What To Do To Maximize Your Investment In Video Production

return on investment

Regardless of your financial goals, there are several steps you’ll want to take to maximize your investment in time, money, and resources before and after you start. We know its now common to hear that your company should be using video to leverage your business growth. If you aren’t using it by now, you might be leaving some money on the table. The key is knowing where you want to use your video and how you do it. In this post, we’ll share some common issues and problems that people face when maximizing ROI.

Common Issues that Affect Video ROI

Too Many Options

Too Many Production Companies. If you’ve never created video before, you’ll find you have hundreds of options to choose from in terms of video production companies.

Content Ideas. The next issue will be what you want to create. Do you want to create a marketing video? Social media video? Product video? There are several ways to slice up marketing content that it can quickly become overwhelming.

Where to Place It. The next issue will be where to place the video (or videos). Very quickly, you’ll learn there are thousands of places to publish your video…and each one will have their own reason for doing so. All of this shouldn’t stop you from deciding to move forward. It’ll be worth it.

Getting More From Your Professional Video

Who is Your Audience?

Think about something you’ve watched in the past that really resonated with you. Why did it? It might have been because it was about something you wanted to learn or know more about, the person speaking was personable and they may have described the world you see in a similar way. Maybe they spoke in terms or jargon you’re comfortable with. Or maybe they had the same or similar personality as you. When creating your video, you’ll want to know who your audience is, what they like or dislike, what they need to know, why they need to know it and how they like to be spoken to. Use that information to compile the viewer’s demographics, location, where they consume information, and what social media outlets they view most. The more you know about them, the better you can speak to them.

Your Viewers

  • There are several types of personas that you might be speaking to, for example, you might be dealing with a “Give me the information, get out of my way, and let me decide” type of person. This might be someone who is at the top of the corporate structure, like a CEO or similar level.
  • You might also be speaking to someone who is more interested in learning about how your customers feel about you. They might want to read or see more reviews about the business. These are the ones who need to obtain verification that they are making the right decision. They like to include others in their decision making and reviews are a good way to get this information.
  • Another common viewer might be a detailed, technical type. They want facts, figures, and as much data as possible to make the decision to pick up the phone to call. This type of person needs to have support data incorporated into the video so they can make an appropriate decision.

Regardless of the type of viewer you’re reaching out to, you’ll want to craft a message that taps every type of personality possible. Perhaps there is a way to show and describe important information to a couple of personality types at the same time. Use all of this information to craft a solid script. We typically take care of script writing for you, but, we work with all types of clients; some who like to do it themselves and some who want to have someone take care of it for them. The next step will be to craft a solid shot list that must be captured to illustrate what is being said and targets each persona.

The Video Production Process

The video production process contains several components: pre production, the shoot, post production, and delivery. During the pre production stage, you’ll deal with the persona, the long term goals of the video, and what video content that should be created. Investment goals are important before we start so we know what needs to be set aside for the production and what needs to be set aside for the placement of the video(s). During the shoot, we’ll deal with the shot list, the camera operator, the equipment, the location, and any talent that is important (whether it be from the team or hired talent). Finally, during the editing process, we’ll deal with the video editor and any post production items required to complete the project.

So what is the key to maximizing your ROI? We find that clients who work with us to understand why they’re creating the video, where they plan to use, and how they plan to place, we can help streamline that process to improve their ROI. When clients can’t answer these questions or don’t want to share this information, there can be a little hiccups and changes along the way that can increase costs…not because we want to, but because we didn’t know something and had to backtrack or make significant changes. We write this to share with you so we can prevent this from happening to you.

Steps to Video Production

Here’s a step by step list of how the video production process works and why you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Many people think that corporate video production is a big, scary process the requires a lot of people and a lot of resources. It might, but it doesn’t always need to be that complicated. Most potential clients we speak to are a little apprehensive about shooting video…they have a lot of questions, like: How long does it take? Who should be on camera? How much does it cost? But most of all, they want to know what it takes to get their video.

