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How to Create Great Video

image - SMARTSTART Processes

Done well, video can be an awesome tool for your business.

One of our long-term plans is to expand into video. I’ve been exploring options but haven’t made any decisions as yet. There are, however, a number of tips I can pass along to you that I know are critical to creating great video. Before getting involved in the medium, it seems a good time to remind you of the SMARTSTART philosophy: “Perfection is not the goal. Excellence will be tolerated.

There are 5 things that make a critical difference to how well your videos are received:

1) knowing your purpose

2) connecting with your audience

3) being memorable

4) evoking emotion / driving viewer action or intent and

5) ensuring your video production values support (rather than detract from) your overall goal for the video.

For those of you who have never created a video before, there are 3 phases to making one: pre-production, production, and post-production. Here are a few key guidelines to keep in mind. (If you are already making videos but want to improve their quality, these tips are for you too.)

Pre-Production

  1. What are your objectives for the video? (Is it primarily for sales, marketing, training, entertainment, inspiration, customer support, visibility, credibility, or general communication?)
  2. Where/how will you distribute your video and who will be watching it? For example, will it be sent directly to viewers or published on one or more digital channels, promoted, and watched by a (hopefully) large public audience?
  3. What is your key message or story that needs to be told in the video? Whether you use a full script or just an outline, planning your content and writing in plain English are important for creating great video content.
  4. What style of video do you want to create? Your communication goal(s) often dictate what you will do visually. Use a storyboard to plan where and how to include text, graphics, slideshows, stock or live footage etc.
  5. How will you use audio and where is it coming from? Something needs to tie camera footage, images, text and graphics together to carry your video from start to finish. Is it going to be narration, a music track or both?

Production

With your up-front work completed, here are some important things to remember when shooting begins:

  1. Test your audio to make sure your sound is audible. Despite what you might think, video is a means of audio communication. Viewers are not forgiving of bad audio, so test it to see if you need additional microphone support.
  2. Get out of the shadows and put your best face forward. Using the right lighting techniques is critical to producing quality video. Take the time to learn about lighting!
  3. Practice before you start recording. The more you practice before shooting starts, the more natural and confident you’ll be on camera. This is a great opportunity to tweak your script or outline too.
  4. Control your hands and stay focused. Keep your eyes on the camera and your hands off your face and out of your hair for a more a professional delivery.

Post-Production

Before you share your video with the world, spend some time to make it the absolute best it can be.

  1. Edit out the bad, the mistakes, and the irrelevant. There are a variety of editing tools available you can use to clean up the bits you captured on video that you don’t like.
  2. Layer in audio (but don’t get carried away). Audio includes dialogue, music and sound effects recordings treated as separate elements. Once combined, they make up the soundtrack for your video.
  3. Add in any special effects. For your final touches, add in any graphics, animation and other enhancements. Remember, less is more. Although most of this work is completed during post-production, it should be carefully planned and choreographed in pre-production and production.

Be prepared to go through a number of post-production versions of your video before uploading it for public consumption. Yes, it does take longer to create great video. I assure you, your brand and reputation are worth it!

PS Ready to take video production seriously? Here are a number of excellent tutorials on how to make great video from Story Guide University.