The case study video + client testimonial video + customer success story video

Why is a Case Study Video important? 

We’ve all been there ourselves as a potential customer. We like the idea of a product or a service. What we want is a little more assurance that it’s actually what it says it is. After all, a business can say what it likes about itself, but real credibility comes from customers.

That’s why we look at online reviews, and perhaps wonder how many of them are genuinely written by customers. Which is why a case study video – also known as a client testimonial video or a customer success story video – is so powerful. It’s easy to tell if it’s genuine. And if it is the real deal and someone has agreed to endorse a product or service, is happy to put their face on screen and their name on the line, then it has some real currency.

Video is an outstanding format for case studies. Not only because a case study video is a persuasive form of a customer review, but because it offers up the chance to create a truly engaging piece of audio visual content. This combination of building genuine trust and credibility and using a medium that sparks interest and emotional connection INSPIRES ACTION.

Now we’re all agreed that case study videos are a really excellent tool, we need to turn our attention to how to make them properly. 

What Does a Case Study Video Consist of?

To help you understand what goes into producing an effective case study video, one that reassures your audience about your products or services and gets them ready to act – with a request for information, a call, or even a purchase – we’ve broken it down for you below, piece by piece. 

Interviews

The foundation of any case study video is interview footage. A voiceover just doesn’t generate the same reassurance as interview testimony, and part of the objective with any client success story video is to prove to your audience that there are real people working for real businesses who endorse your product or service. 

So, who should your interviewees be? Well, it’s typically going to be a mix of your own team and a rep (or reps) from one of your clients. While it’s possible that you would produce a video about one of your products or services that features a number of different clients’ testimonies, in this instance we’re going to assume that you’re creating a video about the experience of just one business client. 

Above all a customer success story allows your clients to describe their positive sentiments of using your products or services and of their experience of working with your company. We’ll get into how to prepare them for this and what they should talk about later, suffice at this point to say that this is the most important part of the video. 

Approach to the Interviews

We have created a really detailed blog about the general nuts & bolts of filming interviews that you can find here.

With a customer testimonial video one of the most important things to bear in mind is that it’s best to keep your own presence in the video to a minimum. A strong case study video is one that showcases your client’s satisfaction with the success that resulted from its dealings with your company. A video with minimal involvement from a ‘satisfied’ client will be ineffective. 

So, we would suggest that even if you don’t introduce your client first, make sure they appear early on in the video and let them lead the story as far as possible. It may be that more than one person from your client’s business is interviewed, providing different perspectives on the their dealings with your company. In many ways a second, or perhaps third, voice brings added persuasiveness by providing specific information relevant to their job roles, and offering opportunities to vary the visual look & feel with a new interviewee and a different backdrop. 

While we are suggesting that you let you client lead, your business reps needs to frame the case study. You cannot control exactly what your client says, so your speakers need to inject their interviews with information that is pertinent to other potential clients watching the video. Certainly your company’s contributors should be armed with the facts & figures that give strength to your case as well as details that frame the way you approached your work to get your client the results they wanted. It may be that your clients have their own statistics to support the success of your collaboration, which is always excellent, but what they can say that you cannot is how they felt to be working with you. In many ways this is the most important piece of their interview content – the emotive element which trumps all the facts & figures. 

If there is one other element to push for in the content from your client’s contributions it’s a really short, sharp, succinct soundbite that frames the success of the collaboration, preferably with a statistic: ‘Working with NextShoot has been a game changer. Our Social Media video engagement has doubled, while our costs have decreased by 15 per cent.’ Contrary to the advice below about not memorising content, this might be the exception, though you would need to run this by your client in advance. 

The language used in a customer testimonial should feel natural and unrehearsed. There is a tendency for contributors to over-plan their answers and to try to include complex in-house jargon. There are two issues with this. First, unless your contributor has a good deal of acting experience they will stumble on their scripted lines and it will feel inauthentic. Secondly, while we tend to seek clarity through sector-specific jargon with the written word, if used on camera it can feel hackneyed and alienating. References to ‘paradigm shifts’, ‘agile methodologies,’ ‘synergies’ and ‘solutioneering’ are probably best avoided.

There are also some practicalities to consider with any interview filming. 

A location will have to be chosen: do you film it in your offices? At their building? Hire a separate location altogether, like a studio? If you are looking to capture broll (see below) then filming at their premises is probably going to be the best bet, and in our experience if you agree to go to the client’s office you are more likely to get their commitment by saving them the travel time.

