Digital Accomplice's Online Video Guide


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Digital Accomplice's Online Video Guide

  1. 1. 4 Introduction 7 Chapter 1: The Video Production Process12 Chapter 2: What Does Video Production Cost?16 Chapter 3: Shoot or Animate?18 Chapter 4: How to Create Video Content that Stands Out20 Chapter 5: How to Use Video to Explain Complex Products and Services22 Chapter 6: Top 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid24 Chapter 7: Next StepsTHE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 2
  2. 2. Does video for business really work?Long answer: It depends on your goals.
Short answer: Yes.Let’s tackle that long answer.First, what can you expect to achieve with online marketing? According to researchfrom Web Marketing 123’s State of Digital Marketing Report1, marketing expertsagree that the two most common goals for digital marketing are: 1. Lead/sales generation (about 75% agree) 2. Building awareness/driving traffic to your website (about 25% agree)Marketers also revealed their best measures of digital marketing success: »» Website traffic (74% agree) »» Lead generation (69% agree) »» Sales/click through rate on website (65% agree)And when they were asked what factor hasthe biggest impact on their lead generationgoals? Videos are 53x more57% of B2B marketers and 41% of B2C likely to get a page 1marketers said it was search engine optimi-zation (SEO). Google ranking than equivalent text-basedWhy? Because SEO is relatively predictableand its results are easily measured. If you content!invest in SEO and focus your efforts, you canexpect good results.1 ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 3
  3. 3. So then, how exactly can video help with SEO?As it turns out, the search algorithms at Google and other search engines weightvideo as more valuable than text. According to Forrester Research2, videos are 53xmore likely to get a page 1 Google ranking than equivalent text-based content!Video can be highly engaging (since it combines images, motion, music and words),so it tends to hold visitors’ interest and keep them on your site longer. That meansmore time to communicate your message.If you host your video on YouTube, you have a variety of options to optimize your videofor SEO. According to the YouTube Content Creator’s Playbook3, you’ll get betterresults if you: »» Optimize your YouTube presence with playlists of curated content
 »» Make sure to use informational NOT transactional keywords »» Implement properly optimized meta-tag keywords on your videos
 »» Include a closed captioning file4, which both allows hearing impaired to understand your content and allows search bots to understand what is being covered in the video »» Add subtitle translations in other languages, greatly increasing your global reach. With the tools availableIn addition, mobile audiences are growing very fast and very today and budgetsbig, and video is a perfect medium for distributing your mes-sage in a mobile-friendly way. Who reads white papers on being squeezed, it’stheir phone? tempting to boot-strapIn general, video tends to gets results when it comes to salesconversions. it. But beware.According to a ReelSEO study5, videos in universal searchresults have a 41% higher click through rate.2 ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 4
  4. 4. For products, it’s clear that video is making an impact. Online retailer Zappos claimsa 6–30% increase in conversions6 on product pages that have videos! Video is a natu-ral choice for any “show-and-tell” business model.All of this makes for a pretty compelling case. But how do you determine if you’reheaded down the right path?My recommendation is first, do no harm7.With the tools available today and budgets being squeezed, it’s tempting to boot-strap it.Today, there is a panoply of free and low-cost tools out there. And budgets are tighterthan ever. But beware. Poorly executed, amateurish video can do a lot more harmthan good. Remember, your brand is at stake.Creating quality video is a lot tougher than it looks. It requires a combination oftechnical knowledge and keen aesthetic sensibilities for composition, timing, light-ing, pace and tone. A bit of talent and creativity doesn’t hurt, either. It’s a devilishlycomplex mix of art and technology that can take a lifetime to master.The good news is that video content development is a scalable process. If you use theright production partner, you can find smart ways to achieve your business goals.6 ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 5
  5. 5. The VideoProduction ProcessVideo production can be deceptive. It’s so easy to watch a cool video, get excitedand resolve to make one like it. The trouble is you have no idea how much planning,scripting, blood, sweat and tears went into making it. If you want to have a videoproduced, you need to understand the steps involved (and why they are there). A littleknowledge up front will save you time, money and headaches later — and yield a farsuperior product.In this chapter, I outline Digital Accomplice’sproduction process, which is little different from A little knowledgethe process followed by every other video profes- up front will savesional I know. There’s a reason this process isuniversal. It works. If you start skipping steps you time, money andto save time, money or effort, you’ll inevitablyintroduce problems — undesirable things like headaches later —budget overruns, unhappy clients or, worst ofall, a boring video. and yield a farWhile every project is different, I’m going to as- superior product.sume you’ll be shooting a video that involves allthe usual components: a script, camera footage,music, graphics and text. Not every video contains all of these elements (many busi-ness videos are unscripted, for instance), but I want to present the full story here.The OverviewThe video production process is divided into 3 phases: 1. Pre-production: planning, scripting, budgeting, scheduling 2. Production: Video shooting, graphic design, asset collection (which can happen any time) 3. Post-production: Editing, sound mixing, color correction, approvals, revisions, output.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 6
