Recently I attended a half day SEO and social networking masterclass hosted by a well respected digital marketing expert. The event was well attended and the speaker covered a huge amount during the three and a half hour session. I left the event full of good intentions to further develop the Freehand digital marketing toolkit, but the speaker made one comment that I take issue with.
The topic ‘was how best to use video as part of an online marketing strategy’. Most marketers would agree that currently video is the magic dust that we should all be using. As a video professional I was happy to sit and listen to the speaker promote our industry.
Our speaker then posed the following question to the audience –
“How many people here are producing their own online video content rather than spending valuable marketing budget employing the services of a production company? (more than half the room raise their hands) Of course you are, and why wouldn’t you. We all now have the necessary equipment and carry it in our pockets everyday.”
The speaker was (of course) referring to the smart phone.
Nobody will be surprised that I disagree 100% with that closing sentiment. In fact I would go so far as to say that all of the good stuff that he spoke about earlier was completely overshadowed by this single statement that is not just wrong, but totally misleading.
Let me explain why I’m getting hot under the collar.
Producing even the simplest video (either yourself using your phone or with the help of a production company) is a three stage process.
What’s the purpose of the video, who is the audience, how long should it be, devise a ‘script’ (not necessarily word for word, but at least a list of key messages), who will deliver the message, choose a location, gather any additional visuals and branding.
All of this can be handled either by the marketer (the client), or ideally by the marketer collaborating with the production company.
This is the first of two stages where a little magic happens, and it takes a combination of expertise and equipment to deliver that magic. The key ingredients are good lighting, good sound recording, good filming and of course good presentation. Everybody has seen videos on Youtube which are lit badly so the presenter is dark against a bright background, or where the whole ‘set’ just looks dull. We’ve all come across videos which sound like they have been recorded in a bathroom or where the presenter is too far from microphone or where the sound is just very thin and tinny. The filming requires not just lining up the shot, but pin point focus on the presenter, the right depth of field, cutting to a second camera to give a second angle (or mask an edit point) and often the use of a slider or jib to introduce movement.
Removing just one of these elements may result in a less than professional looking video. Is your smart phone really up to the mark?
So, the filming is complete. Are we ready to publish? Of course the answer is a resounding no. An editor working on a book isn’t just looking for spelling mistakes and missing punctuation, they look at consistency across the book (in terms of writing style and also checking names, places and historical facts) and work to improve the flow of the story. There will be several drafts being passed between the editor and the author before both are happy with the end result. Producing a video is exactly the same and post-production is where this process takes place. During post-production, the structure, colour balance, sound balance, graphics and captions are worked on until the final piece is a professional looking video that an audience will watch and understand.
Again, removing just one of these elements can result in a less than professional looking video. You can argue that video editing software is increasingly affordable, but do you have in-house expertise when it comes to these processes.
A poor looking video will reflect badly on you, your business and your brand. The savings you may make on the production will be off-set by a greatly reduced return on investment stemming from a poorly engaged audience who fail to watch the video all the way through (so miss the closing call to action), fail to understand the key message (due to a poor edit) or choose not to engage with the brand because it looks ‘cheap’.
Self producing a corporate video using a smart phone is not a sensible alternative to employing the services of an experienced production company. Failing to invest in a high quality video will certainly result in a poor return and a failed campaign. Many of the more successful vloggers (who traditionally self shoot using domestic equipment) are now using the highest quality equipment (tech vlogger Marques Brownlee aka MKBHD uses the Red Weapon Dragon which retails at approx. $50,000). At Freehand, we have more than 30 years of experience and expertise in producing the best looking video content. That expertise combined with the latest professional equipment is hard to beat and is the reason why we work with businesses of all sizes, from all sectors and from every continent. If you still need convincing then take a look at our showreel at www.freehand.co.uk/video-production , question how much of that content you could have produced using your smart phone and then call us on 01483 200111 to discuss your next video.