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  • Writer's pictureLance Boldt

12 Things You Need to Make Amazing Videos

You keep hearing about the importance of video and how it’s the number one way people consume information – and for some, it’s the only way. You worry you’ll be left behind if you don’t use video on your website, in your marketing, at trade shows, to boost product launches, to support sales, and to leverage training.

At the April 2019 ACPN Knowledge Xchange Conference, Steven Kraft, the Head of Industry at Google, stressed the importance of video, saying “Video enables a whole new kind of understanding and sharing of information, the next wave of information won’t be text.” Video is a big shift from the way you may have been doing things. A lot of people are counting on you to develop a video strategy and deliver some fine videos. Where do you even start?

When it comes to making entertaining, engaging, and motivating videos, here are some things we’ve learned from making thousands of videos since 2005. (We’ve even won major awards, so you know we’re pretty good at it. 😊)

1. An Idea – This is where it all begins. Most folks have an idea, but it’s often not very well formed. We like to use a Creative Brief to help our clients crystallize their idea and turn it into something solid before they start making a video. This takes an intimidating process that seems too big to tackle and breaks it down into manageable chunks. Start with questions like: who is your audience, where/how will they use your videos. What are the most important things you need to say and to show? What do you want to accomplish with the video? All of this informs your story and helps your video accomplish your objectives.

2. Script – You’ve got your idea, now you need to write it up. What is the tone you want: conversational, authoritative, fun, humorous, serious? You are telling a story: who is the hero? Who/what is the villain? How do you set up your company/product/service to be the guide that helps your audience meet their objectives?

3. Storyboard – This is where the vision for your video is laid out in a visual format alongside your script. You plot out your scenes, onscreen text, and specify the assets you need to shoot, create, or purchase.

4. Style design – This is the look of your video. It is often based on your corporate style guide or the graphic language of your product packaging. This graphics package shapes the design of the title and end plates, lower thirds, onscreen text areas, and so on.

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5. Actors (either onscreen or voice-over) – These folks will be acting out your story. You need to have a vision of how they should say the things you wrote in your script. How should they move and what tone should they have? How do you want them to engage your audience?

6. Studio/Location – For some projects, you may need to build a unique set on a sound stage. You may be able to film in a studio on a green screen. Perhaps you will film on location in an automotive service center, factory floor, or another setting. Your story may call for filming B-roll at one or more locations. These options are discussed during the planning phase. Each has pros and cons as well as a different price tag. Understanding these and other “moving parts” help you create the best video possible within your budget.

7. Production Equipment – A professional production set will have tens of thousands of dollars of equipment.

  • Camera – Yes, you have a decent camera on your phone. But even cellphone TV commercials don’t use actual cellphone footage. It’s a better idea to use a camera that has all the functionality needed to create something worthy of your website or trade show booth. A camera with at least 4K capability gives additional flexibility in editing. Some shots require multiple cameras. Adding a jib allows the camera to be moved side-to-side and up-and-down to add motion and a variety of perspectives.

  • Microphone – Sound quality is critical. A high-performance microphone captures your actors perfectly while isolating most background noises. If you are shooting something informal with a cellphone, a plug-in handheld microphone will greatly enhance the sound. If you have multiple actors with speaking parts, they will usually need their own microphones to record individual channels.

  • Lights – A poorly lit video destroys its effectiveness. Proper lighting adds depth and texture. Shadows can be your enemy.

  • Teleprompter – Most of the videos you need for your business involve a lot of talking from the actors. A teleprompter is a great resource to have your script where the talent can easily read it while looking into the camera. Multiple prompter monitors strategically positioned give actors line of sight views of the script while appearing that they are naturally looking at their fellow actors. Last minute script changes can be put into the prompter software, and a copy of the version of the script that was filmed can be archived to document the changes.

  • Data backup device (video footage is now all digital and needs an on-set backup to ensure that the day’s work isn’t lost).

  • Props - set pieces as well as any objects with which your actors will need to refer to or hold.

8. Crew - You need people to run all that equipment and fill other production roles. In smaller productions, one person might fulfill more than one of the following roles:

  • Gaffer – The gaffer oversees electricals. Video production uses a lot of power. The gaffer runs power to the lights, cameras, teleprompter, monitors, computers, coffee maker, make-up lights, and everything else. The circuits can’t be overloaded – and those lights can suck a lot of power. All the extension cords (called stingers on the set) are laid out safely and out of sight. And the batteries – all those batteries. On a larger production, the gaffer may require assistants.

  • Grip – The key grip is in charge of lighting, scrims, flags, and rigging everything that’s on a stand. The key grip may have assistants as needed.

  • Make-up Artist – They will make sure your on-screen talent always looks good from scene to scene. The make-up artist is active throughout the filming, checking for fly-away hair, blotched make-up, perspiration, and wardrobe shifts. They are very helpful with visual continuity, which saves time and money and avoids reshoots. They also keep the actors hydrated and care for their voices.

  • Wardrobe – This person is in charge of what the actors will wear, and that their look stays consistent throughout your video. This involves advanced planning. They need to do their research to make sure the wardrobe is correct – for example, an automotive technician would not wear a big metal belt buckle.

  • Set Designer/Location Scout – You want to ensure that the backdrop of your video goes along with what is in your script and isn’t distracting.

  • Sound engineer – The sound engineer is monitoring the audio quality from each of the channels and making sure that the audio is recording properly. When shooting on a set, the environment is more controlled. On location, isolating or adjusting for ambient noise keeps the sound engineer busy.

  • Craft Services – The cast and crew need to keep their energy up, and that means snacks, drinks, and meals. Craft Services makes that happen.

  • Production Assistant – The PA is always busy assisting anyone who needs a hand. They may need to run errands, buy a last-minute prop, fetch M&Ms, etc.

  • Director – The Director is in charge of the shoot – making sure that every aspect of the vision of the project is being executed – acting, sound, lighting, and set/location.

  • Producer – the Producer is responsible for the overall video production, coordinating everything from the scripting, directing, editing, and project finances. Often, the Producer keeps the shot logs and indicates which takes were the best.

9. Exciting imagery – It’s important to grab your audience’s attention and keep it. This can be done by creating or purchasing assets like:

  • Live action B-Roll video and images you shoot for the project

  • Stock video footage and images purchased for the video

  • Motion Graphics you create

  • Custom 3D Animations

10. Video Editing – In this phase, all the elements are brought together. Editing software is quite sophisticated and takes a lot to master. For example, you may have a 6-second segment of a 3D animation depicting the combustion cycle inside a cylinder of a GDI engine. There is a layer with the 3D animation, a special effects layer depicting the spark and explosion of the power stroke, a layer with text and pointers, and layers for call outs and highlights. Or you may have filmed in front of a green screen, and you will need to drop in the appropriate background image or video. This is all timed together with the audio track.

11. Sound Design – In this process, the voice track is added along with music and sound effects. Audio is equalized and “sweetened” to enhance the auditory experience.

12. Delivery – The final video is exported in the format that best suits the use(s) of the video, ranging from something that will be shown on an 80” screen at SEMA or included in an eLearning module for training taken on a cell phone.

Once you have your completed video, you can share it with the world. You’re welcome.

Remember, if you don’t have the resources to do this in-house, we are here to help. We’re happy to consult with you as you’re scoping out your project. We can help write the script, supply animations or 3D models, or manage the complete project for you. Please give us a call today.

Shawn Bird 801.683.6805

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