Good Business Video Starts Pre-Production
By Lucas McNelly
I’m the new guy here at Honeybadger central, as we’re starting to roll out video content for clients and, well, that’s what I do. One of the first things I’ve noticed as I’ve been researching the business video landscape is that business videos are bad. Really, really bad. Sometimes spectacularly so.
You might not have Nike’s video budget (and if you do, can I buy you a drink sometime?), but you could have made a commercial for a fraction of what you probably spent on lunches this week. You could have shot it on your phone. There’s nothing elaborate about it. But, man is it ever effective. And for one very important reason: it’s cinematic.
I’ll skip the 3 hour tangent about why you really should be watching Krzysztof Kieślowski films before you tell customers about your new widgets (unless you really want to hear it). Cinematic videos are better videos. Better videos get you more customers. It’s as simple as that. So, let’s start a crash course on how you can make your videos more cinematic. As a bonus, you’ll also end up taking better Facebook selfies. Everyone wins.
Part I: Fix It in Pre
There’s a joke in film that you can always fix something in post, which is basically where you hope and pray that your editor can turn the rat nest of footage you’re going to hand him into something watchable. Spoiler: editors hate it when you do that. Don’t be surprised if you then, say, get a phone call at 3am on a Tuesday and have to listen to your inebriated editor curse at you for 20 minutes, just to pick an example that I totally made up and definitely didn’t happen to me.
Don’t assume you can fix things in post-production. Instead, fix it in pre-production.
Plan everything. And I mean everything.
It starts with brainstorming and coming up with the idea. Don’t take the first one or the 5th one or even the 10th one. Keep going until you love it. Then write the script. After you’ve done 8 or 9 drafts, get it up on its feet. Have the interns act it out. You’ll be amazed how often something that looks great on the page falls absolutely flat when someone says it out-loud. Then, re-write it again.
Make sure you know your location. Is there a train that goes by every 15 minutes? How’s the light? Is the sun going to be an issue? What are the acoustics of the room? Zak Forsman has been known to spend an entire day scouting a location, seeing how the conditions change over the course of the day. You probably don’t need to do that, but you should make an effort to be familiar with the place. Shooting days are expensive. The more you can figure out ahead of time, the better. And the more prepared you are, the more time you can spend actually shooting the video you need and not, say, trying to figure out where that drilling noise is coming from. (Also, if you need to bribe a construction worker, beer usually works pretty well.)
A thousand things can go wrong on a shoot. Give yourself a fighting chance. Plan the video out in advance. All of it.
Read next: The Eyes Have It
Interested in integrating video into your business’s marketing strategy? Contact Dream Local Digital today to get started.