In recent years, the line dividing corporate video and traditional television advertising has blurred. Often what’s ostensibly an advert couldn’t run in a traditional ad spot. And though some would argue that a corporate video promotes the business, while an ad promotes the product or service that business provides, that distinction looks shakier by the day. Working out where corporate video ends and advertising begins is tricky, then, to say the least.
Despite this, you know a great corporate video when you see one. And the criteria by which you judge a corporate video remain the same as ever, even if the technology has evolved and media channels have proliferated. Storytelling, cinematography, editing, acting, sound and design all apply. Avoiding cliché is as important as ever. A bit of irreverence goes a long way. And of course, in this over-caffeinated, content-saturated and altogether distractible era, we must always place a premium on the viewer’s attention.
But corporate videos also have contexts. The company that offers flatpack furniture will have to think more creatively than Apple or Nike. But that doesn’t mean the sofa-sellers and mattress-merchants can’t make superb corporate videos. Nor does it mean that their more inherently exciting counterparts can’t create something truly original and striking.
So with this all in mind, we set out to find and break down some of the best corporate videos around.
It’s clear from the get-go that this 2014 video by IT security and services provider risual isn’t your garden-variety corporate vid. Conceived and produced by Aspect, the video invokes the idea—accepted even within the industry—that IT can be perceived as, well, a little less than glamorous. In amusing documentary or even “mockumentary” style, using employees rather than actors, risual explains exactly what it does. But it also shows through its approach what can be achieved without a big time commitment, expensive kit or any real cinematographic or narrative complexity. The key to the success of risual’s video is boldness, self-awareness and intelligent scripting.
This video or the communication software company Slack, plays like an episode from a comedy series. It tells the story of how Sandwich, the video team who made the video, were converted to the Slack cause. Despite the whimsical tone—reflected in music that sounds as if it was taken from a Woody Allen film— there’s an authenticity to the video for the simple reason that those interviewed are real people working at every level of the business. This is typical of the Sandwich approach. “We basically invented the modern explainer video”, they write on their website. Vox Media might disagree.
There’s nothing “stock” about this powerful video from Storyhunter, directed by John Ryan Johnson. Everything about it oozes creative cool, from the music to the locations. It’s a reflection of the creative types the platform serves. And those creative types will be reassured to see that all the footage is original, diverse and high-quality: it was shot not by a video production company, but by 17 filmmakers in 10 countries. As for the narration, here’s a great example of how powerful a voice can be. Pinning down what makes a great voice isn’t easy, but you definitely know one when you hear one.
There’s no point pretending that there’s anything wrong with exploiting the power of celebrity. It works. Ride-sharing company Lyft drafted in DJ Khaled as part of a series in which celebrities play the role of cab drivers and this video is pure entertainment. Lyft has been building its brand image through pop culture, and for this video it worked with the studio Alldayeveryday and director Alex Richanbach, who’s known for his Funny or Die shorts. Beneath the surface of this clip, there’s a suggestion that Lyft drivers are affable, cheerful and chatty. And, since we all know that celebrities tend never to drive themselves, Lyft is making a subtle claim to power: if it can get a celeb behind the steering wheel, what can’t it do?
“Ecommerce solutions” hardly sounds sexy, and Shopify knows it. So with this corporate video—one that has much in common with a feature-length documentary—it chooses instead to put on display the resilience and passion of the small business owners that make up its target audience. There is an underdog narrative here: a certain rawness, despite the sleek cinematography. The people featured here are fighting for themselves and for their families. Crucially, the brand uses real stories, told by real people, and keeps itself out of the spotlight until the very end. In doing so, it hints at a kind of understated, behind-the-curtain brilliance.
“What are girls made of?” asks Nike in the first of three videos designed to shatter gender stereotypes by invoking them and then subverting them. A young girl sings to a packed auditorium of men and women in evening dress, only to be interrupted by the entrance of a skater, dancer, kickboxer, track athlete. The action rises as the child hero of the story takes confidence from each new arrival and changes the lyrics of her song to describe what girls are, in fact, really made of—to the confusion of the crowd. This is powerful storytelling, made all the more effective by a striking aesthetic. And it’s a story that reflects a wider, societal coming-of-age. Here Nike captures the mood of the moment.
If Nike confronts gender stereotypes with girls and women in mind, Axe rolls up its sleeves and takes on toxic stereotypes of male behaviour. Opening with an arresting statistic—that nearly three-quarters of all men have been told how a “real man” ought to behave—it uses point-of-view shots to ask the kinds of questions men are forced to ask themselves because of rigid gender norms. The music is mostly ominous, at times sounding like the thudding of a heartbeat. The blending of voices puts the viewer in mind of racing thoughts. Made in 2017 by Amsterdam-based video production company 72andSunny, this is a brand awareness video that deftly reflects Axe’s stated purpose in its latest incarnation: to “redefine what it means to be a man”.
