Video production can be difficult to define. It refers to a huge spectrum of services, processes, and creative approaches that often ignore industry standards. Video has been the unlikeliest of brands, and outright flopped in what should have been easy-win campaigns.
In the marketing world, video production can be described as the practice of creating videos and media to engage and generate leads. That’s the core of it, whether your goal is to expand your reach or re-engage returning customers. Marketing videos, whether informative (like a webinar) or emotional (such as testimonials or humor/culture videos), all serve to influence potential buyers.
All companies can benefit from video marketing, but many don’t realize how to get there when it comes to video content.
Do I need to shoot the videos? How much will it cost? What’s the shoot timeline like? The answers to many of these questions will depend on your video marketing goals.
In-house vs. Outsourced Video Production?
When marketing teams decide to pursue video marketing, there is one question that virtually always comes up: does it make more sense to outsource video content or keep production in-house?
The answer depends on your budget, goals, and time.
For example, if you have the equipment available (a basic DSLR camera, tripod, and affordable lighting kit) and plan on shooting regularly, setting up a small studio room in-house is a smart call. Even if it’s a temporary studio and you keep the equipment in a storage closet—the ability to set up a studio and shoot on demand is incredibly valuable. This applies to all forms of regular or recurring video content, including:
- Video blogs
- Sales updates and interactions
- Social media content
- Email campaigns and newsletter videos
However, if your goal is to create a flashy, 90-second animated video about your core service, you may want to outsource production. Creating explainer videos or other videos with custom animation graphics can be both time-consuming and technically demanding. While there are plenty of animation tools and templates products available, these tools are often limited and require monthly or annual payments. In this case, it makes more sense to outsource production for a timeless, high-quality video.
Evaluate your timeline, your team’s capabilities, and the end goals for your next video concept, and build from there.
Process: Pre-production, Production, and Post-production
Video production, viewed as a linear process, features three main stages: pre-production, production, and post-production.
Pre-production is arguably the most important stage of any video production. In this stage, you’re setting the foundation for the entire project, including:
- Scope and timeline
- Persons involved
- Equipment/software needed
- Visual guide and style
- Messaging and tone
- Intended audience
- Intended actions at the end of video(s)
- Placement and promotion
This list just scratches the surface of what can go into the pre-production or planning stage of a video project—and you should consider all of them before ever touching a camera or pitching a new video project to your team.
For more on proper pre-production and planning, check out Episode 2 of Tobe’s “Lights, Camera, Grow” podcast here:
Regarding actual production and the rest of the production process, you should use this stage to script and storyboard your video(s), as well as compile a list of shots, shoot notes, and any other essentials that are involved in your project (such as a specific segment of b-roll or scripted line).
The Production stage of the process is when all the movie magic happens. The actual shoot day.
This stage includes setting up or traveling to your shoot location, preparing on-screen speakers, tweaking lighting and audio, rehearsal, and capturing the actual footage. Keep your pre-production notes handy and be open to changing context or scripts for better footage.
If production is outsourced, the shoot may be limited to your project and what you have arranged with the production team. However, if you’re shooting your marketing videos in-house, another way to make the most out of your shoot day is to use this time to capture footage for other projects and repurposed shots. If your video is part of an email campaign or newsletter, try to use your lighting configuration and camera time to shoot social media promos for the campaign. If your shoot is for a new product launch, then consider highlighting certain aspects or features of the product for promotion and short-form content.
“Post-production” applies to everything following the shoot—importing footage, editing segments, refining audio, and adding visual elements to engage viewers.
For marketers, post-production can be either the easiest or most difficult part of a video project. There are enough tutorials, guides, and walkthroughs online to turn even the most inexperienced editors into video marketers. However, these resources (and the trial-and-error that comes with learning editing) have a price: TIME. If video is going to become a big focus for your digital marketing game plan next year, then hiring a video specialist or picking up editing skills yourself is a great idea. However, if your project is a one-off video or short series (such as a series on your core services, or a select testimonial), then post-production may be best left to a freelance editor or agency.
Post-production can also include video distribution, such as hosting and optimizing video embeds on your website, sharing on social media, and reviewing engagement for areas of improvement.
Have a commute later and want to learn more about Tobe’s production process in-depth? Check out this podcast episode featuring Tobe Co-Founder Jared Sanders on that topic and more.
Important Video Production Tips
To help you with your next great video marketing project, here are some tips and production hacks:
- Whether you’re shooting a Superbowl television ad or 10-second Instagram video, lighting and audio are the most significant aspects of production you have control over. If background noise is an issue and you don’t have the equipment for clear audio, then move the shoot to another time or location. The same applies for lighting. Good lighting is just as important as a good camera, if not more.
- Be flexible. This is one tip that can’t be stressed enough. If you’re shooting a testimonial video and your speaker goes off-track into a unique topic or aspect of your business, let them continue—their perspective may be a big differentiator for your audience. Flexibility also applies to shooting schedules and shoot priorities. If an interviewee is only available for a short window of time, or you’re shooting at an event (such as a trade show) with lots of external moving parts, you have to be able to adapt quickly for the best use of your time.
- Consider having a shortlist of “must-haves” for your project (interviews, angles, statements), good ideas for secondary/supporting footage and follow-ups, and a healthy pool of “down-time” shots for the production stage (shots you can pick up at the end of the shoot day, or in between interviews/rehearsals).
Looking for more help launching your next video campaign, or general tips on perfecting your production setup? Reach out to us today!