Step 1: Ideation
Every brand has a story. It’s up to you, to find out which story, or stories, are the ones that will drive home your message and will best help your audience connect with you.
So how do you pinpoint the best story to tell?
First start by thinking about your purpose. What is the issue that you want to tell the world about? Perhaps you’re advocating living a certain lifestyle, or your target customers have a certain pain point. Your customers might be chained to a desk job that they hate, or they might be lonely and find dating difficult. They might have a lifestyle that is less than healthy and be struggling to lose weight. They might be struggling to get a high paying job and be caught in the seemingly endless cycle of working more than one low paying job just to make ends meet
Whatever your product, whoever your target market, and whatever their pain points, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get brainstorming, because it’s time to find your story.
Your character (that’s YOU)
Central to every engaging story is a compelling character. Your first, goal is to determine what makes you more compelling than your competitors.
So let’s take a look at the qualities that contribute to creating a strong story character. You need to find qualities about you that are unusual or distinctive. Additionally, you need to have a burning desire. You must have a goal that you are trying to achieve, as your actions to achieve this goal and the challenges that stand in your way will dictate the story plot. Finally, your character needs complexity. Your video needs to depict you as having a mix of traits that derive from nature and experience. You respond to events with both innate responses and responses you have developed from life experiences.
So let’s take a look at you can burrow down to find the core of your burning desire that will make for compelling viewing.
Start by answering these questions:
1. What’s the deep-seated reason you are chasing your goal?
2. How did you get started on the path to this goal?
3. What drives you and why are you so passionate about this?
4. What obstacles and hurdles have you faced along the way?
5. How have you over come them, or how to you plan to overcome them?
6. Who has been a key person that has helped you to realise your goals, and how have they helped you?
6. What makes you keep on going, even when it seems like it’s all too hard and the struggle starts getting to you?
6. What makes you sit back and feel like all the sacrifices have been worth it?
7. What does the future look like?
Answer these questions, then summarize your responses into key points and you have found your burning desire.
Next, let’s look at what makes you distinctive. What will make you stand out from every other competitor out there who is vying for your market’s attention.
Do you take a different perspective or a different approach to your work than your competitors ? What do you do differently than other people in your industry?
Do you see the world differently than other people in your industry, and approach all of your work with that unique perspective filtering through?
Whatever your unique qualities, or approaches, identify each of them and select the ones that are the most powerful.
Now that your unique proposition and your burning desire has been determined, we can move on to determining your challenges.
Want to know how to keep people on the edge of their seat? With conflict. Without conflict, your story will likely fall flat, no matter how interesting, unique and goal driven you portray yourself to be in your video.
The conflict you will want to portray in your video needs to be directly related to the goals you are including in your story. What could have prevented you from achieving your goals?
For many people, this will be a no brainer, but for others, pinpointing these challenges can be more difficult. Here are some idea sparkers to help you out:
Was there an person who was/is important to you that that didn’t want you to pursue this goal? Your family / parents, teacher, boss, husband, wife?
Did you battle self-doubt, have a fear of failure, or feel anxious?
Did you culture or community from down on you chosen path?
Did your geographical location an obstacle – were you in an isolated location?
Perhaps you are a tech-illiterate person, but your goals required a tech savvy person to be realised.
There are plenty of other conflicts or obstacles that could have stood in your way, but these ideas should get the ideas flowing. Write you challenges down and choose the most intriguing, engaging, one or two hurdles you have overcome in pursuit of your goals.
Keep it detailed. People want stories that are believable. Empty words should be avoided. Fill your story with details and colour, and make it as real life as possible. Explain how you felt, how the other person you were conflicting with felt. If you recall words that were uttered in the head of conflict, add those to your story to bring it alive. Give specific examples of the obstacles you overcame and the challenges that have shaped you. This will help you audience empathize and relate to you and your story. You want to appear personal and even vulnerable, because this is what will help your viewers connect.
Now that you have come up with your idea and the story angle, it’s time to ask yourself whether your target audience care about your story? Is it compelling? Will it resonate with your audience? Will they relate to it because they have a shared experience? Will they emotionally connect? Can they empathize?
If you believe that your story plan is good to go, it’s time to get deeper into what, and who, will be needed to bring your story to life. If it’s not, it’s time to revisit and rework it.
Step 2: Planning
Now that you rough story plan is ready, it’s time to decide on how you will tell your story. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can tell a story on video:
Narration – This is where the narrator is off camera. This traditional style is often used in news type documentaries.