This promotional video by bone china producers Dibbern may be on the long side, but it works beautifully. Here, the quality of the video reflects the quality of the brand. Footage of verdant forests, pouring rain, dew-coloured flowers and rushing water is interspersed with shots of finely crafted teapots, plates and cups, as well as the sophisticated machinery involved in their production. An understated but tasteful musical track reflects the quiet industry and focus of the craftsperson, as well as the elegance of the final product. This video comes courtesy of the Hamburg-based video production company 27 Kilometer Entertainment GmbH, and it’s a good one.
In this clip, put together by video production company Supermarché and walking the tight-rope between corporate video and advert, Google identifies and focuses on a problem every person has—and gives us its solution. Within this video there’s humour, variety, and an understated soundtrack that stays well in the background and makes way for dialogue. And there is a certain self-confidence implied in Google’s neglecting to tell the viewer at any point in this product video exactly how Express works.
Commissioned by Los Angeles County Museum of Art for their first annual “Art + Film Gala”, this six-minute video gives the viewer the “brief history” of artist John Baldessari, called the “godfather of conceptual art”. The film is amusingly self-aware, and the music suggests urgency while the mellifluous narration of musician Tom Waits, which entails repeatedly saying the words “this is John Baldessari’s …” acknowledges that this history must necessarily be brief. Only part-way through does the narrative slow down and then, as if again recognising the need to be terse, accelerates to its end. There’s something very funny in the way a six-minute “history” chooses as its subject someone whose lifetime output was prodigious. And there’s something very impressive about it, too: the makers pull it off.
Like many genuinely disruptive businesses, Harry’s has a good story. So why not not take advantage of it? It would be against the brand’s modus operandi to complicate things. This amusing two-and-a-half-minute video begins with the birth of its founders and ends with a room full of Harry’s employees over-celebrating. This goes beyond an “about us” video: the real thread that runs throughout the clip is all to do with relatability, since almost all men have to shave. The founders humanise themselves, make fun of themselves, and position themselves as down-to-earth, men of the people—quite the opposite of the shadowy figures who run what they dub “Big Razor.”
And we would be remiss not to mention one of our own contributions, which emerged from our collaboration with Chinese media group Hantang Culture. Hantang commissioned content for Fashion Insiders, a series of short portrait films featuring leading fashion personalities and institutions, from brand founders and visual artists to couturiers and fashion icons. We worked closely with Hantang to produce, film and edit a number of videos in the series including this one, on fashion illustrator David Downton, and we like to think it speaks for itself. Our aim was to capture the essence of one of the most skilled and interesting people in the world of fashion and present that to the viewer in a way that reflected his personality and influence.
So there you have it: 12 of the very best corporate videos around. It’s a list that proves that in the right creative hands and with a good video production company on your side, any brand, large or small, glamorous or not-so-glamorous, can produce exceptional corporate video.
People have a growing love for video because it has the potential to convey story, tone, emotion, and information quickly and engagingly, grabbing viewers’ attention and holding it while encouraging them to watch more.
What Are These Millions of Hours of Video Content?
Some of the material being uploaded and digested is entertainment which once would have been viewed in the cinema or on home media. Much of it is also what used to be traditional fare on TV networks, now finding an outlet online, often in conjunction with a terrestrial, cable, or satellite service. Lastly, video-on-demand (VOD) services like Netflix and Hulu have become major distributors for video content.
With easy access to the public through the internet, every brand has the potential to be a broadcaster, resulting in a wealth of quality corporate video production content. This could be branded content—interesting material that captures an audience’s imagination, but quietly sponsored by a brand—or it could be more plainly corporate content meant to promote products or services.
And, of course, much of this material is now user-generated content (UGC), sometimes posted in hopes of becoming a source of income, but much of it—most of it—mobile footage of holidays shared with friends and family or other personal events (‘home-video’).
With all this in mind, in many ways the statistics surrounding online video is only part of the picture for those looking to make a professional career out of video production.
What Does This Mean for Careers in Video Production?
Amid all the noise generated by UGC and home video, it’s clear that there are nearly limitless new opportunities. The public has a voracious appetite for video, including everything from bingeable drama box-sets to universally-popular product explainer videos. In our desire for quick answers and easily-understood information, most people would rather watch a video explain how something works these days than read any text. On top of that, a demand for more content in the entertainment and business sectors inevitably means more people are required to make it.
What Do We Mean by Video Production?
But before we have a closer look at whether or not video production is a good career, it’s best to be clear about what, exactly, we mean by video production.
Once upon a time, every inch of footage was shot on film. Then, videotape became the medium for television due to its low cost, while movies continued to shoot on film stock. Now film is restricted to auteurs and videotape is all but gone, but the name lives on in (digital) video, now used to shoot everything from ten-second ads to blockbuster movies. So really, video production covers the creation of every sort of video, from Game of Thrones sets in Croatia to YouTube influencers recording themselves with a ring-light and an iPhone in their bedroom.
Here’s a (brief) list of the different sectors of video production:
Film, including both studio feature films and independent productions.
TV productions such as documentaries, factual reports, dramas, and childrens’ shows.
