Monthly Archives: February 2013

3 Wrong Assumptions that SMEs Make About Video

Don’t dismiss just how effective a video can be for a small business

Small businesses are great. That’s a fact. They account for around 98% of the income that the UK generates. However it’s easy for small business owners and entrepreneurs like you to forget just how important you are. When you’re up against it and worrying about sales / marketing/ deliveries / customers / IT / manufacturing / cash-flow (you know what I mean) you don’t always appreciate what a beautiful thing your small business actually is.

But let’s just think about what you do. You offer a personal service, you have a handle on quality, you’re friendly, genuine and you care about what you do. And above all you have a great product or service. These are just a few things that make you stand out against the faceless corporations and how you can use video effectively to skyrocket your business.

Here are a few common misconceptions about video made by small business owners

1. “No-one wants to see a video on my website”

If you think this then consider this research by Forbes: “Website visitors are 85% more likely to buy a product or service if accompanied by a video”. Note the research does not mention the size of the business. If you have a video on your website (and it’s a good one) then you’ll get more sales. Period.

In the same way that people stay in boutique hotels there is a huge market out there for people who want all the great benefits that a small business can offer.

2. “I will not come across well in front of a camera”

Many people are turning away from overly corporate videos. Staged and stilted videos can be a big turn-off. People instead are turning to videos where they get to see the personality of the business via an animated explainer video or the actual owner talking to their audience.

People want to see with whom they’re dealing with and the passion they have for what they do. This is what you can bring to your video. And the great news is that it really works.

3. “I can’t afford a video”

Video is more affordable than ever before. Making a video for your website can be a very simple and easy process. Think about your unique selling points and any possible objections your prospects may have. Address these and provide a solution to your customer’s problems.

This may be in the form of you talking to camera or a simple animation. Whichever way you’ll find that you’ll boost sales and get a huge return on your investment.

If you’d like to chat about any aspect of video production and how it can help your business then we’d love to talk to you. We can make your business soar with a video that will boost sales. We’ve helped lots of SMEs and start-ups like you succeed – call you friendly experts today on 01527 910050.


Online Video Marketing Essentials

What you need to know about online video marketing

As more and more homes acquire broadband internet connections, online video marketing becomes more and more desirable. Potential customers who might once not have waited to download a video can now access it in seconds. With this in mind, it’s worth looking at what video marketing can do for you and your business.

As a marketing tool, video provides great opportunities to show your product or service in action. Customers can learn how to use your product. Above all, you can sell not only your company but yourself directly to potential customers. Viewers are much more likely to share videos than they are to pass on text articles or blog posts, making videos a great way to get your message in front of as many potential customers as possible.

Short is beautiful

Marketing video production can be as elaborate as you want to make it, but a memorable online video can be created relatively simply as long as you remember a few fundamentals. The first and most important component of a marketing video is the script. You need to keep your presentation short and focused on your key point. If you have a lot of information to convey, it may be better to present multiple short videos rather than a single long one.

While creating your script, think about how your narration is going to complement the images your viewers will be seeing in the video. If you have a software or web-based product to sell, you may want to use screenshare to create your video, capturing the image on your computer monitor for your viewers to see. Alternatively, computer animation or slides can help convey information simply. Live video is the perfect way to demonstrate physical processes such as product assembly, but live video production needs additional factors such as proper lighting.

Don’t scrimp on the sound

Narration offers a perfect opportunity to sell your product in your own voice, but you may also decide to use a professional voice actor for the role. In either case, proper microphone and recording equipment are vital to ensure that your narration describes your product clearly and holds the attention of potential customers.

Whether you’re using a professional video production firm or going the DIY route, choosing the right elements for your online video can add a powerful tool to your marketing efforts.

If you’d like to boost your sales and web traffic with an online video then we’d love to speak to you. Call your friendly experts today on 01527 910050.

Why your Explainer Video Needs to be Short

Why your explainer video needs to be short

An explainer video is a great way to communicate your company or product to customers or potential customers. Reading a product description is all very well, but there’s nothing like having something explained and having the chance to see it in action to make it come alive for the viewer. Not all videos are created equal, however; the successful video has to be lively, engaging and above all short. Even if you know that your video needs to be brief, you may be surprised to learn the reasons.