No Narration – Rather than being told by a person’s voice, the story unfolds through interviews, footage and text.
Host – This is where a guide or a host comes on camera and they take you through the story. You could have a a person who has a connection to the story, someone who has no connection at all, or you could host it yourself.
Recreation – This is where you reenact a story.
Interview Stacking – This is where interview a number of people and stack segments of their interviews one after another. You can get very creative with this and ask one question to several people to get different answers that can be collated to paint a multi angled picture of the story.
Autobiographical recount – This is an opinion piece, where the story is told from your perspective, with your voice as the narration.
Observational – In the observational story, there is no narration and no interviews. The camera is set to record and the story unfolds in real life. The footage is edited after all of the the footage has been captured, and the editor selects the footage and tone to communicate the story in the manner they want.
This is the style of reality TV. The basic idea is planned, but there are no scripts. The story is pieced together in post production.
So after that run down, what style do you think will work best for your branding video? The storytelling style you select will likely be impacted by the topic and the message you are wanting to convey.
Next, have a think about possible costs involved in the production. Do you need to purchase equipment or props? What is your budget? How much time will it take you to shoot? Where will you shoot? Do you need permission to shoot in any of the locations?
How many people will appear in your video? If you are a solo business owner, or a personal brand, do you want to include family, friends, or “customers” in your video? Depending on which country you reside in, children will need express consent from a parent or guardian to participate, and you will need to keep a written record of this permission.
Although you may not be able to answer all of these questions right now, it’s important to write the questions down and revisit them later, when you do have a better idea of what’s involved.
What is the idea length of your video? It depends.
When contemplating length, remember that audiences today are used to quick messages. Everyone is rushed and studies have shown that people rarely focus on things for more than a few seconds at a time. Because of this, you may want your video to be from 1 to 30-minutes in length. Yes- you likely have a lot to say , but you often need to keep it short to maintain the attention of you audience.
The general rule of thumb is to keep it under 1 minute 30 seconds, however if you are aiming for more of a documentary style video that explores your story in greater depth then a mini documentary may go for 3 minutes up to 10 minutes.
Step 3: The Story
Now we get down to the exciting part. It’s time to build your story.
You have your basic plan mapped out, now it’s time to get more granular and write a script. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to create a script which is to be followed word for word, or whether you would prefer to improvise.
So let’s take a look at how to bring all of your notes and ideas together and overlay it with a structure to create a story. Let’s look at the concepts of the story arc, emotional center, character development and tone/treatment.
First up, we need to develop a story arc. The objective of a story arc is to take our character on a journey of growth and change as they confront obstacles.
When setting out you video plan, it’s easiest to map out the story arc in three acts: the beginning, middle and end. The beginning introduces the character(s), that would be you, if you are creating a personal branding video. This is also where the character’s goals are established. In the middle act, we show the character’s struggle to accomplish their goals and the obstacles that the face. The end act shows the growth or change of the character(s) in their quest to achieve their goals, and of course, shows whether they achieved their goals or not.
Hook: Determine how you will get people engaged quickly at the beginning of your video. For video, that means you often have just a few seconds to grab viewers’ attention and hold it.
Your audience expects you to get them interested, fast. Facebook videos autoplay, but you only have a few seconds before your audience scrolls past. And most YouTube ads are skippable, letting viewers move on in 5 seconds. So how do you get your audience interested that quickly? With a good hook.
A hook is just something interesting that happens at the very beginning of your video that draws in viewers. You don’t have to create expensive, Super-Bowl-worthy ads to generate interest. Many successful videos manage by trying one of the following techniques:
1. Make a provocative statement
2. Incite curiosity
3. Shock the audience
4. Tell a story
5. Ask a question
6. Use text
7. Be authentic
8. Be vulnerable
9. Quote an influential person
10. Begin with a captivating visual
11. Use silence
12. Use music
13. Start focused on an object
14. Start focused on a body part
Introduce: Explain Who are you, what makes you unique, what is your desire. How will your audience identify with you? For your audience to care, you need to establish an emotional connection. Think about questions you can answer in your video that will evoke feelings of empathy in the audience for you. You don’t need to actually ask these questions in the narrative, but you can unfold the answers to questions that the audience may have in their mind, with your audio and video.
Ask: Introduce the core question of your story.
