The third and final post to our ‘Gearing Up’ series is here, and we’re sure it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. Over the last few weeks you’ve learned about the pre-production process of video, what’s involved in planning, what you need to consider, and how to execute. It may not have been easy, but you’ve arrived at the final step of your journey, which – depending on the project – can be either the easiest or most complex part of the project.
Today we’re going to be discussing post-production/editing, give you a few tips for distribution, and ask a few important questions to help you evaluate your process in order to improve in the future. While on paper this may be the shortest step, it can actually end up being a lot longer if you plan to track how well your online content is performing (which you should).
Let’s bring up our footage and get to it…
If you remember, at the end of last week’s post we mentioned choosing to edit the footage yourself or handing it off to a professional editor. If you still haven’t made that decision, now would be the time to do so.
As far as professionalism goes, if you have very little to no editing experience, we highly recommend outsourcing the post-production of your project. Sure, it may cost you a little bit of money but the final product will undoubtedly be higher quality. You can find many editors online – Kijiji and Facebook are great places to look and many editors will share their reels with you so you can determine what their skill level is before pulling the trigger.
Editing a story
This section of the post isn’t designed to teach you how to use various editing programs – we’re already assuming you know how to do that. What you may not know is how to edit the footage into a story so it flows nicely. When you’re editing, it’s a great idea to refer back to the questions you answered from part one (insert part one link). In order to explain exactly what we mean, lets use an example. Depending on the format you chose, your footage might be slightly different, but try and find similarities to make it work for your project, understanding that no two videos play out exactly the same way.
Say your business is a homegrown sporting goods store and you’re the owner. You were on camera and were interviewed about your experience with sports, what got you into the business world, and what drives your passion to most. These questions are all great lead-ins for the story you’re trying to tell. For example, if you’ve been playing sports ever since you were a little kid and you remember the time your parents bought your first pair of hockey skates that might be a great sound bite to start with, because it catches the audience’s attention right away. Have a look at the example below:
Now that you’ve got your intro out of the way, you have an opportunity to insert key messages. Depending on the length you chose, you may not be able to use every sound bite, and that’s entirely ok.
At this stage, your job is to find the best footage to match your key messages, and work on finding transitions to link them all together later on. The one thing you want to be careful of is adding too many key messages. This might be a great point in the video to share some of the features your business offers, but you don’t want to give it all away at once, and you certainly don’t want to sound like a robot rattling off answers. Try to pick a key message that supports the consumer early on. If you’re in retail, your focus is more than likely on the people who use your product, so make sure you mention them fairly early on.
When you’re editing all of the footage together, you need to create some buffer. Adding in pauses help the viewer catch up and stay interested in what’s happening.
You also want to consider beefing up the visuals. Viewers will get bored staring at someone talk for an extended period of time, so try to find footage of the building, space, or products that match what the person is saying. In the film world, we call this b-roll, which plays with the audio from the interview in the background. Here’s what it looks like:
With this knowledge, you should be able to put together a decent first cut of your video, which includes a few of your key messages presented in an interesting way. What you need to do now is find a conclusion that fits, and present a call to action for the viewer.
When considering what footage to use, look for a moment that relates to consumers and your overall passion for service, or something similar. Most importantly, the sound bite needs to be complete. Don’t cut part of a sentence out at the end, as viewers will wonder what happened, leaving them with a sour taste.
Your call to action should follow this sound bite, and may feature your logo with a message about visiting you in store, linking to your website or connecting with you on social media. An effective call to action should drive the viewer to do something else for your business after they watch instead of leaving them feeling incomplete.
What to do after you’ve created a first cut
The video industry is all about refinement. You must set reasonable expectations for your content, especially if you’re new to the process. Even big production companies go through countless revisions to get a piece of content where they’d like it to be. The reality is, it takes time, and you must be patient. After you watch the first cut, you must try to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and see how the video makes you feel.
Look at a few things – is the story rushed? Does it flow well? Do you have a good understanding of the messages that were conveyed? Just because a project isn’t where you want it to be right away doesn’t make it bad. The power of editing allows us to be a little picky, so use this time wisely to make changes and play around with new footage. Sometimes when it comes to stories and messaging, saying less can often mean much more.
