Category Archives: Video Production Guides

Free and essential video production guides from Stormnet Media

Killer Online Video Strategy Tips

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How to get your video seen and drive more sales

If your business has any online presence at all but you haven’t embraced the potential of video marketing, you may be missing a great opportunity to introduce yourself and your products to thousands of potential new buyers. Thanks to the huge variety of video hosting services available, the ease of editing and the proliferation of inexpensive, high-quality cameras, video marketing has never been easier.

But there’s a big gap between deciding to enter the world of online video and knowing how to make the most of it. Whether you’re a beginner at video marketing or still trying to get your videos to take off and go viral, there are a few key tips you’ll need to know.

Keep It Short

Viewers interact with video marketing very differently from other types of web content. If you write a blog post or article, a reader might skim it, or read part of it, come back later and finish it. An image is usually noticed subconsciously. By contrast, a video demands the viewer’s complete attention.

However, viewers aren’t willing to give their full attention to a video for very long if it doesn’t deliver something that captivates them. Studies show that most videos begin to lose viewers at around the 30-second mark. Only a small percentage of viewers will make it all the way to the end of a two-minute video. That isn’t to say that your video needs to be less than 30 seconds long, but it does mean that you need to make sure not to waste your viewer’s time.

Stay On Target

The need for brevity means that a successful marketing video has to stick to its key point at all times. A good traditional video begins with a question — hopefully one that the viewers see as a problem they don’t have a solution too. The video promises the viewer the answer to that question. The end of the video needs to leave the viewer convinced of your expertise in your field and eager to see what your business or product are all about.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Although the question structure is a tried and tested method of video marketing, lots of successful marketing videos haven’t followed it. For instance, widespread use of Vine, an intuitive video app for smartphones, has made creating stop-motion animation easier than ever. Some of the most successful marketing Vines are simply very short animated films featuring the company’s product. In an internet saturated with explainer videos, something that showcases your personality and creativity can really stand out.

Production Values Are Important, But Not That Important

Just like a small business itself, a small business’s marketing succeeds or fails on the strength of the personal connection between the company and the consumer. Given this, audiences don’t necessarily expect to see highly-polished video production. Whether or not your video demonstrates mastery of the subject is far more important. If you have the money for it — and it can be cheaper than you think — using an online video production company can be a good idea. You’ll make your video easier to watch and easier for viewers to understand. But while good production values can help enhance a good video, they can’t do anything to save a bad one.

Mix and Match

One of the great advantages of online video is how easy it is to integrate into other types of online marketing. For example, if you’re funding a new product with Kickstarter, a video can help attract backers. Don’t be afraid to incorporate video into existing marketing like blogs of Facebook pages.

If you’d like expert help to make your video production a success then talk to us here at Stormnet Media. We help organisations of all sizes achieve success with stunning video production. Contact us on 01527 910050 today.

Video Production for Vine

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Why you should consider Vine for distributing video content

Since its arrival for iOS in January 2013, Vine has quickly become the most popular mobile video app on the market, with versions available for both iOS and Android and a Windows phone version in the works as well. Vine doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but it’s simple and easy to use. For Twitter users, it has one huge advantage: studies show that Vine videos are far more likely to be retweeted than others — four times as likely, according to a study by Unruly Media.

Since Vine only permits six-second video clips, it may seem that it doesn’t have much application for video marketing. In fact, however, even six-second clips can be very important marketing tools, and several companies have made extensive use of Vine in their online marketing campaigns. The principles behind video production for Vine are just like those behind any other viral video, only more so.

As with any marketing video, the key to a good marketing Vine is clarity and simplicity. Each video needs to clearly communicate one idea; a complex message is unlikely to come across in only six seconds. This has several implications for video marketing.

First, it means that Vine is a great boon to companies with a physical product to sell. A six-second Vine can show a product from all angles in a way that a photograph can’t, and is more likely to be retweeted than a YouTube or similar video. It’s also a great way to show the product at work.

One unique way to do this is using Vine’s interface to create stop-motion animation. Vine records only when the user is pressing the screen. When the user’s finger is off the screen, however, the video doesn’t end, but simply waits for the user to press it again. As a result, Vine is one of the simplest tools for stop-motion animation in the world of video production. Several companies have turned products into the stars of their own videos using stop-motion animation.