You’ll also need to advise your interview subject about what to wear. Again, see our interview blog for more details on this. 

When it comes to the content, we would recommend that once you have the flow of the case study mapped out (see below for a suggested structure) then you divide the content up amongst the interviewees and devise questions for each contributor, with some overlap so that some people are responding to the same question. Then, so as to disencourage anyone from writing a long-hand script to memorise, you can put 2-3 bullet points against each question for points to include in their answers. This can be shared with colleagues and clients for feedback. In our experience, contributors find it reassuring to be told that nothing needs to be learned by heart. In truth, the director from any good corporate video production company should be able to guide the speakers on the day into giving clear, succinct and authentic responses. It certainly helps if the speakers don’t have a script up their sleeve that they have half-memorised. 

B-roll + Cutaways 

Case studies benefit immensely from supplementary footage, called b-roll. In this instance b-roll is general footage which is related to the subject of your case study, and used to support or illustrate a point raised in the interview material. The editor ‘cuts away’ from the interview to this material – hence the other term used for this content – ‘cutaways’. 

Of course, the nature of your clients business and your own product or service will have  bearing on what the broll will be. In fact, what your client does might have influenced your decision to create a case study video with them in the first place. On the whole you would look to film the interviews and the broll in the same location on the same day, but this isn’t always possible and a unit move to a second location might be necessary, or a separate filming day. 

If a case study involves technology and software in particular you’re likely to need footage of people actively using the tech on desktops and mobile devices. It’s worth planning for this in advance as you’ll have to set up and test a dummy account to display the functionality of the product without revealing sensitive or protected information. 

In summary, well shot, relevant b-roll is a crucial component in making a customer success story video look dynamic and in fostering engagement with the viewer, making them more likely to interact with your offering. 

Graphics and other Elements 

Another useful visual element to include in your customer success story video is graphics. A richness of content will always make a video feel more interesting, and graphics are also perhaps the best way to visually express complex ideas in a succinct way. In a case study video this might be a map, a chart, an infographic representing a company’s structure or the scope of business’s outreach. 

Of course, interviewees will have their names and job titles referenced in captions and there is typically a front card and an end card with text and a call to action or url. 

In some cases it might make sense to use stock footage, for example an aerial shot of the City of London, and there’s no reason why pre-existing broll footage from either party cannot be included, along with a music track that sets the tone for the case study and gives the video momentum.

The Structure of a Successful Case Study

The narrative of a case study video tends to be similar to the way it’s structured on paper. At a basic level it’s about telling a story, one that any potential client might recognise, in which a real customer overcomes a particular set of challenges using your products or services. Just like a story, a case study video should have a beginning, a middle and an end, as well as a protagonist – your customer – overcoming a problem and achieving their goal. By the end of the video, the audience should be able to picture themselves as the protagonist of their own story. It’s important that they can relate to the challenges of your featured customer, and so picture themselves achieving their own goals by using your product or services. 

Introducing the Problem

In this first part of the narrative, it’s less to do with your company and more to do with the nature of your client’s business and the challenges your client has faced. This needs to be expressed with as little excess information as possible. Let’s not dwell on the past. Suffice to say it wasn’t a great situation. The old solution – no names mentioned – was expensive and morale was low. The question that would be asked of the client in the interview would be along the lines of ‘What were the challenges you faced before you used the X solution? And what impact was that having on the business/ profitability/ staff morale?’ 

Introduction of the Solution

In this part of the story, your client begins to describe how your company offered something that addressed their problems, revealing the nature of your product or service and how it supported them in overcoming their challenges. 

And now your own company reps can dig into what your product or solution is all about. It’s an opportunity also to demonstrate how you worked with your client to understand their needs, implement a strategy and monitor the way their business was responding. Like any good story, the aim at this point is to keep back the results. Let’s not pretend that any viewer will be sitting on the edge of their seat to hear how this all pans out, but the truth is that we all respond to being lead logically and deliberately through a narrative (be it a poem, TV advert, or just text on a cereal packet) and a customer success story video is no different. 

The Outcome

What effect did your solution have? What measurable successes were there? In the outcome section, you can drive home your points for a convincing and decisive finish. This doesn’t mean a dry reel of statistics, but it ought to point to clear and quantifiable ways in which your client benefited from what you had to offer. Your company can qualify this, but the client has to have significant input here and, as touched on above, it helps not only to have some stats to back up your claims but for your client to bring an emotive element to their contribution. After all, a business solution is not just about efficiency and profitability; ultimately it’s about making someone’s life less stressful, creating more time for the things that matter (golf, family time, more work). 

