Online Video - A Beginner's Guide
Here’s your scenario.
You’re at work. It’s a cold crisp Monday morn, you’re just getting comfy at your desk and the soothing aroma of instant coffee is ever so gently caressing your weather beaten nose holes. Just as you've brushed the sleep and morning haze from your eyes, the boss saunters over to your desk:
“Hey <insert name>, I‘ve just seen this ice vine bucket video thing on The Youtubes with that Benedict Cumbersnatch fella. We should definitely do some video stuff, drop everything you’re doing and go make a viral video” - Your Boss
Now here’s my two cents:
Online video IS going to play an increasingly large role in content marketing throughout the year to come and far far beyond into the future (until as Ste pointed out, "them science folk make holograms ‘n’ that"... At least I think that's what he said, he's northern so it was either that or something about eccles cakes...)
For one, the technology is more accessible and more affordable than ever, it’s also getting a whole lot easier to create your own video content in house. Ipso Facto, it’s very important that you jump on the bandwagon early doors, but it’s also important you start things off the right way and learn the basics first.
Don’t believe me? Think video is a waste of time? Check the numbers folks! “Native Facebook Videos Get More Reach Than Any Other Type of Post” according to social bakers…
Josh’s first unofficial rule of video marketing is to STOP, take a big step back, and devise a cunning plan...
Don’t get all excited & dive in head first and make a video just for the sake of having a video, or because your boss says they want one, or because you’re bored and want to faff about with a camera for a bit…
The fact is that more often than not video production is
1. Time consuming
2. Capital intensive.
Even creating a half decent Vine or Instagram vid can take a while to plan and shoot (unless you're just winging it and going for the candid, art house, hipster, fly on the wall, gonzo vid a la Slo-mo Monkey Bubbles).
A video posted by Noisy Little Monkey Ltd (@noisylittlemonkey) on
Before you potentially waste money, man hours and more importantly your sanity, you need to outline your objectives.
What message are you trying to convey and is video really the best, most cost effective medium to deliver that message?
Infographics, blog posts and a whole host of tools and channels are at your disposal, just consider your options before you commit to buying some gear & editing software, creating a story board, filming and then knuckling down and editing your efforts.
What Are You Trying To Achieve?
The most important question to ask yourself:
What do I want to get out of this video ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Brand awareness, social shares, referral traffic, website conversions or site links?
Once you figure out your end goal the rest of the planning process becomes a whole lot easier.
Benefits/Types of Online Video
Brand Awareness, Social Shares & Site Links
Think Van Damme & Volvo, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Fiat and the Motherhood rap, Sainsbury’s and the 'historically accurate' chocolate bar armistice. These videos are intrinsically sharable by their very nature.
Awareness & shareable vids are ultimately designed to create as much buzz as possible & evoke a lasting emotional response in the viewer.
How do you evoke a response? We like to follow the old adage of asking; is your content sexy, funny, disgusting or just plain ol' awesome sauce?
We also subscribe to the boundlessly bad-ass, Tiffany Maddox’s key stage 3 text book of shareable content, asking la question principale, is it A.R.S.E?
Here’s a good example, take a look at Bristol based studio Rubber Republic and their brand awareness video wot they done and did for Audi. Is it Vorsprung Durch A.R.S.E?
Couldn't be A.R.S.E.d to watch the video?
Basically the RR team strapped some 50 cal. Paintball canons atop the bonnets of two high performance station wagons (it's crotch punchingly awesome, WATCH IT)
How many of Tiffs A.R.S.E boxes did that vid tick?
Most if not all (Just as well seeing that Tiff works at Rubber Republic…)
But most importantly it triggered a response and as a result I kind of want an Audi estate... (Something I thought I’d never say in my early 20s)
Where’s the best place to stick your branded video?
Why the internet of course! YouTube, Vine and Instagram are your go to’s for sharing brand awareness vids. Why? These video platforms are all geared towards sharing, plus they've all got a huge user base. If you're looking to grow some of your social channels, upload the video to Facebook or Twitter's native video player and you'll rake in the shares, RT's & follows!
