Pre-Production Tips for Successful Video Content

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video camera shooting a movie

Video production is a challenging task, especially if you don’t understand the process. Pre-production, meaning what happens before the camera starts rolling, is decidedly the most important part of video production workflow. Without due diligence on your behalf, poor pre-production can break your budget. Below you will find some tips to help save money, time, and hassle. So, provided you have already found a great idea for a video project, the next step is to:

Know Your Audience

Defining your audience is a process that includes determining buyer personas. Instead of having a generic audience, it is much better to narrow down your video viewer to a specific buyer persona (write with one specific person in mind) so that you can create a more effective and targeted video that appeals to your buyer persona. What do these people find funny? Entertaining? Interesting? How the service/product relates to them? Once you answer these questions, you will know how to craft your video(s) accordingly.

Know Your Message

Being clear about what your message wants to convey is equally important to knowing your audience. Most of the times, video producers squeeze too much information into a single explainer video, which ends up in making the video difficult to follow till the end. And, somewhere along the way, their target audience loses interest in the video.

Since your business has many different aspects you could show through a video, you should create different videos for various purposes. For example, one video could be about what you do, another about the uses and benefits of a product or service, while another could speak of the launch of a new service/product.

Know Your Budget

You won’t be able to manage expectations efficiently if you don’t define a budget. More than often, video producers promise more than what they can deliver, which can never make them look good in the eyes of their clients. If you are working with a reputed video company, giving them a budget will make them find ways to produce the highest quality possible with the money you have available for the job. Also, setting your budget beforehand reduces second-guessing and allows you to know what you can do for any given project.

Devote Time to Preparing the Script

Writing scripts is an essential part of video production. However, success depends on the time you dedicate to revising and critiquing that script before moving forward with the next steps. So, take your time to flesh out the idea you have onto paper and then go through several drafts before post-production rolls around. If you are not too good with words, you may want to get a professional script writer help you with the writing and revising process. Since it is critical that every single component of the pre-production machine works seamlessly, investing in professional assistance is indeed worthwhile.

Extra Tip: When writing your script, refrain from it being too salesy. Instead, make it authentic and transparent so you can establish yourself an an expert in your field, which will offer the value consumers seek from their interactions with companies. Although the majority of consumers trust their peers over ads and companies, providing them with real value is a great way build trust in your brand.

Get to The Point…FAST!

You only have between 5 and 8 seconds, which is the average attention span, to catch viewers’ attention and get your message across effectively. Make sure you include a brief greeting, where you mention that the speaker is about to talk about, and then start your story (it should answer viewers’ whys or explain how your company can help them resolve a problem they have) in the first 8 seconds. A great way to catch viewers’ attention and keep them engaged for longer is by telling a story that starts with events already in progress (aka medias res).

Extra Tip: The total length of the video should ideally be up to 2 minutes to escape drop-offs. This means that you can create a 30-second video and hold viewers’ attention as much as a, say, 90-second video. As long as it is under 2 minutes, you will be alright.

Use a Storyboard

A storyboard will help bring everything together so that you can visualize the shoot before it actually happens. Put it differently, it is a video’s scene-by-scene breakdown and the overall process will show you if you need to make any adjustments. The storyboard lets you think of important information (i.e. what tools each shot will need so that it feels and looks the way the script intended, where to shoot the video, whether you will need a crane shot, what are the requirements the location has to meet so the production can work, etc.) that can make the final product even better.

Extra Tip: Making a shot list could also come in handy as it will provide you with a shot-by-shot breakdown (with details like where to place the camera for better results) of each scene and save you much valuable time during production. Also, creating a shooting/production schedule (meaning a project plan) and sticking to it will allow you know if everything goes to plan.

Be Generous When Estimating The Time You Will Need

Being able to deliver more than you have promised within a specific amount of time is always much appreciated, especially if you are dealing with stakeholders. One of the most effective ways to achieve that is by giving yourself enough time to complete a project, especially if you are not very experienced with video production, and always take into account some hurdles that may come your way and cause delays.

Other Things to Consider:

Will you shoot on location or a studio? – Both affect your budget; however, shooting on location requires traveling and you will need to pay extra to transport the equipment, which is an expense you won’t have to pay if shooting in a studio.

What equipment will you need?  – Being fully prepared saves you time, and in many cases, money too.

What equipment do you already have in-house?  – It can save you 100s if not 1000s of dollars from renting.