And it’s also the place in the video where that short, sharp soundbite from the client will come in handy.

What else do you need to consider when making Testimonial Videos?

How many do you need?

A single case study is fine, but posted on your website, it can end up looking a bit lonely. Instead, it’s best to create a series of case studies for use on your website and across your Social Media channels. A campaign of videos brings momentum and encourages the viewer to see how you solved problems with multiple clients, reinforcing your credibility. On some platforms these videos can be arranged as a playlist. 

Working with your Clients 

It’s one thing deciding to create a series of case study videos, it’s entirely another thing to get the commitment from your clients to appear on camera. Inevitably your point of contact at your client will need to clear their appearance in your video with their own internal stakeholders, a process that can take time.  So, we would advise you to throw your net wide with the number of companies you approach and to expect that some clients won’t be able to participate, while others will take some time to come back to you. Furthermore, when you have commitment from a client, you are going to have to work within their timetable and, as it’s a favour, be flexible about when the filming takes place, accommodating requests to move the shoot date. 

Typically you will have a good working relationship with the individual you approach to make a case study video, and they will most likely genuinely want to show their appreciation for the way in which you support them personally and with your company’s products or services. However, and this may ring true if you are a marketeer yourself, once their marketing team gets wind of a case study video being produced, they might want to capitalise on the event and ask if they can receive a video of their own as part of the deliverables. This is entirely possible, but what we would say is that the overlap between your customer case study and their positioning video is probably very small and so you will need to factor in more interview time and, if you agree to cover the costs, more editing time also. In effect, it is an entirely different video. You should also be clear with your client about what exactly they are expecting in their video, and make it known that you have allowed for two sets of amendments to the first draft of the edit. It’s human nature that when you haven’t commissioned and aren’t paying for a piece of work, your approach to managing the time, budget and output of that project is different. 

Making your Case Study Video work for you

Subtitles

Once you have your case study video filmed, edited, and ready for release, it’s important to consider subtitles. Recent studies have shown that as many as 92% of respondents watched videos without sound, and the videos they watch accommodate this with clear, easy-to read subtitles. Plus, you can make your case study transcend borders by translating subtitles into other widely-spoken languages.

The Montage Case Study Video

If you’ve created a series of case studies with a variety of clients, it’s likely that you have moments from each of them which contain rock-solid info that delivers a strong impression for potential clients. You can make these moments shine by combining them into a highlights reel. This sort of montage videos fires interest in new visitors, increasing the likelihood that they will look to engage with your business. 

Transcriptions

Even if you appreciate the value of video, chances are that you still make use of traditional printed materials or online text. It’s useful, therefore, to transcribe the audio from your case study interviews from which you can pick and build choice quotes for use across different media. Of course, we can help you with the transcription process. 

Summary

So there you have it.  The case study video + client testimonial video + customer success story video. 

NextShoot is a corporate video production agency in London making case study videos for clients all over  the world. Please have a look at our Case Study Video case study page (!) for examples of our work and, of course, we’d be delighted to help your organisation tell its own success stories.

The Montage

Montage (/mɒnˈtɑːʒ/) is a film editing technique in which a series of short shots are sequenced to condense space, time, and information. … Later, the term “montage sequence” used primarily by British and American studios, became the common technique to suggest the passage of time.

“Always fade out in a montage …”

The montage. It calls up visions of Rocky Balboa stomping through the snow, racing along the beach in a crop-top, chasing chickens, doing one-armed push-ups. It brings to mind the A-Team turning a golf-cart and a length of piping into a tank in a matter of minutes. It conjures up images of smirking, spread-collared Tony Montana, shaking hands with some morally dubious official as his lackeys move bags of cash outside. Where would we be without it?

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in the Scarface 'Take it to the limit' montage
Al Pacino as Tony Montana in the Scarface ‘Take It To The Limit’ montage

It’s perhaps unsurprising that, nowadays, the montage examples we most easily call to mind seem to involve such affectedly dramatic Eighties pop music that, in our altogether less hammy modern cinematic era, they seem almost laughable. In fact Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the irreverent architects of South Park and The Book of Mormon, have trained their satirical eyes on the technique on more than one occasion for exactly this reason, with predictably amusing results.

