Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Are You Filled With Fear

Does the idea of creating a website video for your company fill you with fear?

Without the right steps, the process can be overwhelming, but relax and I will take you through a simple step-by-step process. If you have been in the business world for longer than 25 seconds, you already know how highly effective website videos are. A well-produced video delivers your message in a way that engages and persuades visitors to take action.

Preliminary advice: Albert Einstein said it best, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” It’s paramount that enough thought and planning go into the production, to keep everything cohesive and free-flowing.
Unfortunately, some people dive in headfirst and end up with a complete, ineffective mess. Planning may not be the most enjoyable part of the process, but it is the most critical. Here’s a simple, 10-step process you can follow to ensure an effective Web video:

STEP 1: Scriptwriting. The story is one of the most important parts of the video. The story invokes emotions and drives people to action. Remember the movie, Where The Red Fern Grows? A properly developed script is very different that properly written copy. One of the pitfalls of video production success is having a copywriter try to develop a video script. The importance of a scriptwriting is a vital step in the success rate of the finished video.

STEP 2: Target audience. You can have a great script, but if you aren’t appealing to your target market, you risk the chance of loosing sales. It’s important to understand who your customer is. There must be an understanding in advance about what kind of music is preferred, what color scheme is preferred, what style of text is preferred, and how the story should be told: as a documentary, a drama, comedy, simply and/or with a cinematic style (Episode XI Studio’s style). No one buys with a rational mind, so it’s important to appeal to both the emotions, through scene interactions, and to the intellect, through factual entertainment.

STEP 3: Storyboarding. A successful video enlists the assistance of both the video production company and their client. A storyboard should be developed by the production company to allow the client a chance to see the vision of the finished product before the cameras begin to roll.
The storyboard gives everyone a chance to make changes to the scenes before the entire production staff arrives on set, saving time and money. The production staff will use the approved storyboard as a road map to shoot each scene, by giving camera angles, camera movements, and scripting for each actor/presenter.

STEP 4: Visualize the finished product. It’s critical to know your vision, when planning each shot. Will there be any slow-motion shots? Will it be deployed on the web, or in DVD format, or both? Camera-frame-rate is a vital part of the shooting process, and that rate determines what effects can be implemented during the editing process. Because video is “resolution dependent”, it’s important to discuss your vision with the production company before the shoot.

STEP 5: The shooting day. The day of shooting is an exciting time for the client. This day(s) give the client a second preview of what the finished product will look like. By using the storyboard as a guide for shooting, the production team captures exactly what the client is expecting. The use of dollies and cranes give the production a cinematic appeal that is rivaled by the huge Hollywood production companies.

STEP 6: Video editing. The editing process is where the magic happens. After shooting the many scenes on set, the editor takes the collection of film/digital tape into the editing bay and begins the lengthy process of “putting it all together”. The editor will sort through the many takes of each scene, along with the storyboard, and pieces each video clip into its proper place. Not only do the video clips need to be in order, but the clips sound recordings must be processed, to ensure that no background noise or any other unwanted sound makes it to the final cut.

STEP 7: Soundtrack. The video experience is only 50% visual; the other 50% is audible, making the soundtrack just as important as the rest of the production. As stated earlier, it’s paramount that the target audience is well understood. The editor needs to understand the music that is expected by your target market, in order to envelop in a total emotional experience.

STEP 8: Sound effects. Starwars® wouldn’t be Starwars® without the sound effects. It’s vital to have transitions, graphic elements, and other motion graphics “pop” with sound effects. It brings them to life and keeps your audience engaged.

STEP 9: Encoding. The very best video can be destroyed during the encoding process. The encoding process takes the digital video file and compresses it down to a manageable size and in a format that your viewer can see. There is no mistaken the horrible quality of a YouTube® video. Your image deserves the very best in picture quality, and that’s where encoding delivers.

STEP 10: Archiving. After your video is complete and deployed onto your website and some time has gone by, you may need to make changes. Archiving will to save you the high price of another production. By archiving your files, you are guaranteed that any future changes will only result in a small editing fee, without having to shoot the entire production over again.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Does the prospect of creating Web video fill you with fear? If you've never done it before it can certainly seem overwhelming. But you can relax, because I’m going to walk you through the process. 

Why should you be using video on your websites? Video is highly persuasive, and users have come to expect it. A well-produced video can deliver your message in a way that engages and persuades visitors to take an action that you specify.

The number one key to creating an effective Web video is simple: Preparation. Unfortunately, most people dive in head first and end up with an awkward, disjointed mess. Preparation might not be the most fun part of the process, but it is critical to success. 

Here’s a simple, 10-step process you can follow to ensure an effective Web video:

STEP 1: Decide on the primary purpose and objective of the video. Do you want to sell a product or service? Is it to educate the audience about a commonly misunderstood topic? Is it a product demonstration? The video must have a single overriding purpose — otherwise, the audience gets confused. Try to state your objective clearly in one sentence. For example, “the video will overcome any negative perceptions toward hiring new staff from an online employment agency.” 

STEP 2: Who is your target audience? For example, based on previous buyers, how much do they know about the subject already? What are their backgrounds, languages and abilities to comprehend the topic? Are they naturally interested in the topic? You would make a very different video for children under the age of 10, than you would for lawyers who specialize in divorce cases. 

STEP 3: Decide how you will present the topic. Will you use a documentary style? Will it be dramatic or humorous, sensitive and factual, or light-hearted and lively? There are other considerations too. Should there be a presenter on screen, or an unseen narrator? Also, try to achieve a balance of information and persuasion. Do you want to appeal mainly to intellect or emotion? At one end of the spectrum you could present the information like an instruction manual — purely factual. The other extreme is to persuade the viewer by feelings, emotion, and entertainment. A balance of the two is usually best. 

STEP 4: Plan the structure of the video. It’s helpful to think of your video as a story — it must have a beginning, middle and end. The introduction must grab the viewer’s attention, the middle should balance emotion and facts, and the end must contain a powerful call to action that can not be ignored. 

STEP 5:Work out the best duration for the video by boiling down the essence of the message and conveying that in the shortest possible timeframe. 

STEP 6: Decide who will “own” this project and follow it through to completion. It’s
no use assigning it to a staff member who is already over-stretched with other work. 

STEP 7: Set a deadline. It might be a few hours or days for a simple video, or several weeks for a complex production. 

STEP 8: Research and acquire information and elements to include in the video. Do you own any existing footage that could be used? Other elements might include artwork, logos, graphics or music.

STEP 9: Write the script. A script is the blueprint for your video. It includes not only spoken words but a detailed description of the visuals and music that accompany the words. Don’t expect to sit down and write the finished script in one session. It will evolve. 

STEP 10: It’s time to record. Find a proper setting within the theme of the video and eliminate distractions and ambient noise. 

Preparing your Web video will ensure a smooth recording process and a polished finished product. Users are viewing more video than ever on the Web and they are becoming discerning viewers. Stay ahead of the curve. A properly prepared video will always achieve better results than a haphazard effort. 

About the Author: Andrew Lock www.HelpMyBusiness.com.

Reposted by Randy Davis