Commercials for broadcasting on traditional television as well as for inclusion in online platforms like YouTube.
Corporate video on topics like events, training, recruitment, and product explainers.
Social media influencers who create their own content in the hopes of attracting lucrative followings.
As you can see from even this short list, there’s a wide range of fields and options for a video production career, from feature films to commercials to creating your own Youtube channel.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the size of productions can vary wildly: a feature film might be made by two people, while a corporate video might involve a team of 15, so the genre to which a video belongs doesn’t necessarily determine its complexity or number of contributors.
Stages and Roles in the Video Production Process
Most people looking to get into video production already have a feel for the sector that draws them, whether that’s in action movies, animated children’s content, or becoming a YouTube influencer.
While wedding videographers and Youtube influencers may be a one-man band managing each process, for most video productions there are distinct phases, each handled by a range of specialised professionals.
Let’s break it down.
Pre-production involves the practical planning of a project, handled by producers, account managers, writers, storyboard artists, and others.
Production is the process of capturing footage, light, and sound by the director, camera operator, grip, lighting director or gaffer, riggers, and boom operator and sound mixer.
Post-production covers the shaping of footage into a finished film, overseen by the producer, director, script supervisor, video and sound editors, and digital imaging technician (DIT).
The range of choices within each stage is perhaps one of the most attractive parts of working in video production. By its nature, it requires all sorts of skills, from make-up and stunt-work to editing and graphics. Just like a rugby team, there’s a role for everyone, and it’s hugely collaborative. Nearly every role is going to rub up against other roles. Some of the production staff—the producer, the director—will be involved in the whole project, while others play a role in just one area.
Other Factors Making Video Production a Good Career
There are many influences on video production that make it a good career choice and which have democratised the industry.
First of all, having access to a distribution platform is no longer the preserve of big-hitters with broadcast licences. The internet has become the great equalizer in this respect as it has for other creative industries, removing intermediaries and other obstacles between the product and the consumer.
The cost of equipment—and with it, a major production expense—has steadily dropped over the last decade. Whereas previously a video production company would hire a cameraman who’d invested in a camera worth £20,000, now a few thousand pounds can place a good quality camera body within the reach of recent graduates. Powerful computers and editing software (especially Apple Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro) are now also more readily available, varied, and affordable for professionals and prosumers. Additionally, technology and tools including digital libraries of music, sound effects, and stock footage make it possible to run a video agency from anywhere you please.
Anyone can make a video now and get it online. There are even people making features on their iPhones. What matters most is storytelling and performance, rather than high-grade kit.
The advantage of this democratisation of kit and platform and resources means there’s a lower barrier of entry for companies (especially in corporate video production), but it also means that students and those looking to break into a career in video production can get their hands on the required tools and make content, experiment, improve their craft, develop a showreel, and find meaningful work. The ball is in their court as never before.
More Choice Than Ever to Become Skilled Through Study
Since 2012, the number of students in film and media courses has risen from 5,000 to more than 50,000 per year as UK universities work to meet the demand of the growing industry. Universities now offer a more expanded selection of far-ranging courses, including film studies, film production, television and broadcast media, and digital technology and editing.
Before you select a university degree in any part of the broad church that makes up video production, you’ll need to consider what area appeals to you most. Often those who are technically minded already know this and are gunning to be a camera operator or an editor.
Film studies degrees offer training in the basics of film and video production, as well as a thorough grounding in film theory and technique. These degrees are often a good prerequisite for jobs such as directing, writing, video editing, producing, and production design. Depending on how you decide to specialise, this can be a reliable degree for working in all three stages of video production. Media and broadcasting are aimed more at the informational and commercial sides of production for those more interested in writing and research in the pre-production phase.
To work in the production and post-production phases, you’ll need to undertake training in some of the more technical aspects of film production. Editing, computer usage, camera operation, and sound recording will all require practical, hands-on experience, as found in a degree in film studies, film and broadcast television, or digital film technologies.
Opportunities for Work Experience
It can be daunting working out which part of the industry to aim for. Fortunately, there are excellent opportunities to get work experience while studying at a video production company or video agency, often as part of your course work, or as an experience which you seek out independently. If these are part of your course, they won’t necessarily be paid. Otherwise, the national minimum wage applies.
Signing on with a production company to work on a feature film can be tricky to time correctly if the company in question is in the middle of a production. However, you’re likely to find some options with post-production houses, allowing you a chance to become familiar with the back end of the process.
For those technical-minded individuals who have ambitions of working as camera operators, sound technicians, or in lighting departments, it’s worth applying to work with equipment hiring companies. Handling the kit used to create video is a great way to get familiar with variety, specifics, and operation of a bewildering array of tools.
Many of the traditional broadcasters, such as the BBC or Channel 4, offer internship and work experience programs, but there’s often a high level of competition for these spots.
The many independent production companies of every size across the UK also offer similar placement opportunities. You’ll likely need to make speculative applications for these, particularly if they don’t have any open positions publicly listed, which is where a showreel and portfolio comes in handy.
