Categories
Video Video content tips

4 simple tips for gathering self-shot footage

I spend just as much time editing other people’s footage as I do my own. This has always been the case, especially given the cost savings involved for many of my smaller clients. But for the last few months, editing self-shot footage is all I’ve been doing; that and advising people on how to film themselves. Along the way, I’ve been learning a lot about what you can realistically expect from this sort of video content, and how to get the best results. I work with a lot of comms and marketing teams, either in-house or on the agency side, so they’re often the ones pulling everything together. If you’re finding yourself in that situation quite a lot at the moment, this guide will hopefully be useful for you. OK, let’s get stuck in.

1 – Keep it simple

During lockdown I’ve worked remotely with all kinds of people, from teenagers to people in their 70s. Clearly, the levels of tech knowledge are not going to be the same across the board. Some people have had full camera setups, or professional audio equipment that can be synced with phone video. Some people simply didn’t how which buttons to press on their phone to record a video. That kind of thing is not easy to teach over Zoom, trust me.  In many cases we’re asking something to do something completely out of their comfort zone. Actually, two things – operate a camera, and talk to it.

That’s why it’s crucial not to be too ambitious with the way you capture your video content. That means keep it simple, keep it brief, and keep the camera static.

You want a screen full of people to say a message at the same time? Great – how are you going to make sure they say it in sync?

You want a bunch of people singing the same song? Lovely – what key do you want them to sing it in?

I’m not saying don’t be creative – it’s about figuring out how to make the filming part super simple, so a professional like me can do the heavy lifting in the edit.

Here’s an example of a video I produced for Bury Council to thank their key workers. To minimise any risk, we asked the key workers to do the filming themselves. We gave out a very short, simple shopping list of the shots we needed, e.g. waving to camera, wide and close-up shots of someone doing their work. Some people did more than that, but the edit was planned in such a way that it would still have worked even if all we had was people waving.

2 – Set up a Dropbox file request

You need to get the original footage wherever possible, and to make this an easy process for people who might not be tech-savvy. Most smartphone cameras will film in HD quality, or close to it, but if you were to send an HD video over WhatsApp, for example, the quality becomes much lower. WhatsApp heavily compresses the file so that a) it will send quicker and b) it won’t obliterate your data plan.

Dropbox file requests are an underused tool that lets people upload a file without any hassle. It works on a phone or desktop computer, whether the user is logged into Dropbox or not. They just hit the link, select the file/s, and they’ll appear in your Dropbox. There’s no compression involved, so when you download the video it will be exactly the same quality as what was uploaded.

You can do this with a free account, the only significant restrictions being how much space you have overall, and an individual file limit of 2GB. That’s the same limit as the free version of WeTransfer, and won’t be an issue in the vast majority of cases. You might run into this problem if you’re capturing more than about 45 minutes of HD video.

Screenshot of Dropbox file request page, for gathering self-shot video footage
Dropbox file requests are the perfect balance between maintaining quality and keeping things easy.

3 – Direct remotely where possible

Ideally you need to be able to see, hear and speak to your contributor while they’re recording their video. You could simply record a Zoom call with them, but you won’t get the same quality as you would if they were to record locally on their phone. You also run the risk of the video/audio dropping out, depending on the strength of their Wi-Fi and your own.

The best solution, then, is for the contributor to film themselves on their phone, but to also have another device open with a Zoom link. I appreciate this goes against my first point of keeping it simple, but it’s all a balance between minimising friction and maximising quality. If you and your contributor can manage this method, then it’s worth it – trust me.

