How to create an amazing promo video!
Video marketing involves a lot more than simply grabbing a camera and a mic and putting a talking head in front of a landmark. The best promo video may look effortless, but what you don’t see is all of the time and preparation that went into creating it. If you want to start producing promo videos or are looking to improve your process, then you need to examine how you plan and prepare the material for your video marketing campaign.
It takes a lot of work to produce a quality promo video, but if you follow the right steps you can save a lot of time, money and angst. If you put in all of the necessary efforts before you even turn on a camera, the whole experience will go much smoother. Plan and do it right the first time. If you cover everything before you begin, you can avoid reshoots, countless rounds of editing, and completely blowing your budget.
Brainstorming: video marketing ideation
Put more than a few minutes into this step. Deciding that, “Hey, we should do a promo video or something,” isn’t going to cut it. Gather your most creative people. Kick out anyone who meets ideas with negativity. In fact, don ’t even invite them if you can prevent it. You want an open environment.
Start by asking some basic questions. Why do you want to make the videos? Who is the audience? How is this going to help your audience or improve their lives? What do you know that they don’t, but they’d like to? What would be cool? What would be unexpected? What are your competitors doing and how can you do the exact opposite?
The answers to these questions should help you craft a direction and goals for your production.
When you start sifting through the results and plotting a course of action, don’t try to do or say too much. Choose a couple of themes and goals and tighten your focus.
Also, if you don’t have the time and resources to do all of the work on your own or in-house, a company like veed.me can help you produce amazing videos.
Writing the perfect video marketing script
Many novices aren’t aware that this step exists. They think the promo video is birthed in its entirety in the producer’s mind. Just like a feature film, the entire project needs to be outlined and written out. You want to give voice to the ideas that resulted from your video marketing brainstorming.
Focus on what you want to accomplish and talk to your audience. Keep it short, you want to capture their attention but not wear out your welcome. Introduce your topic early in the promo video. You want the viewer to understand what the video is about, and you only have a few seconds before they lose interest and click on something else. To whom you are talking and what you are trying to say to them will help you decide what the emotional tone of the video should be. Is it serious or light hearted? Is it an instructional video or a plea for support?
If your goal is a three-minute promo video, don’t try to wedge as many words into the script as possible. Keep it simple. Like print, you don’t have to fill the empty space with details. Let it breathe.
Budgeting: Professional creative talent costs money
Budgets can vary based on how much money you have to spend and how high you would like the quality of the video to be. It also depends on how much of the equipment you have and how much of the work you are going to do and how much you are going to outsource.
Will you just be hiring an editor and a voice over artist or will you need a videographer as well? A two-to-three-minute promo video done professionally is going to cost at least $1,000 unless you have a majority of the equipment and skills at your disposal. It can easily cost more if you don’t. Decide how much you are willing to spend and let that dictate your decisions when procuring talent.
No one wants to cut corners, but when budgets are involved you have to make decisions. Is it more important to hire the videographer and edit it on your own or shoot the video yourself and bring in an editor?
Building the right production team
A production team can handle every aspect of a video’s production that’s mentioned in this article. However, the more work they do, the more it is going to cost. Finding that middle ground between who does what is a big part of building a solid client/vendor relationship.
When looking for a production team your first stop should be examining their body of work. Check out their portfolio. Does their style and ability seem to match what you want out of your video? How is their production quality? Can you picture the video you want fitting in with the videos they’ve already made?
Make sure they have a solid reputation and that you work well with them. When it comes to making decisions and having a shared vision for the video, you want people with whom you can communicate well.
Last but perhaps most important, how much do they cost? If they are out of your budget range, then they don’t do you very much good. But keep in mind that you do get what you pay for.
Scouting video locations
When you are writing your script, you should start thinking about where you will shoot much of your video. Sure you could save money by shooting everything in your office or studio, but you will also end up with a very boring final product. Choosing the right locations can add a visual flair that is far more appealing to the viewer than someone talking to the camera in front of a backdrop.
Even if you know where you’d like to shoot, it is imperative that you check out all of your potential locations before dragging equipment and staff out in public only to find out that the location you picked is horrible.
Make sure you visit the potential locations during the time of day you plan to shoot. If you are outside, car traffic can be a problem. If you are inside, foot traffic can be a problem. Even with the best microphones, background sound can ruin your audio. Make sure you’ll be able to capture the audio you want.
You will want to examine the lighting situation whether you are inside or outside. Can any lighting issues be solved with additional equipment or should you find a better location? Is the sun better in the evening than it is in the morning?
Test the sound and light. Take photos from your potential camera locations to help plan and frame shots. How close are you to power? Will you be able to plug in all of your equipment or will you need to have plenty of backup batteries?
And always, always make sure you have permission to shoot at your selected locations. It is a lot easier to ask for permission in advance than having to explain yourself when your shoot gets shut down because you don’t have permission.