Who will represent your company? – Hiring actors is usually better than having somebody from the C-suite be the narrator unless there is a company member that fits the camera perfectly.

Pre-production is a crucial step right before all action starts in front of the camera. The sooner you get things sorted out, the sooner you will be able to start creating compelling videos that appeal to both stakeholders and your target audience alike!

Need a production company to help with your video?  Contact the team at Worklight Pictures, located in New Orleans but doing great work everywhere!

Explainer Videos

Explainer Video Pre-Production Tips to Boost Conversions

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explainer video production

If you want to give your audience a quick understanding of who you are and what you do, creating an explainer video can help you not only reach your goal but also increase conversions dramatically. Compared to any other format of content, a video is definitely a better way to pass the information you need on to today’s consumers that want to get a quick sense of what your business does within the shortest time possible. But, how do you create a killer explainer video for your brand that highlights a pain point, provides the audience with a general idea of how your business can help them solve the problem, and gives a sense of brand as a whole? Below are some important pre-production tips to take into account when trying to craft a high converting explainer video.

Choose the style of your video

You may create either a 2D or 3D animation video, with the first one being the most cost-effective option (cost between $1,000 and $5,000) and the latter giving a more dynamic feel to your business (cost between $10,000 and $30,000).

Consider whether you want moving typography (text that jumps onto the screen while the narration goes on) or whiteboard animation (shows a hand drawing on a whiteboard, following the narration of the video closely). The cost for these types of videos range from $10K-$30K and $3K-$10K respectively.

Finally, you may also think about live action explainer videos that will help add a personal connection, given that they are shot with live people. The production company you choose to work with determines the final cost for producing such a video and can range from $1,000 to $50,000; however, you may also film it yourself if you feel competent enough to handle things like script writing, project management, talent search, and video design.

Focus on the script

Integrating a sales pitch into your explainer video is key as the goal is to convert viewers into customers (or, at least, email subscribers). So, the video should reflect things like what people would like to see on your page, what their biggest concerns about your service or product are, and what causes them to buy. Tools like Qualaroo and Intercom can help you towards that direction and allow site visitors to answer your questions (i.e. about your audience’s fears, pain points, and objections). Then, you can write a script that states what your company does, explains the problem, and answers all objections. End with a clear call to action (CTA) and some social proof (i.e. a testimonial from a happy client).  Just make sure all that fits into a 2-minute window – beyond that, people lose concentration and interest.

Create a storyboard

A storyboard will help you plan out the flow of the video and visualize how you should communicate what is in your video’s script. If you have a video production company working on your project, handing your storyboard to them will help them get a better grasp of exactly what you want. To put it simply, a storyboard is like the outline you create when you are about to write an essay. Only in this case you take a sheet of paper and draw boxes on it outlining the different parts of the video. Or it could be a series of PowerPoint slides, where you add pieces of your script to each blank slide. These slides will most likely become the scenes of your video. Avoid using your computer to draw storyboards as it is quite difficult to pull through. After you have created the storyboard, print it out and see if you could make any edits or improvements. This is the perfect time to do that; before you move on to the production stage.

Find the right talent to help produce your video

An explainer video comprises of two components (2) the visuals, and (2) the audio (voice-over). If you plan to create a moving typography or 2D video, you will need to find the best people (can be either freelancers or a video production company) that will handle both components. You don’t need this if you are creating a live video as the audio is taken care of by the actors’ own talking. However, it will definitely be better if you worked together with an agency to help produce a higher quality live explainer video with the proper lighting and visuals to get the message across effectively.

Run the video by a test group

An excellent way to check that the video has indeed the effect you wanted on your target audience is to test it with a small group before you get to the final stage (the production of the video). See which version of your home page gets the most conversions – the one with the explainer video or the one without it? To check this out, you may use tools like Optimizely or create a Wistia account and upload the video to it (you will find plenty of detailed video analytics there). Part of the details you can get from using such tools/services is about the video watching behavior of your leads, which will allow you to further tailor content for your audience and improve your conversions, which is the ultimate goal of creating an explainer video after all.

Using videos on your website is a superb way to engage prospects, keep them hooked, and allow them to digest information quickly and easily, without having to read pages and pages of content. Plus, recent surveys have shown that people are far more likely to purchase a product or use a service after they have seen an explainer video about it. So, make sure you craft your explainer video with the right script that introduces both a problem and your solution to it, and closes with a strong CTA which could also include elements of social proof to clear the last objections. All that combined will help you create a great explainer video that will boost your conversions.