One of the bigger jobs I’ve worked on during lockdown is the Sandford St Martin Awards, an annual event which celebrates TV and radio programmes about religious and ethical topics. With this year’s edition inevitably being streamed rather than face to face, they enlisted me to record interviews with all their finalists. In the end I interviewed about 30 people, with the participants recording themselves on a phone while also connected with me via Zoom. There were several big advantages to this approach:

  • I could check the quality of the shot (e.g. the framing)
  • I could offer live tech support
  • I could make sure the content itself was right, and encourage the contributor to bring the level of energy we needed
  • There was no risk of having to ask them to re-record
I got to have some pretty amazing Zoom chats during the course of my work with the Sandford St Martin Awards. Case in point… *CLANG*

If you are able to direct, think about how you can get the best possible delivery from your contributor. Will they perform better if they have a script, if they ad lib based on key points, or if you ask them questions? The answer will vary for different people! Always stay positive so that they feel relaxed and confident. Ask them to imagine they’re talking to a room full of people, instead of to their phone in a box room. Listen carefully to what they’re saying, and think about whether there’s a more concise way to say it that will work better in the edit.

4 – Take the time to get it right

As I explained in this blog about how to film yourself with your phone, it’s crucial not to rush into these things. If you take the time to plan the end result before you start gathering content, you’ll know exactly what you need. If you take the time to explain the process properly to the people involved, you’re less likely to end up with wild inconsistencies in what you get back. And if you do have the luxury of directing the content, don’t start recording until everyone is comfortable and the shot is exactly how you want it to look. I’ve previously had to ask people to try and bunch of different rooms in their house before we found the best setting, and I didn’t regret it.

I hope that’s been useful. If you have any questions, or need any help gathering or editing self-shot video content, please send me an email or book in a 30-minute chat with me.

Categories
Video Video content tips

Live stream vs pre-recorded video content

In recent years, with the relentless rise of the internet and social video content, there’s a hot debate brewing between two different types of video content: live streaming vs pre-recorded video. But which approach is best for your organisation or brand? We sent Will Wray-Lang, our Junior Video Producer, to shed some light.

As we know, live streams are a new and exciting way for the marketer and consumer to interact and network on a much more ground level basis. Live streams are usually interpreted as cost effective, as they can be made by the marketer themselves, with no major expectation of high production values. Live streams are now used across social channels such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitch, Vimeo and Mixer.

However, just because this type of video content is seen as a relatively new buzz, this doesn’t automatically mean it is superior. Actually, far from it. So here at Studio 91 Media we wanted to remind the viewer of the powers that pre-recorded video content possesses. So as any thriving bout is about to take place, maybe the famous quote from American ring announcer Michael Buffer seems fitting. “Ladies and gentlemen, Let’s get ready to rumble!”

So let’s look at the differences between pre-recorded vs livestream?

The many perks of live streams

Firstly, live streaming is an incredible type of video content and although it hasn’t been around for long, it certainly has been effective. A marketer can really benefit from this format as it can be cost effective, engaging with the consumer and has shown to skyrocket their product if the live streams are appealing.

The end goal of any digital marketing tactic is to drive sales and increase conversions. Livestream marketing boosts sales intent amongst your target audience by 97% and solidifies brand association by 139%. Those are some serious benefits right off the bat. Video content strategically placed on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more, while 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video.

Business News Daily

Comedians, musicians, entrepreneurs, motivational speakers, podcasters and small business owners are just some examples of the variety of marketers who can use this format to really engage with the consumers.

One of the biggest and most important benefits of live streaming is the fact that content is consumed on your timetable and not the consumers.  This means that you will only be engaging with consumers that care about your business, your brand and that find the content you provide value to them. 

London Loves Business

This quote indicates the importance of how this type of video content can strengthen the engagement between the marketer and consumer.

The highest successful examples of marketers live streaming ranges from high profile Twitch users such as gamer Ninja, to thousands of three hour podcasts performed by The Joe Rogan Experience on YouTube. These new modes of content have been adored by fans around the world, due to the honesty in the edits as no content is cut out, everything that is filmed, goes on air.

Since the U.K has been impacted by the lockdown restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic, more marketers have taken to live streaming to carry on showcasing their products. A good example of a business spotlighting this transition would be the Bongo’s Bingo live music events, which have now been streamed via Twitch. The company now perform two live streams per week, which indicates this endeavour has hit the ground running.