Getting work experience not only helps students determine where their skills and interests lie, it also helps to get their first job on leaving university. A successful internship or placement under your belt is an excellent foundation for your professional reputation, and the people you meet in the course of your experience can prove to be useful contacts.
Entry Level Jobs for Non-Graduates Exist
However, you may not find yourself drawn to a university degree. Luckily, not every job in video production requires one. It’s hard work, but there are plenty of opportunities for getting onto the beginning rungs of the video production ladder, so long as you’re willing to prove yourself.
There are different entry points into different types of video production, including:
Runners for feature films, TV, and corporate video productions. The most junior role on a set, runners are responsible for fetching items and tools and carrying out odd jobs until they’ve learned enough to take on more responsibility.
Editing assistants in post production who will help the lead editor gather and organize footage as well as assisting with the lists and instructions that will determine a video’s final form.
Technical work in rental houses requires practical thinking and skill to maintain, operate, and advise on the use and care of cameras, lights, sound equipment, and other tools and resources.
Are There Opportunities to Go It Alone?
Yes! As we’ve already seen, a few basic investments in kit, computing, and software can allow you to set yourself up in video production at any stage of the career journey. However, making the transition into self-employment might be easier for those who’ve managed to gain experience and contacts while working under someone else..
There are some success stories for individuals straight out of university, making their own materials straight away, and of course there are influencers and Youtube stars doing a more-than-respectable turn of business.
But for every PewDiePie there are a million uploaders with just a couple of hits on their videos.
Truth be told, many people who try this approach end up leaving video production altogether.
Studying, work experience, and apprenticeships maximise your chances and stand a better chance of providing you with the tools and the resources needed to succeed, either independently or collaboratively..
Prospects in Video Production
The truth is that video production has no real ceiling on your prospects. It may take some time, and quite a lot of work, but there’s no ceiling on how high one can rise in video production. You could end up running your own company, as a respected specialist, a major director like Steven Spielberg, or as an executive or head for a major TV studio.
Remember that the field is growing, and growing fast, but it’s also competitive. You won’t get hold of every opportunity that comes along, but remember that there are plenty more available.
Additional Benefits of a Career in Video Production
The greatest prospect is perhaps the satisfaction it offers to creatives to produce meaningful work in an engaging industry.
Skilled individuals in this industry will find plenty of opportunities around the UK and abroad. A strong work ethic and the technical know-how for your chosen specialty will make you an asset to any production house, allowing you to fit in anywhere as part of a team of consummate creative professionals.
Teamwork is not only an essential in video production; it’s the norm. Just like a rugby team, a production crew consists of people with different, but overlapping, skill sets, each supporting the other in the effort to deliver a great product.
Finally, at the end of the day no matter your field, you’ll have something concrete to show for your efforts, a corporate video, feature film, television documentary, or any other piece of video in which you can take pride. And that’s not too shabby.
Video production is a broad term, but in essence it means the end-to-end process of creating video content. It’s the planning, creation, and assembling of video across a number of different genres, from feature films to influencer videos. The name derives from video tape, which for some time was the ubiquitous format that replaced film for many productions.
The term ‘video production’ has undergone significant changes in recent years. In fact, feature films weren’t always included in the video production bracket, as they were shot on 16mm or 35mm film stock, and film was also used for a great deal of TV broadcast material for many years.
But these days virtually everything is captured on video, with highly sophisticated digital movie cameras at one end of the market and relatively inexpensive digital cameras capable of shooting in broadcast resolution at the other. Even the cameras in our smartphones actually meet the quality needs of broadcasters.
In short, everything that appears on your screen today is the result of video production, apart from user-generated content (UGC), or what used to be called “home video.”
Before we dive in, keep in mind that the medium in which a piece of video is distributed no longer defines what it is. Feature films that might once have been destined for long runs in the cinema, and TV drama series, are now easily available online. Recent films such as The Irishman or Dolemite is My Name received limited theatrical releases—just enough to count as films in awards categories—before jumping straight to video-on-demand (VOD) services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, which has released such notable drama boxsets as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which have never aired on cable, satellite or terrestrial television.
For the purpose of this article, we’ve broken video production down into four broad categories: feature films, television, advertising, and corporate video. Each has its own particularities, requirements, and opportunities. Read on to learn more.
Let’s start at the top of the food chain, with feature films in the premium spot. Loosely speaking, a feature film is defined by its length. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the British and American Film Institutes, consider anything over 40 minutes to be a feature, whereas the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) requires a 60 minute runtime.
More than 83% of feature films, and consequently a large share of the global market, are produced by the “Big Six” studios: 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios, along with their subsidiary companies. These are typically the features that get multi-million pound budgets and wide distribution.
Studios like Warner Bros. are the descendants of the original Hollywood studio system, controlling a significant share of big-budget film production.
But there have always been alternatives to the big blockbuster-producing studios, and with the rise of affordable digital cameras and editing software, smaller films have increased in number and improved the quality of their output.