  6. 6. These phases aren’t always linear. They can shift around a bit during a project. Forexample, you might be in post-production when you realize something isn’t working.For instance, you may to need to re-write part of the script or shoot some additionalfootage.To better understand what goes into a production, let’s walk through the key elements:Pre-Production EssentialsIn my opinion, pre-production is the most important phase. If you don’t set a solidfoundation, everything later is on shaky ground. Here’s a rundown of what happens inthe pre-production phase and why: Planning: The goal here is to establish goals, funny as that sounds. What is this video supposed to achieve? The simpler your answer, the more likely you are to have a good outcome. When you have multiple objectives things quickly get convoluted and complicated. Scripting: This is where your video takes form and where you have to do the heavy lifting. Even if your video is unscripted, this Pre-production is is the point where you will make critical decisions. What will people talk about? For how long? What emotion should they the most important convey? How does it all tie together? Without a solid plan on paper, you have no compass when the camera finally rolls. phase. Story-boarding: If you take the time to plan out what the audi- ence will see in each shot, you can make the most efficient use of your cam- era time. This step also helps reveal any holes in your script — places where it’s not clear how to visually represent what’s being said in the audio. Revisions: It’s wise to build at least two rounds of revisions into your script- ing process. It can take time to develop a workable script, but the pay-off is well worth it. A little polish here can make all the difference in the quality of the final product. Budgeting: Many people want know to how much a video will cost, even before any critical decisions have been made. Unfortunately, it’s usually impossible to answer this question in anything but the most general of terms. The best way to work is to hire a producer and/or writer to develop the core concept. Then and only then can you determine what it will take to get there.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 7
  7. 7. Scheduling: Just as a video’s budget is determined by the concept, so is a production’s schedule. Most projects will require a wide array of people and equipment, all of which need to be scheduled. While you may not always have the luxury of starting the pre-production process early, advance planning usually results in a better product. Ideally, you would allow 3+ months for short-form video and 6 months for long-form pieces. If you aren’t able to plan ahead, you be prepared to pay more or accept somewhat lower quality.Production EssentialsA video can mean many things. It can be completely animated, or it may consist oflive footage. It can consist of all text or still photos, or it may contain a combination ofsome or all of these elements. Whatever your video is like, you need to understand afew production concepts and terms. Camera Footage: There are a plethora of cameras out. It takes some techni- cal expertise and experience behind a few cameras to appreciate their differ- ences. I don’t have space in this guide to describe the many options. Just be aware that if you plan to shoot live footage, it’s important to plan ahead and hire an experienced camera operator. Hard Drives and Media Cards: Tape is dead. Most high-end production today is done on digital media cards, and the data needs to live somewhere after shooting. Plan to have at least two hard drives for your media in case one fails. After production, give one hard drive to your clients and leave one with your producer for any last minute or future changes. You might not have time to ship it! Motion Graphics: Motion graphics can add a lot to a video production. But it takes talent, time and money to deliver high Motion graphics can quality graphics. Be sure to build in time for revisions, approvals add a lot to a video and unexpected complexity. Some of the most interesting and original motion graphics can be experimental, so plan in a little production. extra time if you want to push the envelope. Photos: Animating photos can be a great way to make video, but they need to be high quality, and you’ll need lots of them! I like to shoot each photo in a montage for 3-4 seconds. If you plan to do any zooming in, make sure the resolution is high enough to look good close up.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 8