The live streams performed by Bongo’s Bingo also point out that professional support and equipment can really help to make the videos look more polished and pleasing on the eye. As this company uses a mixture of pre-recorded content, a multi camera set up with quality audio and lighting, there is no doubt it adds depth to the narrative and atmosphere displayed on the screen. This may well have been a critical factor in the rate of success for the company’s live streams.

As above, it is good to draw attention to the importance of using professional support to help a marketer using this format. Bongo’s Bingo are a strong example of this support being implemented and generating more live stream content in the near future. It is a strong reminder for other marketers out there that professional support can boost, accelerate and expand a marketer’s product in ways they may struggle to do themselves.

Pre-recorded video can be more creative

While we know live streaming is an effective way to boost social content, it can only really offer so much on the screen for the viewer to see, which could become very bland and eventually very, very boring…this is definitely not the case for its competitor.

Pre-recorded video content goes through a longer process and forethought. This allows time for an edit to really push through the barriers of creativity and bring together a near perfect edit, without a hitch. This effect is a critical tool in the process of engagement with the consumer. Finding a balance between creativity and interacting is key. Live streams struggle to compete as there is no post-production.

Consumers want to have a positive and empowering feeling from what they see on the screen in order to return. Pre-recorded videos offer a creative spark with different cuts, effects, transitions, stock footage, colour transitions and a much more well rounded storyline. With varied contributors who can add to the focus of a subject, live streaming video content can’t overtake its rival. Here’s an example of what we’ve been able to achieve, even in a lockdown environment where the contributor has had to film himself on a phone:

The video above shows how creative editing can have an impact on pre-recorded content. Templates, transitions, effects, colour grading and cutaways puzzle together the overall objective of the film. Here’s a little game for you… in your mind, strip back the video so it looks like a live stream, and then add in the features and you will realise how the creative aspect in the edit has an impact.

Professionalism is key

As we discussed above, the creative edge of pre-recorded video content is paramount. This really helps boost the professionalism of the video when done so correctly, This can have a lasting impact on the marketer and consumer. 

Let’s imagine a scenario…Many musicians are now joining the live stream trend to perform a live set list in a bid to promote their portfolio. However, relying on the quality of audio, lighting and video from their computer or phone can prove to be a high risk gamble, which can have a damaging impact on the musician’s ability and overall performance. This may encourage the viewer to not return to watch the viewer again.

This is where the rival intervenes, as a multi camera and colourful lighting set up with much better audio quality such as a zoom microphone is a game changer for the musicians performance. This will also put the musician at ease as they only have to focus on their performance and not the video set up.

This is also what video production companies like ourselves love to be a part of. We want to be the service that highlights your talent and go behind the scenes to see the hard work that is often unnoticed. Also we get to witness your amazing performance so we benefit too!!!

Know when to use which type of content

Let’s stop for a minute and think about our daily routines, do you believe you have the time to sit down for an hour or possibly longer and watch a video of a marketer discussing their product or project? Let’s be honest, you rarely do and that’s a good thing!!!  Consumers can be left frustrated by the marketer for taking up too much of their time just to make a point they could have heard about within a few minutes. 

Pre-recorded video content is different, as it can offer both short and long form savvy content. This helps the consumer make a decision about the product or project. Consumers don’t like being strung along and using a live stream as a sales pitch can have a negative impact. 

Facebook Live audiences are not looking for a sales pitch. It’s a social medium, so they’re tuning in to find out more about you, not to get sold to.

Social Media Today

As a live stream is more intimate between the marketer and consumer, using fake imagery to try and sell a product or project idea is a dangerous manoeuvre and can lead to criticism and a loss of engagement.

We have to take a step back in today’s eccentric and eclectic society. Consumers want a close interaction with the marketer, however the way to get to that point is through quick short form content that pulls them in. This is why both types of content can thrive together, however only used when appropriate and one after the other.

