Businesses today are constantly connected to their customers, to their employees, and to each other. Digitally delivered marketing content is not only commonplace, but expected from reputable brands. Digital video has become the go-to method for delivering information in an engaging way to customers.
A few years ago, the question was “Why would I want to do video?” or, “What will video do for me?” We almost never hear those questions anymore. Instead, the first question is usually “How much will it cost?” And the answer, unsurprisingly, is usually, “Well, it depends.” In truth, there are tools out there that will let you create a video online; cloud video production services that allow you to drag and drop elements onto a screen and add music and transitions all from your laptop – without any special tools. So why would you want to hire a production company to produce a video for you?
Think of your favorite Hollywood movie, or one that you’re excited to see. Producers could film The Avengers with their iPhones if they wanted to, but they don’t. Why? Because no one would watch it. The truth is that viewer expectations are rising; consider that thousands of videos are uploaded to various social media platforms and websites every second – from Hollywood, to user-generated content, to business videos – so competition is fierce.
You want your video to stand out and reach the largest audience possible. In order to do that you need to hire professionals that have the talent, experience and gear to meet your audience’s expectations. We call this Production Value, and in layman’s terms it means that you get what you pay for.
So what are some ways you can increase your production value?
This is where the whole thing starts. You and your video partner will decide here whether you’re using green screen, aerial, or on-location video. We’ll decide what the message will be and how you’d like to deliver it. We’ll decide if you’ll be using narration or live interview footage to drive the story.
Spend time here with your production company or with your marketing agency to develop a rock solid plan for your video. It’s a good idea to bring in your production company or agency as early in the process as possible. A good plan going in is essential to success.
As the saying goes, “Use the right tool for the job.” As we mentioned earlier, everyone can shoot a video on their iPhone, but that’s not necessarily the right tool to use. Hollywood producers use cameras like the Arri Alexa, which starts at around $40,000 for a basic kit. The point here is that there are a wide variety of cameras we can use, each having its strengths and weaknesses and giving a very specific look to the footage. And it’s not just cameras: lighting equipment, sound equipment, and all the other accessories you might not think of also need to be carefully chosen for each project.
Together, we have over 30 years of experience – from Hollywood to Colorado – and we still learn new things every day. Make sure to choose a video partner who not only has the right tools for the job, but also the experience to know when and why to use each one.
Moving the camera is a great way to add production value. We have tools such as jibs to get sweeping shots, sliders to get smooth horizontal pans and pushes/pulls, and even drones to have complete freedom of movement or give you a bird’s eye perspective. We can use steadicam rigs to follow a subject. All of these things add visual interest to a shot, which will hold your audience’s attention longer and give them that moment of, “Wow, that looks so cool!”
These tools all take time to set up and to deploy effectively, so make sure you leave ample time in your shoot to use them to their greatest effect. Talk to your video company about using some of these tools – they will have the experience and expertise to help you understand why you might want to move the camera for a certain shot and where to best use those techniques.
Good lighting is vitally important to an engaging video. Depending on your shot, and especially if you’re using a lot of camera movement, it cannot be overstated how important taking the time to set up your lighting can be to a successful shot. Depending on your space, your video production company may need to bring in specialty lighting gear. Talk to your company about any special shots you have in mind and how to light it effectively.
If you’re going to have an on-screen personality, you might want to consider professional actors for your video. Having a confident, comfortable presence in front of the camera goes a long way into creating a good viewing experience for your audience. If you’re going to use members of your team – a product expert for example – then make sure they are going to be comfortable and confident on camera. If you have a very tight script, then you may want to consider a teleprompter to make it easier for your team member to deliver his/her lines. Your representative should practice their lines in front of a mirror a few times the day before to get comfortable with the delivery.
If your video includes narration, you almost certainly want to create a concise script and hire professional narration talent to record it. They are fast and very affordable, and the quality and consistency of their narration makes recording and revisions easy.
Here again, talk to your video provider about the talent you might want to use. They will have a network of talent that they can call on to audition for your project. We can do all the heavy lifting so that you can simply view or listen to an audition and decide who you like best.
When it comes down to it, the production value of your video includes all of the resources you put into it – from conceptual development time to lighting and how you use the camera. If your videos aren’t quite hitting the mark, you may want to consider increasing your production value by using some of the tools and techniques in this article. The higher the production value, the more engaging and enjoyable the viewing experience you will deliver to your audience.
That’s a wrap!