  8. 8. Music: Nothing makes or breaks a video like music. There are plenty of royalty free music sites out there where you can buy instrumental tracks for around $30 each. If you have the budget, you can get much more impact by custom scoring the piece. But don’t use music from your favorite artists un- less you like getting sued. Text: When you are on production, be sure to note the spelling of people’s names and their titles. It will save a lot of hassle later!Post-ProductionPost-production is where it all comes together. Nobody sees what goeson in this phase, but it will make or break your video. It’s not easy to tell Post-production iswhat went into the editing process or how much audio leveling, mixing, where it all comesand enhancing goes into a piece. Here are the key parts: together. Editing: Production typically requires more editing than you’d probably think. Sorting through and analyzing all that footage takes time. Allow enough time for revisions and approvals in this stage, I find that most clients need at least two rounds of revisions, and these should be planned for from the start. Sound Mixing: Only once the picture has been locked and the client is happy with the edit should the audio mixing be done. You don’t want to waste time cleaning up things that will be cut. Color Correction: Color correction can turn decent-looking footage into great looking video. But it’s not a simple procedure. As a result, we like to allow a good deal of time for this at the end. Approvals: It’s good practice to show the client a “rough cut” (or sometimes even a not-so rough cut) and then give them at least two rounds to make changes. These rounds of revisions should be built into the budget. If chang- es keep coming, the client should be prepared to allocate additional budget toward further refinements. Delivery: The delivery format and method is something that needs to be ar- ticulated at the very beginning of the project, as it can have profound implica- tions on the entire process. If you are unsure, you should involve your produc- tion team to resolve this question up front. It’s a very big deal and can kill a project if someone makes a wrong assumption.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 9
  9. 9. The Big Take-awayIf there’s one key take away I think it’s this:“Plan way ahead because you don’t know whatyou don’t know about this production yet!”While some of these video production components may not apply to you, you shouldmake an effort to understand them — if nothing else, to make you aware of the chal-lenges behind the process.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 10
  10. 10. What Does VideoProduction Cost?Today’s proliferation of decent-quality, low-cost video cameras and editing softwarehas put video within reach of practically anyone. But as I explain elsewhere in thisguide, it takes more than equipment to create engaging video. It requires hard-earnedexperience, technical expertise and talent. In addition, the cameras, mics, lights andsoftware used by professionals produce much better images and sound. And becausevideo is a complex process of shooting, directing,recording, lighting and editing, it often takes ateam of specialists to make truly great video. It often takes aDepending on the scope of your project and your team of specialists to make truly greatbudget, a professional video project can requireas few as two people (typically a videographerand an editor) or a whole team of specialistsand assistants. The cost of a production, then, is video.driven by three factors: 1. Time: The more elaborate a production, the more time is required. High- quality productions take more time in the planning, shooting and editing phases. 2. Talent: A more talented team will always produce a better product. But top talent is in demand, so it comes at a premium. 3. Tools: Most people have all the tools they need to produce a simple video on their smart phone. But you get what you pay for. Professional-level cameras, lighting kits and post-production editing suites — and the people who know how to use them — cost money.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 11
  11. 11. The Five Degrees of Video ProductionWe’d all love Hollywood-level video on our websites. But that’s not practical for mostbusinesses. To give you a sense of what you might pay for a business video — and tohelp you develop a realistic budget — I’ve broken your options down into five catego-ries, from very basic to highly sophisticated, and I’ve included cost ranges for each. 1. Amateur — Using basic consumer video equipment you shoot and edit your own video. The sound and lighting won’t be great, but for situations where quality isn’t important it gets the job done. The danger, of course, is that if you use it in the wrong situations it can damage your brand image. Cost for a 2–3 minute video: Free (not including equipment) 2. Semi-Pro — A videographer (non-professional) with some experience useing a prosumer camera and editing software can produce decent video. The results can vary greatly, however, depending on the operator’s skill and available time. And the final product, while competent, usually lacks polish and is less interesting to watch than a professional product. This type of video can be useful for video blog posts, recording events and internal training. It’s typically not high enough quality to feature promi- nently on your website. Cost for a 2–3 minute video: $300 – $1,000 3. Professional — At this level, you get a team of professionals who use professional-level tools. They won’t spend as much time on the project as premium pros, and they won’t bring premium talent to the job, but they will produce crisp, credible video. It won’t elicit cheers, but it won’t embar- rass you, either. This type of video is most appropriate for client case stud- ies, profiles, descriptions of services and recruiting. Cost for a 2–3 minute video: $1,000 – $10,000THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 12