But the montage is not the preserve of exuberant Eighties cinema directors or those impudent creative types who lampoon them. At the turn of the 20th century, the British filmmaker Robert W. Paul showed the possibilities of editing when he cut his film Come Along, Do!, one of the first films to be composed of more than one shot. This was “continuity editing”, a technique pioneer D. W. Griffith innovated further with “parallel editing”, which he used to build dramatic tension in the film Birth of a Nation—a film more notable, despite its place in cinematic history, for its extreme racism.

The Latvian-born theorist, filmmaker, and iconoclast Sergei Eisenstein became known as the “Father of Montage” following the release of the 1925 feature film, Strike, in which shots of a slaughtered cow are cut with those of the violent suppression of a strike. His montage creates an association between cattle and workers. It’s art as propaganda. Long before South Park’s Stan Marsh had to learn how to ski, Soviet filmmakers were provoking an intellectual response and reinforcing dogma through clever editing.

Slavko Vorkapich
Slavko Vorkapich

Arguably, the originator of those flamboyant Eighties scenes is the unlikely figure of Slavko Vorkapich, a Serbian born in 1894 in a tiny village in the former Austro-Hungarian empire. Vorkapich was a theorist and lecturer who mastered the visual montage sequence in Golden Age Hollywood. In fact so synonymous did this cinematic poet become with the technique that on Hollywood screenplays in the 1930s and 1940s, the montage was noted simply as the “Vorkapich”. For Vorkapich, the camera had until then been used only “as a passive sort of instrument”. In an interview in 1939 he said that “there is such an infinite variety of motion around us which, if properly explored with the camera in a creative manner and put together will, I think, create a new art.” Next time you watch Rocky Balboa running up the steps, or Patrick Swayze gyrating to the dulcet tones of Eric Carmen, think of Slavko Vorkapich.

And the montage has happily made its way out of the world of mainstream cinema to become a staple technique for the corporate video production company and the filmmaking agency. The applications of the showreel technique, for instance—a stylish, rapid-fire compilation, often of a brand’s best work or the best scenes from a feature film—run the gamut from fashion videography to event videography to video game trailers. Just as, in The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola juxtaposes Michael Corleone’s homespun “Night of the Long Knives” with shots of his son’s baptism, a corporate video production company or indeed any video production agency can evoke powerful emotion through the medium of montage.

The Coppola example points to the multiplicity of ways in which the montage can be deployed in film. Though always condensing space, time and information, the intention that lies behind the montage varies dramatically, and there will always be new approaches. No list of montage techniques can be exhaustive. But regardless, you can separate them roughly into three main categories: narrative, intellectual and artistic.

Narrative

By far the most common use of the montage relates to the immediate telling of the story itself—to giving an account of the events.

In films like Up, the montage is contextual: the opening sequence serves to get the viewer up to speed. Casablanca is one of the best examples of this. Rather than assume the viewer has the proper context to make sense of the story, it gives some historical background, specifically by discussing in brief the journey of war refugees from Paris to North Africa. The opening of A Bridge Too Far sets the scene in a similar way, by describing the events leading up to the doomed Operation Market Garden—the subject of Richard Attenborough’s multi-award-winning 1977 film.

The Karate Kid Training Montage
The Karate Kid Training Montage

From Karate Kid to Dirty Dancing to the iconic sequences in the Rocky franchise, training scenes are some of the most obvious sequences to which the montage may lend itself. In real life, training for almost anything is monotonous and time-consuming, and progress is incremental; needless to say this would not make for the most entertaining viewer experience. Accelerated by the montage however, variety and rapid progression replace what would be monotony and subtle improvement. Throw in a good piece of music et voilà, you have something highly watchable. Wax on, wax off.

The Cinderella style of montage is almost a sub-genre of the training montage, in that it entails a character’s slow transformation through work. But it’s less about learning a sport or preparing for a sporting competition in the case of the Cinderella, and often has to do with personal or intellectual development—or simply an elaborate makeover. In the Princess Diaries, Mia is a mostly passive participant in her own makeover, while in Legally Blonde, Elle Woods teaches herself law—to Joanna Pacitti’s “Watch Me Shine”, naturally.