Storyboarding: putting things in perspective
You have your script. You’ve scouted your locations. Now you need to put that all together. A storyboard is a visual outline of your movie. You know what you want to be said, you know where you want people to say it, and you have the photos from the scouted locations.
Even if you can’t draw, working out a storyboard with stick figures will help you visualize the video you are preparing to make. It doesn’t have to be well drawn to be a valuable resource.
Think about the perspective of the shots. If more than one person or object is being shot, make sure they are in perspective within the frame and not just flat. Showing perspective will help with building the shot when the time comes to shoot the scene. Think about the cuts you’ll want to make. A well thought out storyboard will assist the editor when it comes time to put together the final piece.
Set planning: control the scene
It will take more than a couple of ferns to spruce up your set. Whether you are shooting indoors or out, you’ll want to look at everything that you will want and need in your shot. With the right camera angles and set adjustments, It is possible to make an office look less boring than it is.
It isn’t just about what you can add to the set but also if anything should be removed or changed. If you shoot someone working at their desk, viewers will notice every item on display. If you are shooting in a park, do you really want that trash barrel in the background? Carefully examine what will and won’t be in each scene and adjust accordingly.
Scheduling: if you don’t plan, it will cost you
Use the storyboard to make a shot list. A shot list is a catalog of each shot that will need to be captured to build the video. This will help group items together so you can create a production schedule. Be sure to include the
location, date and time of filming, equipment, required staff, the scene being shot, and contact info for everyone involved. You can then group shots together based on similar locations, staff, and equipment.
Don’t forget to schedule in time for shooting B-Roll. If you are looking to capture some additional footage to use from your shooting locations, it is best to schedule time to shoot B-Roll before or after the primary shoot since it requires less staff. You don’t want a bunch of people sitting around on the clock while your videographer is wandering around shooting B-Roll.
There’s more to scheduling that just shooting the video. Is transport required for any of the hired talent? If it is going to be an all-day shoot, what’s your plan for lunch? The more of these details that you resolve before you begin shooting, the less time and money you will waste.
The shoot: now you can turn on your camera
Finally, after all of that work and planning the day to power the cameras up has finally arrived. But there is still work to do on set before you begin. Once the cameras are in place and the set details adjusted, test to make sure everything is in order. Check your white balance. Make sure your subjects are well lighted. Test the audio to ensure you are picking up what you want at the right levels. Prep your talent. Give them direction and make sure they know what is expected of them.
Don’t be afraid of doing multiple takes. If something isn’t working out exactly how you’d like, try your best to solve the problem on set. Don’t expect to fix it in post-production. The better your raw footage, the better the final promo video will be. However, if you are running out of time, money, or daylight know how to prioritize. If you can’t get everything, get the most important things.
Post-production: bringing it all together
If you’ve ever wondered why there is an Academy Award for Best Editing, try putting together a five-minute video. It looks easier than it is and it doesn’t take much to over edit.
Don’t muck up your final video with a lot of obnoxious transitions. The best editing is subtle and seamless. Leave the star wipe in the 1980s where it belongs.
Show some restraint with the graphics and video effects as well. You don’t want your video jammed with so much excess that it looks like a cable news network show. You shot a lot of great footage. Give it room to do its thing.
Don’t waste time getting everything perfect on your first edit. Make a rough cut and see if you have the shots and flow together. Do a rough voice over to ensure that all of the words you wrote for the script will fit into the promo video as planned. You can dial in the timing on the final edit.
If you decide to use music, make sure you choose something that fits the tone of the piece. Ensure that you have permission to use it as well. Using copyrighted music in your video is a great way to get it yanked off of YouTube, so keep that in mind for your video marketing strategy.
The finishing touch: a professional voiceover
You’ve made it this far. You’ve realized that video marketing is the future and your new video looks great. The editing is professional, and the music helps build a vibe that speaks to your audience. Don’t blow it with subpar voice-over. It is tempting to cut corners on this step, but a bad voiceover can ruin a production. A great voice artist can imbue your video with a sincerity and emotion that Marty from Accounting can’t quite pull off.
Much like the music, you want someone who relates to your audience and who can connect with them. Great voice over work can make your video marketing pieces memorable and catchy. It should draw your audience in, not drive them away.
Take the time to find the right voice artist. It will give your promo video the finishing touch it deserves. A great big scoop of velvety smooth ice cream on top of a perfect piece of production pie.
Video marketing is the future and you need to get on board to start engaging your audience and drive conversions. You might be feeling a little overwhelmed by this list. There is a lot here, and it doesn’t cover everything. However, it is a good place to start and hopefully, you can see how working through each step will save you time and money as well as improve the overall quality of the final product. Choose a small test project to work through the process. Practice makes perfect and doing a test run will familiarize you with all of the components and you’ll be more comfortable when you embark on your first big production of a promo video.
Take your video marketing strategy to the next level: to add the finishing touch to your promo video, check out VoiceBunny’s vast selection of professional voice over artists from around the world.
This article was co-written by WritingBunny.