  12. 12. 4. Premium — Premium video combines top talent and high-end tools. The team spends more time planning and editing, producing an end product that generates excitement and buzz. This is potentially award-winning material that tells a compelling story and really engages the viewer. Invest in premium video when you want to grab people’s attention, tell your company’s story, present engaging case studies or recruit great people in a competitive environment. Cost for a 2–3 minute video: $5,000 – $50,000 5. Hollywood — You don’t have to live in Hollywood to create Premium video tells a superb, top-notch video. You just need money. This is video at its very best, and only large global firms are likely a compelling story to be able to afford it. This level typically can incorporate extensive planning, creative concept development, script and really engages writing,the best production tools like cameras, lighting, studio rental, set design, global travel and graphics and the viewer. effects by talented designers. If you have the budget, use it for high-end advertising, viral campaigns or as a signature piece about your firm. Cost for a 2–3 minute video: $100,000 – $1,000,000+To some degree, the categories above are arbitrary. But they give you a useful frame-work to think about your goals and help you budget appropriately.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 13
  13. 13. Shoot or Animate?Let’s get one thing out of the way up front. Graphics are sexy. Especially if they expressan original concept, are well produced and tell an engaging story. But the really goodstuff is expensive. Clients who think they want an animated video can get serioussticker shock when they realize that depending on concept, an animated piece caneasily cost $25K, $50K, or $100K+.Live action video (shot with cameras) also has Animation is verysex appeal, most notably for music videos, actionsports, funny ads or product commercials. But time consuming. Amany people don’t realize that live action is also 2–3 minute motionan exceptional way to sell business services. Infact, there is no more engaging and cost-effective graphics videoway to tell a business’ story. can take weeks toTo help you better understand the differencesbetween animated and live action video, here are design, animatesome key aspects of each: and revise! Budget reality-check: Animation is very time consuming. A 2–3 minute motion graphics video can take weeks to design, animate and revise! If your vision is ambitious, requiring a team of people to pull off, that can get expensive fast. And once you’ve decided on an animated approach, you don’t want to pinch pennies. Committing the re- sources to do it right is what separates the mediocre from the amazing. Timing reality-check: Business video is shot in real time, typically in a day or two. It can be edited in a matter of days. If you have a tight deadline, live action can save the day. Audience: Consider your target audience and what style might resonate more with them. Keep in mind that if you have the courage to break from the expected solution you may engage your audience even more.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 14
  14. 14. Brand Identity: Is your brand design-oriented? Are graphics a key part of your identity? In some cases, live action video may simply feel out of place. That goes for graphics, too. Some products or services just need camera footage to make sense. Is trust a must? How important is credibility? We humans pick up on non-verbal communication cues, which can be just as Live action video can important as what people say. As a result, live footage of cus- allow customers to tomers talking enthusiastically about how a company was able to help them can be very compelling. get to know you and Camera shy? Occasionally, getting people on video can be your team before problematic. Sometimes they aren’t available. And some people just aren’t comfortable in front of a camera. When con- they ever reach out fronted with this situation, consider whether you can replace the subject. If you can’t come up with a strong alternative, then and connect. animation may be a better route. What to show? Video is a visual medium. If the story behind your product or service doesn’t lend itself to live action video, animation can help illustrate a complicated or dull topic and bring it to life. Don’t give up too easily on this one. The right visual metaphor can turn even a dry topic into a compelling story. And clever writing can simplify even the most complex concepts. Removing the unknowns: Live action video can introduce a personal element to your website and help remove the element of the unknown — allowing customers to get to know you and your team before they ever reach out and connect. In certain industries this element can really impact your bottom line. There’s a reason every real estate agent puts their picture on their business card! Assigning talent is the key: One thing that’s consistent is the importance of talent. The quality of a video is directly related to the talent of the people who produce it. The planning phase, in which the concept is developed, is particu- larly important. You’ll need an experienced producer to nail the concept and make the most of your budget. Once the concept is story-boarded, it becomes much easier for the producer to assemble a suitable team and match key roles to the right talent. Every member of the team contributes a critical ele- ment — from script writing and voice over performance to catchy design and snappy editing.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 15
