When it comes to video campaigns, we often picture a string of HD clips with awesome graphics, special effects and fade-outs, shot with the priciest equipment that most of us have never even heard of.
While it may be true that many successful video campaigns do involve the whole production shebang (which might sound much too elaborate for a PR campaign), it could be worth considering this seemingly luxurious PR collateral. After all, there is an undeniable trend today driving the outrageous popularity of video content online. In fact, one study shows that global internet video traffic will reach about 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.
If statistics don’t lie, then surely there is no harm in pulling together some resources towards this video craze to boost your client’s or your agency’s message, right?
Lucky for you, we took the liberty of compiling these practical tips for the PR pros who are itching to explore the world of film-making:
1. Lights, Camera… Action?
Choosing the right equipment may seem incredibly daunting to anyone filming for the first time. To start you off, here is a simple guideline to getting what you need:
Choose a camera based on what you are filming. Get a GoPro if you are filming something on-the-go or from the first-person point of view. Otherwise, a DSLR or mirrorless would be a good affordable option.
Use a tripod! Nothing screams “Amateur!” more than an irritatingly shaky video;
Lighting is a lot more subtle than something being too dark or too bright. If you spend a long time filming you also need to be aware of shifting shadows and other subtleties. Therefore, many film makers prefer to use artificial lights to keep things consistent.
Do not forget about your sound. Not only should you use a proper microphone, you must also be very much aware of ambient background noises. Nothing is more frustrating than getting the perfect shot only to have to redo everything because of excessive noise levels.
Install a reliable video editing software and experiment with it. Choose the one you are most comfortable with! It will allow you to manipulate your shots and piece them together to string together a movie. We recommend giving Movavi, iMovie, Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro a shot.
2. Work Your Angles
Always film each scene from these different angles: close-up, medium then wide. As a beginner worried about the quality of your camera work, the best pro-tip that will automatically add a touch of professionalism to your film is angling. Resist the temptation to hide in a faraway corner to shoot. Don’t keep your audience straining to see what they can’t, leaving them uninterested and mildly annoyed.
Taking the time to film from a variety of angles goes a long way, especially when you will be trying to create a seamless flow between scenes later as you edit.
3. The Sound of Music
Never, ever, neglect the element of music and sound effects in your films. They fabricate the continuity of emotions and can change the mood of a scene in an instant. Overlaying the visual imagery, music moulds a separate dimension that draws people into the video. When done well, the multi-faceted nature of the video may just be the most appropriate way to convey the complexity of human emotions – an exceptional leverage over your everyday written pitches.
However, many people are still hesitant to include music out of fear of infringing on copyright laws. If that is what’s stopping you, hit up some of these sources to find easily-accessible and most importantly, legal downloadable music!
Do a search on YouTube’s Music Policies to check for any restrictions on the song you want to use
Download Royalty-Free Music (doesn’t mean they are Free-of-Charge!) from sites like YouTube Audio Library, Pond5 or AudioMicro
Use covers of songs, but still ask the cover singer for permission just in case
Create your own tunes with online software like AudioSauna or Audiotool
4. Get On Board The Storyboard
Finally, it is ESSENTIAL that you have a vision for your film, for it forms the backbone of the movie. However, in crafting your video script, remember you only have 10 seconds before you lose a fifth of your audience. Keep it short because most people don’t last longer than two minutes.
With so little time, what should we then choose to highlight in these short-lived, flickering moments?
I’d say sell your story, not the product!
Put the brand’s essence right before your audience for their own evaluation. Don’t tell your viewers exactly how to feel or what to look out for. Rather than being fed a list of benefits, encourage them to form their own opinions, to initiate discussions that surround the brand story.
In the past four years, the number of podcast listeners has more than doubled. But numbers aside, there are numerous instances where podcasts fare better than videos.
The greatest plus point would be that podcasts are remarkably cheaper to produce. This is especially advantageous when you are low on budget but have a great story to tell. You might lose out on the visual factor and to some extent, the ability for your content to go viral, but you gain in other ways for sure!
Podcast series are a hit with people who are always on-the-go and may not have time to sit down and focus on watching a video or reading an article. Moreover, podcasts are known to have especially loyal followings that enjoy the intimacy of hearing someone’s own point of view and vibrant personality for themselves. It is likely that a greater majority of people listening to your podcast will “Stay tuned for more next time!” as compared to videos.
So, if your client promotes services that fit a busy lifestyle or revolve around topics from which stem interesting discussion points and guest personalities, then podcasts may be the way to go.
Of course, we won’t leave you hanging with that! For those unsure on how to get a podcast series started, here is what you will need:
Define your niche clearly. Choose a topic you are passionate and have much to say about. Stick to it;
Get a Digital Audio Workstation. This is where you will edit your clips, as you do with videos. The most popular FREE option out there is Audacity. If you have the bandwidth to spend a little more, Reaper and Adobe Audition are good choices to start with;
Register for a streaming site. It is not free, but you will need somewhere to upload your podcasts so that people can download and listen to them. The most popular streaming sites to date include Libsyn, PodBean, Buzzsprout and Blubrry;
Set up an uploading schedule. The appeal of podcasts is that they come in series with regularly produced episodes. If you fail to be consistent, it is likely that your following will not stick around for very long.
Equipment-wise, all you need is a microphone and a quiet room. Whether you decide to use your earphones or book a studio, it doesn’t matter much when you are starting out, so long as your listeners can hear your podcast clearly.
In conclusion, we are not saying that it is an absolute necessity to have videos or podcasts incorporated into every campaign. Ultimately, it still depends on whether your client can and wants to consider these options. However, it is always good to venture out of your comfort zone. If you have faith that your firm has the right storytellers, you have the potential to deliver impactful video collaterals, why not give it a shot? Pun intended 😉