The second similarity between Vine and ordinary video marketing is that videos need an artistic or comedic element that will make them stand out. Unless the product itself is visually arresting in some way, the video needs an easily-graspable visual hook. Bear in mind that not all viewers will have audio switched on, so it’s better to produce something that doesn’t need a spoken explanation to be understood.

Like other marketing videos, six-second Vines often serve as teasers for another product — perhaps a full-length article for a longer video, while a Vine can even serve as a teaser for an ordinary explainer video. Short Vine videos can also act as links to contests, giveaways or other tools to draw users to your main site.

Lastly, Vines have a very short life cycle, even compared to other types of viral video. If you’re going to make Vine a central part of your marketing strategy, you’ll have to produce them steadily, not just once. Produce them regularly and you’ll build recognition as a company whose Vines are worth watching out for.

Just like other forms of viral video, then, Vine has its own strengths and weaknesses. Its simplicity, versatility and simple integration with Twitter make it easy to learn and use, and the fact that the app is free means that production costs are kept to a minimum. It’s easy to experiment with Vine production until you find the presentation that suits your product and your potential customers perfectly.

If you’d like to get an awesome and creative video for use on Vine to promote your business and boost profits then speak to your video production experts at Stormnet. Call us on 01527 910050 or contact us using our form.

How Long Should an Explainer Video Be?

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What’s the sweet spot for an explainer video?

So you’ve decided that an explainer video is going to help you get your ideas across to thousands of new potential customers – if not more. You know the topic you want to cover, you’ve selected the points to get across, and now you’re sitting down to write your script. You don’t know it, but you’re also about to make a big mistake.

It’s a simple mistake and a common one: you’re going to make your video too long. It’s easy to see why this can happen – almost by definition, no one is going to make an explainer video without being enthusiastic about the subject. Add to this that people tend to be bad at estimating the length of a speech or conversation and it’s no wonder that most videos run over their optimum length.

What may surprise you is just how short that optimum length actually is. Video hosting firm Wistia studied the average length of time viewers were willing to watch the business videos on their site. The results showed that viewer attention dropped off sharply the longer the video was – fewer than 10% of viewers made it to the end of hour-long videos. But, strikingly, the numbers were relatively low even for much shorter videos. Fewer than 50% of viewers made it to the end of videos in the 2-3 minute range.

In fact, the data suggests that the optimum length for an explainer video may be in the 30-60 second range. It may not be much, but you can fit a surprising amount of information into a minute – and you have a much better chance of communicating your complete message to the viewer. This is especially important for business videos, which are typically trying to convey a single unified message. An explainer video abandoned by the viewer halfway through is as bad as one not watched at all.

If you have decided to create a short video, then, you’ll need to use some simple techniques to package your message in a manageable format. The simplest – and one of the most important – is to break up your message into as many smaller chunks as possible. The second is to front-load the video with material that keeps the viewer interested. Even short videos run the risk of losing viewers part of the way through, so beginning with the point will help you grab the viewer’s attention.

In some cases, of course, it simply isn’t possible to compress your message into the short space of a one-minute video; if this is the case, you’ll simply have to run the risk of losing some viewers, trusting that the ones who do make it all the way through your explainer video will come out the other end well-informed.

If you’re looking for explainer video production then contact the friendly experts at Stormnet Media. We create persuasive and powerful explainer videos that boost sales. Contact us today on 01527 910050 – we’d love to help.

Free video marketing tools

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Free marketing tools for video production

Video marketing is a vital tool for the modern company, a way to bring a corporate message to a vast audience in a memorable format. Like other forms of marketing, it’s easy to spend a lot of money on producing a web video. High-quality cameras get cheaper all the time, but they’re still not free. Actors, sets and lighting can all add up for the video producer who wants to go the Hollywood route. Last, but far from least, video editing software can eat up a chunk of your production budget.

When you consider that one of the things that attracts people to online video as a marketing strategy is the low barrier to entry, this is less than ideal. Fortunately, although you can spend a lot of money on software, you don’t have to. There are a number of free or low-cost options that, while they may not have the punch of their high-priced counterparts, will probably do everything you need them to.