  15. 15. Don’t forget the sound! It’s easy to forget that sound should play an equal (or argu-ably greater) role than video. Most animated projects will include scripted voice over,read by a professional and recorded in a studio, as well as sound effects carefullycoordinated with the animations and music. Music can come from a royalty-free orrights-managed production source, or it can include songs licensed from a recog-nized artist. For the most impact, it can be custom scored specifically for your project.In my experience, sound makes or breaks an animated video and should be a key partof the plan, not an afterthought.Challenge assumptions: Miracles happen in concept development. I believe there’salways a clever and engaging way to use live action and/or motion graphics in a wayyou haven’t thought of. When clients come to the table with goals rather than a setconcept, it’s easier to craft a solution that accounts for the challenges and providesthe most impact for their budget. When you can begin with a clear business objective,your production team can spend their time doing what they do best — putting togeth-er and executing a really great plan.Decision time: Video production is complex, and if you don’t have years of experienceyou are bound to encounter unforeseen challenges. When confronted with a tough de-cision, always consult with an experienced producer before you set your sights on onesolution. He or she can help you understand the opportunities and potential pitfallspresented by your options. Smart planning is the key. You just can’t do enough of it!THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 16
  16. 16. How to Create VideoContent that Stands OutVideo offers a terrific opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves in theonline marketplace. Now, adoption of online video as a business tool in on the rise,so just producing some video isn’t enough. It has to be of a certain quality to engageyour viewers. You have to give your audience a reason to take notice and pay attentionto your content.To help you analyze video you see around the web, I’ve identified 2 categories ofstand-out content: »» Content for the Mind (Interesting): Even if the visuals aren’t particularly exciting the content is interesting or useful enough that your audience will stick around to the end. »» Content for the Heart (Emotionally Engaging): This type of content could be beautiful, funny, heartbreaking, scary or weird. It triggers an emotion. The best stories take you on a journey through different emotions.Here are a few tips to help you improve the odds that viewers will care about yourvideo. The ‘Double-Hooked’ Strategy — This effective strategy intertwines story and concept with compelling informational content. The information is what your visitors need, but the emotion is what they want. The Importance of Story — Video is an The information is ideal medium to tell a story. By explaining the before, during and after phases of your what your visitors business or service and delving into the who, what, where, when, why, and how, you need, but the can keep audiences engaged and waiting to learn what happens next. emotion is what they want.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 17
  17. 17. The Importance of Concept — Dull is the enemy. It’s the cool ideas that stand out. By finding an interesting way to tell your story, you can capture your audience’s attention. The Importance of Production Values — High-quality, professionally-pro- duced video will vastly increase your chances of getting noticed and making a good impression. Amateur video (unless intentionally shot that way for effect) is never going to produce the desired results. The Legend of Big Foot — Another strategy to stand out in the An ill-conceived marketplace is to leave a big footprint. By “carpet bombing” a particular target topic area and flooding YouTube, social media video campaign can and your blog/website with lots of video content on a particu- lar subject, you can begin to own an area of expertise. For affect your brand’s example: if your company makes kayaks, you could produce a hundred different how-to videos that cover all the main topics image. that kayaker might search for. Whose content will they then find when they search? Yours!Whenever you need to communicate something to your customers, video can be apowerful tool. If done right, it can work wonders and spread efficiently through youraudience’s social networks. But be careful. An ill-conceived video campaign can ad-versely affect your brand’s image.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 18
  18. 18. How to Use Video toExplain ComplexProducts and ServicesVideo can be an effective tool for explaining a complex topic. And it can engage youraudience on multiple levels: sensory (sight & sound), emotional and analytical.But it’s not always easy to create video contentthat achieves these goals. So I want to offer some If you try totechniques that will vastly improve your odds. I accomplishlearned these lessons the hard way — so you don’thave to! just one thing Know Your Audience — It sounds like with each video, common sense, but it’s easy to stray. You have to keep the people you are trying to your chances of reach in mind at each step. Find out what they want and what will turn them off. success are much, Define Your Goal — One video, one goal. much greater. Think of video like a hand-tool — a screw- driver, a plane or a saw. These tools are effective because they do one thing really well. If you try to accomplish just one thing with each video, your chances of success are much, much greater. Keep it Simple — It’s tempting to lay it all out and try to explain everything. It’s tempting because it’s not easy to decide what to exclude. If you carefully think about your audience and goals, it’s a lot easier to know what fits in the box. And more importantly, what doesn’t. Give Creativity Room to Breathe — Great ideas don’t just happen. You can’t sit at desk and decide for genius to strike. I find that I’m most creative when I’ve learned all that I can about a project. Inspiration tends to strike at odd moments when I’m more relaxed (in the bed, shower, or while walking the dog) — not when I’m laser-focused on the job. You may have different stimuli, but it always helps to be well informed.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 19
