Welcome to our digital marketing blog. Here you will find free advice discussing all the tips and tricks you need to make and promote the very best online content.
From practicalities on set to the latest digital marketing trends, we’ve learned—sometimes the hard way—what does and doesn’t work. Here we hope to impart the methods and techniques we’ve come to know and love.
Another of our popular bitesize video marketing tips! Corporate video usually includes interviews. Here’s our guide to ensure you capture great soundbites and comments, that will enhance your corporate video interviews and make them interesting to your viewers.
Video Marketing Production Advice.
When it comes to interviewing for corporate videos, preparation in crucial to ensure you capture engaging material for your video marketing. These tips, bought to you by our Surrey based Producer Neil Waddington, give you an idea of how to spend preparation time.
Comparing Sliders and Dollies – Video marketing production advice
Here’s a secret that every video marketing production company uses to make powerful and engaging videos? It’s called ‘grip’, an umbrella term that covers all kinds of fancy mounts that move the camera smoothly. These moving shots can transform subjects and create a more dynamic shot, giving your production that stand-out high-end feel. The two most popular types of grip used in video marketing production are sliders and dollies, so which one is right for your job?
What are they?
A slider fits between the tripod and the camera. It’s a rail (usually metal or carbon fibre) upon which sits a base plate which is free to slide from one end of the rail to the other. The camera is mounted on this plate, so that it can smoothly travel from one end of the rail to the other.
A dolly (or ‘dolly and track’) consists of a cart and rail. When assembled, the rail resembles a train track. The camera cart rolls back and forth on the rail with the tripod mounted atop. It can curve and travel further than a slider, but is a far bulkier piece of kit.
A ‘Tracking’ show refers to a linear moment parallel to the action. They’re great for revealing spaces and adding subtle movement to boost your video marketing production, and sliders work great for them. Placing objects close to the camera amplifies the effect, just bear in mind that sliders tend to only be about a metre long, so the duration of your shot can be quite short, but a slow sliding movement will work well.
Firstly, dollies often have a segmented track, so you can make the camera travel as far as you want. It opens up the possibility for a longer shot duration and a faster movement, but there is another benefit to the dolly and track – a curved path. This makes it possible to arc around a subject, changing the perspective and adding a high-end dynamic effect.
Creep In Shots
‘Creep-in’ describes the movement of the camera directly towards the subject. This type of shot is perfect to draw the viewer into the action, and perfect for showing off your product or service. Because a slider is close to the camera lens, the slider rail becomes visible when the camera is pointed along it, so creep-in shots are not possible.
Unlike a slider, the rail of a dolly is on the floor and out of sight, even with the camera is pointing in its direction. A long length of rail isn’t necessary for a creep; even at a gentle rate of travel a creep-in shot is very powerful. Using them draws the viewers into the centre of frame, positioned well they will help them connect with your message.
The majority of sliders are small and light, which makes them perfect for small crews that need to move quickly. Because they are raised from the floor, sliders are able to achieve smooth movement in environments where there is no even ground. Sliders perform best with lightweight cameras like many businesses and organisation already use for in-house video marketing production.
Dolly and tracks are generally larger and require more assembly time and possible more crew than sliders. What’s more, the ground surface needs to be levelled before laying any track, and the wheels of the dolly must be kept clean for everything the run smoothly. All this takes time which–as you know–can be an expensive commodity.
On the whole, sliders are more affordable than dollies. Because they tend to require less crew and less time, shoot days can run faster when a slider is in use. They can be hired for a small daily fee from many video equipment rental houses to be used with a camera you already own. Just remember- sliders limit the size and weight of the camera that can be used. If you’re looking to hire one, ask if it’ll carry your camera.
Most large dolly systems are expensive to operate, because of the crew numbers and time required. However, small dollies can be just as quick to rig as sliders, and only need one or two crew members to operate. You’ll be surprised how inexpensive they can be to hire, but most of the more affordable options will be limited in length in the same way a slider is, so shot duration and speed of movement will suffer.
What’s the long and short of it all? Don’t underestimate the power that adding a little movement can have. By engaging your viewer with moving shots, your locking in a connection that could drive sales. Both sliders and dollies are capable of delivering shots that bring a high-end feel to your footage, but every job is different, so consider the location you’re filming in, the amount of time you have, and how heavy the camera is. Producing work on par with a leading video marketing production company is achievable using sliders for dollies. There’re affordable options for both, so adding that dynamic look and engaging your viewers has never been easier.