Independent features: Independent features have traditionally been distinguished by receiving funding from production companies independent of the larger studios as well as a generally more experimental nature, but in recent years the line has blurred with larger companies establishing independent subsidiaries, offering an average budget of some £600,000.
Low-budget: The definition of “low budget” is somewhat elastic, but a rough number lies somewhere between £134,000-£622,000. The main difference between a low-budget film and an independent one is that, at least traditionally, independent features are independent of the studio system, whereas a studio could easily provide a few hundred thousand for a low budget movie.
Micro-budget: Possibly the most confusing subcategory, a micro-budget could consist of anything from a ceiling of £133,000 to almost nothing (a so-called “no-budget”). These are a common form of feature for aspiring filmmakers to cut their teeth on, and there are some very successful examples out there including Jonathan Cauoette’s Tarnationor Shane Carruth’s Primer, made for $218.32 and $7,000 respectively.
With each level of the approach to feature film production, there are a variety of jobs directly involved in the creation of a film, from directors and line managers to stunt coordinators and greensmen. There are also people working behind the scenes—those involved in the commissioning at a studio or in the daily running of an independent video agency, for example—who play an equally important role in the video production process.
If defining a feature film is tricky today, then defining TV may be more complex still. It used to be a simple matter to define television: it was any content which was produced by a television studio for the purpose of broadcasting through a limited number of channels over airwaves, or via satellite or cable distribution.
In the century since John Logie Baird invented the first television, a cabinet-like appliance which remained recognisable for years, a lot has changed in the way television is made and consumed. As recently as a decade ago, this was the simplest way to define TV: it was made by TV studios and watched on a TV set.
One of Baird’s early television sets, demonstrating the characteristic box shape which would make it distinctive for generations.
The internet has changed all that. Today, viewers can watch drama, sport, news and the latest cat video at will on a flatscreen television connected to their home WiFi network. But complicating matters is the fact that TV can also be watched on laptops, mobile phones, and tablets inside and outside the home.
So how do we define television?
What defines television is not the TV set—it’s about the content.
If you’re watching Love Island on your tablet, you’re watching TV. Subscription VOD, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu: that is TV.
Of course, it’s possible to watch all sorts of video content on a mobile device, but that doesn’t necessarily make it TV. In truth it’s no longer easy to find a definition of what content does count as television. A presenter broadcasting on YouTube isn’t necessarily on TV, and this might be framed in terms of the quality of their product. Traditionally much television has relied on advertising revenue and so one rule of thumb is that if the quality of the broadcast is not stable enough to support advertising by household brands, then it’s not television.
The crafted, reputable content which we might call television, from Game of Thrones to live magazine-style programmes like The One Show, is produced in a number of ways.
In the UK, broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and Sky produce some of their own content including documentaries, drama, children’s programming, or sport, while also filling their schedules with content bought in from independent production companies.
The independent video production companies providing this content tend to specialise in key sectors like factual, drama, or children’s TV, and vary in size from a one-person outfit to enormous indies like the Endemol Shine Group, which owns global superbrand products such as MasterChef and Big Brother.
VOD platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video typically started out by buying in all of their content from major or independent producers, offering themselves as a supplementary distribution network in addition to television and cinemas. In 2013, they broke new ground with shows like Netflix’ House of Cards and Prime’s The Man in the High Castle, ushering in a new era of direct-to-VOD original content independent of the traditional television producers.
Given the range of content on TV, it’s no surprise that the jobs involved in planning, making and shaping the content are equally varied—from writing, accountancy, set construction, continuity and props, to floor managing, studio directing, researching and grading.
If we’re thinking about types of video content production then inevitably adverts will be on the menu.
Here it helps to understand the traditional structures for making a video advert. An advertising company or creative agency will work with a brand to devise a brief, structure, and approach for an advert. To execute this, however, they will go out to a video agency, because maintaining the broad range of skills required to make ads in-house—which can be anything from an animation to a celebrity-endorsed 30-second spot with high production values—would be cost-prohibitive and inefficient. That production company may itself consist of little more than a few key production staff representing a number of directors and cinematographers, but with the know-how to organise locations, set-builds, music composition, and more. Traditionally, the advertising agency would then manage the media-buying and distribution of the ads using their own in-house team or a specialist media-buyer.
So if you think you’d like to be involved in the actual production of ads rather than shaping the concepts behind them, then it’s not the advertising company you should be writing to, but the production houses that service their needs.
So what is an advert these days? Is it a massive multi-million pound endeavour with a top-name director and recognisable on-screen talent? It can be, but given the fragmentation of the way we consume information, it should come as no surprise that set-piece ads for the cinema and TV have been supplemented by pre-roll, in-stream, and bumper ads on platforms like YouTube and Facebook. Meanwhile, a general malaise with traditional advertising methods and the sophistication of ad blockers has forced brands to seek new ways to connect with audiences in more creative ways, such as branded content, a soft-sell form of advertising.