  19. 19. Elicit Emotion — By using inspirational words, emotional music and beautiful imagery you can light up your audience’s emotions and keep them engaged. Tell a Story — People are naturally attracted to stories. When you adopt a familiar story structure (beginning, middle and end), you can build anticipa- tion and keep your audience enthralled to the end. That will give you the time you need to show and tell. Be Critical — Resist the temptation to fall in love with your ideas. Believe me, they can always be improved. But you have to be willing to discard shots and scenes that don’t contribute Editing is where the to the overall story. In fact, editing is where the magic hap- magic happens. pens. Pretend you are watching for the first time and keep asking yourself “but really, why would the audience care?” Motion Graphics — Motion graphics can be a very effective way to illustrate complex points. They can be visual metaphors that explain concepts in a more intuitive way. Or they can be straightforward illustrations of key points. Just keep in mind that they can take time to design and animate. Make it “Share-worthy” — In this age of social media and free video distribu- tion (via YouTube, for instance), there’s a lot of opportunity for free publicity. But the barrier to entry is “sharability.” If you produce drivel, your audience won’t appreciate it — or share your video. If you go to the other extreme and create a piece of entertainment, you may go viral, but your video probably won’t have a strong brand message. I advise striking a balance somewhere between the two extremes. Make your video appealing enough to encourage people to share, but keep it focused enough that it will go primarily to people who care: your target audience. Understand Your Sales Funnel — Create separate videos for people at each stage of your sales funnel. It’s tough in a single video to address people early in the buying process and those who are close to pulling the trigger. These audiences simply have different expectations and desires. So target your videos at very specific problems or issues. That way, when people search the Internet for answers, they will find content that satisfies their needs.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 20
  20. 20. Top 10 CommonMistakes to AvoidOnline video for business is hot and getting hotter. Video has become accessibleenough that just about any company can get in the game. With the explosion in mobileadoption, I’d argue it’s increasingly important (video is very popular on these devices).But tread lightly! Just as you wouldn’t show up to work in your pajamas, you want tomake sure your business videos represent yourcompany in a professional manner. To help youavoid the metaphorical icebergs that can sink your Video has becomeonline video efforts, I wanted to share some of thefrequent pitfalls that await unsuspecting practitio- accessible enoughners of the dark art we call video production. that just about anyDisregard these tips at your own peril! company can get 1. It takes a village — A video isn’t an end unto itself. It exists in an eco- in the game. system. To perform well, video needs to be promoted in social media, opti- mized with metatags, potentially encoded, distributed and archived in various formats, etc. These tasks can take some pretty advanced technical understanding and experience. Sure, you could just post some thing on YouTube or Facebook, but I recommend you understand the whole process before you get started — or you may not achieve your goals. 2. Don’t mistake hubris for capability — Video is exciting. Sometimes the very idea of creating a video hypnotizes people into thinking they actually have the bandwidth (and talent) to see a video project through to the end. Be honest with yourself about what adding this addi- tional responsibility will mean. Many clients of ours barely have time to review what we produce for them. I can’t imagine what would happen if they tried and do it all themselves!THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 21
  21. 21. 3. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should — Even if you think you have the extra time to bootstrap a video, the quality of the end product may suffer. One of the main reasons to hire professionals in any line of business is that they have spent a lot of time perfecting their craft, have specialized tools and keep current on the latest techniques — all of which contribute to a better product: be it a car, a waffle, a house or a video! 4. The pros make it look easy — It can be very challenging to look at the work of a professional and really understand what went into making it. But beware. Not all waffles or haircuts or videos are created equal. To the untrained eye, it may seem easy to make or do something, but when there are wide fluctuations in quality Video production of the end product, the professional techniques can make all the difference. almost always has 5. The medium and the message — The craft of storytelling in an element of the video is similar to, but different from, other storytelling for- unexpected. mats. I’ve seen many a script from writers untrained in the medium that are too wordy and obtuse for video. It takes years of experience to learn how to write a video script that feels fresh and accommodates the branding, engagement, timing and logistical issues associated with video production. 