator, videographer, director, lighting/gaffer, audio, grips, talent, and more. For smaller or lower-budget shoots, fewer people are taking on more of these duties. It’s critical to be realistic about how much you can shoot in a day, what it takes to set up and break down equipment for a shot, and travel between locations. All of this needs to be scheduled beforehand. It can feel like a 3-ring circus at times but it’s critical that all of the right people are in place at the right time to get the most out of your shoot. 

Editing/post-production

Once you have all of the footage shot it’s time to head into the editing or post-production stage. This is where you’ll start to see the video coming together as it was scripted or storyboarded earlier on in the process. If the video requires a professional voice-over, several will be auditioned and one chosen to read the script. Also in this step, all of the footage will be “off-line” to choose the best clips that will make the cut and be included in the final video. This is a lengthy process often cutting hours of footage down to what will be minutes of footage in the end. In the “online” process footage will potentially be edited with motion graphics, effects, or animation to the voice-over to form the first draft which may go through several rounds of revisions before becoming a final product.  

Producing a video can be a fun and rewarding experience but, as you can see, there are a lot of critical steps to producing a “great” video. As with anything, planning is the key. Reach out to us to learn more about enhancing your marketing mix with video.

Rob Donaldson
About the Author
Rob has been a part of the multimedia industry for over 30 years and is now the Director of Operations at Vendilli. You’ll find him shuttling his kids to and from sports and activities or somewhere in the outdoors skiing or mountain biking (if he’s lucky)…
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