Business Video — it doesn’t have to be this way

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Hey, we need to make some videos

Your colleague walks through your office door and announces, “let’s make a video!”

Quick, what images come to mind? What feelings hit your gut?

“We need: cameras, lights, production people, someone to shoot, where, when is it needed, how long will it take, what will it cost, how will we use it, …?

This feels daunting, are we up to this, can we succeed, is it worth it, does this even make sense …?

It would be nice, but ….”

Now ask yourself: what if it doesn’t have to be this way?

Video is one of the fastest growing content formats that interest both audiences and marketers. So a lot is at stake to figuring this out.

Change Your Mindset

Paul Ritter of Interactive Media Strategies is a seasoned analyst of the video marketplace. I asked him what he thought was holding people back from making greater use of video. He told me:

“Our research shows online as well as mobile audiences want useful information delivered in convenient ways for fast consumption. And, when they find something good, they want to easily share it. Video really fits these requirements well.

Digital video tools and infrastructure have changed the video game. We are no longer constrained by bandwidth and delivery systems. The biggest constraint is an outdated mindset. People haven’t adopted new approaches based on these new capabilities. Too many people are stuck thinking of video as high production value, traditional production techniques and cost. Today, it’s about practical business video techniques. For example, business video doesn’t even have to involve video cameras.”

Change Your Process and Techniques

At Avitage, we have produced thousands of videos over the past 18 years using a different approach. That’s right, thousands. We mostly throw away the camera approach.

We begin with the story we want to tell. Sometimes it’s as simple as a technical or process explanation. For marketers, we focus on answers to customer questions, or the result of a customer interview.

We developed this technique through years of producing e-learning and webinars. A key technique is to use voice over animated graphics, images or video b-roll. We often purchase video from the same clip libraries that sell still images.

Here’s the simple process we recommend:

Plan: Shift time and effort from traditional video logistics into planning for multiple use cases and versions. Plan subject expert interviews carefully.

Acquire: Interview and audio record subject experts. Ask not just for their knowledge, but for their “narrative” — for how they explain important, complex or nuanced ideas. This makes script writing more of an editing process. Recordings can be done right over the phone, or into a digital recording device, and downloaded to a computer for editing. Other acquisition sources include white papers, blog posts and even third party articles.

Create: Write scripts and storyboards from the material you acquire. Create visual elements by shooting still images, or buying images and even generic video, to use as “b-roll”. (See the link below for an example of using video to explain a concept, in this case, b-roll.) Narrate scripts using simple digital audio recording software, a microphone and a computer. Edit audio to produce a clean file for each slide.

Assemble: UsePowerPoint as the basic video assembly system. That’s right! PowerPoint. Import images and even video into individual slides, and use PowerPoint to create text overlays. Import audio files, slide by slide. Use PowerPoint animation techniques to apply motion to images and timing to text overlays. To test your video, simply run the slide show.

Convert to Video: In PowerPoint version 2010, select File, Save & Send, Create a Video. PowerPoint will output a WMV video file.

Deploy and Deliver: Upload the WMV video file to Wisita, Brightcove. Vimeo or other readily available video hosting sites. They will provide links and embed code you can use for delivery and posting to web pages. Most importantly, they will resolve processing requirements to optimize your video for different devices. They will also provide tracking metrics.

This method not only makes video a fast, simple process, it makes it possible to configure video for different use case requirements such as short, medium or long versions. Video can also be customized for different audience roles, interests, or stage of the buying process. Video becomes just another delivery media, not the big deal project it once was.

Supporting Material

Video Example: What is b-roll?

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