6. Planning for chaos — Video production almost always has an element of the unexpected. If time and money are in play (and when aren’t they?) chaos is the enemy — trust me when I say there is always something that you haven’t thought of! Always plan in extra time to deal with unforeseen challenges. You’ll be glad you did. 7. Talent matters — Your budget will go further if you can align available talent with the demands of your specific project. For example, maybe using an emotive voice-over actor is where you get the best value and impact. Or maybe premium concept development, design or camera work will give your video that special something. Determining the key differentiation sweet spot for each project is a skill in and of itself.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 22
  22. 22. 8. Test early and often — Technology and creative techniques are rapidly changing. To make remarkable content you may need to innovate, which will require early and frequent testing to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Testing is a great way to improve the product and ensure you’re headed in the right direction. 9. Know your rights — Now that we all have cameras in our pockets and free access to YouTube, it’s tempting to shoot and post whatever we want. I suppose, technically you can, but what many people don’t realize is that this behavior has consequences. First of all, there are a myriad of legal issues about who/what/when/why/where you can shoot and post video. So if you don’t know what you are doing, you can get sued in about two seconds. There are also liability-related issues. For example, do you know what would happen if you get hurt while shooting a company video on location? And if your video captures another company’s logo, watch out! 10. Sounds good to me! — It’s been said that sound is over 50% of the story. Word on the street is it’s more like 60–75%. One of the biggest rookie moves is bad sound. To get good sound you need a quality microphone, proper mic placement, no loud background or ambient sound, and no RF interference. Any of these can torpedo an otherwise perfect visual perfor- mance. Sound is easily overlooked if you aren’t paying attention (or monitoring the audio). Poor audio has rendered unusable many a video shoot. There are few remedies for truly hosed audio.The good news is that many businesses are just experimenting with video. So savvycompanies are able to stand out and use video to grow. Nobody questions the ROI ofbusiness cards or a website, and soon video will be just another tool for communica-tion. Until then, it’s going to be a fun ride!THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 23
  23. 23. Next StepsYou’re ready to produce a video for your business. But how do you get started?The first is to look at the big picture and make sure the strategy is right before yourush into production. Pick a single goal for your video. You don’t want to serve toomany masters.Then consider the quality of video you need. You’ll find some useful guidelines inChapter 2. That decision will help you decide what level of talent you will need toshoot and edit your video. Your video partner will lead you through the rest of thesteps, from creative concept development and budgeting to shooting and editing.I hope you find this guide useful as you work through the video development process.It should help you get the most from your investment. I wish you the best on your nextvideo project!THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 24
  24. 24. About Digital AccompliceDigital Accomplice is a big idea company that develops video content to build brandsand engage customers. The company offers a full suite of services, from programconcept and strategy to video and interactive content production. And with access toworld-class talent, the Digital Accomplice team is positioned to bring ideas to life.Based in the Bay Area of Northern California, the company is conveniently located atthe heart of the technology and video game industries.About Dane FrederiksenDane Frederiksen, president of Digital Accomplice, has been creating outstandingvideo content for over 20 years. He has worked with clients across the world,including National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Adobe, Nokia, Microsoft, Sony,EA, Ubi, Activision, Capcom and many indie developers. Over the past decade, he hasproduced hundreds of video-game-related features for game developers around theglobe. His work has won numerous national awards.THE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 25
  25. 25. The Online Video Guide: Everything You Need to Knowto Start Promoting Your Business with VideoCopyright © 2012Published by Digital Accomplice1485 Park Avenue, Suite 103Emeryville, CA 94608All rights reserved. Except as permitted under U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no partof this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or byany means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior writtenpermission of the publisher.Design by Hinge - www.hingemarketing.comTHE ONLINE VIDEO GUIDE: Everything You Need to Know to Start Promoting Your Business with Video 26