All of YouTube’s online video marketing features you need to know about
YouTube is one of the most used search engines on the internet. Just as web developers use search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to make websites rank highly on Google, you can use YouTube‘s inbuilt SEO tools to see your online video marketing on the top page of YouTube results. This is what you need to know.
1: File Names & Keywords
Firstly, chose your keyword- the word you want to appear in the search results for. You can research the popularity of keywords using the Google Keyword Tool. Although for Google, they still give you an idea of what words will be popular on YouTube. Chose a keyword that has a least 300 searches a month, and rename your video with it before you upload. In this explainer video example, we’re using the keyword ‘Employee Communications’.
2: Video Title
The video title is really important, and can be entered on the upload or video settings page. Include your keyword and use wording that will convince people to watch the video. To make your keyword even more powerful, place it at the beginning of the title, for example ‘Employee Communications: How to…’
As YouTube’s computers cannot watch your video, most of the information it can glean comes from your description. Users can only see the top few lines, so make sure they include your CTA. For the computers, wedge your keyword once in the first 20-30 words, then again 2-3 times later on. Aim for a description that’s about 300 words long.
4: Tags & Playlists
On the upload and video settings pages, the ‘Tags’ box follows title and description. Entering tags along the same lines as your keyword will help YouTube to rank your video in the ‘Related Videos’ box next to the video player. Building playlists to include your video alongside similar ones helps YouTube to understand what your video is about, and will improve rankings.
5: Views & Engagement
YouTube relies on view count and viewer engagement to rank videos. Viewer engagement includes, thumbs ups, comments, shares, subscribes after watching, and viewer retention- the percentage of your video people actually stick around to watch. Keep all of these values high by generating videos people actually want to see and marketing them on other social media sites to generate as many views as possible.
Crew sizes vary from project to project and will be scaled proportionally with the budget allocated, but very often the quote breakdown won’t cover exactly who is who and what they’re bringing to the table skills-wise. The following is a breakdown of the typical crew you might expect on an average project from most media production companies.
The Director/Producer will be your first point of contact. They are the person who will ultimately anchor the whole project – from managing the pre-production and every aspect of the shoot days through to overseeing the post-production. They may bring an Assistant Director or Assistant Producer with them.
They will be in charge of of the visual side of things, and may supply their own equipment. As well as operating and moving the camera and all related equipment, they will help to light the scene they are shooting appropriately.
Director of Photography (DoP)
Also known as the DoP, this person will work with the camera operator to light the scene appropriately.
There will often be a dedicated sound engineer who will work with the other members of the crew to ensure perfect sound is captured. They will generally supply their own equipment and may bring an assistant on larger productions.
The stylist will make sure everything seen on screen is on-brand. This is tremendously important for big businesses that can’t afford to have their brand identity compromised.
Hair & Makeup
Under pressure and the hot lights people can quickly wilt, and with the use of 4K HD cameras now commonplace, it’s more important than ever that people on screen look their best, even if it’s just brief touch-ups for a talking head.
It sounds like an all-encompassing role, and it is. Production Assistants, or ‘runners’ as they are sometimes known, handle general tasks that don’t fall under the remit of the other crew members. This includes jobs such as assisting the crew, collecting equipment or props, keeping the set safe and tidy, and most importantly, making the teas and coffees.
Of course, every production is different and will have variations in the crew size and how many roles are filled. Rest assured that we only use the best and always bring someone to make the tea!
There are generally two parts to the popular format of product marketing video. The backbone of the typical corporate video might be formed by interviews from leading figures within the organisation (for tips on managing and cutting down interviews, see our blog) But an equally important building block is “B-roll”.
B-roll is a term that originated way back in the days of 16mm film, and its meaning has evolved to become footage that is considered supplemental, and not the main ‘A-roll’ footage. In the product marketing video world, this usually means anything that isn’t interview footage.
So why do you need to film it? Well, for the simple reason that even a quick 2-3 minute video of just interviews can be really boring, and it’s unlikely many people will make it to the end. We’ve often said that video is the most engaging medium out there today, but that doesn’t mean that we can shoot the video equivalent of pages and pages of marketing copy and it will magically make people interested. Video is only interesting if it’s made interesting to watch, and that requires that every now and then we cut away from the interview to a dynamic, powerful shot that encapsulates and strengthens the message you’re trying to communicate.
Hiding the edits
The nature of conducting unscripted interviews means that occasionally the person speaking may go off-topic, stumble over their words, or need time to construct an answer they’re happy with. Ultimately, you’re never going to turn on the camera and record a perfect, 3 minute long interview that perfectly encapsulates all the messages of the video. This requires that the interview be cut up into a number of pieces. As these cuts will be visible and jarring to the viewer, it’s a good idea to try and hide them and B-roll is perfect for doing that.
