Monthly Archives: June 2013

Video Production Process Explained

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Video production process explained in 6 easy steps

With no hidden costs or nasty surprises, Stormnet clients of all sizes and budgets enjoy a stress-free path to a broadcast-quality marketing video that delivers measurable results.

From family-run businesses to large major brands, we deliver the same care and attention throughout the video production process.

To ensure the best value for money we can offer, we leave no stone unturned when it comes to researching your project. Our goal is to help you achieve your goals, so we’re not precious about realising our own artistic ambition. Your video is all about your business.

You’ll benefit from regular consultation and communication throughout the process, leaving no margin for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of your brief. If you have any feedback or suggestions along the way, we’ll work hard to incorporate them in your video.

And if you’re worried about supplying a script or creative brief, you can relax. We’ll take care of it as part of the highly-recommended service we provide. From the storyboard to the editing room, we have experience in all the key creative fields to ensure your video surpasses your expectations.

Here’s how we do it…

Step 1: It’s all about you

It’s our mission to understand your brand as well as you do. Everything from your brand personality to your customer expectations is thoroughly digested before we do anything else. This helps us design a killer brief together that’s precision-engineered to meet your business goals.

Step 2: A compelling script draws your customers in

In order to meet your business objectives, you need to engage with your audience and capture their imaginations from the very first frame. We’ll create a water-tight script that speaks to your audience with flair and imagination. A script written specifically to further your business needs.

Step 3: Great design makes a more memorable video

Armed with a killer script, we go to work on designing the right look and feel for your production, based on all the research we’ve done about your business. This is where we develop storyboards, illustrations and mood boards to really give you a feel for how your video is shaping up. And of course, ask for your feedback before progressing.

Step 4: Live action sequences add credibility to your message

Live action sequences are great for helping your audience to see themselves as part of your message. And we’re experts in broadcast-quality, cinematic on-location filming. Using the latest technology, we promise a pin-sharp picture quality delivered in smooth HD (high definition) all shot with the utmost care and attention to detail.

Step 5: Professional editing puts your message at centre stage

Trusted by a long list of independent film producers, directors and agencies, our fully-equipped digital editing suites are where the raw footage, audio and ideas are consolidated into a slick, compelling, high-performance finished film. Expect crystal clear sound and broadcast-standard HD picture quality. During the edit we can also add effects, voice-overs and 3D animation to ensure your film is truly unforgettable.

Step 6: Are you ready to hold your own premiere?

Your video is finished, and ready to start working hard to meet your objectives. Delivered in all the formats you will need, including full HD for TV and web formats, you’ll be able to launch immediately and start reaping the benefits. And to help create awareness of your new film, we’ll even provide some FREE video blogging as a customer courtesy.

If you’re ready to start building your business using video, visit our contact page, or call our friendly team on 01527 910050 today.

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.