Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why Your Web Video Needs to be Mobile Ready

Mobile ready web video to drive sales…

Web video production is a vital part of many companies’ marketing strategies. Web videos can convey vital product information easily and entertainingly. Videos are also much more likely to be shared by viewers than text pieces are by readers, meaning that companies with video demonstrations are more easily able to take advantage of network effects.

When creating a video, however, it’s important to take not only those viewers watching on their home internet connections but also those watching on mobile devices into account. More and more people watch online videos on their smartphones or tablets, and producing a video in a format these users can’t watch means leaving them out of the audience.

Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in mobile web video watching in the UK, as more and more consumers have access to mobile devices and fast mobile internet. According to a recent survey, 63% of mobile device users in the vital 18-44 demographic watched videos on their smartphones or tablets. A survey in early 2013 saw a 14% increase in the number of online videos viewed from the previous year with the number of mobile video users more than tripling.

With this striking increase in mobile video viewing, web video production needs to take the needs of mobile users into consideration. This means thinking about connection speeds, file formats and screen size.

Some video hosting services already take mobile viewers into account. For instance, videos hosted on YouTube can be quickly mobilised by selecting an option in the Syndication menu. For companies handling web video production in-house, making a mobile-friendly video means choosing the right file format. The most common mobile video formats are MPEG-4 – also a common format for web video – 3GP, and Flash Lite. These fomats encourage small file sizes that download quickly to mobile phones.

Video production needs to take more than just file format into account when creating a video for mobile users. Some elements that will work well on a laptop screen won’t be as helpful for mobile users. Text may be too small to easily read, for instance, and mobile sound performance can lack the clarity of desktop speakers. Testing a new video on mobile devices as well as personal computers is a vital part of the production process.

For advice an help on any aspect of web video production then talk to our friendly team on 01527 910050 or use our contact form.

Explainer Video Production Company Guide

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How to find the right explainer video production company

In this FREE guide we’ll look at what is an ‘explainer video’ and what to look for when commissioning an explainer video production company and the best ways to use these types of video.

What is an explainer video?

As you’d expect, an explainer video provides an explanation of what a business is selling or maybe an explanation of what a business does or a specific function.

For example, as an explainer video production company, our explainer videos show the various benefits of using our service to you, our potential customer.

What’s the best way to use an explainer video?

Explainer videos are great for short, concise ‘elevator’ style pitches. With the attention span of an Internet viewer limited to around 54 seconds you need to be able to get your value proposition over quickly – this is what explainer videos are best at.

They give a great intro to your business and show what you can offer

Explainer videos are ideal for differentiating you from your competitors and showing how you do things differently.

They have been proven to increase website conversion rates, i.e. converting prospects into sales.

Types of explainer video productions

There are varying ways that an explainer video production company will approach your video. For example, animated explainer videos use quirky and memorable animation to get over the messages in a remarkable way. These are what’s usually considered as an explainer video.

Other explainer video formats include ‘web presenters’ – these are usually live action presenters that pop up on a web page. While these have been popular they are becoming commonplace and less effective as time goes on.

Thought leader videos are used quite a bit to add social proof to websites. These could be a leader in a particular field that is commenting on how something works. The net effect is that it seems like a lecture as opposed to a sales video.

The best ways to use explainer videos

There are many ways to implement your video and your explainer video production company (if experienced) should be able to help you with the best strategy.

As an example, you may decide to put your explainer video on your home page to instantly explain who you are and let your prospect get a fast and positive first impression. Because of the nature of explainers they can be ideal for sales pitches and presentations where you want to get over your whole value proposition from the get-go.

One of the biggest benefits of explainer videos is that they increase website conversion rates. In recent studies it was shown that a person was 85% more likely to buy a product or engage a service if the webpage had an accompanying explainer video.

Pain – Agitate – Solve. How to structure your explainer video

The ‘pain, agitate, solve’ formula is a tried and tested direct marketing technique. It’s been adopted by explainer video production companies and is a proven to be very effective.

This is how it works:

Pain – The video opens with a scenario where we talk about a problem that the audience is experiencing. By presenting the problem the audience engage and listen for a solution.

Agitate – this is where we further agitate the pain by spelling out the consequences of inaction. This purposes further and deeper emotional engagement and further opens the audience to a solution.

Solve – This is where you present your solution, and explain how it works. It’s vital that this final section includes a strong call-to-action.

