Articles about video typically stress the importance of video’s engagement, SEO, and social media benefits. This is all true. We believe that a high-quality video on a site or on social media serves several functions – it informs, educates, and entertains. It helps build trust and credibility, both of which help you stick in a client’s mind. In a world where your prospects may not always (if ever) meet you in person, video can also be an effective way of conveying who you are and what you’re about.
With much written about benefits, we want to focus to process. How does one create a high-quality video that is at once memorable and brand-enhancing? And how does the right team help you navigate through this process so it becomes manageable? (and even pleasurable!)
Much of this article is geared to those who haven’t gone through the video production process. And for our purposes, we’ll cover production of a “live action” video as opposed to an animated one.
The production of a corporate video or short film fits into four general stages (with some overlap), each of which poses its own unique challenges and solutions:
- The Concept Stage – What are We Showing and to Whom?
- Pre-Production – Setting the Stage and Writing the Script
- Production – Getting It Filmed
- Post-Production & Finalization – Creating the Narrative Through Editing
Let’s examine each of these in turn.
I. CONCEPT STAGE:
Most projects begin with an examination of marketing needs and goals, and video is no exception. A video should either convey new information and insight into a business and its products or services, and/or reinforce existing messages. Either way, it should serve clear marketing and branding goals.
Primary questions at this stage include: What messages need to be conveyed about the company or organization? What will the video be about? What kind of “action” will be shown? Who is the intended audience?
Two additional major considerations that come into play are style and duration. Style gives a video its “allure” and a motivation for its audience to watch. And duration ensures the message’s impact is maximized (since detail overload often dilutes a video’s message).
Let’s assume you’ve explored these questions and determined that what may be most effective is a two and a half minute “commercial” style company introduction, with company principals speaking about mission and services, and typical office scenarios (e.g., client interactions) shown as background.
At this point we move to:
This is the setting of the stage: the preparation of all the specifics that need to be in place for a near-flawless execution!
This is the point at which we write (or advise on our client’s writing of) a script, which, depending on context, may be as general as a list of topics or as specific as word-for-word text. An off-camera set of questions may also be used to elicit statements from the subjects so as to minimize their having to commit too much information to memory.
Either way, words matter and a well-written script is an essential component of producing an engaging and effective product.
Logistics of the filming (production) also start to come into play. Filming is sensitive to a myriad of variables, and preparation is key. While sometimes challenging, delving into logistics is also an exciting time to witness an abstract concept start to take shape!
Questions arise such as:
- What are the shooting locations, over how many days? Will filming be strictly indoors or involve outdoor shots? What kind of travel is required (for the production team as well as the client)?
- Who are the main subjects to be filmed? Do they need any preparation or coaching to enhance their on-camera presentation?
- Will employees, team members, clients (providing testimonials), or other parties appear on camera?
- Are “extras” needed to fill certain background roles or scenarios – e.g., a client or customer interaction?
- Are any permissions or legal releases required which need to be prepared ahead of time?
- If filming will be taking place on a client’s premises, how will potential disruptions to other workers be minimized?
- And what does the client need to do to prepare an office or work area for filming?
This list can go on – but let’s assume we’ve gone through these details and have everything we need organized and ready to go. We then move on to:
Production — the actual filming process — is its own entity, filled with nuance, requiring skill and experience to pull off. Thorough pre-production planning makes a huge difference in helping this stage flow smoothly.
On the technical side, optimal lighting, sound recording, appropriate backgrounds, and scene set-ups are critical in producing quality footage. Then there’s the “action” – the emotions, credibility, and presentation, of every on-camera subject. Whether in foreground or background, these details create the nuances that the editing process then shapes into a well-presented narrative.
This may be a good time to mention costs. What used to be a significantly expensive proposition is in our current digital age much more reasonable. With high-definition digital cameras, compact lighting, and improved sound capture, production costs – and times — have been drastically reduced.
IV. POST-PRODUCTION & FINALIZATION:
The three previous stages create the footage or “raw material” which post -production then brings together and infuses with emotion. It is the “multi” part of multimedia – where a several minute clip gains the power to captivate, engage, and entertain.
This is achieved through digital editing, taking footage and recorded sound and mixing it with music, narration, and even graphics to create a compelling story. Editing is both a skill and an art. Every audience member has an (unconscious) understanding of what makes for a well-presented (or well-edited) story. As part of the production team, the editor is invaluable in helping deliver a quality product.
Editing often entails further tweaks once a client sees the near-completed product. To this end, a client is typically presented with a “rough cut” and after some feedback and discussion, additional edits and streamlining of the video may be made.
The video is then finalized, delivered, and uploaded. It may reside on a website, be aired as a television commercial, be shown in-house or get funneled into a long-term marketing campaign. But online or off, a strong video has the power to reach audiences for the long haul.
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In summary, producing a high-quality video does involve its share of time and planning. It requires an examination of a company or organization’s marketing, brand, and messaging goals. But when produced with the right team, video production can also be exciting and thought-provoking, with the result greatly beneficial to the company’s brand and bottom line!