Acceptance: Next, we need to establish your motivation.Divulge the “Aha” moment your goal became clear to you and you commenced your journey. What are you risking by going after these goals? Can you possibly achieve the goals?
Answer: Share when you found the answer to your core question
Journey: After focusing on the goals, we introduce the protagonist or the barriers. Explain the conflict and obstacles you faced on your journey. These barriers bring conflict and excitement to your story.
It’s time to show the audience what the character is made of. It’s the struggle and the fight that has the audience cheering for you. It’s the tension that keeps the audience engaged.
This stage, arguably more than any other stage, is where your choice of camera angles, shots, and narrative style, have the most impact on how your audience experiences the story.
Resolve: Finally, we reach the story resolution. This is where you decide the turning point, when you overcome your obstacles, and reveal how your journey ends. This is where you also show how you have changed in pursuit of your goals, and what you have achieved. It’s the moment where you can look back on how far the subject has come, and how they have grown. Conclude the story and circle back to what makes you unique and what makes you tick.
When crafting your story, it’s important to think about the emotional connection you can make with your audience. You can communicate emotions by showing the impact of an incident on your current situation, for example. Take your audience on a journey – letting them feel your wins and losses, ups and downs. Leave the audience with something striking and memorable.
So now that we’ve worked our way through the different acts, it’s time to consider in what order you will present the story. Of course stories don’t always need to be presented in chronological order, and it’s quite common, and effective, to chop and change back and forth through time in a story. This can be an effective way to keep your audience guessing and engaged.
Whether your story is long or short, it’s important to follow the message through and to avoid tangents that detract from the story. No matter the length or the form of the story, every word, shot and chapter of your story needs to done one of two things: to help you understand the character or understand the journey. To help you “stick to the point” a technique that I suggest you use is the keep the story objective in front of you at all times. Write it down and put it in front of you – whether you are in the planning phase, the shooting phase (keep it in a notebook with you), or the editing phase.
For example, your story objective might look like this: “I am an entrepreneur who struggled against financial challenges and lack of time with three young children, and worked day and night to make my freedom business happen”.
Organizing your story
Once you have formulate your ideas, it’s time to start organizing the story on paper.
You are going to have so much going on in your story, it’s important to have a system to help think through everything clearly. This will also be helpful when you are editing in post production.
So start by jotting down the different stages in your story. Let’s call the stages “chapters”.
Your chapters may look something like this:
Chapter 1: 20 something girl who had achieved her dreams, travelling the world, but feeling despondent (introduce)
Chapter 2: Having fun, living the high life. Something is not aligned. Asked myself, why was I feeling like this? What once was a dream, suddenly felt like a jail (ask)
Chapter 3: It clicked. I wasn’t feeling in alignment. I was working for big corporations. Everything was so consumer oriented. I was feeling disconnected form people. I felt like a machine, going through the motions. I stopped everything, despite a big offer, of something I had always wanted. I said no. I went home. Took time out, started a family (acceptance)
Chapter 4: The digital age happened. The internet brought new opportunities (journey)
Chapter 5: Built a b2b agency. Hard times struck with the GFC. Health started to fail
Chapter 6: Struggled, day and night, through illness, with young kids. Chasing my dream, my freedom
Chapter 7: Health improved
Chapter 8: Finally could launch b2c business
Chapter 9: Freedom found. Can work when I want. Enjoy life with family
Step 4: Characters
Which characters will your story portray? Is it only you/ your business owner? Is it a number of people? Note down how your characters link together? What are their relationships? How do they complement each other? How to they help each other? How will you depict them, or yourself? Write down what they will be doing in the story. What will they be wearing? Visualize exactly how the scenes will pan out. What is their role in the video and what is their message to your audience?
Step 5: Your Equipment
Beginning with the camera, consider what you need. Most likely your phone’s video is adequate to create quality video, in particular if you are using a newer Android or iPhone. You also can move to a professional high-end video camera. The difference is that when you start using professional-grade video cameras, you get better sensors that can function in poorer light conditions. You also will have more control over the DOF.
When your camera’s sensor increases, you also can choose your zoom. For example, using DSLR lets you film your subject actor and keep them in focus, while blurring the background. This is a great effect that help your viewers subconsciously target in on your actor and what they are promoting.