A recent study published by researchers from the University of Massachusetts found that viewers were highly intolerant of long load times or buffering. Users were likely to abandon a video in as little as two seconds if it began buffering. After all, there’s a lot of content on the internet competing for people’s attention. If you want to catch it, you can’t afford to let them get distracted.

Buffering and load times, of course, are a consequence of file size, so one important way to cut down on them is to keep file sizes small, which means keeping your explainer video short. Although this is an important reason to keep your video slim – and to have a dependable host for it – it’s far from the only one.

The explainer video is a close cousin to the infamous “elevator pitch”, in which a businessperson tries to explain what his or her company does in the length of time it takes a lift to reach its destination. The short length of this pitch is crucial to its success.

Your video doesn’t have to be quite so brief, but it’s best to keep things short. Studies have shown that the average amount of a video a viewer is willing to watch decreases as the video lengthens – essentially, the longer the video, the less likely an average viewer is to watch all the way to the end. Given that the call to action is likely to be at the end of the video, someone switching off in boredom or frustration is every bit as bad as someone who never watched the video at all. Thirty seconds to one minute – the length of a television commercial or film trailer – is a good target; attention drops off significantly after the first minute.

If you’d like an explainer video production that’s perfect for your business then speak to us. We can help you drive sales and conversions today. Talk to your friendly experts today on 01527 910050.

10 Tips when Choosing a Video Company

10 Essential things to look for when hiring a video company

Choosing the right video company can be a real headache. How do you spot the good from the bad? How do you make sure that your investment will deliver a return and you won’t make an expensive mistake?

Fortunately there are a number for things to look for when choosing a video production company and we’ve put these in the easy to follow guide below!

1. Find an expert

There are loads of video production companies out there. They come in lots of different forms, from the independent guys working from their backroom through to large TV production outfits. They all have their merits and of course will range in price and experience. However, it’s pretty safe to assume that the more experience a video company has in a particular field the more likely that you’ll get a good result.

So it’s worth having a look round to find someone that you’re comfortable with and who has experience in your sector.

2. Check out their samples and customer references

The track record of a video company is very important. It will often be the case that a more experienced video company will have better quality samples and a wide range of positive customer comments from brands that you’ve heard of. Don’t be afraid to ask to see these and even speak to past customers to double check.

3. Provide a video brief

A video production brief is a short document that outlines what you want to get out of the video. Usually a one-page doc is more than sufficient. Identify things like the style, content, audience and budget. If you’d like more guidance of how to write a video brief then you can see our blog article on how to do this.

4. Itemised quote

Any video company worth their salt will provide you with a detailed and itemised quote. This should include everything from the filming and editing through to the voice over, animation and script writing. Beware of companies that just give you a figure with no detail. It’s important that you see what you’re getting and that the quote is fixed against the spec.

5. Who’s producing the video?

If you’ve seen some samples that you like then it’s worth checking that the same production team who made the sample are working on your video. Many video companies use freelancers to produce videos so sometimes you may find that the video you wanted does not turn out as expected. So check this and get it confirmed from the start.

6. Planning

Be wary if any video company just wants to turn up and start shooting without any prior planning. We have seen a couple of instances when the video company says they’ll just film loads of stuff then decide how to use it later. A good video production company will plan all elements of the filming process upfront.

7. Scripting and storyboards

The script or storyboards will form the blueprint for the video. This should detail the narration, any interviews, locations and shots. Usually the video company will get sign off of the script before filming. In some instances scripts can be changed after the filming or as the video evolves, however charges will usually be levied if the voice over needs to be changed after it’s been recorded. So it’s best to be 100% sure you’re happy with the script or storyboards before the voice over and shooting is completed.

8. Agree the change requests

Some video companies will charge extra for re-edits of a video following feedback. This can become an expensive process if this is not agreed upfront. A good video company will be flexible and work with you to make sure that any feedback is incorporated in the video.

