Tick, Tick, Tick... Like it or not, the clock is ticking that is rapidly turning the Internet into a visual environment that will be dominated by players who are savvy enough to realize that text-only is the surest way to lose your online audience. The bad news is that those sites that continue to resist the trend toward video inclusion are going to find browsers and buyers going elsewhere. The good news is that it still isnít too late for you to get with the YouTube crowd before the clock runs out. In fact, with a little bit of practice, you may soon find out that online video could well be the best thing that ever happened to your company. Spread a little Holiday Cheer
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The first thing you have to understand before you rush out to buy a webcam is that bad video is worst than no video at all. What works on paper can be as boring as watching paint dry. That doesnít mean it takes Steven Spielberg to turn out must-see online TV With a little practice, almost anyone can create corporate videos that are some of the best sales tools a business could have. What follows is what you need to know in order to create and deliver a marketing message by telling a story so that your audience will remember the message and act upon it. Best of all, we can even show you how to do this on a shoestring budget.
Lights, Camera, Online Action!
Online itís all about production value, not airtime The first thing you have to understand is that Web video is completely separate from the world of broadcast television, where the cost of airtime is at a premium and show formats are from 30 to 120 minutes in length. ďA typical 30-minute block of television airtime includes 22 minutes of programming with 6 minutes of national advertising and 2 minutes of local (although some half-hour blocks may have as much as 12 minutes of advertisements)."
We've all had to gnash our teeth while sitting through the now all-too-familiar 3-minute commercial break, wondering if we are even going to be able to keep the dramatic train of thought sustained long enough for the programming to resume. Fortunately, the world of web video doesnít work that way. There arenít any commercial breaks during a typical web broadcast, the length of an average YouTube clip being anywhere from two to five minutes. With that kind of format, there isnít time for a commercial.
That being said, an argument needs to be made for discipline when creating an online video presentation. The way to format an effective video is to do it in the most efficient and memorable manner possible. No-Frills Filmmaking at its Best is about telling your story, whether it's a thirty-second elevator pitch or a five-minute web TV microcast. If you don't tell a story you aren't communicating your message effectively. Best of all, since YouTube doesn't require you to purchase airtime, your video presentation once uploaded, is available 24/7 for all to see, anytime, as often as they want.
Since you have so much freedom of expression when it comes to online video, what you need to ask yourself, is, ďWhat is the best way to make my point?Ē If you follow the standard television format and drone on for half-an-hour all you are going to accomplish is boring your viewers to tears? The best format for successful Web video is to hit the viewer right between the eyes and deliver the message in an unforgettable way.
Just as with most things in life, discipline is very important when it comes to video production. Particularly when it comes to video shorts, the producer needs to stay focused. Lose this focus and you wonít just lose the viewer, you could very well lose track of your shooting budget as well. Time is money on the set. Unlike producing a show for broadcast television where ads and episodes are timed to the second, when it comes to web-based video you have the freedom to fudge the timing to meet your needs. Online, it makes no sense to cut a presentation because it runs fifteen seconds too long, or to add filler because it runs fifteen seconds short. However, it is still sound practice to create a structure that allows you to build a presentation that works. This means just as in any TV or Hollywood production, your video must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. More importantly, it you also need to tell a story that will grab the viewerís attention.
What I have done below is create a simple formula for web video production. Itís loosely based on the standard, three act Hollywood treatment, scaled down from a one hundred and twenty minute movie to a one hundred and twenty second video short.
Put On Your Producerís Hat
Before rolling tape, the first thing you need to learn about video is that for every hour you put into preproduction, you will save two in post. What this means in a nutshell, is that you want to have the production well laid out before you shoot video. This boils down to either writing a script, or at the very least laying out some talking points that will give your production structure.
Act One introduces your hero. It also needs to create an object of desire. This is whatís known in literary circles as the hook. Itís the hook that creates viewer interest, holds the viewerís attention, and generates suspense.
Act Two is all about establishing conflict and building tension by creating an obstacle that provides the motivation necessary to resolving the problem. It also plants an element of doubt in the viewerís mind. Will the hero carry the day? Will he get the girl?
Act Three involves the payoff which resolves the conflict. The best payoffs are ones that not only save the day, but also plant a seed in the mind of the viewer that leads to the heroís next appearance. This is how Hollywood makes most of its money: the sequel.
Production: Armed with either a script or talking points, you can now lay out the meat and potatoes on tape. Usually this involves scouting a location, assembling cast and crew and shooting your video. However, one of the things you are going to quickly discover about location shooting is that you canít control the environment. Having produced hundreds of videos, I canít tell you how many times the weather, or someone running a leaf blower, or simple traffic noise has spoiled the best laid production schedule. Thatís why I now shoot about seventy percent of my productions on green screen.
Regardless of how you shoot it, you will need to shoot at least two takes of the script, preferably from different angles. (example: one medium and one closeup) This way you will be able to cover any gaffs on the part of the talent by cutting away. This is also the way in which most people are accustomed to viewing TV shows. Plus it helps hold the viewerís attention.
Postproduction: Once you get the tape back to post, you should first lay out the rough cut. This means laying out all the action first. Don't worry about narration, music or titling, as these will all be added later. Use transitions with discretion. Too many can give your video an Amateur Hour look. On the other hand, you definitely want to add some cutaways that reduce the ďtalking headĒ action so common to amateur videos. Transition from time to time to a photo, a graphic or even another video clip, anything that helps break up the monotony. Once you are happy with the flow onscreen, then you can work toward the final cut by adding narration, titling and music.
Post-Postproduction: The best part about web video is that you distribute them free of charge on any number of video hosting sites that have sprung up like weeds since the inception of YouTube. In upcoming posts, Iíll tell you how to use YouTube as an alternative search engine optimization tactic to provide not only content for your website, but also added traffic as well.
Just keep in mind that one of the best ways of adding web video to your repertoire before the 2-Minute Warning runs out, is to call in the video marketing professionals at Jacksonville Video Production - 904-234-6007.
Find out how affordable and effective online video can be!
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Whether your firm is considering producing a TV commercial, training video, online video, video brochure or infomercial, we can help you turn your concept into reality TV without busting the budget.
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(904) 234-6007 With today's advances in video technology, employing this dynamic medium has never been more affordable. No matter what video project you have in mind, we can show you how to achieve Big budget results at small budget prices.
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