If you do opt for a DSLR, you can purchase one, rent one or borrow one. If you decide to rent, there are many websites that allow you affordable deals. Borrowlenses, for example is an option that allows for cost-effective equipment rental. At this particular website you can rent a Nikon D7000 for just $61-per-day and the lens for $20-per-day. This is a great option for newer videographers to use. You also can buy one if you are going to need the camera repeatedly. You can find D7000s online for under $900 and some lenses for $135.
Action-Item: Find the camera you need and decide if it is better to purchase or to rent.
Incorporating the right sound into your video is vital to the success of your project. Consider a fantastic visual appeal with scratchy audio, or audio that is lagging and unclear. You can immediately shoot your project in the foot with inadequate audio. To properly get your message out there, you need good clear audio that effectively communicates your message.
Fortunately, there are reliable ways of creating the audio you need to support your visuals. In general, there are two options. The directional microphone, or shotgun mic, and the lavalier, or lav mic. The first one we’ll discuss is the shotgun mike. To get the right sound quality, this mic must be close enough to the speaker to pick up their vocals clearly and crisply. The skill here is to also keep it out of the frame of the shot. It’s particularly popular for shoots where your speaker is moving. You can either purchase or rent these mics. The Rode Shotgun Video Mic is a good choice and can be rented at Borrowlenses. You also can find a selection of options at Amazon.
The second option is the lav mic. This one is the kind you see on television personality’s collars or jackets. They attach to the speaker’s clothing and pick up sound. Usually the wire wraps around their ear and is relatively out of the way and undetectable. This is a great option when your speaker is stationary. Of course, there are wireless versions available also. As with the Shotgun, you can rent or purchase these too. At Amazon you can find a wired-version microphone for about $20.
The good news is that both options are highly affordable. If your video shoot calls for both, they won’t break your budget.
Action-Item: Decide what mic/s you need for your shoot and procure them.
While you are reserving or purchasing equipment, always consider how you are going to stabilize your camera. The last thing you want is an unsteady picture that looks poorly made. Always opt for a tripod to hold your camera. Even the strongest arms can get fatigued after holding a camera for an extended period of time. If part of your shoot involves moving with your speaker, get a dolly or a slider to position the camera on. That way it will move with the subject but in a steady and controlled motion.
Action-Item: Decide what type of supporting stand you need and rent or purchase it.
Another important element to your ending result is lighting. Lighting is important to allow your camera to get the perfect shot. You can have a camera worth hundreds-of-thousands of dollars but without the right lighting, your picture can turn out horribly.
Ideally, your location will offer you an abundance of lighting that solves all of your problems! This is highly unlikely though. That’s why you have to be proactive to create the perfect lighting situation for your needs. Artificial lighting is the answer. For example if you’re filming indoors and the light of the room isn’t enough to light your speaker’s face, you can use a key light and a fill light. On the other hand, if you’re outside and natural light can create harsh shadows. Using artificial lighting can remove the shadows and create a much more pleasing look.
If your tight budget is a concern, you can still get a great lighting quality. Seating by a window that uses the daylight may work as long as you use a large sheet of foamcore. You can position it on the side of your speaker’s face but face it away from the window. This is a great way to use the outdoor light to create the look you want. You also can purchase task lights or if you have a larger budget, rent a LED-lite panel. Your camera likely will come with a built-in light, but rarely is it flattering to the speaker. If you have no option, test it out though. It might still work for your setting.
Step 6: Shooting
So you have all of your equipment ready and waiting for the shoot. Cameras are in hand, so are lights, the script and audio equipment. Now what? Now it’s time to get down to the fun part—actually creating your video. Likely you have spent some time planning so you eliminated a lot of the hassle. There are still things to consider. Now, we’ll get into the other things you’ll be organizing to complete your video.
Your Assisting Team
The day or days of shooting are going to be hectic. You want to be sure that you have enough people who can help you, if necessary. If you have a minimal amount of equipment, you may be able to manage solo. There are also some amazing tech gadgets out there to help you control your equipment via phone or tablet. But if you have a lot of equipment and no remote controls, don’t try to do it yourself— get help! You want your mind to be focusing on the on-screen aspect rather than the off screen tech challenges.
Your assisting team can help you with carrying and setting-up equipment. They also may be the ones handling the camera set-up and lighting. Hopefully you can find friends who are free for the day to help you.
Action-Items: Find someone who can be your assistant for the day of the shoot. Again- ideally a friend who will work for lunch but if you need to, get a paid-assistant. Also, be sure to set up an on-site 2-point system for lighting. Test out lighting that looks best in your setting.
