I have good news and bad news about producing Web videos in a corporate environment:
First, the good news:
- Everyone now can afford to do video
- Video tools are easy enough that you can do it in-house
- Video is SEO magic – when placed appropriately, it works REALLY well
But now, the bad news:
- You now have even less time to tell your story
- Writing for video is different, and somewhat harder than writing for print or the Web
- You have to “write” both what is seen and what is heard
We’ve been shooting corporate videos here at TEMPUS Group for several months now, and I’ve compiled the top 10 tips I tell everyone that starts a video project with us. Hopefully they help everyone venturing into the world of corporate video:
- Don’t ever get anyone to act. Acting by non-actors is obvious and painful. If you want people to say something, ask them questions and get their responses naturally.
- Don’t start with the corporate office shot. One thing we learned in documentary film school was that you never do shots of inanimate objects. Just how exciting is that building, really?
- Start with the killer shot. Why do most action movies start with action? It draws the viewer in and engages them immediately. Reality video does this well, too. You need something that grabs people instantly.
- Start with an outline (treatment), then build a script and a storyboard. But keep that script loose, and don’t over write it. Figure out what shots you absolutely need. And make sure you get them.
- Interview more than just the main people you think matter. The people that give you the best footage might not be the ones you expect.
- Always ask inspiring questions. The best list of questions I’ve seen online, and one that I use religiously, came from Director Tom. He suggests some of the following questions (and other tips): “What’s at stake?”; “What does the future hold for you/your company?”; “How did you get into this business?”; “What do you think your story tells our audience?”; and “What’s the most amazing part of your life”
- Start with warm-up questions. Also borrowed from Director Tom, warm-up questions make talking easier for everyone and allows them to relax. Questions like “What are your hobbies?” and “What books are you reading?” are good ice-breakers. Don’t forget to record the answers—they may be good for outtakes.
- Shoot 10 times the footage you need. Enough said.
- DNMTFC. Do not move the #&$(% camera. Ever. You are not that good of a camera person, and your camera doesn’t have the capability to do nice movement shots.
- When you shoot people in motion, have them leave the frame. Related to the DNMTFC comment, keep your camera stationary. When people leave the frame, it provides a nice edit point.
Now, we’re still learning, too, but by simply implementing these 10 tips, we have dramatically increased the quality of the video we’re producing already. Hopefully these will help people out as they start making movie magic for their businesses, as well.