9. Copyright Ownership

Check on who owns the copyright of the video once it’s completed. Usually the video company will hold copyright until payment is made. Following this it’s usual for the video production company to pass copyright to the client so you can distribute it as you wish.

10. Set a Deadline

If you have a specific deadline then ask for a production schedule and guaranteed completion date. Some smaller video companies don’t have the capacity to work on a number of projects and if additional work comes in you don’t want your video slipping down the priority list. So ask for a guarantee from the start.

If you’d like any help on choosing a video company then we’d love to help. We offer free advice and can advise on the process. We’ve been producing videos for over 25 years and are trusted by start-ups and SMEs through to major brands. Call your friendly experts today on 01527 910050.


How to Write a Video Production Brief

Guide to how to write a video production brief

Getting a video production can sometimes seem like a daunting task. There are loads of video production companies and they all say that they can deliver what you want. However, how do you make sure that you have an easy to understand video production brief that will outline what your goals and aims are?

The best way is to write your own video production brief and it’s easier than you think. Just follow our tips below and you’ll be able to create a document that you can supply to your chosen video production companies.

1. Define the purpose of your video

Think about what the video is going to be used for. Is it a health and safety video that you want to use for staff induction or is it an explainer video for your website? Whatever the need make sure that this is clear in your brief.

2. Target Audience 

Who are the target audience for your video. For example, if they are visitors to your website that you want to convert into sales then you’ll probably need a short explainer video as Internet viewers are impatient! This would be different to an audience who are going through a safety training induction. By defining the target audience the production company will be able to put together a suitable proposal.

3. Distribution

Where will the finished video be shown. Will it be online on your website, on TV, used on DVD in training sessions or embedded in an e-learning platform. Include how you want the video to be used in the brief.

4. Script

Think about the main messages that you want to convey. If it’s a sales video then think about the objections that you want to overcome for your customers. If it’s a training video then consider the learning outcomes that you want to achieve. A good video production company will be able to help you define these messages.

5. Voice over, interviews

Lot’s of videos use voice over to tell the story. Often this is combined with interviews that provide social proof. If you have any preference then include this in the brief. Again, a good video production company will be able to guide you through what will work best.

6. Style

Often, it’s a great idea to include links to videos that you’ve seen and like (or don’t like) to help the production company visualise what you’re looking for. You may want a video that is all live action, or you may want an animated video – again state your preferences and ask for recommendations

7. Budget

Letting a production company know the budget from the get-go is a good idea. There are lots of ways to approach getting a video produced and these all vary in costs. By letting the production company know the budget you’ll ensure that you receive quotes that meet your financial needs.

8. Deadline

Be clear about your deadline. State when the video will be shown and the date you want to receive it.

If you’d like any help with writing a video production brief or ideas on how to produce a video then we’d love to help. We’re an affordable and trusted video production company that produce videos that get results. Give us a call on 01527 910050 today.


Online Video Filming Tips

10 Essential online video filming tips

Lots of people are filming their own videos these days, especially to be used on websites. The great thing is that an online video can quickly explain what you do or make, be used to demonstrate how to do something or provide an insight from interview comments.

Whatever you do it’s always best to plan your video and try to make it as professional as possible. It reflects on your business and while a good video can make you look great a poor video can equally make you look bad. With this in mind we’ve put together a basic set of online video filming tips to help you create a killer video.

1. Get close to your subject

A good rule of thumb is to get close to the subject you’re filming. Although you can use the zoom to get closer it’s not the same as actually being close. The visual perspective is not the same when using a zoom, and this also goes for the sound.

Not only this but a zoomed in shot is more likely to wobble and getting the right focus is also harder. Using a telephoto shot will also narrow your depth of field so that only a narrow band is in focus.

With a shot on full zoom your microphone will not be focused on the actual subject. This means you’ll probably pick up lots of noise you don’t want instead of the sound you do want.

2. Film your scenes using multiple shots

If you watch television or professional online video production you’ll see that scenes are generally filmed with more than one shot. This technique is used to make a shot more interesting or show specific details or points of interest.