Helpful Hint: Outside shoots can be great options to take advantage of natural (and free) lighting. Shooting during the “Golden Hour”, which is about 1-hour prior to sunset or post sunrise, is when light is especially kind to speakers. You’ll get a great soft light to compliment them. If you need to shoot during the day, try to pick a day that is overcast. This is a great natural way to cut down on the harsh shadows that can ruin your speaker’s look.
Consider the “rule of thirds” when you are framing your talent (that would be you) for the video. This is particularly helpful for videos featuring “interview-style” set-ups. It gives you the room you need to move and engage the audience. It also gives the audience the feel that you aren’t just a “head in a box talking at them.”
You also can use a more shallow DOF (depth of field) to keep the focus. With a DSLR this is easy to accomplish and one of the main advantages of using it. Large aperture and large sensor lenses let you focus in on the subject (you), and let the background blur out a bit. This is a great way to call more attention and keep people’s eyes fixed on you.
Action-Item: Watch some videos on the proper use of DOF and see what a difference it can make with how you perceive the speaker. Plan your video with these techniques.
Camera shots are very important in shaping meaning in your video. When used well, your shots give your video a professional quality. Framing your shot refers to the amount of space that is seen in one shot or frame of your footage. Camera shots can be used to display setting, characters and themes.
Here is a run-down on the basic framing you should be aware of when mapping out your scenes:
Extreme long shot: a shot containing a large expanse of landscape. The extreme long shot is frequently used at the beginning of a scene or a film to establish the setting.
Long shot: a shot that includes landscape but gives the viewer a more exact location. An example may be a church, a school building, a house, or a playground. A long shot can be used to establish an exact location that the upcoming scene will take place.
Full shot: a shot that contains a full view of the characters in the scene. This shot can be used to establish relationships between characters, and is an opportunity for the audience to see environmental features that help tell the story. A desk with papers or a cot and nursery furniture. The audience can see the attire of characters.
Mid shot: a shot that shows the character/s waist up. As the camera is closer here, the characters faces and expressions are more visible and it is easier to see characters interacting.
Close-up shot: this shot is only of one character’s face. This close up shot allows the audience to see facial expressions clearly, and is often used when the character is expression emotion. With this shot, the audience can really connect with the character and empathize with how they are feeling.
Extreme close-up shot: this shot focuses on only one object or on one feature on a character’s face. The extreme close up can be used to covey intensity of emotion of a character. This shot can be used to make the audience feel like they are inside the character’s intimate space. It can force the viewer to take note of particular objects, body parts, movements or expressions that they would be notice in a winder shot.
Have a think about how these shots can be used in your video to help tell the story you want to tell. If you wish to include some extreme close ups o facial expressions, objects or hands, it’s a good idea to capture these after the wider shots have been filmed, or use a second camera to run at the same time.
In addition to camera shots, camera angles are also an important way to engage your audience, understand the relationships between the characters, and establish a relationship of the talent (character) in relation to the audience. So let’s take a look at some of the more common camera angles, and how they are frequently used.
A bird’s eye view is an angle that looks down at the scene from directly above – just as a bird would see the scene when flying overhead. Just like the extreme long shot, the birds eye angle is frequently used to establish a setting.
A high angle allows the audience to look down on the subject from a high angle. High-angle shots are frequently used to portray a character as vulnerable or powerless when accompanied by lighting and context that further supports this scenario.
An eye-level angle – The eye-level camera angle is the “personal view” and depicts the character as we would see them in real life. This is the most commonly used and anlge, and it puts the audience on the same level as the subject.
A low angle positions the camera below and makes the audience feel like they are looking up at a character. This can be used to convey authority. Using a low angle can have the converse effect of a high angle, and rather than making the character look vulnerable, it can make the audience feel more vulnerable.
Camera movement is often used to further add meaning to videos. A crane shot is where the camera is attached to the end of a jib or a crane, and gently swung in an arc and slider or tracking shots are where the camera is moved from one position to another along a track, often on a motorized device Using such devices can give the audience a “tour” of a scene or to follow a character as they move across a scene. A drone shot is used to achieve the birds eye shot, or to move in from an extreme long shot to a close up. Drones can also be used to follow a moving camera. Drones are being used more and more by everyday people creating online video as they are now very affordable.
