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.

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