Parodies of the montage straddle the narrative and the intellectual, since they might, as in Team America: World Police, serve a narrative purpose while also functioning as a pastiche of the technique. The training montage is the one most frequently parodied, and often specific training montages—those from Rocky being the best examples—might be directly satirised. But it’s also true that a montage parody can exist entirely outside the narrative, and exist solely for the purpose of making the audience smile.

Intellectual

Eisenstein did intend to tell a story by cross-cutting the slaughter of cattle with the murder of striking workers en masse in Strike, but it was a story that existed outside the story of the film. His narrative, and his aim, was ideological. He wanted to create a relationship in the mind of those watching between the savage but routine treatment of animals and the routine but unjustified behaviour of the authorities towards striking workers. In doing so, he hoped to show that workers in pre-revolutionary Russia were dehumanised by the ruling class and reduced to the status of cattle, thus confirming the party view. There is a sense in which the filmmaker is speaking directly to the audience or, indeed, trying to persuade the audience. As far away from Soviet filmmaking as it may seem, a video production agency making a perfume advert, for instance, might use montage in a similar way. Through association, with glamour or beauty in the case of perfume ads and similar product videos, for instance, it can persuade the viewer to purchase a product.

In Todd Phillips’ Joker, the psychological state of the eponymous Arthur Fleck is reflected, through montage, in the collapse of Gotham City into anarchy and chaos. Though the montage is part of the passage of events, it is also a kind of standing-back from the narrative and a commentary on its main character. To put it another way, Todd Phillips is saving the film critics and theorists some time by meeting them half-way with his own brief psychological commentary on the man who gives his film its name.

The Godfather Baptism/Massacre Montage
The Godfather Baptism/Massacre Montage

The intellectual montage entails a consideration of ideas, and few are more memorable and more effective than the baptism and assassination scene from The Godfather. Coppola uses 67 shots in five minutes in a compare/contrast montage which combines religious ritual and a series of brutal slayings. Through baptism, in view of Michael Corleone, the newest member of the family receives divine protection. At the same time Corleone is energetically taking life away. We are confronted by the hypocrisy of which human beings are capable.

Montage sequences that involve memories, reminiscences or flashbacks contextualise the current state in which a character finds themselves by showing what has gone on in their life before. Annie Hall’s ending is an iconic example of this. It tells the story through a flashback montage of a romance which begins, progresses, and ends. The main character reaches the conclusion that love is irrational, which he explains by telling a classic joke: “A man goes to the doctor and says, ‘Doc, my brother thinks he’s a chicken.’ The doctor says, ‘Well, tell him he isn’t a chicken.’ ‘I can’t,’ says the man ‘I need the eggs.’”

Artistic

In A Phantom Thread, we see how montage can be used to create a certain aesthetic. The entire film is a kind of love letter to beauty, and the fashion show montage, with its elegant music, gorgeous outfits and rich palette of colours that vary from shot to shot, is designed more to be felt than to be thought about. Scenes like this will be especially interesting to those in fashion videography, though any corporate video production company can glean something from this typically Paul Thomas Anderson scene.

The German Dadaists made montage into a modern art-form, though unquestionably there are forms of cinematic montage which, even isolated from context, rise to the same giddy artistic heights, if from a different direction. The 2011 Japanese film Kiseki (I Wish) includes a montage of still-life images taken from earlier on in the film that together work almost like a collage to produce a single impression and a powerful feeling in the viewer. Even stripped from its frame of reference the montage works.

So from the flamboyance of the Eighties, complete with synth pop and questionable attire, to the stuff of fashion videography. The broad montage “genre” contains techniques that would come in handy to any video production company or filmmaking agency—indeed for anyone looking to put together a product video or marketing video that catches the eye.

A final thought: for Eisenstein, editing was the essence of cinema. For his fellow film theorist Lev Kuleshov, montage was the essence of cinema technique. So perhaps to understand montage is really just to understand cinema. Fade out.

NextShoot is a video production company in London.

We love montages so much we’ve made a few ourselves.

Our showreel.

Our timelapse reel.

Our https://nextshoot.com/video/fashion-video-productionfashion reel.

Our construction reel.

And here is the undisputed heavyweight montage of the world. All the montages from all the Rocky movies spliced into one uber-montage.

The Best Corporate Videos

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.

risual

Year: 2014

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.

Slack

Year: 2014

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.

Storyhunter

Year: 2016

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.

Lyft

Year: 2016

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?

Shopify

Year: 2017

“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.

Nike

Year: 2017

“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.

Axe

Year: 2017

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”.