The combo of firemen and kittens is obviously a winner, topped off with a great tagline in ‘Be a Hero.’ The relatable video was made without any ad agency or for that matter any planning or filming, and yet this instantly shareable video product turned into a significant boon for the company, netting almost 44 million views on YouTube alone and playing some part in a value increase by over 40% in just a year.
Another marked shift is that advertising companies are being disintermediated. Brands have more in-house creatives able to give shape to their own campaigns. They also manage the delivery of these campaigns, as the channels are often their own, such as their website and social media platforms. Meanwhile, greater accessibility to, and emphasis on, digital technology and the expansion of online advertising means they can manage a campaign themselves on platforms such as Facebook or Youtube.
The other key factor is that there are now a plethora of corporate video production companies available to create the video content for them directly, following their brief and introducing their own expertise to best create and deliver one off-ads or whole campaigns.
Corporate Video Production
When we say video production, more often than not we mean corporate video production. Other video production professionals will say they work in films or in documentaries, for example, for the sake of clarity.
There has been an explosion of corporate video production companies in London and around the UK as a result of a few factors:
Lower barrier to entry with the significant reduction in costs of quality filming equipment and editing software.
Simplification of distribution with platforms like Vimeo and YouTube, coupled with an exponential increase in internet speeds allowing for video content to play quickly.
As a corporate video production company in London (full disclosure!), we’ve seen a lot of changes in our field over the past decade, but we’ve also paid careful attention to the sort of video production that remains constant for internal and external communications.
With external communications, key video formats include:
About Us Videos
An ‘about us’ video is all about identity. It’s used to give viewers insight into what a business does, who’s behind it and what the company stands for.
Kick-off videos to get a meeting started right, to set the agenda, and, most importantly, the tone.
Video that captures the key-note or panel speakers at an event, which is either live-streamed or recorded to be edited and distributed later.
Video that captures the essence of an event: a sense of the place, the people who’ve attended, the purpose, snippets of key speakers on the stage, and interviews with them and the event organisers to set the context of the event. These can often be used as marketing collateral for the next year’s event or as promotional material.
Case Study Videos
In a case study video, the product or service in question is being talked about by someone whose shoes the reader can place themselves in. It’s a demonstration of success, innovation, and effectiveness as seen through the eyes of a satisfied client. With the product actually having been used, it proves its value through trial.
Case studies typically follow a narrative structure outlining a problem faced by the hero, presented with a solution (i.e., the brand), and describing the successful outcome. At the end of this we find a ‘Call To Action’ (CTA) to provoke an immediate response in the viewer.
On the more technical side of corporate video production is the explainer video. These are meant to help explain—in the most user-friendly terms possible—how your product or service works, in particular a tech product.
Explainer videos might feature a presenter in order to translate the concepts in question for the average viewer, and animation is often used as a further means of illustrating otherwise complicated technical ideas.
Happily, we rarely get clients asking for a viral video. While we can certainly understand the appeal, the truth is that nobodyunderstands whyvideos go viral. Ultimately, virality is an organic quality which is decided by audiences, not commissioners or producers.
With internal communications, video formats often include:
Education & Training
Videos produced to help teach a specific skill or topic or to deliver educational lessons to students or workers, including updates to procedures such as Health & Safety protocols.
These tend to be shorter videos used to engage with a company’s employees more warmly and directly than a memo, often focusing on corporate culture, goals and results.
Corporate Video Production Techniques
We’ve touched on some of the key formats for the use of video in corporate comms, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the formats can include a wide array of techniques.
Even if the chosen format centres on interview content and b-roll (as in a case study), there are opportunities to incorporate infographics like graphs, maps, and pie charts, or motion graphics such as kinetic typography which underlines points made in the interview content.
By combining traditional video with interactive technology, viewers can interact with additional content through hotspots overlaid on the video. This takes the viewer to extra information. This type of video, it’s claimed, has an engagement rate of nearly twice that for linear (normal) video. It can work well in conjunction with retail videos— that sell clothes for example—giving the viewer extra information on the range and prices and the ability to add items directly to a shopping basket.
Whether it’s shot from a helicopter or a drone, aerial footage offers exciting and dynamic views of subjects whose scale or importance may not be conveyed as effectively through footage shot at ground level.
Video Production Goals
One other way to define video production, apart from describing the processes and types of content produced, is to think about it in terms of its intentions.
In marketing terms a video’s goals will probably depend on where it will intersect with the consumer in their buying journey. Not every video has to have a sale as the goal, and many are intended to popularise ideas or grow awareness of a brand or campaign.
Video can be used at the top of the sales funnel to bring awareness to a product or service, for example an About Us or Case Study video. This spreads awareness of a brand or product, increases visibility, and lays the foundation for a relationship between a company and the public.
With some products an accompanying video that shows its functions and unique features at the point of sale can be the difference in completing a purchase or not. After a sale, video can be the medium to explain how to use it, maintain it or fix it, or to encourage the exploration of other products or services.