Step 6: Storyboards
You’ve planned your story line and have an idea of shots. Your next step is to create a storyboard to covey this information in a visual format. A storyboard is an illustrated sequence of the scenes, angles and shots for the purpose of pre-visualizing your video. Notes are also included to ensure all of the information that you need in presented in your depiction.
Step 7: Shooting Schedule
Organizing the shooting schedule is incredibly important to avoid wasting precious time and energy.
When it comes to scheduling, there are two important questions to answer:
1. How many days will the filming take?
2. What order should the video be shot?
Now you have your storyboard, you will be able to see whether you will need to see parts of different “chapters” on the same day, in the same location. You will want to film all of your scenes that are shot in the same locations on the same day, to avoid having to revisit the location and set up again.
You will also need to think about attire, and whether you or the characters need to wear the same clothes in different locations on different day, to make it appear that the character has move from one location to another on the same day.
Step 8: Ready to film
When filming, it’s important to make sure you cover plenty of different angles to give yourself plenty of options when you are editing, and to keep your audience engaged.
Inevitably you want to get more video than you need. When you get back to the editing room, you will find things that you want to swap out. You’ll find better takes and preferred angles. Here is where having more options is going to help you make the most of your project.
Be sure that when you are shooting, you get that b-roll and plenty of back-up material. Shoot at different angles and positions. This is the perfect way to keep the audience interested. Visually they will be paying close attention to what’s coming next. Keep in mind the different angles and shots we discussed earlier. If not executed in the right manner, movement and extreme close ups can do more harm then good, and end up be distracting.
Get multiple takes. It’s a good idea to start smiling and think happy thoughts just before the camera is rolling, if the scene is “pleasant” or positive. That way, you get them in a great mood right off the bat. They’ll start working with a smile.
Although you will likely be working with a script, try to to be natural about it. If you are working on your own, a good way to do this is to ask a question before you speak, leave a gap for cutting in, then answer your question. If someone is helping you, they can lead with the question. You can edit the question out later. This is a way to get a much more casual delivery of the material.
It also is a great idea to get video of “extras” actually at the location – whether it be office, store, factory, etc, if it is in line with your overall concept. These candid shots help add interest to your video and make it more believable. Be sure to get the proper forms from everyone who is going to be on camera.
Helpful Hint: Always be careful about public filming. You never want to get bystanders on film. A good tip is to use shallow depth of field (DOF) with your equipment.
Remember right from the start that it helps to have B-roll footage. The term “B-roll” comes from editors using “A” and a “B” roll of identical footage, before the digital age. B-roll shots are additional footage from another angle or in another location, and it serves two purposes: it helps break up the A-roll footage shots to keep the viewer engaged, as well as helping to tell a visual story. Even if your narration is engaging, your audience still needs to see more visuals than your talking head. They need to see the setting, props or objects, and action of the story – this helps paint a more complete picture. You don’t have to shoot your own b-roll. As long as it fits with and adds to your story and your video style, you can find stock footage at reasonable prices, for example at http://istockpho.to/brollfootage.
Step 9: Post-Production
Now that you’ve filmed, the hard work is about to begin. No, seriously. The preparation and filming were just the beginning, now it’s time to sort through your footage and create your video. It’s time to edit your footage.
Once you film all of your pieces, now it is time to take everything and put it together. This is where you’ll combine your video footage, your images and your sound and create the final video project. These are the steps you’ll take to finish:
- Create your rough cut
- Sort through and add B-roll material
- Refine your video
- Integrate your music
- Export the video
- Monitor feedback
Your First Rough-Cut
Step 1 of post-production is creating your rough cut. This is the step where you take your camera’s information and export it to your computer’s editing tools. Place your various shots where they will show up as dictated by your original script. Many editors like to work with a few versions until they decide on what is the best one. Having more options to consider is always an advantage.
Video Editing Software
Depending on what device you have used to film your footage, you have various options for editing. If you’ve filmed on an iPhone, iPad or another phone or tablet, you will be able to scope out suitable apps to edit your footage on the device. If you have deeper pockets then Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro might be your editing suites of choice.
- Final Cut Pro – OSX
Many professionals love this software because of how easy it is to use and the fantastic results it can create. The fact is that it produces high-quality professional videos, so if you need it on an amateur level, it will likely work way beyond expectation. It comes with a very reasonable cost and gives you some of the most useful and easy-to-use tools out there. The best thing to do if you aren’t accustomed to it, is to watch some tutorial videos online. You can find plenty of free options on the support website and on YouTube. Some of the possibilities with this software are the ability to alter colors in specific areas of frames, edit frame-by-frame, create customized logo animations, eliminate background noise, and work with layers of footage. If you plan on creating videos in the future, this is a great investment.
