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Whether it’s for a product demo, crowd funding campaign, hiring, training, ads, or any other reason, almost every startup or tech company I’ve worked with needed to make a video at some point. We’ve all seen videos that looked just brilliant. But we’ve also seen not so great ones that made the product look shoddy, and left us groggy-eyed.Listed here are some tips and tricks I’ve collected along the way that will help you create the best video you can make.
There are mixed trends out there. On one hand, videos are expected to look professional and fine-tuned, but on the other hand, with everyone having a video camera in their pockets, we can see a lot more “home-style” videos out there, which can serve certain purposes as well. And here comes the big question: What purpose is this video coming to serve?
More often than not, we’re so busy making the video, that we never stop thinking about who and what we are making the video for.
So first thing first, take the time to really think about your goals and your target audience. Are you pushing for brand awareness? Do you want to score some great candidates for your company? Are you trying to create an advert? All options are legit, but each require a different approach in making the video (length, price and production source). An advert will be relatively short. A product demo, on the other hand, will be considerably longer. Product tutorials, those short snippets trying to expose users to specific product features and how they can be found and used, can many times be shot “home-style” and edited using a simple editing software to get a satisfying result (just be consistent in your styling and editing). Your budget and time schedule should reflect the purpose of the video.
Try saying “I’m making a video” and watch how all eyes light up. This is the fun part, figuring out the concept for the video. Although you’ll probably hear a lot of great ideas, there’s a chance that no idea will feel just right. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and start looking at options. Animation, live, custom footage, motion graphics? Which one is right for you? Well, there is no one right answer, and it depends on budget, timeline, and purpose of the video. Your competitors or similar companies are a great place to start. Look for what they have done and how popular their videos were (number of views in their YouTube channels). Of course, nothing beats the old ‘Googling’ and finding the most buzzing videos, to see which concept makes your heart beat just a bit faster.
Well, this one also depends on the type of video you’re making. But most videos include, among others, text, voiceover, motion graphics, music, brand logo, and a call to action at the end.
Assuming it’s a product-focused video, don’t just list all of your product features or your company’s offering. Instead, try showing your product in the context of how users are using your product, how your product fit in their lives. This TripAdvisor video is a great example; it demonstrates how users will be able to book their desired holiday using TripAdvisor.
Now this is a tricky one. Most times, you will have more to say that you have time for. Videos need to be to the point – no messing around, otherwise viewers will jump ship. According to Studies you have around 60 sec top, so make them count! Make sure you show off your best stuff in the first 20-30 sec, so even those impatient ones, will still get the point of the video. Another way to make sure viewers get it, is to include the call to action, the app download link, the website / landing page link, or anything else that can help viewers get more info, even if they chose not to finish viewing the video.
Selecting your production partner
Production wise, you basically have 3 options:
- Companies / studios that create videos (mid–range prices).
- Online market places such as Vidme (low prices).
- DIY solutions (free – low prices) such as go animate. Use these if you’re making a simple video.
Pricing – Cheaper solutions often mean that you will be doing most of the work and invest a lot of time in creating the video. For example, scouting for the right service provider in Vidme is a time consuming task. Still. If you have the time, it might be a good option for you. But if your product is quite complicated, you might need a personal, up close, approach that is not offered by cost effective solutions.
Prices vary depending on the video length and type. You can imagine that a 30 sec video with no live footage will not cost the same as a 2 min video with live footage. Prices can run from couple of thousands to even hundreds of thousands of dollars (usually this will not be a reasonable investment for a startup).
What to ask your production company?
So, if you decided to work with a production company…here are a few things you need to ask for:
- Ask for a long version and a short version of the video (different edited versions) in advance so you can repurpose the video to more than the original purpose.
- Make sure you ask for the video(s) in a variety of file formats and sizes (MP4, WMV and AVI)
- Make sure you get different qualities of the videos (HD, light version) so you can use as needed. For example, when including in a presentation or sending via email, the light version makes much more sense.
- Ask to get the video files in open format once the work is done, so you can modify it later with a different vendor if you’d like. You have the keep the flexibility to choose a different vendor or do lighter edits yourself in your hands.
- Make sure you detail and agree ahead of time on the concept, whether or not you will need a voice over for the video and what type of voice over you prefer (man, woman, language, preferred accent, etc.)
- Agee ahead of time on the number of iterations that are included in the original price quote (try to get at least 3), and how much each additional iteration will cost
- Avoid hidden costs and surprised by specifically asking before closing, are there any costs that may come up along that way that are not included in the price quote? Many times you will hear that stock photos, footage, etc. are not included (fair enough, but you want to be prepared and budget for it). Sometimes you will hear that the search time needed for looking for stock photos/footage is not included (this one is not legit in my opinion and would cause me to be very suspicious to this vendor).
Two hot tips I picked up along the way:
- It’s not always necessary to spend all that cash on live footage videos. Sometimes, you can get a similar ‘live shot feeling ‘with just using static imagery and animating it. Check out this Drupe app video
- Facebook is a great platform for testing your video and how your audience responds to it. Try creating Facebook ads and using Facebook’s targeting and analytics options.
If done right, videos can be great ambassadors of your product or company. That’s why making videos shouldn’t be a matter you take lightly. You should make sure your video is short, but at the same time, that it captures the essence of what you’re trying to convey. Hope this article helped taking you further down the process.