For PC users, the first place to turn will usually be Windows Movie Maker. Bundled with most versions of Windows, this basic video editing software lacks some of the bells and whistles of more sophisticated editing suites. For a free program, however, it’s surprisingly robust. A wide range of basic editing features make this a good choice for video producers working with recorded footage. Its Apple counterpart is the equally-ubiquitous iMovie, which is included with many versions of the Mac operating system or can be purchased as a separate download.

If live footage isn’t your thing, animation might be the answer. Animoto pulls still images from a variety of sources – such as your Flickr account – and allows it user to turn them into animated films. The free version only allows videos of up to 30 seconds, making it ideal for trailers, commercials or very short explainer videos.

More complex than a simple video editing program, Blender allows users to add interactive features, special effects and even video game elements. Although it’s a superb tool for creating elaborate visual presentations, be prepared to spend some time mastering Blender’s features. A useful tool for the visually ambitious.

A number of interesting products exist that blend social media with video editing. One example is Magisto, a utility that automatically selects what it considers to be the “best” footage from raw video files. Users can then add music and titles before sharing the videos on social networks. On the one hand, Magisto is very easy to use, but it’s not for those who prefer a firmer directorial touch. Another example is Stroome – currently down for renovations, but hopefully back up soon – which runs on a community-based platform that allows users to share and edit video collaboratively. Stroome is a great way to incorporate customer-generated footage of your product in action into your own videos.

Production isn’t the only free element of online video – there are a wide range of free hosts, most notably the dependable, easy-to-use YouTube and Vimeo. Neither is particularly fast, so you’ll want to have your video ready well before it needs to be online, but for free services they have a lot of useful functions. An embedded YouTube video may lack the polish of an unbranded player, but it’s also within the budgetary reach of even the smallest enterprise.

All of these free products have their limitations, and some are clearly intended to get users hooked and shopping for the paid upgrades. Still, they can be very valuable to video producers who are just starting out and want to get some work up on the web without paying too much for the opportunity.

If you’d like professional help with producing a company video then speak to us. We specialise in making persuasive and compelling videos that drive sales. Contact us on 01527 910050

How Much Should I Invest in a Marketing Video?

Making a smart investment in a marketing video.

The internet brought a rapid pace of change to the world of marketing, and nowhere has that been more apparent than in a marketing video. With broadband connections in more and more homes, more and more people are watching online video than ever before, giving companies a powerful new tool with which to reach customers. In addition, low hosting prices and the ever-decreasing cost of digital video cameras mean that these methods are within the reach of even small businesses or one-person operations.

Even so, creating a marketing video to present your product or idea to customers is an investment. Even if you shoot the cheapest video you can, using a smartphone camera and hosting the video on a free site, the video represents an investment of your time and effort. A more professional video, with superior production, expensive sets and paid hosting, can be a significant outlay.

The question for the prospective explainer video creator, then, is how much investment in video marketing is justified. When deciding what resources to commit to video production, there are several factors to consider.

The first and most obvious question is whether the marketing video will create a financial return on investment. If the video contains a direct call to action, it may be possible to track its effectiveness in terms of how many viewers are converted to customers. If the video exists more to raise brand awareness or create social-media connections than to achieve conversions, its direct financial impact can be much harder to measure.

Measuring the overall benefit of a marketing video therefore involves both objective factors such as sales and subjective factors such as brand goodwill. It’s still possible to measure the impact of a video, however. Comparing performance before and after the video’s release can be helpful, although other factors may enter the equation. One way to reduce some of the uncertainty in this process is to make sure to set a measurable goal before beginning the project. Maybe your goal is simply to direct viewers to your website; alternatively, perhaps you want viewers to sign up for your newsletter, like your product on Facebook or complete a survey. Whatever your goal, set it in advance and decide how you’re going to measure the results.

In order to determine your marketing video’s potential return, you’ll need to assign your outcomes a financial value. For sales, this is obviously the actual profit generated by the sale; for other outcomes it’ll be necessary to estimate. It’s important to be cautious about this estimate – it’s easy to be too optimistic when valuing intangibles, and many people find it hard to resist the temptation to make the calculation align with what they want to do already. Be conservative in your estimates.