- iMovie- OSX (free)
This is an Apple-based movie editing option. The best thing about this option is that it is 1) free and 2) very simple to understand the basics. You can use preset openings, animated logos and even add your music. This is a great place to start with video, but if you plan on creating a lot of videos, you may outgrow it quickly. To get your feet wet though, it’s a great option.
- Adobe Premiere Pro – OSX
This is a higher-cost editor, however it is a standard tool used in the professional film industry. It’s widely used for good reason. You can do a lot with it and it integrates seamlessly with Adobe software suite like Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects. This is another software that has a huge range of editing tools that can help you make the perfect video. Like the other more expansive options though, it takes some time and training to get the hang of it. It is a considerably higher price-point than other options, but if you are looking to stay in the video market, it’s another long-term investment that likely won’t let you down.
- Adobe Premiere Elements- Windows, OSX
Elements is made by the same developer as Premiere Pro, but offers fewer options. It’s another great starting point for new video editors. It still has plenty of pre-set options and transitions to use. If you have a strict budget and need an Adobe option, this is still a great choice. Plus, if you do decide to continue video editing you can easily transition to Premiere Pro when you are ready.
Helpful Hints: There are a few helpful hints to follow when you’re editing. Here are some important ones:
- Keep your footage moving. Imagine watching a still for 30 seconds. Even if you have a great audio attached, it can get boring very quickly. In general, static shots bore people. The same goes for a speaker. More than 2-minute intervals of him or her talking, and you can start to lose your audience. Here is where B-roll footage can give you some extra material to keep your footage interesting. Change up the angles, show the speaker manually doing something with the product, or change the setting. A general rule of thumb is never let any one shot exceed 15 seconds.
- To keep things interesting, use scenery changes. The last thing you want to do is bore your viewers. You need to do everything you can to keep them engaged. Using scenery is the perfect solution. Incorporate pictures from outside, inside, close-ups, people, etc. Vary everything so that you keep people interested until the end of your project.
- Don’t just tell people why your message is important. Using video to get your message across is a valuable too if you use it right. Don’t just let your speaker talk about the product. Let them use it. Show it being used by others. Showing is always better than just telling.
- Go from wide shot to tight shot. Let’s say you want to show a proprietary widget. Start your shot with a wide shot of the building where it is manufactured, then show a picture of the inside of the factory floor, then tight shot to the actual product. This is a great way to captivate the viewer.
- Edit your video to music. While you are editing, play the music you plan on incorporating into the video. It is the best way to get used to the music and mentally position it where you need it. By the time you get to actually incorporating music, you’ll know the song/s like the back of your hand. Plus it will put you in the mood to keep editing.
- Use reveals (optional): A reveal is an understated spike in the story line that surprises your audience. You can hint at your reveal early on in your video, so that when it is exposed it is a surprise, but is no unbelievable. Reveals, surprises, or plot twists occur later on in your video. Putting reveals too early in your video doesn’t give the audience much time to prepare for the surprise, decreasing the impact of the reveal. Premature reveals can also make for a disappointing or flat second half of your video.
- Transitions: transitions are hugely important. Human beings need to understand that we are changing direction, or changing thoughts. It’s easy for your audience to lose focus and for their attention to drop if your transitions are not executed well. Transitions that “jar” or are too sudden, can cause this to happen. To create a smooth transition from one thought to another, you can slow down, or you can speed it up if it’s leading into a segment that is more lively. You can use music to transition into another thought. Ambient noise or gentle music if you are about to transition into a slower paced thought or high energy music if you are about to enter a more lively scene. You can use a couple of different camera shots to transition.
Here is a list of transitions you can use:
Action-Item: Finish up your video’s initial rough cut.
Sort Through and Add B-Roll Material
The next step to finishing your rough cut is to add the B-roll material. Likely you have a good storage bin of B-roll. Go through your rough cut and find places where static shots may potentially bore people. Incorporate your B-roll material into these areas. Remember the “show what your product can do” tip and make sure that your video does just that.
Action-Item: Strategically incorporate your B-roll into the rough cut.