Steps to Video Production

To make it simple, we’ve boiled down the most important steps to creating your video into simple bite sized pieces. Ready? Here they are:

Pre-Production

1. Goals

First, before you begin, you have to have some objective. To do video without a goal or objective, you’re doing yourself a disservice. What are you trying to accomplish, in what amount of time? Is this realistically possible? If you’re not sure where to start, we can help, but most clients want to measure views, calls, or purchases when they create video. Whichever your goal, share that with your video production company and use that in the next step.

2. Know The Audience

Who are you trying to reach and why are you trying to reach them? Your video should be engaging to the exact audience you’re trying to reach, so knowing who they are is a critical start. Do your research and identify your target audience, their needs, wants and desires. Know what they like and how they like to get it. This will help you craft your message in precisely the way they like to receive it. You might want to consider creating a target audience persona (or personas). By creating personas, you’ll know how to speak to them in their preferred method of communication. If your product or service solves a problem they face, make sure your message reflects that and speaks directly to the issues they face.

3. Create a Script

Whether you write the script or the video production company writes the script, make sure you have a solid, well-thought out script that will make the shoot easier. When we talk about script, we’re not just talking about the words being spoken on camera, but also the visuals…what will be seen on screen…a shot list of sorts. By spelling out what is being said and what is being shown, your video crew will know what they must capture to create the perfect video for you. Again, this should also incorporate the first two steps above (knowing your audience and what goals you’re measuring). Remember, the script should be engaging and/or thought provoking so the viewer will take action once they’ve finished watching.

4. Have a Placement Strategy

Plan ahead of the shoot by knowing where you’ll be placing the video(s). If you’re just placing them on YouTube, how will you get them to be suggested or referred or shared? People won’t just do it because you’ve put it out there, you need a bit of a plan. That might include using ads, setting up the YouTube channel properly, publishing consistently, and several other things. Have your plan no matter which platform you’ll use.

5. Develop the Idea Further

Once you’ve crafted the script and started planning placement, you might need to develop the concept/script a little further. If you’ve identified one platform that will outperform over the others, does the script you created make sense or does it need some fine-tuning? It might or it might not. This is the time to revise and solidify.

6. Plan and Schedule the Shoot

During this step, several “mini” steps must happen. Your production crew should scout the location (virtually or in person). By scouting the location, they will mentally be able to identify where various shots will be set up, how they’ll set it up, and where they can stage their equipment while shooting or where hair and makeup can be set up.

Also in this step might be casting talent. If you’re using talent in your video, you’ll want options to choose from, and this is where we provide them. You’ll want to select the individual who best represents your brand.

Are permits or licenses necessary? If they are, this is when you’ll submit and get approvals. Allow sufficient time to get these if the production is larger or if you need to work with multiple agencies or locations.

Backup plans are critical at this point. When planning for a shoot, ask the production company what things can go wrong and how to have a backup plan to mitigate those issues.

Finally, the production company should be creating and delivering a call sheet. The call sheet will inform all parties (crew, client, staff, location, etc.) when everything will be happening. It’s basically a schedule for the day(s) with all the information need to communicate and know who will be where and when.

Production

7. Shoot/Capture the Raw Video

If you’re creating a corporate video, you’ll want someone on-set to ensure all the important pieces are captured and that everything is visually on brand. That person (or persons) may also need to wrangle the next person on camera so they’re prepared and in place on time and on schedule. During this part of the production you’ll notice the crew following the plan. You’ll notice when the crew is ahead or behind schedule and you’ll know if things are going perfect or if there’s an adjustment that will need to be made. Sometimes one person who can’t get the words out on camera can put the crew a little behind, but a seasoned crew will make sure that even when that happens they stay on schedule and on plan. If the crew is seasoned you should have a high level of confidence in their abilities once you see them execute the plan.

Post Production

8. Editing

Once the shoot is complete, you should have a rough idea from the crew when the first version of your video will be delivered. If you have a seasoned editor, most corporate videos require between a week to two weeks to see your first version. Variability in this may happen if the video is longer than a couple of minutes or branding materials aren’t delivered quickly to the production team (editor). The editor will need high-resolution logos and other similar materials related to the video (something they may have asked for prior to the shoot).