Another factor in the calculation is the video’s lifespan. Although videos can remain online indefinitely, their effectiveness declines over time. You can extend the shelf life of a video by avoiding time-sensitive elements, but this can also reduce its promotional effectiveness. When considering video production, therefore, consider the video not as a stand-alone product but as the first element in an ongoing online video marketing strategy.

Lastly, consider potential audience factors. Online video can reach a wide range of potential customers, but this makes it well-suited to reaching certain types of markets. Local businesses such as brick-and-mortar retail establishments or similar enterprises will need to target their marketing more specifically than an online business which can benefit from reaching a geographically diverse audience.

Estimating the potential return – and possible ongoing costs – of an online marketing video can give you an idea of how much you want to invest in the production. The greater the potential financial return, and the longer the potential life of the video, the higher the level of investment you can justify.

If you’re considering a marketing video then speak to us. We can help you create a powerful and persuasive video that will boost your sales. What’s more, we guarantee it! Contact us today on 01527 910050

Why Corporate Videos Work

How a corporate video can change your business.

In the course of our daily lives, we’re exposed to a lot of corporate communication. Being subjected to so much PR makes us media-savvy – or at least we like to think it does – and it runs the risk of making us cynical. With such a jaded audience, you’d think that a corporate video would be immediately dismissed as just another polished shill. And yet, corporate video is one of the most effective ways for companies to communicate their messages. What makes them such an effective tool?

The key to a successful company video – and the reason that video in general is such a potent way to build a brand – is good storytelling. People organise their thoughts and communicate their emotions by telling stories. We experience the world through stories, and our relationship with corporations is no different. When it comes to building a corporate reputation, you must never forget: people care about your product, but when it comes to your company they want a good story with compelling characters.

Corporate video has to communicate a small number of key points about a company. Some of these are uniquely suited to the video format. A video has to communicate the company’s values, the core principles that underlie its identity. Customers love to feel that they share the values of the companies that are important in their lives. The perception of these shared ideals turns a body of consumers into a community; supporting the company means supporting a set of values that the customer believes in.

Corporate identity becomes corporate story when a company uses video to communicate its history to potential customers. This point has to be handled with care; no one is interested in hearing that Amalgamated Rock and Gravel was formed in 1974 when United Rock and Gravel acquired debt-stricken Pioneer Aggregates. Small businesses, however, have a great advantage here. Every small business is an expression of an individual’s creativity, and every small business has had to overcome obstacles to get where it is. Explaining the company’s product in narrative terms draws the viewer in, making him or her a participant in the corporate story. Buying the company’s product gives viewers the chance to play a role in the realisation of the founder’s dream.

One aspect of the corporate story that corporate videos are particularly good at conveying is the personality of the company’s founders or leaders. A company can have a brand identity, but it can’t have a personality, and it’s personalities that customers relate to. An online video allows the company’s founder to explain the corporate story in his own words or showcase aspects of her personality that extend outside the usual corporate image.

Good production is important in this kind of story video, but good production doesn’t necessarily mean polish. A good corporate video should convey the company’s distinctive principles and personality; this extends to the style and feel of the video in addition to the narrative the video conveys. Slightly rough production can actually be more effective than very slick production as long as it conveys the authentic character of the company.

Corporate stories are like the stories we tell about ourselves – they represent our aspirations, our ideal selves. Sharing your story in the form of a company video helps bring others into that story, making them part of your dream.

If you’d like to produce a corporate video then speak to us. We’re experts in video production and would love to help you. Contact us on 01527 910050.

Ditch the fear – start your video production now!

Get ahead with video production that works

One of the nice things about video marketing is that it’s easy to see it working in the world around us. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably spent some spare minutes enjoying a viral marketing video or two. You can probably see the ways in which your business could benefit from online video marketing. So why haven’t you started yet?

That isn’t really a fair question; getting started in the world of video production can be daunting. The second video you make will benefit immeasurably from your experience. It’s just that you have to do the first one first.