The Three Phases of Video Production
We’ve explored the different branches of video production:
Advertising & commercials
Corporate video production
What these have in common is a similar workflow which can be broken into three key phases:
1. Pre-production: In this planning stage team members—including writers, producers, directors, casting directors, and line-producers—work together to shape a story, a budget, and a shooting plan.
2. Production: This is the creation stage of the project. Key production staff—including Directors, Directors of Photography, lighting technicians, sound recordists, grips, riggers, gaffers and sparks—are responsible for capturing the footage and audio that make up the building blocks of the final product.
3. Post-production: This is the final stage in the project workflow, during which the materials are assembled and crafted into a finished product by staff including editors, colourists, compositors, and sound-mixers.
The current trend common to all types of video production is that the world is becoming increasingly connected to the internet, and this connection is speeding up every day. Whether you’re a feature film producer or making your own make-up tutorials, your audience is going to get bigger.
Whatever the type of video production, wherever it may be shown and whether it’s in pre-production, production or post-production, there is a hugely rich variety of output and job roles, making video production an incredibly creative vocation with ever-expanding opportunities.
There is also an ongoing appetite for short-content. On sites like Instagram and TikTok, 15-second videos of wildly varying genres have taken viewers of all demographics by storm. There’s no turning back. Less is more.
Tutorials and educational videos have also seen a notable uptick as audiences grow increasingly interested in gaining new skills and new insights. YouTube tutorials, for example, can show everything from the practical, like folding a fitted sheet, to the fantastic, such as how to escape quicksand.
Lastly, a key driver for video production is going to continue to be mobility.
Among social media professionals, opinions on trends and new developments vary wildly, but one thing that’s held to be nearly certain is that video is set to dominate marketing and media for at least the next decade. By 2021, video will account for 80% of all web traffic.
The increasing ubiquity of smartphones and a wide array of social media platforms and apps have become the avenue for an average of almost 3.5 hours of video watched every day in the UK alone. Video quickly grabs the attention and engagement of diverse audiences—without them even realizing it, if done well—by rapidly transmitting ideas in marketing content as visual entertainment. This represents a unique opportunity to strengthen relationships with customers and consumers, enhance brand awareness, and establish reputations for engaging and thought-provoking content.
In this guide, we explore the current lay of the land in social media and the role video content plays in it. As an unparalleled opportunity to establish relationships with customers and consumers, boost brand awareness, and enhance your reputation for thought-provoking and innovative ideas, video content should be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Here, we’ve broken down the basics specs and benefits of some of the most popular video-hosting social media sites for you in one convenient place.
Top Video Social Media Platforms in 2020
We’ll focus on nine of the most popular, promising, and profitable ones in use today. While platforms like Facebook and YouTube continue to attract usersa in their hundreds of millions, there’s plenty newcomers with distinct advantages and characteristics to suit businesses and products of all types through their features and the audiences they attract.
Famed as the progenitor of stripped-back, nothing-but-essentials social media posts, Instagram is wildly popular among users and businesses alike. Since its launch in 2013, it’s seen its business accounts grow to 25 million, all run by people who know that the app is a surefire way to catch the attention of over 1 billion users.
Landscape, square, and portrait/vertical
Max Video Length
15 seconds for Instagram Stories, 10 minutes for Instagram TV, 60 seconds for all others.
Instagram is the perfect platform for entertainment, fashion, and media brands, as well as (famously) food. It’s a particularly good way to reach those under the age of 35, who make up 65% of the platform’s active user base, but with over 1 billion daily users, it’s hard to go wrong with reaching a wide variety of demographics.
Instagram doesn’t support the addition of optional subtitles, so you’ll have to “burn” them into your video with simple editing software prior to uploading. This kind of non-optional captioning is also called “open captioning.”
LinkedIn has recently enjoyed a boom in popularity among professionals and thought leaders who use it to quickly and simply convey core concepts from their respective fields of expertise. Video content is consumed by 75% of business owners every week, making LinkedIn a perfect place for B2B communication. Videos on LinkedIn see share rates more than 20 times higher than other forms of content, with video campaigns commonly resulting in viewing rates of 50%. LinkedIn content should be informative and professional but friendly and interesting in tone.
“CinemaScope” landscape and portrait/vertical
Max Video Length
10 minutes for shared videos, 30 minutes for ads. However, LinkedIn recommends 15 seconds for best performance.
Longer average supported runtimes and an extensive catalogue of editing options make this platform stand out as a way to reach professional audiences interested in tutorials, documentary-style footage, and live broadcasts explaining your work and the benefits it offers.
SubRip Subtitle files (SRT) can be added via a transcript of dialogue, making subtitles optional for users.
Twitter is the go-to for sports, entertainment, and current events. Videos and ads are presented in identical formats in a seamless stream, so users organically encounter both as they explore their feeds. Because these videos play automatically and perform best in shorter lengths, viewers are more likely to watch them all the way through, consider the content actively, and remember the point of the video and the branding within after it’s finished.
Landscape and portrait/vertical
Max Video Length
While Twitter has a strong presence among young professionals in the English-speaking world, it also has tens of millions of users in China, India, and Japan, many of whom use it to track short segments of political news, music, TV and film releases, and influencers.