Dibbern

Year: 2018

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.

Google

Year: 2011

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.

LACMA

Year: 2012

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.

Harry’s

Year: 2017

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.”

Fashion Insiders

 

The Best Corporate Videos
Fashion Insiders Video

http://www.acmedynasty.com/video-fashion.html?id=963

Year: 2019

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.

That’s a wrap.

Is Video Production a Good Career?

The Rise and Rise of Video Content

Across the globe, video is booming. 

Each day, more than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube alone, and it’s estimated that by 2021, 1 million minutes of video content will fly across global networks every second. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, consider this:  every 30 days, more video is uploaded to online platforms than was released on major television networks in the United States over the last 30 years.

This boom is fueled by a parallel explosion in broadband speeds, with 95% of premises in the UK having access to superfast broadband connections of up to 300 Mbit/s. 90% of consumers watch videos on mobile devices regularly, with the strongest showings on social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter, where 93% of videos uploaded to the platform are viewed on tablets and smartphones. 

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.

 

  • Wedding videos

 

  • 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.

The phases:

  • 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.

Along with this expansive range of chances come great opportunities for financial reward, with entry-level video production professionals frequently earning an average minimum of £27,000 per year. You can find out more about basic pay rates as established by BECTU, the union for media and film professionals.

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.

What is Video Production?

Intro to Video Production

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.

Feature Films 

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

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. 

These include:

  • 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 Tarnation or 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. 

TV

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
One of Baird’s early television sets

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.  

Advertising 

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 valueswould 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.

Consider this example from camera manufacturer GoPro from way back in 2013, which is real footage and cost nothing to produce.

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:

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.

Events & Conferences Videos

There are different sorts of video products for events and conferences, including:

  • 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.

Explainer Videos

On the more technical side of corporate video production is the explainer video. These are meant to help explainin the most user-friendly terms possiblehow 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.

Viral Videos

Happily, we rarely get clients asking for a viral video. While we can certainly understand the appeal, the truth is that nobody understands why videos 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. 

CEO Updates

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.

Animation in Video Production

Whether it’s 2D, 3D or stop-motion, animation  is a popular way to convey information. 

Graphics

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.

Interactive Video

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 examplegiving the viewer extra information on the range and prices and the ability to add items directly to a shopping basket. 

Aerial Filming

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: 

  • Feature films
  • TV/broadcast
  • 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. 

What Does the Future Hold for Video Production?

A significant shift is that we will be sharing more content across language barriers. The success of feature films like 2019’s Parasite suggest that the English-speaking world is warming up to the idea of foreign language video. Perhaps it’s because reading subtitles is now an everyday experience. 80% of videos on LinkedIn are watched without sound, and 85% on Facebook, reflecting a growing comfort with subtitled footage in our daily lives.

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. 

Live streaming, particularly on social media sites, is already one of the most popular forms of video consumption around, and it shows no sign of letting up, with 63% of viewers in the 18-34 demographic watching live streams regularly. 

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. 

75% of all videos viewed are on mobile devices, and that number is expected to rise by 100% annually. With that in mind, we will see content and formats optimised for mobile viewing including adding subtitles. 83% of all videos are watched without sound by viewers who still want to know what’s being said, and the option to translate dialogue will open up new markets like Latin America, currently home to the highest level of demand for video content in the world.

A Guide to Video on Social Media

A Guide to Video on Social Media

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.

Instagram

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.

Available Formats 

Landscape, square, and portrait/vertical

Max Video Length

15 seconds for Instagram Stories, 10 minutes for Instagram TV, 60 seconds for all others.

Ideal Audience

  • 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.

Subtitle Support

  • 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

    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.

    Available Formats

    “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.

    Ideal Audience

    • 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.

    Subtitle Support

    • SubRip Subtitle files (SRT) can be added via a transcript of dialogue, making subtitles optional for users.

    Twitter

    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.

    Available Formats

    Landscape and portrait/vertical

    Max Video Length

    140 seconds.

    Ideal Audience

    • 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.

    Subtitle Support

    • 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

    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.

    Available Formats

    Landscape and portrait/vertical

    Max Video Length

    10 seconds for standard video, 15 seconds for ads.

    Ideal Audience

    • 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.

    Subtitle Support

    • 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

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.

Available Formats

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 

Ideal Audience

  • 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.

Subtitle Support

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

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.

