You’re an entrepreneur, not a professional filmmaker, so why should you care about getting behind the camera and making videos about your products or services? It turns out you should care because video is one of the best tools to reach potential customers online. According to a study from Animoto, 96% of consumers say they find videos helpful when shopping online, and 75% have said that watching a video about a product or service has made them more likely to buy it.
Online videos are becoming a key form of communication between businesses and consumers. In fact, a little over two thirds of consumer traffic will be video by 2017. If you run a business, no matter how large or how small, you’re going to need to learn how to reach out to consumers with effective, professional videos.
Fortunately, making these types of videos is easier than you think, even if you’re a small business operating on a shoestring budget. Here are the 4 basic steps you should follow.
1. Write a simple script. Don’t get carried away trying to make your explainer video too high concept; in general, the simpler the better. Cramming in too much information will slow the pace of your video and make it difficult for the viewer to follow along. Focus on one thing—the problem your consumers have that your product can solve.
2. Source your equipment. You don’t need to blow your company’s annual budget down at Best Buy just to make a professional-looking video. Rather than buying an expensive video camera, rent a DLSR, which are primarily designed to shoot still photos but also work well for videos, thanks to their large sensors and interchangeable lenses. Buy or rent lenses that are compatible with your camera and will allow you to film everything in your script (if you’re just filming an interview, for example, you might stick with a prime lens, but if you’re going to need to choose the focal length, you might choose a zoom lens). For your audio, rent or buy either a lavalier or a shotgun microphone. Track down extra accessories you might need, like a tripod and extra memory card for your camera, and you’re ready to go.
3. Film your video. Keep in mind that you will be able to edit, but you won’t be able to fix everything in post. For example, if you film in front of a busy street, you’ll likely find it difficult to completely get rid of that background noise when editing. Eliminate background noise as much as possible and take the time to record your audio as cleanly as possible. As far as your visuals go, frame the speaker using the rule of thirds, with a little extra “lead” space in the direction they’re looking. If you’re doing an interview, film it from at least two different angles so that you can switch between the two cameras when editing.
4. Polish your video in post-production. Choose an editing program, like Adobe’s Creative Suite or Apple’s Final Cut Pro, for post-production. In addition to uploading your footage to be edited, you may also want to add music and still images. To avoid paying for royalties, look for stock or Creative Commons photos and music, which are free to use with appropriate attribution.
As you begin editing, think about pacing. For long, extended shots of a talking head, consider switching between camera angles or adding B-roll footage to add interest. You can also switch between angles in order to cut out filler words like “um” and “uh” without creating an awkward-looking skip.
Of course, all this is just scratching the surface of what you can (and should) do with your explainer video. To get more in-depth information about the process, download Digital Third Coast’s new eBook:
“Make Your Own Explainer Video on a Budget.”
Author: Matt Zajechowski