B-roll also allows you to add a soundtrack to your video. It’s very difficult to get an uplifting or inspirational score with build ups and crescendos to work effectively when the picture never changes. B-roll coupled with music helps you to tell your story and instantly boosts the production values of the video.
So how do we go about shooting B-roll? First you need to identify what is being discussed. Is it a product? If so, your B-roll will need to consist of shots of it being made and developed, and shots of it in action by customers who are enjoying it. If it’s more of a service, you need to show people carrying it out. B-roll shots can be subtle and you don’t always have to be totally illustrative of what you’re saying, but if you’re trying talking about how enthusiastic people are about your product, it’s always a good idea to show people with big smiles on their face while they use it.
B-roll is essentially a tool to make your product marketing video look slicker, and to tell your story in a more exciting and engaging way, which is what great video production is all about.
Why some video production graduates have more success than others
With every passing year it seems we get inundated with more emails from new video production graduates wanting to work with us than we did the previous year, and this appears to be a trend around the country. Some get hired, and some don’t – so what’s the big secret?
If you’ve ever watched the credits of a big Hollywood blockbuster, you’ll see that the number of people it took to create the film from start to finish can be in the hundreds – this includes everyone from writers and producers to the set designers and post-production teams. Each person has a specific job and a role to play in making the film. The problem is that very often even a London video production company may be working with more limited resources, and companies and clients will want to get as much bang for their buck as possible. Since the biggest cost to a production is often the crew, this means cutting it down and hiring a small number of multi-skilled individuals.
Being multi skilled and having knowledge that goes beyond a single ‘flagship skill’ is an excellent way of keeping yourself in demand in the industry, and as a new recruit, that’s incredibly important to getting your foot in the door. Camera operators who know how to light a scene, directors who can produce, or editors who can create even basic motion graphics are much more useful to a production company in terms of reliability and cost. If you have a camera operator who can handle lighting equipment, take on the post-production side of the project and do their share of producing, then one person has done the job that might otherwise have taken four people on a much larger budget.
To be a multi-skilled crew member requires a lot of enthusiasm and hard work, as all the various disciplines involved are a often more complex than they appear. But as you gain experience and branch out to widen your skill base, that varied experience will make you stand out amongst the other CVs. Getting more experience might seem like an obvious tip, but it wasn’t so long ago that people did specialise in just one area of production, and that’s all changing now. Even the seasoned pros are starting to crow about how knowledgeable they are in all aspects of video work, and you’d be amazed how many people don’t get hired because they haven’t got the right skills.
So to recap – widen your skill base as far as you can, and make it clear on your CV.
Here’re 7 simple tips to avoid some all too common mistakes when embarking on your brand’s corporate film production.
1: Not considering audience
This is one that should run right through any corporate film production, from concept to completion. Keeping your audience in mind from day one—like you would with any collateral—will have big benefits. It’s as simple as using the right language, answering the right questions, and thinking about what imagery will engage them effectively.
2: Not producing a script
What ever type of corporate film production you are creating a working script is vital. Even is the dialogue within your film is purely interview derived a script (of desired responses is still useful).
The script doesn’t have to be set in stone but it will provide useful signposts during the production of your corporate film and ensure you film all the elements that you require (your script can even be thought of a list of reminders to what content you require when filming to complete your film).
A working script will also save you lots of time when editing by helping structure the video and identify how items will segue.
3: Covering too many topics
A ton of jargon and endless statements about “why your company is special” can be a little overwhelming. The solution is dead simple: to think of your corporate film production as a storytelling process. Give it a beginning, middle, and end and use each segment wisely. Distill your film’s content down to the key ingredients so that you leave the viewer with a clear and concise message.
4: Making it too long
Have you ever glanced at the progress bar and bailed at the sight of how long’s left? Me too. Only include points that can be clearly communicated in a short time period. What’s more, keep an eye on the runtime of soundbites while you edit. Consider if the true value of what’s said warrants the time.
5: Forgetting to show
Interviews are great, but continuous shots of talking can be a bore. So remember to overlay “cutaway” shots of your product or service in action. Make the shots relevant to the interviews and lay them over the speech for a truly interesting video.
6: Skimping on production quality
A rushed corporate film production can mean one thing. A poor video. You wouldn’t upload copy before it’s proofed, or use photos that are blurred, so treat video in the same way. Taking time to find good lighting for interviews and getting the sound quality up to scratch are good places to start.
7: Not including a CTA
CTAs or “calls to action” are the backbone of digital marketing. To the viewer, they form the instruction to “do” something, like getting in touch with you for a quote. Not including them within your video is a huge mistake.
