October 08, 2015

How to Shoot Videos Like a Pro

How to Shoot Photos Like a Pro

What if a single content marketing medium could increase your email click-through rates by 65% and keep people on your website about two minutes longer? And what if 75% of business executives consumed content in that medium at least weekly, while over half the whole population consumed it daily? (Source: HubSpot)

JeffTiceThat miracle medium is video. Done well, videos have incredible power to attract, convert and delight your target audience. It's no wonder, then, that 93% of marketers use video for online marketing, sales and communication.

But you don't need to be in marketing, or be a videographer, to make videos work for your company. We sat down with one of our resident videographers, Jeff Tice, for his tips on how to shoot videos for your business.

1. Decide Whether Video Is the Best Medium. 

Tice says that nine times out of ten, his clients initially expect a single video to have an incredibly broad scope. It's better, he says, to keep a tight focus, and to acknowledge that some messages and information might still be better in print. Your company history might make for an interesting read, but a less-than-scintillating video. "Remember that videos are best when they're used to engage and entertain," he says. 

Take safety videos, for example. Tice has done many safety videos for one corporate client over many years. By now, the company's employees know how to, say, use a ladder safely. Instead of shooting yet another video that uses a straightforward approach to demonstrate ladder safety, Tice suggested a more lighthearted approach that's more entertaining. "Just because something is entertaining doesn't mean that it must be bereft of specific, informative content," he says. 

And don’t be daunted by the equipment required to make a video. Tice shot the above video for his local football team, using his iPhone — and starring himself. It was essentially a do-it-yourself video that anyone could produce, using basic equipment and software. Most importantly, the video was engaging and got terrific results for the client.

2. Make a Plan. 

Long before you touch a piece of video equipment, decide exactly what your goals for the video are. Tice shares four questions you should answer during your initial planning session:

  • What's the purpose of the video? Maybe it's simply electronic news gathering — that is, reporting on a product or event. But most companies plan to use their videos for marketing or PR as well, which requires a much different approach.
  • What is the main message of the video? Tice notes that it's easy to get overly ambitious with a video. After all, you're investing significant resources, so why not get more bang for your buck? But trying to squeeze too many messages into one video will ultimately leave your audience confused and frustrated. Decide on one clear, concise message you'd like to convey. 
  • How will you convey that message? Doing interviews, adding voiceovers and putting text on the screen all have different advantages ... and require different resources. Decide how you plan to convey the message and plan accordingly. 
  • What is your budget? You can spend as much or as little on a video as you choose, but it's important that your expectations match your investment. Consider the expected return on investment for the video, along with your overall marketing budget. Don't overlook the cost of traveling to and shooting on location; equipment rental; and the value of your own time spent making the video. 

3. Think Hard About Sound Quality. 

Tice says that most bad videos have one thing in common: poor sound quality. "So many people are focused on the imagery," he says, "but sound plays an equal role in communicating your message." He recommends investing in a decent microphone. If that's out of your budget, Tice offers a great hack: Take a cellphone recording from your shirt pocket. The audio will be clearer than you'll get from the camera, and you can sync it with the video later. 

The easiest way to ensure excellent audio is to work with an audio expert. These professionals usually bring their own gear, and they can monitor audio levels throughout filming. Even if you don't hire a pro, get someone to monitor your audio via headphones and adjust the sound as needed. 

4. Know When to Get a Pro. 

Given the tremendous potential of video, it's no wonder that it often makes marketers' to-do lists. But often it sits on the list due to lack of expertise or equipment. If a video project has been languishing on your task list, it may be time to hire a professional videographer to help you get 'er done. Moreover, hiring a professional means that you save your own time. You won't have to devote time and energy to learning the ropes of videography

Tice recommends finding someone with plenty of experience shooting the kind of video you'd like to produce, whether that's artistic storytelling or straightforward convention coverage. Ask for samples and referrals from anyone you consider hiring. Going the agency route? Look for a creative media agency that emphasizes using video not as a one-off project, but as an integral part of your overall content marketing strategy.  New Call-to-action

Kristin Masters

Kristin Masters is a former madison/miles media team member.