How do I find the right explainer video production company?

The right explainer video production company will understand all of the above points and will be able to create an effective video and help you implement the video. It’s always worth checking out their portfolio of samples. And check they are actually for companies and not just ‘demo’ videos they have created. It’s one thing creating an explainer video as a demo compared to one that actually is measured on business benefits by a client! Usually, if an explainer video production company has created 10+ videos for well-known brands as well as smaller clients then you’re probably not going to go far wrong.

If you’re considering an explainer video then we’d love to talk to you. We’re an explainer video production company based near Birmingham in the West Midlands and have offices in Poole in Dorset. We work for clients just like you all over the UK who want compelling animated explainer videos that boost sales and help sell more stuff!

Talk to your friendly experts today on 01527 910050.

How to Produce a Website Video on a Budget

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Website video production for small business

Online video has never been more important as part of a company’s marketing strategy. As more and more people have access to high-speed internet and video-capable mobile devices, website videos gain a larger and larger potential audience. If you’ve never created a video before, however, it can be a daunting prospect. You may be wondering if it’s something you can afford. In fact, however, you probably have most of what you need already. You’ll be surprised to find how inexpensively website videos can be created.

High-quality digital video cameras can be expensive, but the cameras contained in many mobile phones or tablets are good enough for explainer videos or other simple website videos. Inexpensive flip cameras provide a slightly wider range of options without breaking the bank. If you’re demonstrating a piece of software or a website, you may not need to use a camera at all.

Script and presentation are the most important parts of a video, and these needn’t cost anything if you’re going to do them yourself. The success of a low-budget video depends on being able to clearly communicate your passion for the product to the viewer, so make sure that your script is direct, to the point and short. If you have a lot of material to cover, you may find it easier to present it in several small videos rather than one long one.

Although it doesn’t seem like much, research has shown that the videos that hold an audience’s attention tend to be in the 30-60 second range. Naturally, a more complicated subject requires more detailed coverage, but try to make sure that your video isn’t any longer than it needs to be.

Editing and production require video editing and formatting software; a number of useful applications are available either free or at low prices. Editing and video production software like ScreenFlow, Camtasia and iMovie all off the ability to record and edit videos; Camtasia and iMovie both also allow you to screencast, recording what appears on your computer screen. If you only want to screencast, try Jing, a screencast app with a useful free version.

If you’d like help with producing a website video then we’d love to talk. We produce website and explainer videos that help companies achieve the online success they deserve. We’re based near Birmingham in the West Midlands and work for delighted customers all over the UK. Contact your friendly experts today.. we’d be happy to talk to you.

How to Increase Sales Through Online Video Production

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Guide to boosting your revenue with online video production

Whilst a great online or web video can massively boost your sales revenue, a poor video can put off your prospects. Here, we’ll show you how to increase your revenue with great video marketing and how to avoid the most common pitfalls.

In this guide:

Learn how to win new business with web video

How to create a web video strategy that works for your business
Turn your customers into advocates for your brand

How to drive marketing with good quality web videos

Video marketing is one of the most powerful ways to boost your business. Studies have shown that website videos, such as explainer videos, can make a big difference to your sales conversion rate. If you combine this with the relatively low cost of production and the fact that Google favours video in the search results then you’ve got very compelling reasons to use online video production.

The great news is that you don’t have to be a budding Steve Spielberg to make a successful marketing video. You can, of course, hire a professional video production company but you may also want to consider having a go at producing your own video first.

If you are a small business owner considering producing your own online video then here are a few insider tricks that you can use to help make your video a success. This includes info on how to make your video stand out and how to ensure you get your message across.

Planning your video

The most important part of any video production process is in the planning stage. This will help you stay true to your goals, make the filming more efficient and result in a video that works.

The planning of a video production can take a number of forms. For the most part this involves mapping out what you want to achieve from the video (e.g. get more sales, explain what you do etc.), producing a script and designing a storyboard.

The storyboard and script will help you understand your story better and will allow everyone involved to share in the message. It also helps in planning the filming to make it as efficient as possible as well as the edit.

If you’re producing something like an explainer video then keep in mind that audiences are very fickle. The sweet spot in terms of duration is around 60 to 90s so be brutal in getting rid of stuff you don’t need.

Many explainer and online videos follow a standard format. This is to present a problem, provide a solution, explain how it works and then give a call to action.