Good editing will be based on good planning…which is why we recommend the plan be finalized before shooting every time…no matter how many times you’ve done this. While every video production company is different, most will allow around two rounds of revision after receiving your first version. If you’re editing more than one video, a good editor will also recommend providing you with one of the videos first to get any revisions you might have and then apply all those revisions to the rest of the videos to streamline the editing process for you and for them. For example, if you didn’t like the color of the font they used and you provide that feedback, the rest of the videos you’ll receive will already contain those revisions…saving you time.

Your editor will also incorporate 2D graphics, 3D Animation, music, and any professional narration at this point. Graphics and animation should make sense for the video. Adding them to wow you isn’t working with your strategy we started with, so it should make sense if the graphics or animation is added.

Music should also reflect the mood and tone of the video. If the music is upbeat, but the person on camera is talking about the problems the viewer is facing, something will feel wrong by the viewer… making it less likely they will take the next measurable step (think about your goals).

It is also at this point that any professional narration that was recorded is tracked to the video. Typically a good editor will time verbal statements with music, changes in mood, and visual elements to make the finished piece emotionally connected.

9. Delivery

Once you’ve provided all the feedback and it’s been edited to your satisfaction, you should receive a download link from the production company so you can place your video where you would like to place it. You might place it on: your website, YouTube channel, social media sites, Vimeo, Wistia, or a few other places that will help you monitor and analyze your results. You’ll want to make sure you place it in a place that allows you to fully control, own, and monitor all the analytics. Without that, you won’t know if you’re successful or not.

10. Distribute Your Video

Not everyone distributes video the same way, so we’ll provide a few options here, but know there are always more. You might: use social media, email campaigns, coordinate with influencers in your space, use a PR firm to distribute your video, use the video in online video ads, place the video on broadcast television or cable, or use SEO tactics on your website to funnel viewers to a landing page to watch the video. One isn’t necessarily better than the other but understanding your strategy and knowing your goals will help you decide where to distribute/place your video.

We hope this helps you better understand the steps it takes to create a corporate video and why each step is important to the overall project. The next thing you might want to do is consider reading 6 Qualities To Look For In A Video Production Company or Why Do Production Companies Quote Different Rates for the Same Project?

How Long Does it Take to Get a Professional Video?

Photo taken during a video shoot with Plum Productions

Time is money and you want to know, how long should it take to get my video? You have every right to ask that question. You also have every right to get an honest answer. While we’ve had clients come to us because they were frustrated with how long it was taking to get their video from another production company, our goal is to be as upfront about timelines as possible. Timelines vary by several factors. Let’s dig into what can change the timeline and what you can do about it.

  • Deposit. Yes, we, like many other production companies, require a deposit to get started. This can sometimes slow the process down a little, depending on how large the client’s company is.
  • Before the Shoot.┬á You’ve decided to move forward and you hope to get your video in a week…is this realistic? Probably not, but it could be. We consider the time before the shoot to be the most critical and has the biggest impact on timeline. Here’s why: We base much of the rest of the video’s outcome on what happens before production begins. We hold a preproduction meeting to ensure we completely understand and everyone agrees to the direction the shoot is heading. We write scripts, plan the shoot schedule, etc. based on this information. A poor plan can result in a poor video, so we can’t stress how important a good preproduction meeting is for your success. This portion of the production usually doesn’t slow the process down unless things change directions and decisions can’t be made in a timely manner. Usually doesn’t happen, but sometimes it does.
  • The Shoot. The shoot is the shoot. It’s where the planning meets reality and stuff starts to happen. Typically we schedule a half, full or multi day shoot for a set number of hours. Again, this doesn’t usually cause any delays to the delivery time unless the client cannot schedule the shoot until someone has returned from vacation or needs to wait until a date in the future to begin shooting. That also applies to our schedule. If we’re already booked for the next several weeks, a new shoot most likely won’t get scheduled until after that clears up a bit.
  • Post Production. Here’s where time bends. Our goal is to always get you a finished product to review within about 7 to 10 days (unless otherwise stated during the shoot). Typically this is good for the client and good for us. It allows an adequate amount of time to be creative in the editing process while still keeping to a deadline. Where things typically slow down is when the client receives the first edit. That’s not a problem because there are usually several people involved on the client side to provide adequate feedback and list the revisions. There should always be revisions. We fully expect the client to want something revised, after all, it’s their video and they need to get what they want, right? Once we get the revisions from the client, we usually apply those concepts, thoughts, and themes to any other remaining video edits and make the changes to the first video. Believe it or not, one time we waited 6 months to get the revisions list. These things happen and when they do, they affect how quickly the client receives the completed video.
  • Final Payment. Once we’ve completed the required rounds of revisions the client will provide final payment and the final videos are delivered. Again, this can stall the delivery process if it takes a few weeks to process checks at your company. This isn’t common, but it does happen.