Online video is a great way to metaphorically push consumers over the edge and give them that final nudge needed to purchase, pick up the phone or add to basket.
Conversion driven video often works best when it comes to physical products (listen up if you run an ecommerce business).
Consumers often hesitate when purchasing on-line because they can’t touch, hold, sniff or lick the product they're considering buying.
To combat this you want to make a product demo. Online appliance store 'Appliances Online' (clever name) do a really good job of this.
The videos are a bit cheesy and a bit QVC-esque, but they work. Someone on the verge of buying who watches one of these videos is twice as likely to convert.
Conversion videos can also help build trust with a custome. Telling a story about yourself or your business gives customers much needed insight into your brand, business or service.
Have a little team story or bio vid on your front page. Customers who get a crisp, clear & concise audio-visual representation of your business, brand or services are that much more likely to trust you (and buy from you).
Need an example? Dollar Shave Club
Doing the do
Well done, you’ve cunningly planned your approach, you know exactly what you want to achieve and you've figured out how you’re going to achieve it. Gold star for you!
Next you've got to film the bloody thing, key things to keep in mind when filming:
- Story board
Can be as detailed or as basic as you want, just map out what scenes you’re going to film and figure out what order they need to be shot in.
You don't want your video to look dark, droll or gloomy. Make sure you have enough natural light when shooting, if it’s cloudy or there aren't enough windows, get some plug in lights.
Most of the time I can excuse ropey looking video that’s a bit pixelated or looks like it was filmed on a potato, I can’t however excuse naff sound. Get a mic if you don’t already have one.
Film more shots than you need, and preferably in multiple takes. There’s nothing more annoying than sitting down to do some editing and realising you don’t have everything you need.
- File size
You’re probably going to want to render your video in 1080p, DON’T! Think of the poor mobile user unwittingly chomping through their 3G just to watch a 3 minute clip… you’re more than welcome to output your video in HD just be weary that not everyone needs or wants to watch stuff in stunning 4k resolution.
- Have fun with it
If you enjoy what you're doing more often than not it shows in your work.
On A Budget?
Most stuff can be done on a phone camera these days, don’t be deterred just because you don’t have a copy of Premiere Pro (I don’t, I just pinch Tash or Lilies version of Adobe Creative Cloud) or a fancy 4k Phantom Flex (we use Jon's Dad's).
Windows Movie Maker is actually pretty straight forward to use, it’s free and I'm not ashamed to say I've used it on multiple occasions… here’s the first thing I ever filmed and edited, all done with WMM, not too shabby eh?
Micro Video is a great alternative if you need to be Spike Lee on a shoestring.
There’s lots of neat stuff being filmed on Apps like Instagram or Vine and brands are just realising how awesome these platforms really are.
I know it's not ideal as you've only got a small capture window of 6-15 seconds, it just means you have to get creative.
Think 6-15 seconds is too short? Check out what these big brands are doing!
In case you weren't already aware, GE are a faceless multinational conglomerate that make trains and microwaves. Not exactly sexy (depends on what you're into I guess). However, they still manage to take something seemingly mundane and turn it into some gnarly video content, comme ci
Why do I like this vine? It's charmingly simple, it made me laugh and it has a home-made look and feel to it. It is however missing a large dose of Terry Crewes IMHO. Could you knock up something simple like this?
Everyone's favourite hipster hyper-mart kick proverbial bottom on vine, capitalising on holiday trends to flaunt and flog their over priced product range. (I do actually like Urban Outfitters, it's just a bit pricey once you've bought your ironic cat jumper, Mini Diana camera and 'vintage' tea cups with the swears written on them...)
A bit like B&Q but American, Lowes might just be my favourite brand on vine. They cleverly use their 6 second clips to show off handy DIY tips and tricks, like this one where they maniacally rub stop-motion lemons all over someone's poor defenceless shower...
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect.
They more videos you make the better, faster, stronger you’ll get, so start out with a small project or a vine vid and work your way up from there.
You will make mistakes, but that’s just life, not everyone can become David Lynch overnight. And if Lowes has taught you anything, when life hands you lemons, make a vine.
Image Credit: Old Timey Camera Man