Production kit you’ll need

Video production equipment is now more affordable than ever. But before you rush out and buy a shed load of professional kit then you may want to consider that you may already own equipment that is good enough for the job. For example, a lot of DSLR cameras and camcorders deliver superb quality for web video production. These are leaps and bounds from the old ‘tape’ based video camcorders and can deliver HD video quality.

In addition there are some absolutely essential extras that can make the difference between a professional looking video and an amateur movie. One of these is the tripod. This will make your shots steady and remove the hand-held shots that lots of amateur video makers use. There are also other great bits of kit, such as dollies that help you create dynamic tracking shots – these can make your video look like a piece of work by a pro.

Pay attention to the editing

The editing of your video is one of the most important parts of the video production process. You also should try and be a merciless as possible in the process and cut out anything that does not enhance your story. Think about what your viewers want to know and don’t assume that they understand your business.

There are lots of great video editing packages available for free or just a few pounds. Many operating systems ship with some form of editing software, one of the best on the market is Apple’s iMovie. This delivers professional video production editing tools and an easy to use interface.

With digital video editing software you’ll be able to quickly create a logical and coherent story. Before you start filming and editing you may want to consider creating a storyboard and script. This will help you organise your production and stay on message.

When editing, don’t be tempted to fill your video with flashy transitions and effects. This can distract from your message and screams ‘amateur video’ to the audience. Instead concentrate of the key messages.

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of professional video production or would like additional help or advice then we’d love to help. We’re based near Birmingham in the West Midlands and have video studios in Warwickshire and Worcestershire. We work with clients just like you across the UK and help them achieve online success and sell more stuff!

Contact your friendly experts today on 01527 910050.

How to Create an Explainer Video Storyboard

Explainer video production storyboard hints and tips

Storyboards are the basis for most explainer videos. They are used as the blueprint for the production and allow you to be able to visualise the end product before the animation process begins. This is usually the starting point for most explainer videos, and pretty much any video production.

Not only does a storyboard help you (the client) visualise the end product but it also lets the entire production team see how your video should look and sound.

Why do I need a storyboard?

A storyboard will make sure that the animation process or filming process is organised

It helps everyone involved in the production visualise your value proposition

Storyboards are a great way to see if the story flows and help you spot any potential problems

They allow you to experiment with different storylines

A storyboard will save you valuable production time

How are storyboards created?

Back in the day, storyboards were all hand drawn by illustrators. Today, storyboards vary in their levels of sophistication. They can still be created by specialist storyboard artists, however increasingly they are created digitally. There are various packages that can be used to help you.

Saying this, if you are looking to create an explainer video or, indeed any video production, then any storyboard can be useful. You don’t need to be an artist and even ‘stickmen’ can provide a useful guide for filming or animation.

Here’s a sample of a ‘standard’ storyboard template:

Storyboard template design

Standard storyboard template

Here’s a good example of a ‘simple’ storyboard:

Basic Storyboard

Example of basic video storyboard

Here’s a more sophisticated storyboard

Explainer Video Storyboard

Sophisticated storyboard for an explainer video

Help with storyboarding – top tips.

1. The first thing to do with a storyboard is make sure that you number all your shots. This helps to avoid confusion and provides an easy to follow flow. If you need to further explain shots then use a sub system of numbering, for example 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d etc.

2. Clearly identify all of your locations. This then allows you to quickly organise the filming so that you’re maximising the film crew time in each location.

3. There are a number of simple acronyms that video production companies use to identify the different shot sizes. These are useful in helping your team visualise the type of shots to use.

Here are some of the most common that are used:

ECU – Extreme close up

BCU – Big close up

CU – Close up

MCU – Medium close up

Wide – Wide shot

LS – Long shot

GV – General view

4. Another great thing about a storyboard is that you can indicate motion. Use lines to indicate speed or arrows to show a direction of travel. It’s also good practise to include notes about the motion in the text area of the storyboard.

5. The explainer video storyboard will be used by the whole film crew and in particular the cameraman and lighting director. So you should try to include instruction on the camera angles required as well as how you want the lighting to look.

6. To help in the post-production process you should include information on any video effects, graphics as well as sound effects.

If you’re looking to commission any sort of video production then we’d love to help you. We work with lots of clients like you to create engaging and effective videos.

Speak to your friendly experts today on 01527 910050.