More and more, companies are turning to web videos over plain text, even for things like About Us pages. Videos can be inexpensively professionally produced, and they are more engaging and dynamic. There are lots of cool things that you can do with videos that just can’t be done in writing. Plus, there are more people willing to watch a video than there are those who will spend the time to read information.
Naturally, there are pros and cons to using videos over text, and vice versa, but if you’ve decided to make the plunge and see how things go, there are some things you should consider.
Should you hire a professional? The most likely answer is yes. While it is easy for anyone to shoot and upload a video to the web, the results aren’t usually very polished. You want to find someone who has experience shooting web videos, since the process is different than putting together a typical video. There are, however, some types of videos where it might be okay to go it alone. For example, vlogs (video blog entries) can be fairly basic, and testimonials can be shot fairly easily with a simple background.
How much money do you want to spend? This will inform the kind of video you shoot, or how many of them you can do. A single camera by itself may be enough if you’re just recording yourself talking, but you may require multiple cameras, lighting and sound equipment, or even shoot days and a crew if you are trying to take on a more complicated project.
What camera is right for what you want to do? Is this simply going to be a talking head video where the camera can be mounted and pointed in a direction? If so, a relatively simple model will do. Just make sure it has an external microphone port, a headphone port (to make sure the audio is being recorded correctly), a firewire port (for connecting to your computer), and a remote control (since presumably you’ll be recording yourself) at the very least. If you plan on creating a more professional video that will require several locations, you’ll probably want to go with something higher quality. Check out sites like Consumer Reports and CNet for comprehensive reviews on the features of different video cameras.
What kind of lighting do you have available? One of the most common mistakes amateurs make is using inadequate lighting. Professional packages can run you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but if you are shooting a fairly small area, you can make use of desk and clamp lights to get a better look. Be sure to invest in full spectrum light bulbs, which will help you get better color.
Who will edit your video? Now that it’s shot, the video needs to be put together into a finished product ready to upload. Often, when you hire someone to shoot your web video, they will also offer editing services or be able to provide you with a reference. If you decide to go it alone, there are many programs available on the market designed to make it simple.
Ultimately, it’s important that your video helps to build your brand by showcasing your professionalism and adding new value for your visitors. When formulating a strategy for your web videos, keep this ultimate goal in mind.