SubRip Subtitle file (SRT). In the past, Twitter only supported the use of auto-generated closed captions, which describe ambient sounds as well as dialogue.
Snapchat is built on the back of short, snappy videos attracting 229 million daily users, over half of whom are 15-25 years of age. If you have a range of products to advertise, these can be inserted organically into a purpose-built story which gives viewers control over how and when to watch. You also have the option to create 15 second videos or single image ads for unobtrusive, but memorable, content.
Landscape and portrait/vertical
Max Video Length
10 seconds for standard video, 15 seconds for ads.
Viewers younger than 25 years of age interested in eye-catching clips focused on current topics and trends in entertainment, fashion, and sport. Snapchat works best for video content when used in conjunction with other sites like Facebook, particularly if you’re trying to build a wide base of awareness. Remember that usership drops off sharply among age groups older than 25.
Snapchat videos must either have open captioning, or the subtitled or captioned version of a video can be back-linked through a platform that supports SRT files, such as Facebook or YouTube.
YouTube has reach like no other video-focused social media site, with 2 billion users worldwide and strong appeal across all demographics. Nearly 5 billion videos are watched on the site every day on both the desktop site and on mobile apps, hosting longer content comfortably and simply while providing ample ground for short pre-video ads.
Landscape only; vertical videos are automatically ‘pillar-boxed’
Max Video Length
Skippable Video Ad – 5 seconds
Non-Skippable Video Ad – 15 seconds
Mid-roll Video Ad – available for content longer than 10 minutes. Can be skippable, but users must watch 30 seconds or entire ad, whichever is shorter.
Bumper Video Ads – 6 seconds
Standard videos – 12 hours
Everyone uses YouTube, from teenagers to pensioners. The best way to boost engagement and awareness is through episodic playlists. These encourage viewers to click through to more content just because they play automatically, anchoring your image and name firmly in audiences’ minds.
SubRip Subtitle file (SRT) are supported for transcripted dialogue. Through the use of the proprietary YouTube Studio editing suite, you can also create closed captions which include details of sound, e.g., [doors closing] or [thunder].
Facebook is outstanding for shared videos and ads with tons of options for formats and new features. Viewers are more likely to engage with honest, down-to-earth videos showing surprising but believable situations that get straight to the point. Memorable or surprising hooks are more likely to drive engagement and shares.
Facebook offers exceptional support for SRT files. You can use free software like Descript or oTranscribe to quickly generate and tweak thorough transcripts from which to create an SRT file.
TikTok is one of China’s most significant social media exports, blossoming into the third most downloaded app worldwide with over 800 million users. Similarly to other platforms which favor ultra-short video content, it capitalises on 15-second shorts featuring popular topics like food, sport, athletic apparel, and fashion.
Landscape and portrait/vertical
Max Video Length
15 seconds or four 15-second segments for 60 seconds total.
TikTok’s appeal partly lies in the casual, homemade appearance of its best-performing content. Users are keen to engage with visually surprising and clever videos of ideally 16 seconds.
Only open captioning or burned subtitles can be used with TikTok content. Alternatively, you can add text directly through the platform with the use of the “Text” option in the uploader.
Vimeo has earned a reputation for more artisanal content than near-parallel YouTube, as demonstrated by its unlimited running time for full members. Its special business package, Vimeo Business, offers analytics, marketing insights, and advice for calls to action, placing a hefty array of controls in your hands when it comes to spreading the word about your business.
Max Video Length
Unlimited for full members.
Vimeo offers almost unbeatable options for video and subtitle formats as well as terrific support for audio. This makes it perfect for film creators, animators, and musicians. Users are highly likely to visit the site for pop-up and banner ad-free content which is longer and more in-depth.
Vimeo offers the widest array of options for subtitling of the platforms in this guide, including the preferred WebVTT (.vtt), as well as SubRip Subtitle file (SRT), DXFP/TTML (.dxfp), Scenarist (.scc), and SAMI (.SAMI).
WeChat operates in China with almost minimal competition, meaning more than 1 billion global users rely on this app for everything from simple messaging to paying bills and shopping. It’s also gaining steady ground in Europe and North America. The platform’s versatility and user-friendliness make it a natural home for natural placement for videos featuring entertainment, convenient financial apps, and lifestyle content.
Widescreen/landscape, square, and portrait/vertical
Max Video Length
Short video – 1-15 seconds
WeChat Moments ads – 6 to 15 seconds for preview, 5 minutes for full video.
Those interested in ultra-compact content on new trends and entertainment. WeChat is a giant in China, so if you’re looking to expand your reach there, it’s a good idea to craft brief videos focused on luxury products and entertainment like upcoming film releases. The Lunar New Year can see a significant boom in engagement as audiences look to gather gifts for friends and loved ones.
No innate support. However, basic video editing software will allow you to add captions directly to the video file. The edited file can then be uploaded with non-optional subtitles to the platform