They can be either spoken, or as animated text. or for maximum benefit they can be hyperlinked (which can be achieved with YouTube Annotations). This means that as the film closes viewers can click on an on-screen CTA such as “click here for more information” which can take them directly to the relevant page on your website. This is really useful when using your video on social media as it’s the most effective way of driving customers directly to your door.
So that’s it really. Yes there are loads more pitfalls that should be avoided but these are the most common errors we see in most video marketing we encounter.
Avoiding the mistakes many corporate video producers make is a definite way to make your company stand out.
If you’ve not yet produced video marketing material for your brand, then you may be a little confused by some of the terms used by your creative video company when on set or during pre and post production.
We’ve all seen enough behind the scenes and ‘making of’ material to have a reasonable idea of how a Hollywood blockbuster shoot works and the terminology used. But many of the names, terminology and language used in Hollywood will be identical to that used on your video shoot by pretty much all media production companies.
So here’s a short glossary of terms and language that may be used on your companies video shoot and their meanings.
OK so this is an obvious one, but many people are surprised to learn that these directions are still given even when shooting a corporate video. Clear communication from the director to the crew is essential even on small projects so when “action” is shouted that’s the cue to anyone who’s in shot to start doing whatever it is that the director has asked them to do, and of course “cut” tells them when to stop.
DOP is short for Director of Photography. While the director will focus on whats being captured, the DOP’s job is to focus on what it looks like on camera. So lighting, angles and camera position are the aspects of the shoot that the DOP is concerned with.
The Gaffer’s job is to look after the technical side of the lighting. He often works with the DOP to agree where the lights need to go and what their effect should be. In the world of corporate video you’ll probably only encounter a gaffer on the medium to large shoots and more often than not these shoots are studio based. The Gaffer will ensure that all lighting is rigged and working to the DOP’s wishes.
Grip is a term that is applied to anything (or sometimes anyone) who moves the camera. So if your video marketing requires beautiful sweeping elevated shots using a jib (small crane) or tracking shots using a dolly (basically a tripod on a track) then the general term applied to these items is grip.
As mentioned above, a dolly comes under the term ‘grip’, and it’s used to achieve sliding shots in a straight or curved line. The camera stays on the tripod, which will then sit on a flat panel or base that moves along a smooth track. These shots don’t typically take long to set up as the equipment can be surprisingly mobile, and they add instant value to any corporate video.
‘Post’, or ‘post production’, is everything that a video production company does after the shooting stage has been completed. So editing, sound mixing, animation of logos etc and visual effects are all generally referred to as ‘post’.
Likewise, ‘Pre’ or ‘PP’ is ‘pre-production’. Basically, it’s the planning and logistical work that is required before the cameras come out. This can involve a very wide scope of tasks from scripting and casting to scheduling crew and organising equipment, but quite simply it’s all the stuff that happens before the cameras come out!
Often when producing a corporate video 90% of the footage shot ends up being discarded, as only the best takes, comments or angles end up making their way into the final cut.
However before the editing starts the better media production companies will review every single frame of footage shot for them to work with. This footage is known as the rushes, from back in the days when film negatives were literally “rushed” to the developers so the editor could begin work.
A runner or ‘production/shoot assistant’ is an important part of any video production company. They will deal with a wide variety of tasks that arise throughout the shoot day and will contribute to the smooth running of the filming. From ensuring that clients, crew and artists are looked after and comfortable to helping with loading and unloading of equipment, their role requires them to be problem solvers, and a good runner can respond quickly and efficiently to any situation that can arise whilst filming.
‘Slate’ or ‘Mark it’
In the past, sound and footage could only be synchronised using a visual and audible reference point. This was done by using a clapper board which makes a snapping sound when shut and has an obvious visual cue to the sound that the snap generated. Hence the visual and audio elements of a film were easy to sync.
In the modern day world of digital filming, both sound and picture come ready loaded with ‘time of day’ and ‘date of shoot’ information. However a clapper board is often still used as a failsafe for syncing and also as a visual reference to the editor as to what the scene is – the clapperboard can be marked with information about the scene that is being shot. So don’t be surprised to see one used on the shoot of your latest corporate video.
So there you have it. Working with a creative video company may involve a lot of jargon that can leave you a little confused, and while this isn’t a full list of terms, they are some of the more common words and phrases that should help you on your next video shoot!
All you need to know before directing a school promotional video
No promotional video is ever the same, but the corporate world is one thing. Promotional video production for schools (or school promo video) is quite another. Due to the nature of what you’re capturing many areas of production require a rethink from the ground up, such as equipment, direction, and time management. We’ve outlined ten important tips you need to consider when creating a school video.