There you have it, several factors that can affect the final delivery time of your video. How long should it take to get your video created and delivered depends on schedules, payment timelines, and revision/feedback timelines. Our typical projects take anywhere from 30 days to 3 months…depending on the client. That said, one time we started and completed a project in 7 days…so that can happen as well. We can say with certainty that it’s very difficult to provide a highly produced, quality video in less than 30 days…and even more difficult is producing an delivering a video by last week (as is sometimes jokingly requested).

If you’ve been waiting for a video production company to complete your project and you’re outside those timelines, give us a call, we may be able to help or give you some questions to ask. Any other video questions?┬á Give us a call.

Storyboard or Script?

Which is better? Does it matter?

While we don’t get this question often, it’s a valid question. A more likely question we get sometimes is, “Can we create a storyboard so we can see what the plan is?” The answer is usually yes, but there are times it doesn’t make sense. First let’s start with what a storyboard is versus what a script will do.

Storyboard

A storyboard is developed to show a client pictorially what may be shown on screen. These usually work well when we do product videos, especially when the finished video will need to be approved by a third party. Third parties to a product video might be QVC or the Home Shopping Network. Usually when one wants to create a product video to be featured on one of these channels, it’s a good idea to make sure the video matches their specifications and needs. It becomes costly to re-shoot or re-edit a video simply because it wasn’t approved prior to shooting. For instance the video below required a storyboard so it could be approved by management and shown to the retailer. The retailer had some input as to how it featured certain components that might help the product sell faster in their stores. They know their customers, so get them to help!

Here’s the video:

Here’s the storyboard that went with it:

Scripting

So now that we’ve discussed storyboarding, let’s shift over to scripting. Scripting is when we take what you do, how you do it, and/or why you do it and convert that into a spoken script that highlights the points your video needs to create. Spoken script can be you (or someone you designate from your business) on camera reading from a TelePrompTer, or it can be professional voice over. We have hundreds of professional voice over options to choose from and several languages. It’s important to choose which voice best represents your business. We can help with that as well.

One question that comes up when dealing with a script is, “Who should write the script?” Our recommendation is most frequently that we should write the script. We say this because we know how close you are to your business and sometimes we find people close to the work have a hard time formulating the correct message for the audience. For example, we’ve had some clients take a stab at their script only to include industry jargon and technical information that their target audience didn’t care about. What the target audience needed to know was, can you do what I expect of you, on time, and on budget? Those were the questions that needed to be answered, not the technical stuff. Sometimes the client is best suited to write the script, but most times, we can boil down the problem-solution for you making it less stressful during the shoot. Keep in mind, no matter what, the client has the last say in the script!

Here’s an example of a script for another product:

The concept is, tell the story, give someone the reason to buy your product or service. You’ll also notice that there are two columns in this script: a description of what you’ll see on the screen and the actual spoken words. This was a relatively straightforward script, but you get the picture. Here’s the finished video:


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If you have any questions about your video project, feel free to give us a call. We’re happy to help! Follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook.