Having a video strategy has turned from nicety into necessity. With one billion hours of video watched on YouTube every single day, and video predicted to represent 82% of all IP traffic by 2021, it’s easy to see why the medium is now mandatory for many brands.
But with such a high volume of video content at people’s fingertips, your job of being seen is getting harder. To maximise your chances of hitting the mark, and getting hits on your video, we have compiled 5 top tips for creating compelling video content – from pre-production to online distribution.
This list caters towards those looking to create and share their first piece of video content, rather than the experienced videographer/marketer – but even if you’re a veteran shooter, it may be worth reminding yourself of the fundamentals.
1. Cater to your audience
Before you begin production you need to identify your target audience. Your target audience should align with your business goals that you expect the video to achieve.
It’s imperative that you identify your target audience from the outset as this knowledge will inform every step and decision of the creative process – from the style of content you will produce, to the length and the platforms you push it on.
2. Choose the right delivery platforms
When choosing the platform(s) you will distribute your video on consider those most used by your target audience. This decision can then be further influenced by the subject matter of your video, its length and aspect ratio. It’s also worth noting each platforms’ requirements – for example video cannot exceed 60 seconds on Instagram – and best practises – for example longer work typically does best on YouTube, and portfolios are frequently hosted on Vimeo.
Popular platforms for video are: YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter.
3. Create an appropriate visual style
The visual style is where you can stamp your creative fingerprint and give your work an identity. There are many factors that contribute to the visual style, but we want to highlight two: lighting and composition.
The lighting design will allow you to create a specific mood. Again, this should be influenced by your target audience and the type of content you are creating. To manipulate light, you need to alter any of the following: quantity, quality, position and colour.
The composition is the arrangement of your frame, altering it will affect the gaze of your viewer. A good composition will ensure you hold your viewers’ gaze in the desired locations – be it on a subject or a product. When creating your composition ask yourself, ‘is what I want to be seen being shown?’
Below, you can see some examples from our previous work.
(Image 1 – A still from our shoot for banking app Vipera)
In image 1 we used only natural light. We placed the talent near large windows to give us enough exposure, and the weather being overcast prevented large changes in sunlight negatively impacting the consistency in brightness. The composition is a simple medium two shot to provide coverage, as the aim of this video was to inform.
(Image 2 – A still from our shoot for professional hair stylist Edward James)
Image 2 uses a more complex lighting setup to enhance the impact of the shot. The backlight provides a nice bokeh effect, whilst also helping to highlight the talent. We have a soft fill light providing an even coverage of light over the talents’ face, so she is clearly visible, with a slightly harsher key light providing contouring to the talents’ left profile. The composition is tighter on the talent, heightening impact, whilst positioning her on the right, employing the rule of thirds, ensures a pleasant amount of empty space.
Taking control of both your lighting and composition is a big step towards making your video easy on the eye.
4. Control the pace of your edit
Align the pace of your edit with the story you are telling. Is your story short and sharp or drawn out and dramatic? Alter the pace by changing the length of each shot/cut, the type of transition, and the length of the whole video.
Keep your video engaging by cutting out the fat – any excess baggage that does not move the story forward. Do this by removing any excess dialogue, any unneeded pauses between dialogue, and by cutting tightly between shots – jumping straight from action to reaction, cause and effect.
5. Don’t forget sound
Recording crisp sound on set is just as important as capturing crisp footage – sound is fifty percent of the picture. You can also add a soundtrack to help bring your video to life.
Your soundtrack should help tell the story. Match the soundtrack to the subject matter, and the beat to your cuts in the edit. This will give it some extra punch.
A fast edit typically matches well with a fast soundtrack, and a slower edit with a slower soundtrack. Align crescendos with your most important shots to heighten their impact.
Bonus tip: re-purpose & re-deliver
Gain extra mileage from your content by creating subsequent edits, such as short highlight videos or unseen footage. You can then share these on the same or new delivery platforms. For example, extract the highlights from your 10-minute YouTube video and cut into a 30 second teaser trailer to share on Twitter, directing eyeballs back to your main content. People already familiar with your content are more likely to remember you, and those only active on one social channel will now be aware you exist!