We can’t really tell you when to stop making revisions, so this process is up to you. The one thing you have to remember is that you still have the power to change things, even after the video is released. We pride ourselves in taking ownership of the video pieces we produce, and if an audience just isn’t connecting with a certain part of the video, we’ll go back and make changes – even after release.
Once your video is complete, the next step is sharing it with the public. For some, this can be the hardest step because it can be difficult to translate all of your hard work into views, especially views by your target audience. Nonetheless, when it comes to online distribution, you never want to cut things short.
There’s really no such thing as over distributing a video, unless you’re hitting a point where it becomes spam. With that said, you want to upload the video to as many online hosting sites as possible. YouTube and direct Facebook uploads are some the easiest and best ways to achieve organic views without even raising a finger, and they take almost no time at all.
Here is a great resource identifying some awesome social tools to help in your distribution efforts.
Next you may want to consider online forums. This can take a little longer, but if you’re familiar with popular sites in your industry, you might already know where to go. To use our sporting goods store as an example, it would make sense to share the video on sports-related forums and places where athletes go to discuss products and equipment.
It’s not always this simple, but keep in mind your principle isn’t necessarily to get views – you want feedback. The more people you put the video in front of, the more feedback you’re going to get in return. People will often have varying standpoints on what should and shouldn’t be included, so your choice will always be final.
For most companies, online distribution is going to come in the form of social media. There’s nothing wrong with that, you just must understand that the performance of your video is directly related to the following you already have. Generally, without spending money on Facebook ad buys, your posts may have some trouble reaching audiences outside of your current circle. For this purpose, we’re going to assume your “circle” is already aware of your business, so they wouldn’t be the target audience. The idea would be to get the video in front of new people with similar interests who may not be familiar with your brand, which, with a well executed strategy, can be very effective.
When pushing content out on social media, keep in mind that you don’t want to sound like a broken record. If you tweet the same thing 3-4 times in a row, people will dismiss it. Generally, if they didn’t view it the first time, every time after that is going to be viewed as spam, which could put you on the wrong list in their minds. Be creative, think outside of the box, and remember there is no RIGHT way of sharing content online.
Reporting and tracking – what do these numbers mean?
After a few days, there’s a good chance your video has gained some traction and is starting to build up some views – congratulations! This might be a good time to check into how your video is performing beyond the view count. Depending on where you uploaded your stats may vary, but sites like YouTube and Facebook offer you insights to see who is watching, and how long they’re watching for.
You might see words like “impressions” or “engagements” or “click through ratio” and many others – most of which you might not have a clue what they mean. Here’s a quick breakdown on these terms to help you better understand the analytics:
• Views: the number of individual times your video has been watched for any duration of time
• Impressions: the number of times your video appeared in someone’s feed, whether they watched or not
• Engagements: the number of times the video was liked, commented on, or shared in any way
• Time spent watching: the number of time each viewer watched the video for
• Click through ratio: the number of times someone clicked a link to a website provided
For some people, a lot of these stats don’t mean a lot. The one stat you should pay most attention to above all else is time spent watching. This stat helps you determine how long each viewer watched the video for, which might help you determine whether you need to make a few changes.
If every viewer is checking out around the same time, you might have lost the viewer’s attention or said something they didn’t like. The goal is to have the average time spent watching as high as possible because it means people are getting more of your message.
Reflect on the process
When it’s all said and done, the final step is to take a step back from everything you’ve achieved and reflect. Are you happy with the video created? Are there things you would change the next time around If you could? What might you do differently? These are all great questions to ask in a constructive way. If this is the first time you’ve created a video, a huge congratulations is in order. Building up the courage to put your video abilities and your business online is not a step to be taken lightly.
With that said, we’re always looking for ways to refine our own processes as well. If you enjoyed this three-part series, please let us know in the comments, or tweet us, @Signature_video (www.twitter.com/signature_video). If there is anything we did not cover that you would’ve liked to learn about, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to do so in the future. If you’ve followed us over the last three weeks, thank you. Your project may be over, but your potential for video content has just begun.