We know from experience that turning up, switching the camera on and expecting magic to unfold before you just isn’t going to happen. Kids and staff won’t always give you great smiles or dynamic action (especially first thing on a Monday morning!) unless you provoke it from them, and sometimes this involves directing the action you want. It’s a great way to set up scenarios where you can capture genuine emotions is every shot so when it comes to the edit you’ve got some great shots to choose from.
Lower the Camera
Whenever you’re capturing footage of young students, lowering the camera down to their head height is a given. Aside from it being easier to see what they’re doing, it puts the audience into the student’s world and makes it easier to form an emotional connection with what you’re watching.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Another thing we’ve found from experience is that there’s only so much vibrancy and enthusiasm you can get out of a maths or English lesson. Important subjects they may be, but unless you step in and direct the students, you’ll find most of the time they’ll be hunched over their desks staring at a book. To get more dynamic shots, we try to mix in as much physical activity as we can – PE, after school clubs, students playing at break and lunchtimes, and other sporting activities. Mixing shots like this in with the more rudimentary academic content you’d expect from a school injects it with vibrancy and personality, which we can honestly say is completely different for every school.
Make Sure Students Are Engaged
If you’ve ever watched a school promotional video – or any promotional video for that matter – you will have noticed straight away when someone doesn’t have a huge smile on their face. The music will be uplifting or inspirational and there could be an enthusiastic voiceover, so the very second the video cuts to someone who looks anything less than overjoyed, it will seem a bit off. You might even laugh at how miserable they look in comparison to any others, which isn’t the right reaction.
It’s a good idea to get single shots of enthusiastic pupils, and to try and elicit a positive response from them to really get the audience on board with the message of the video.
Broaden Your Range
Promotional videos are very often interview-led, piecing together soundbites from relevant individuals. In schools, that’s students and teachers, but they aren’t the only ones involved in the day-to-day running of the school. Depending on the message or the intended audience of your video, consider interviewing parents, school governors, volunteers and local community leaders. This broader range of interview subjects could provide you with interesting and insightful viewpoints you might not find with just students and teachers, which add another level or message to the promotional video.
Get 2X More Than You Think You Need
Whenever you watch a promotional video, it’s easy to think that the shots you’ve seen were the only ones that were filmed. If that was the case, we could shoot a promotional video at a school in less than an hour. In reality, for every great shot in a school promotional video, there will be about 10 other shots that weren’t used. To facilitate the immense number of shots captured over two days for example (typically around 300 – 350), it’s vital that we move around the school quickly and spend no more than a few minutes at each location. This means we can capture a variety of shots over a relatively short school day.
Move the Camera
We’ve talked about why you should move the camera during shots before (see blog about grip) and explained that it’s essentially about production values. A sweeping shot of a leafy exterior on a jib, or a dolly shot that glides effortlessly down a hallway towards a student looks far more impressive than a static camera angle of the same action. Dollies and jibs are mobile and relatively quick to set up and instantly provide that “wow” factor that is needed to blow the audience away right from the start.
So there you have it – the sum total of our experience filming in schools! We learned many of these lessons the hard way, but we’ve found that by using these ten simple ideas we can boost the production values of a school promotional video and increase its chances of overall success with the target audience.
Make your videos stand out with these six simple pieces of video filming advice.
1: A different angle
There’s a ton of videos on sites like Vimeo and YouTube, so make yours memorable by picking an angle people haven’t seen before. In this example, the camera’s high up and captures the tennis ball as it flies past, putting the viewer right at the centre of the action. So when it comes to angle, think outside the box.
2: Rule of thirds
A sure fire way of making an aesthetically pleasing shot nigh on every time. As you set up your frame, imagine lines diving the image three ways, both horizontally and vertically. Place your action on one of the intersections and your shot will look great.
3: Looking Space
If there’s a person looking off to one side of your shot, simply give that side of your frame more space. It gives a sense of space without distracting the viewer, no matter what size room you’re filming in. Similarly, if something is moving through the shot (like in the rule of thirds example), give the frame more room in the direction it’s moving.
That’s not the only way you can give your audience a sense of space. Putting your camera at an angle to your subject– a person or a production–will give a 3D feel to the space you’re in. It makes your subject stand out and makes for a more engaging video.
5: Head Space
Continuing our space based video production advice, give a moment to consider the room between the top of your subject’s head and the top of your frame. For a high end look, this needs to be limited to roughly 5% of your image. Too small and your subject’s head could be cropped, too big and it’ll distract your viewers.
One way to add a deeper 3D feel is to include blurred objects in the foreground (between your subject and the camera). It works especially well if the camera moves, like in this example where the camera is panning with out of focus grass overlapping the subjects.