For example, if you’re filming a machine then you may want to get a wide shot that establishes where it’s located, then a medium shot to show a specific part and a close up to show the real detail. Different shot sizes and angles can be used to good effect. However, you’ll also need to consider if one long shot works better. If in doubt, get a few different shot sizes so you have some options when it comes to the edit.

3. Film more than just the subject

Cutaways are a term that’s used for additional shots help to tell the story. The term is pretty much self-explanatory – the camera ‘cuts away’ to something else. You see the use of cutaways a lot in interviews. For example if you are filming a person talking about their new car then you’ll probably want to get shots of their car to ‘cutaway’ to in the interview. This is a great way to make something more interesting and help illustrate relevant points. From an edit point of view it’s also a handy way to cover over a join in an interview.

4. Filming height

Generally speaking you usually film at the same height as the subject. There are times when you’ll want to change height (say for dramatic effect) but a good practice is to do most at the same height. This gives a more natural look to the shots and puts the viewer in a perspective they are used to.

5. Don’t use the camera mic

Camera mics are good for general ambient sound but that’s about all. If you can afford to it’s worth investing in an external microphone, and if possible a wireless radio mic. This will mean that you get good quality clear sound from your subject and they wont be fighting to be heard against background noise. There are different types of microphones that you can use, such as gun mics that pick up sound from a distance, through to clip mics that are clipped to peoples lapels or clothing.

It’s also worth investing in some decent headphones so that you can hear what’s coming from the mic instead of being distracted by background noise. Getting the sound right is a big thing with online video production and often overlooked. If you get this right from the start then you’ll be well on the way to a good video.

6. Think about lighting

It sounds obvious but lots of people ignore lighting. If you don’t have enough light your shots will be dark and uninteresting. However by simply controlling the light and putting it on the subject you’ll make the video look a lot better. When you’re filming it’s best to have the light source on the subject. Think about where there are other light sources, so you can use these if you don’t have your own lights. For example, if there is a window in the room then don’t place the subject in front of it as you’ll just get a silhouette. If you film with the light from the window behind the camera then you can use the light to light your subject.

7. Use a tripod

This is probably the best investment that you’ll make. Steady shots are the key to making your video look professional. Hand held shots do have their place but if you’re a newbie to video production then always use a tripod.

Wobbly shots are very off putting for a viewer and really distract from the overall message. A good tripod should have a smooth pan and tilt and be appropriate for the weight of your camera. Most camera shops will also sell tripods and it’s worth trying one out that you are comfortable with.

8. Plan everything

Planning your video could mean the difference between success and failure. Plan what you’re going to film and think about the shots and cutaways you want to get at each location. If possible write out a running order and script, and if you’re conducting an interview plan your questions in advance. Make sure the questions are leading (how, why, what) and they don’t just elicit a yes or no answer.

9. What can you do for them?

All an audience want’s to know is “what can you do for me.” It’s that simple. So you need to always have this in your mind during the filming and the editing of your online video. Make sure that the story relates to the viewer and if you’re doing a voice over make sure you use words like you and your. This is particularly true of sales videos.

10. Be ruthless in the edit

When you edit your video you need to be ruthless. Think about the message you want to get across and don’t deviate or sidetrack. Don’t include anything that does not belong and focus on telling the story. Keep your video concise and to the point and if possible 60 to 90 seconds long if you’re making a sales or explainer video.

If you follow these simple online video production tips then you’ll be well on your way to producing a great video for your website. If you’d like any help or advice or would like to commission an online video production then we’d love to help. Contact your friendly experts on 01527 910050 today.


5 Pitfalls to Avoid with Web Video Production

5 Pitfalls to avoid with web video production – FREE Guide

There are loads of techie guides that refer to stuff like codecs, frame and bit rate and compression software. These are great of course and should be used in order to get the best technical quality out of your videos. However, there are not so many easy-to-follow guides that help you simply make a great video.

So we’ve put this free guide together to help you avoid the common mistakes and make your web video production stand out from the crowd.