To many people, jumping in and doing the first website video can be intimidating. We read blog posts, dissect other people’s videos and go over dozens of tutorials, half of which contradict each other. But even though these sources can be useful, there’s no substitute for trying it yourself. Spending some time working on your own video will help you develop a sense for what works and what doesn’t, what challenges are likely to arise, and which tasks you naturally excel at.

Don’t kid yourself, though: your first video is going to be dismal. You can still benefit from it in several ways. As a learning experience, it will help you improve future productions. Additionally, the world of online video production can be very forgiving. A good idea and a sincere delivery are more important than polished presentation. If you think of your favourite online videos, you’ll find that the things you remember are passion and creativity, not lighting and editing. It’s not that these things are unimportant – they make your video easier to understand – but your audience will accept that your production skills will be improving over time.

The same applies to equipment and technical skill. You don’t need to start out with an expensive camera or pricey editing software. Once you’ve identified areas you need to work on you’ll have a clearer picture of what type of equipment you’ll need.

Thinking of your first video as a way to learn about video production may mean that you feel like you should keep it to yourself and make your second video before putting anything online. Resist this temptation. One of the best ways to judge how your video production is coming along is to see how your videos perform in the wild. Analysing viewing traffic and soliciting comments from viewers can help you understand what aspects of your video viewers engage with.

If you have absolutely no idea where to begin with video production, you don’t have to do it alone. There’s nothing wrong with getting some input from an experienced adviser. This can be as simple as consulting with a friend or colleague; alternatively, some professional advice can be helpful. If you have a strong idea but need help implementing it, an outsider’s perspective can be very helpful.

It’s perfectly understandable to feel intimidated by the prospect of getting started with your first video. Even if you have a burning desire to create, it isn’t always easy to know where to start. But, as with so many things, the secret to overcoming your fear is to get started. Your first video might be a little rough, but the experience will be enjoyable and you’ll learn a lot from it. Making mistakes can be frustrating, but the alternative is making nothing.

If you’d like any help with video production then you can speak to us. We’ll gladly advise on what you need to do to make a successful video – after all, we’re a successful video production companyContact you friendly experts today on 01527 910050.

Live Action Explainer Video Costs

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Get the most from a live action explainer video for your website

An explainer video is a potent and versatile tool for communicating with customers. For many companies, low costs are one of the features that make video marketing so attractive. Using a simple microphone and a screencast or animated presentation, a small business can create a video that has a major impact.

To get maximum effectiveness from a website video, however, a business needs to take the next step and move to live production. A live action explainer video is much more versatile, allowing the company to showcase products that don’t appear easily on screen, demonstrate features in use, interview experts and incorporate a whole range of new visual elements.

However, live video can also be much more expensive than computer-generated video. Before beginning a live production, it’s important to create a budget estimate. A professional production company can do this for you, but it’s still worthwhile to understand what goes into the budget.

Technical aspects of production are among the most obvious sources of expenditure when creating a live explainer video. Lighting, camera work and sound recording are vital to produce a compelling video. A clear, good-looking video is the product of proper lighting and recording equipment. This can be an expensive investment if you want to purchase it; alternatively, it can be hired for the purpose.

Scriptwriting and direction are more intangible assets, but still an important part of the production process. You may want to write your own script in order to capitalise on your superior knowledge of your own product. Still, an experienced screenwriter can help the script to flow more efficiently. Professional direction is the key to a well-paced, engaging video.

Locations and sets are another budget item, and one that some videos feel they can do without. If you want your video to show off your offices or a production facility, you can shoot on location. Otherwise, you may want to use a professionally-designed set. It’s possible to repurpose a home or office environment to serve as a set for a video, but it’s a time-consuming process which can wind up costing as much in lost time and effort as using a prepared set.

The last major expense in any professional explainer video production is acting. Again, you may want to perform in your own video – for many entrepreneurs, their own personality is part of their marketing strategy – but a professional with video experience will make the shoot go much more smoothly and efficiently.

The cost of professional video production comes from a number of elements. Most of these apply whether you opt to have the video done by a professional company or attempt to do it yourself. Either way, combining these elements will produce a clear, memorable enjoyable video that will help you communicate with both current and potential customers.