Available Formats

Landscape, portrait/vertical, 360° immersive video, square, right-hand column

Max Video Length

  • Shared post video – 120 minutes
  • 360 video – 40 minutes
  • Desktop news feed link video – 120 minutes
  • Carousel video ads – 30 seconds
  • Collection video ads (mobile) – 120 minutes
  • Canvas video ads in news feed (mobile) – 120 minutes
  • Autoplay video within canvas ad (mobile) – 120 minutes
  • Slideshow video ad – 120 minutes
  • Facebook Stories – 15 seconds

Ideal Audience

Subtitle Support

  • 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

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.

Available Formats

Landscape and portrait/vertical

Max Video Length

15 seconds or four 15-second segments for 60 seconds total.

Ideal Audience

  • 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.

Subtitle Support

  • 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

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.

Available Formats

Landscape

Max Video Length

Unlimited for full members.

Ideal Audience

  • 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.

Subtitle Support

  • 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

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.

Available Formats

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.

Ideal Audience

  • 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.

Subtitle Support

  • 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

Video Production Tips

Making a Corporate Video

If this is your first time managing the process of commissioning, developing and producing a corporate video on behalf of your company or a client, there’s some simple guiding principles that will help you succeed in making the most of your budget and time, and help you deliver a marketing video or corporate communication video that connects with customers and gets results.

What is a corporate video? We get involved in a range of video projects from internal training videos and corporate communications to event videos, explainer videos, videos specifically for social media to ‘thought leadership’ interview videos and customer case studies.

In the interests of keeping this article simple we’ll limit ourselves a bit by assuming you’re looking to produce what we’d call an ‘about us’ or ‘home page’ video. This is something that’s going to introduce visitors to your website, your YouTube or other social channels or even your event stand to your products, services or company.

We’re a video production company with over ten years of experience so we’ve gone through this process more than a few times. Here’s six priceless (and free) tips to get you started and help you produce a great video.

1. Who is your audience and what are the objectives?

It’s essential to understand your viewers and keep it simple and succinct

So, first up, who is the audience for your video? It’s likely they won’t be familiar with you and, in common with most people’s behaviour online, that they’re not very patient. So how to you attract their attention? We’d say the ideal length for a video of this type is 90 seconds but even so, you have about 10 seconds to get them hooked. If you think that even the fastest talkers speak at 300 words per minute and a normal rate is more like 200, then, with pauses we have approximately 260 words to communicate what you’re about. That’s 50 less than this article so far. Ultimately, the viewers are your potential customers so ask yourself, if you had 90 seconds to pitch what would you say?

You need a clear objective and it needs to be clearly communicated. Think of it as your shop window. You want your best products and best offering out front. You can’t fit everything in so don’t try. A good video production company will guide you through this process (we’ll discuss this in more detail below) and help you decide whether the video needs to rely on your company’s heritage and expertise, new innovations, a specific product or benefit and whether it needs to make an emotional connection or make a persuasive, cognitive case.

2. Consider why potential customers are watching the video

The best videos deliver what the customer wants, just like the best businesses

Someone’s watching your video because they want to know about you and your services in a quick and convincing way. They want to be sold to, they’re browsing and looking to make a purchase. So what do they need to know? What are the absolute basics? Steer clear of corporate speak unless you’re audience is highly specialised and your sales B2B. If it’s a product or online service you’re selling stick to the benefits and do it in an engaging way – animation can be great for simple explainer videos.

You’re looking to create an emotional resonance and a connection. PDFs are cheap and plentiful so keep the technical details and the ugly screen grabs out of the film.

3. Work with your agency to get the creative right

Your video needs to stand out and communicate what’s great about your company. Think a bit different.

Once you’ve decided what you need to say and to whom, it’s time to decide on how. While your budget may be limited, your thinking shouldn’t be. A really simple idea well executed can be incredibly powerful. Don’t get drawn into the trap of trying to do too much or as we like to call it ‘first novel syndrome’ – that irresistible urge we all feel to say everything that’s on our mind and every good idea we’ve ever had all at once. Don’t be tempted to listen to everyone in your organisation. Your potential clients are not interested in what laptops you use, your investment in health and safety programs or indeed the staff canteen.

A good production company will be able to guide and advise you in this. We understand what’s achievable in a filming day and where the budget is best allocated. We also have a very developed sense of what looks good and the interplay of visuals and information that are at the heart of any successful video project.

