Ensure Effective and Affordable Videos with a Focus on Pre-Production


How Can You Ensure Effective and Affordable Videos?

How Can You Ensure Effective and Affordable Videos?

Business marketing people understand that videos can be powerful sales tools. Many still aren’t producing them, though. Why not?

  1. They find the process daunting (they’ve never done it before).
  2. They’ve determined that the costs are too high.
  3. They found a low cost video producer, and they had a terrible experience.

Let’s take each of these scenarios and examine them a bit closer.The process is daunting

Major ad agencies have been producing compelling short videos (a.k.a. TV commercials) for decades. So the process is well-documented… and there’s a lot more work to it than meets the eye. There are several steps involving a multitude of skills, talents and tools in the Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production processes. Pre-Production is the most important process. It’s where your strategic marketing messages are articulated, distilled and translated into a story that can be told via sight and sound. Taking shortcuts in Pre-Production results in a less than effective (sometimes unwatchable) final product.

The costs can be too high

Full-service agencies have many full-time employees housed in expensive downtown office space. They have to pass that overhead on to their clients. Videos produced are effective marketing vehicles, but may be out of reach price-wise.

Low cost production can be problematic

You can hire low cost freelance videographers. They know their way around a camera. They have the lights and sound equipment. They can do basic editing. The issue is they don’t understand business marketing or how to tell a story visually. They have experience shooting events (like weddings). They don’t do pre-production work. They just shoot what’s in front of their camera.

The secret sauce is Pre-Production

Producing effective videos isn’t easy, but it isn’t rocket science either. Most problems with business video productions happen during the handoff from the corporate marketing people to the freelance video people. These two groups typically talk different languages, and the freelancers rarely have an understanding of corporate sales and marketing.

The marketers know who their target prospects are, and they know the value proposition of their product or service. They download this information to the video freelancers who have no frame of reference, no context, and no grasp of how to turn that information into a story that will hold interest and gently persuade.

What’s Missing?

  1. A strategy for the video – Who are we talking to? What are we communicating? What’s the call to action?
  2. A story that lends itself to being told via sight and sound (rather than read).
  3. A shooting script which specifies the sights and sounds scene by scene.
  4. A storyboard that details the appropriate look, style, color palette, etc.

These are all steps in the Pre-Production process.

Strategy

The number one objective of business marketing is to generate qualified leads. You’re not going to close a $100,000 sale with a video, but you can move a targeted prospect significantly along their buy cycle to the point where a follow up from Sales is welcome.

Who Are You Talking To?

Who, exactly, is your video is aimed at? Because what’s useful and relevant to one person is useless and irrelevant to the next.

What Are You Going to Show Them?

Someone has to develop a distilled version of your core messaging including product positioning, value proposition, features and benefits… in a story format.

Story

Start with your “Why?” Why did you start your business, and create your product or service? What problem are you solving? Then tell the story from your prospects’ perspective, so they recognize themselves and relate to the story. Put them in the story and they’ll view it to the end to see what happens.

Shooting Script

Once the story has been written in the traditional way, the text must be translated into the sights and sounds that comprise a video. A video script is a blueprint. Its purpose is to communicate exactly what’s to be done during production. Visual scriptwriting is a different skill from business, fiction or journalistic writing. The overriding consideration in scriptwriting is clarity. A reader can reread a sentence if they don’t get it the first time. If a scene isn’t understood in a video, however, the meaning is lost.

Script Format

Video scripts are divided into video (sight) and audio (sound) columns. The shot-by-shot two-column relationship of audio to video functions like two synchronized time lines.

The video column describes what the viewer will see including backgrounds, props, the characters, motion graphics, kinetic typography, static images, product demo captures, and more. The audio column contains all the sounds: voice over narration, character dialogue, music and sound effects. Video and audio are synched to a running timeline so everyone involved in the production knows exactly which sounds will be heard while each visual is being seen.

Storyboard

A storyboard is simply a static, visual representation of what the final video will look like. A storyboard gives production staff an objective to shoot for – a visualization of the style, look and feel, color palette, characters, backgrounds, etc.

Focus on Pre-Production saves time and money

Video creation is time consuming, and time is money. It’s much quicker, easier and cheaper to allocate time and resources in the strategy, story, script and storyboard phases than to make changes during or after production… AND the end result is a much more effective marketing vehicle.

By contracting a third party to deliver Pre-Production processes, you can work with a freelance videographer and be assured of a quality outcome. The result is an effective business video at an affordable price.

About the Author

Bob Leonard is the managing consultant at acSellerant Studios, a video production house specializing in effective and affordable business marketing videos. Bob is a seasoned professional marketer with many years’ experience at major technology vendors including EMC. He holds a M.S. in Technology Marketing from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a certification in Digital Video Production from the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Bob Leonard – who has written posts on Market Leadership Journal.


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