Animated explainer videos are useful for clearly explaining complicated topics. They’re a great way to communicate with employees, existing customers, and prospective clients. So what are they, why do they work, and what are the first steps to making one? Here’s everything you need to know.
What are they?
Animated explainer videos… sounds complicated, right? Well they’re not as tricky as they sound. Put simply, an animated explainer video is a kind of computer animated graphic. Usually two to three minutes long and backed by a voiceover, the video uses diagrams, illustrations, and sometimes text, to clearly explain complicated topics.
Why do they work?
“A picture paints and thousand words” has never been more true than with a animated explainer video. It’s not surprising when you think about how visual the human brain is. But more than that, it comes down to the way people live their lives. Gone are the days where we have half an hour plus to sit down and read a heavy piece of text, when the same information can be clearly communicated in a three minute video.
Are they effective online?
In short, yes. More than that- Diode Digital have reported that over 60% of internet users watch videos before reading text on a website. And it’s not only the people you have to think about here: Google absolutely loves videos. So much so that Forrester calculate that a web page with a video is 53x more likely to be the first result on a Google search that a page without one.
What first steps can you take?
Producing an animated explainer video is a multistep process, and changes depending on what style of video works for you, but don’t be put off. The first thing you can do is watch some videos, a simple search on YouTube for ‘animated explainer video’ will show you plenty of options, or check out this playlist. Find a video you like and search for a video production company near you. Discuss the video you’ve found and they’ll be happy to talk you through the next steps.
Everything you need to know about corporate high end video production
High end video production can be a daunting task. But with a strong producer and the right crew, shoot days should be enjoyable, the edit will run smoothly, and you can expect a high end product. Here’s what you need to know before you start your project.
1: Don’t Expect Enormous Crews
2 or 3 crew members is often all that’s needed for most corporate video production. These shoots only require lightweight kit that’s portable enough for a small crew to run. But be wary if just one person turns up intending to direct, shoot, and record sound. Expect a minimum of two crew members to ensure quality control, unless your budget can only stretch to a one man band.
2: Expect long shoot days
10 hours is widely accepted as a standard day for most corporate video production crew. It’s the basis for most quotes. But be prepared, because 12-hour days are not unusual and 14 or 16-hour days can be common.
3: Filming is not the start
The right producer will have started preparing long before the shoot day. They will have been busy researching the subject and exploring every variable aspect that could have an affect on filming. Read more about this in our guide to pre production.
4: The producer’s knowledge is extensive
If you’ve found the right production, you’ll quickly realise that they have expertise in target viewing habits, sector idiosyncrasies and sector history. In pre-production, they’ll have done their homework on your brief and, based upon their research, will be more the capable of offering crucial information on how the video can engage and connect the target audience.
5: Camera spec goes beyond HD
HD is not just HD. Once, HD was either 1280×720 or 1920×1080 pixels. Today, the cameras we use can shoot up to six times that. At the moment, the majority of online video marketing deliveries are made at 1280X720, but this will not be the case as 4K or ‘UHD’ becomes the domestic standard. So incase your corporate video needs future proofing by shooting at 4k or higher, consider the longevity you need early on.
6: Directors calling ‘Action’ really happens
Sounds like a cliché, but the call for ‘Action’ and ‘Cut’ can be expected from the director. It has a very practical application for the artists and crew because everyone on set knows when the action should be started and when it can be stopped. You’ll also here the ‘Turn over’ and ‘Sound speed’ calls from the director, which actually start the cameras and microphones recording.
7: Small tweaks during the shoot can take time
Despite the right producer anticipating any variables before they become issues, some unexpected all hands on deck moments are inevitable. Minor adjustments, from camera angle to lighting, can have knock on effects so never expect changes to occur quickly on set.
8: Tweaks in the edit can take days
Modern editing systems are fast and powerful, but don’t expect the same speedy processes you would from other applications you may know. Take changing a logo for example, which in photoshop may take minutes, but in a video means rendering, exporting, compressing and likely uploading files for you to be able to see the revision.
9: Emailing the final film isn’t possible
In the corporate video production industry, being able to attached a HD video file to an email would be fantastic. Unfortunately, it’s not possible. Despite today’s powerful compression tools, digital video files and often far too large to send attached to emails. Expect your final video to be delivered as a links to an online platform, such as Vimeo or SendSpace.
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.