1. Mess and clutter

One of the biggest mistakes we see is when there has been no attention paid to what’s in the background of your shots. Lots of people mistakenly believe that no one will take any notice of what’s behind them – wrong! Viewers take on messages from the whole scene and this can influence their decision. So, for example if the background is dirty and scruffy (and your saying how good your service is) then it’s likely they won’t believe you.

Remember, if the camera is pointing at you then it’s also pointing at all the stuff behind you! So think about where you’re filming and pay attention to the background.

2. Invest in a tripod

With web video production your pictures will be more compressed than usual. The thing about this is that it affects the way that pictures are handled and where you have lots of shots with a moving camera the picture quality can be made to look worse.

However, this can simply be rectified if you invest in a tripod. A tripod is always a good thing to use when shooting as many amateur videos usually suffer from constantly moving, hand held shots. With a tripod not only will your shots be stable but it will also be an easier watch for your viewers.

3. Think Lighting

Good lighting is an essential part of any web video production. If you’re video is too dark then people wont want to watch it. So, if you’re filming say a process in your factory it’s worth putting a light on it. We’ve seen lots of videos that are made well apart from the lighting that then lets down the whole production. It’s better to be too bright than too dark.

4. Sound quality

People take away a lot from a video sound track. So give some consideration to the quality of the sound and what is actually being recorded. Invest in a good quality microphone to make sure what you record is a good quality and clear to start with. Take the time to record a background (or ambient) soundtrack as this can add another dimension to your video. If you’re recording a process then the viewer may want to hear how it sounds – so record this too.

When you edit your web video production also think about whether you want to add sound effects and music. Don’t fall into the trap of just bunging music over an entire video. Videos need ‘light and shade’ and having a combination of sound effects and music can be more effective.

5. To zoom or not to zoom

Ah, the bane of many a web video production… the dreaded zoom. The cardinal sin of video can be the over-use of the zoom buttons. If you have any doubt whether to use the zoom then don’t!

Zooming in and out of a subject can give the viewer sea-sickness and is vey off putting. It’s better instead to think about the shots first and plan a static close up, medium wide and then wide shots. These can then be edited together to make a better sequence.

Another consideration is the placement of the camera. In general, the subject should be in the centre of the shot. Think about whether your shot is also level. Wonky shots are really off-putting for a viewer.

If you’d like any advice or help with web video production then we’d be happy to help. We’re a professional video production company based near Birmingham in the West Midlands. We work for businesses all over the UK and help them make the most of the explosion in the use of web videos to drive sales.

Contact your friendly experts today on 01527 910050.


How to optimise your website video for search rankings

4 Ways to get your website video to the top of the search rankings – FREE guide

OK, so you’ve got some awesome website videos and now you want to drive loads of lovely traffic to your website. You know that videos are indexed well by Google but how do you actually go about getting your video in the rankings.

Here’s our quick guide to how to do it.

1. Use YouTube

It sounds obvious but it’s amazing how many people forget to use this free platform. Basically Google gets information from thousands of different places on the Internet. These are compiled into the results that you see when you do a search. The great news is that YouTube and Google seem (albeit denied) to have a special relationship with each other in terms of favouritism. This means that videos on YouTube are 85% more likely to show up in the rankings than other platforms.

So definitely use YouTube but also don’t exclude the other channels such as Vimeo and Google Video.

2. Optimise your video

Again, this seems obvious but many people simply upload their videos but don’t bother optimising them. It’s vital that you optimise your video titles, description and tags. And you don’t forget to optimise the actual title and file name as YouTube look at all these factors. It’s always a good idea to do some keyword research so that you use tags that are relevant and not too competitive. Long tail keywords work well, especially ones that are geographically based (such as a town / county).

3. Video sitemap

If you have a video hosted on your own website then you’ll need to create a video sitemap. While videos are indexed by the search engines on the platforms such as YouTube automatically they’re not on a ‘normal’ website. This means you’ll need to create and upload a site map with meta data about the video title, content and running time.

4. Compelling thumbnails

When you upload your website videos make sure that you pick a thumbnail that’s going to make the viewer hit the play button. Think about what will draw the user to the video and select the thumbnail accordingly.