Refine Your Video
When you have your completed footage in order, now it’s time to clean it all up. You want to work with the timing of shots. Even if your shots are 1-tenth off, your viewers will know. Use your editing software to make great use of the video’s timing. Remove any clicks, background static or sounds. Also, try to edit your video down to the actual length of time you are targeting. You also can do your image adjusting like correcting balance, adding contrast or brightening darkness.
Helpful Hint: Be succinct and efficient with your message. People have very short attention spans. Studies show that people usually get through about 30% of a video. That means you need to use every second wisely. It is also a good idea to get your basic message across quickly within 1-minute of your video. This way even those who don’t watch all of the material, still get the gist.
Action-Item: Clean up your video’s audio and shot-lengths. Make sure its quick and easy to digest.
Integrate Your Music
Music is a great tool to use to control moods and help engage your viewers. It isn’t a necessity though. Some videos don’t need music and have proven successful without it. It’s up to you whether you want to add it or not. If you do, here are some things to remember:
- You have to pay for music you use. Copyrighted music included in your video is not legal without direct written consent from the artist or the studio. If you pick music created and performed by a local college student, you likely can work something out with them at an affordable price. On the other hand, if you pick music by the number one music artist in the country, expect to pay upwards of $20,000 for a song snippet. If it’s in your budget, that’s great. If it isn’t, then now is the time to consider other options. Both Vimeo Music Store and Musicbed are great places to get low-cost licenses from musicians.
- If you have the budget, you also can use a composer for custom music. This can be costly, but again it is dependent on the source. If you find a local musician to create your music, they may give you a great price for the publicity. If you want a known-professional to do it, then it will be much more. It definitely is a viable option though. Personalizing music to your video can be the perfect solution to conveying your message.
- There is license-free music available. You also can fine music under the title of “Creative Commons”. This is music that is free but be sure to use the filter to confirm that you can use it for commercial use. Some websites for this type of music is FreeMusicArchive, SoundCloud and CCMixter. Remember though that some of the license-free music isn’t the best quality. Be sure to listen to it before you decide to use it.
- Use software to loop music. If you are looking for cost-efficient options for music, this is a great one. You can use looping software to take music and create custom sounds. You can easily create music that perfectly matches up with your video presentation. Garageband offers an easy-to-use system for looping. It also comes with a wide range of loops that can work for your project.
- Free music is available to non-profit organizations. If you are working for a non-profit, there are free options available to you. Moby is a location that provides music for organizations to utilize free.
Action-Item: Find the music you want in your video and sort out the licensing, if necessary.
Export the Video
After you create the final version of your video, you will next export it to a movie file that can be posted to the web. Usually editing software has the auto-feature that allows you to upload it. You may even be given the option to send it directly to Vimeo or YouTube.
It’s very simple to upload this way. Usually they have presets that make them small—60MB or less. Your resolution usually is 1280x720. This is the perfect HD-quality delivery. When you export uncompressed video footage, you normally can get up to about 1GB-per-minute of footage. You also can use Quicktime to create the exports of your project in various formats.
Step 10: Feedback
Now that your video is ready, it’s time to ask for objective feedback. Family and friends are not necessarily the right people to ask for feedback. Although this might be your default for advice, I recommend you find someone in your target market to view your video and give feedback. Additionally, someone who is skilled in video production and storytelling will also be a valuable source of quality feedback.
Do avoid biasing, it’s a good idea to consider getting someone else to conduct the feedback session – rather than you. If you are the star of the video, and you are asking the questions, you are likely to get positive feedback because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Here are some helpful questions to ask your test viewers:
- Can you explain in your words who I am, and what my goals were? Can you explain in your words what my motivation was for setting this goal? – These are very important questions because they will tell you if your message was heard. You’ll know if your script and delivery were effective.
- What do people think about my idea – do you think it’s a worthy one? – This is a great way to get some inside insight about public perception. This way you know what you are building in terms of reputation.
- Can you tell me the message of the video? This is another important element of your video. You want to be sure that a variety of people were aware of what you are telling them. If things are unclear, you can always tweak the video.
- Would you take action after watching this video? Would you feel motivated to follow me online, buy from me, joining my community, find out more about my product / service / offering? If not, why?
When you gather you’re your feedback, you may want to go back and rework certain parts of your video. You may want to emphasize parts or even scale back on other parts. Tweaking the final product is an important part of the editing process.
Are you ready to start creating your branding video?