Whether you’re considering a live action explainer video or one that’s fully animated then we can help. Contact your friendly experts today on 01527 910050

A Beginner’s Guide to Video Hosting

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How to get the best video hosting solution

So you’ve decided to take your first step into the world of website video production. The video is shot and edited; now you just need somewhere to host it. There are a wealth of different video hosting options available to you, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Which one you choose depends on your level of experience and the needs of your site.

When you think video on the internet, the first site that comes to mind is, of course, YouTube. Part of the sprawling Google internet empire, YouTube is the most popular destination for online video. Its interface is easy to use, and the service is highly reliable.

If you host your video on YouTube, it will be accessible in two ways. First, people can reach the video through the YouTube site itself. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, YouTube will generate a short fragment of HTML called an embed code. Inserting this code into a page on your website will implant the video.

YouTube is a great option for the website video production beginner. Simple, reliable and above all free, it nonetheless has a few downsides. Load times aren’t as quick as they might be, and it’s impossible to remove the YouTube branding from the video, which might not suit some businesses.

For the more experienced user, a paid solution offers a wider range of hosting options. One good example is Wistia, a video hosting solution that allows its users to host unbranded videos. Wistia also comes with a range of analytical tools which allow you to track who views your video and how often. Paid services like Wistia and its feature-heavy competitor Brightcove are a big step up from YouTube, but for a company committed to website video production they can be very useful.

An intermediate step between free and paid services is Vimeo, an upgradeable service. Vimeo resembles YouTube in many ways, but an optional premium version allows users to remove player branding and other restrictions. Although not free, Vimeo is significantly less expensive – if still less robust – than pricier paid alternatives.

Any of these video hosting options can be the right choice for you and your business; the key is to find the one that suits both your needs and your budget.

If you’d like help in choosing the best video hosting solution then we’d be delighted to help you. Contact your friendly experts today on 01527 910050.

How to Script an Explainer Video

Pitfalls to avoid when writing an explainer video for your website

Writing a website explainer video script seems like it should be easy. After all, you know your product. If you know how to use it, it should be easy to show people how it works. Add to that the fact that you’ve probably explained it in person many times and you may feel like you have nothing to worry about. In fact, creating an explainer video requires some thought, even for those who know their product inside out. Translating your knowledge of a product or service into a video means bearing a few key points in mind.

The first and most important point is to keep your video short. Studies have shown that an explainer video longer than 60 seconds rapidly loses viewer attention. Sometimes the subject means that you can’t avoid taking longer, but you should still avoid wasting time if possible. If you have a long and complicated subject, consider breaking it up into several smaller videos.

The next thing to consider when writing your script is your intended audience. Think about who you’re speaking to and imagine the questions they’re likely to have. Create a short list of the points you want to get across. Imagine your hypothetical viewer’s response to these points – what questions would he or she be likely to have? If you have the opportunity to talk to people who aren’t familiar with your work, try your spiel on them and ask them if there’s anything else they feel they need to know.

Development of the spoken and visual aspects of your video should go hand in hand. The great advantage of a website video is its ability to demonstrate a product or process visually. Narration should therefore complement and reinforce the visual element of the video. Walk the viewer through anything that might not be obvious at first glance as well as using the visual aspect to demonstrate anything that’s difficult to explain verbally.

The nature of your product will determine what kind of visual element your script should incorporate. You may be “ screen-casting screen-casting screen-casting– displaying your computer’s screen with a voice-over – or you may be creating an animated presentation. Alternatively, you may be demonstrating a product in person. The one thing you should never do is simply speak directly to the camera. If you need to talk to the camera, make sure to incorporate an activity or demonstration that makes your monologue visually interesting. Otherwise, why use a video at all?

First-time scriptwriters often underestimate how long a script is. Words that take a split second to read on the page can take several minutes to read out loud, so it’s vital to rehearse the script several times in order to forge it into its most effective form. Once you have a script for your explainer video, rehearse it until it’s smooth and natural-sounding. Your confidence will inspire confidence in the listener.

If you’re considering an explainer video for your website then we’d love to help. Contact the friendly experts today on 01527 910050 or send us a message via our contact page.