If you’re considering website video production then talk to us first. We help loads of businesses like you achieve huge online success and improved conversion rates with stunning explainer videos and website videos. We back this up with making sure all the techie stuff (as above) is done to ensure maximum exposure.

Give you friendly video production company a call today on 01527 910050.

Are your website videos legal?

Some legal basics for website videos

Website videos are the fastest growing means of communication for lots of businesses. From explainer videos through to how-to-guides and video blogs. The explosion in affordable video has also meant a lot of people making their own videos and unwittingly facing copyright infringement cases.

This is obviously a shock for many and can end up ruining a business as well as a businesses reputation. The most common charges are for copyright and trademark infringement, defamation and right of publicity.

As you may imagine, most of these cases are when people use or download copyright content that they don’t own. By far the biggest offender is a downloaded image that’s then used in a video. However, there also lots of cases of people using company logos, music and video clips that they simply don’t own.

So, in a nutshell you can’t just download stuff and use it in your new video. If you have any doubt then it’s worth checking with a solicitor first.

The fines for copyright infringement with your new website videos can be very high. This is not only the actual fine but also the court fees and solicitor costs. Simply saying you didn’t know your should have used something is not an argument that will stand up in court.

If you don’t fancy producing your own website videos and would like to use a professional video production company then we’d love to help you. We’re trusted by a wide range of organisations from SMEs to global brands to produce persuasive videos that work.

We can help you achieve the online success that you deserve. Our website videos (typically called explainer videos) are short, attention grabbing videos that boost sales. The great thing is that they can massively increase your website conversion rate.

“The kind of revenues the videos have helped us generate is amazing. We whished we done them years ago” Carrie Rice – Marketing Manager, RDI Ltd

Contact your friendly experts today on 01527 910050 – we’d love to hear from you.


Ethical Video Production Company

Your ethical video production company

When brands like Citizens Advice, Telefonica, Pepsi, Nestle, Trading Standards, NFU and Royal & Sun Alliance want to engage an ethical video production company they speak to us first.

Our ethical and sustainable approach to producing videos has delighted our clients and delivered real business benefits. We work with lots of businesses like you who want to improve training, promote their business and basically sell more stuff.

We always want to do the right thing by our customers. We work tirelessly with your goals in mind as we realise that your success is also our success.

“The video that Stormnet Media produced on behalf of the Post Office and our Partners has supported the up skilling of our teams in a fun and user friendly way. They are professional, enthusiastic and come highly recommended.” Tracy Bond – Training Manager, The Royal Mail Group

Our ethics have stood us in good stead. We have an open and honest approach in everything that we do. We’re consistent, fair and trustworthy. We hold confidentiality in the highest regard and respect the privacy of our customers and everyone we interact with.

We’re conscious of our carbon footprint and we’re proud to be green – We’re conscious of our environment and operate a totally paperless business. We save unnecessary travel where possible and provide online previews of videos to save you valuable time, and of course unnecessary use of fuel and emissions.

Here’s just a few things we do to ensure that we are an ethical video production company.

Recycle and reuse – We try to limit our impact on the environment and this includes recycling packaging and eliminating the use of paper

Energy audit – we carry out regular energy audits to see how we can best reduce our carbon footprint. This includes low energy lights, timer switches and improved insulation

Reduced commuting – We encourage our team to car share on the way to work and allow flexible working hours and home working. This improves productivity, reduces our carbon impact and creates a happy working environment

Buy green – We work with our suppliers to buy sustainable and green products where possible. We look at how long products will last and not just make a buying decision on price

Go online – We love seeing our customers but we also realise that sometimes we can use video conferencing, e-mail or a phone call instead. We provide video previews online to save you travel time and allow you to share video at a touch of a button

These are just a few reasons why we are chosen as an ethical video production company. We’re green and proud and love what we do. This shows in our enthusiasm, professionalism and awesome videos.

We’re based near Birmingham in the West Midlands and have production facilities in Warwickshire and Worcestershire. We work for clients all over the UK.

Contact your ethical video production company today on 01527 910050.