This first stage of the production process is all about collaboration- us getting an understanding of you and your business and you understanding the work we do. So sit round a table, get the coffee machine on and the marker pens out.

4. Know exactly what you’re doing before you start filming

Shooting video is expensive so decide what you need in advance and get it right first time

Once the creative is broadly agreed on it’s time to put pen to paper and develop the script. This doesn’t always have to be exactly what will be said – in the instance of using interview material we tend to develop questions and draft an ideal outcome to lead the speaker in the right direction.

From that we create what we call a shooting script. In it’s simplest form this is basically two columns, one with the script/voiceover, ideal outcomes of an interview or graphic callouts, the other with the shots.

Having established what shots are possible and/or necessary we can then develop the shot list. This covers details like what we’ll film, how we’ll film it, for instance on tripod, steadicam or dolly, and what it will look like – is it a wide, medium or tight shot, a focus pull or a tilt down? This then lets us think about the equipment we’ll use for each shot – which camera, lens and other equipment like lighting and sound – and ultimately figure out the logistics of crew and equipment. Finally, we’re going to need a schedule – how long we have for filming each element and when it will happen. It’s important to note that the shots probably won’t happen in the same sequence that they appear in the film – light conditions, timing, equipment and location all dictate what is shot when.

We’d never attempt a filming day without these in place and neither should you.

Some simple rules –

  • It takes longer than you think to get equipment into a building
  • A three light two camera interviews takes at least 90 minutes (if not more) to set up and at least 30 minutes to de-rig
  • Don’t forget lunch – a crew marches on its stomach!
  • Moving between locations is complicated. Book transport and parking in advanceFinally, take care of the details. If you’re filming at your office ask some simple questions of facilities – can the desk be moved, the lights controlled, the noisy air con switched off? If you’re planning to film on location it always advisable to visit the site in advance. We can also help with issues around filming in public, aerial shots and risk assessments.

5. Be involved in the edit

After all the effort of managing this process you’ll want to see it through

Now that you’ve done all the hard work – make sure you work with an agency who will let you sit in! It’s incredible how a good editor can make all the difference to a video, it really is as equally important as the brainstorming creative and the logistics and technique of filming in delivering the end product.

It involves shot selection, choosing the best takes from interviews, deciding what’s important and assembling and intercutting them in a way that works best. Timing and the choice of music as well as where certain shots sit can really raise the production values of a video. So stay focussed and stay involved.

Ask your agency to sit in on the assembly of the first cut. We welcome our clients being involved in the process and so should they. The editing process should also be collaborative so work with an agency who will do at least three cuts and are prepared for your comments and criticisms.

6. Think about how the video will be watched

You might need different versions, even different content for different platforms

We all know how important social media is for any business. There are limitations on duration and size on some of the most popular platforms. However, there’s also what’s appropriate for different mediums and means of consumption – what is right for your home page isn’t necessarily right for your LinkedIn page.

This isn’t all bad news though, on the contrary, with some forethought and planning we can repurpose interview content and location filming to create additional videos. For instance, your CEO has taken two hours out of his day for a formal, two-camera interview. Your production company is there with lights, cameras and sound kit.

It’s the perfect opportunity to film additional material for short, punchy social media videos. So get the director to dive a little deeper on a couple of questions, thrown in some extra ones. A forty second clip on recruitment might work brilliantly on LinkedIn. A 60 second film on your sustainability credentials might really fly on Facebook.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions about your video project, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to help.

 

Madrid for The National Gallery’s Sorolla Exhibition Film

This March, The National Gallery will host ‘Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light’,  the first UK exhibition of Spain’s Impressionist, Sorolla, in over a century.

Known as the ‘master of light’ for his iridescent canvases, this is a rare opportunity to see the most complete exhibition of Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida’s (1863–1923) paintings outside Spain.

From the vivid seascapes, garden views, and bather scenes for which he is most renowned, to portraits, landscapes and genre scenes of Spanish life, the exhibition features more than 60 works spanning Sorolla’s career – many of which are travelling from private collections and from afar.

NextShoot have been commissioned to produce a film to support the exhibition, detailing Sorolla’s life and times and some of his most notable works. This involves filming in Spain and America at numerous institutions and locations which were central to Sorolla’s work.

We started in Madrid, at Sorolla’s former house, which is now home to Museo Sorolla. As well as an incredible collection of his paintings, the museum also has a vast archive of photographs, letters and personal possessions.