Don’t just pick the cheapest option

Pre-recorded video content is the safest and most responsible choice in order to promote a marketer’s work. If we look at live streaming, we could describe it as a high risk gamble, as straight from the outset you will be judged by viewers on your ability to perform. Most people suffer in the early stages of live streaming and will naturally get better with time…but here’s a problem with this process…the earlier live streams may have already lost them consumers due to the poor performance of the marketer. This is where pre-recorded video content can save the day!!!

The internet is a continuous content driven battlefield and consumers rarely give the creator the benefit of the doubt and return for a second time. Performing an outstanding live stream is needed to promote the marketer further and all the responsibilities lie on them. They could say something inappropriate, be unable to repeat a point clearer as there are no second chances and if technical errors occur on between parties, it can subconsciously damage the credibility of the marketer.

These factors have to be taken very seriously when considering pre-recorded vs live streamed video content. Marketer’s may choose a livestream over pre-recorded video content due to funds and without enquiring to video production companies. This doesn’t have to be the case. Enquiries take less than 2 minutes and for a price, could really enhance your social profile and portfolio in a way live streams just can’t. 

Get in touch with us if you’ve got any questions about what options are available to you. Pre-recorded doesn’t have to mean long shoots and big budgets. After all, it’s 2020, we promise there won’t be 30 people on set and a van load of equipment in your front garden, we do things differently!!!

Live streaming can be dangerous

Live streaming allows the person behind the screen to be natural and show their human side, which is relatable to the audience and has a really beneficial impact, we’re not perfect as humans. We all get that. However, we need to be aware of the negative impacts of live streaming, as there certainly are dangers, which can be insidious.

Live streaming video content is a high risk, as anything could happen live on the screen. Ultimately, the viewers are putting their trust into the person on the other side. 

The main danger children face when viewing a live broadcast is that they could be watching something unsuitable, which could be upsetting. 

Children could be exposed to violence and sexual content without knowing, particularly if the broadcaster lies about what they are broadcasting in the description.

In extreme cases, there have been incidents of people livestreaming suicides on Facebook Live.

BT

This quote highlights the real dangers of live streaming video content, which can have detrimental impacts on marketers and viewers such as young children who may be exposed to this type of harmful content. 

Problems can arise very quickly

This should seriously be taken into consideration when deciding on which video content route to go down. A large percentage of viewers may be underage. Remember, anyone can access a live stream.

While you don’t have to worry about post-production, you do have to worry about technical errors occurring while your streaming live. The error doesn’t even need to happen on your end – if the viewer has a slow Internet connection (which is often the case in Australia), the video may often stop to buffer, or be of low quality. This can be frustrating for viewers, and result in them not watching the stream. There can also be glitches with the platform.

The Online Matter Solutions Engineers

A marketer needs to show their confidence and cajones when performing a live stream. It could be a very nerve racking experience. If a marketer does well and engages with the audience, it can be very beneficial towards their profile and can promote more video content. 

However, failure on a live stream can damage their confidence, networking and growth of business. There are also strong possibilities of poor camera quality, audio, bland lighting and technical errors. It is indeed a test of character and credibility and could leave the marketer very vulnerable. 

Remember, the internet is an ocean

A marketer must always remember their capabilities. Although they must remember the vast amount of competition and the constant outflow of social video content that is being produced daily.

As livestreams are becoming a bigger trend, more and more creators are joining in. This is causing a rampant cycle of live stream competition. Just take a look at the quote below…

There is a very little chance that the unsatisfied audience might come back to your live stream another time. The chances of them stumbling across the channel is close to zero. So, a huge amount of work can go on to become waste if anything goes wrong.

Freedocast

Studio 91 Media want you to take away the information from this blog and use it when thinking about your next piece of content. Live stream or pre-recorded video content? Think to yourself, am I really making the best and most responsible decision to benefit my product.

Please also remember during this difficult time, video production companies like ourselves here at Studio 91 Media are more passionate than ever to help deliver the best content we can.We want to spread positivity where we can!

We want marketers and consumers to look at the importance of video content and play it smart. Don’t just blindly follow the trend. Stand out with the content you deserve to show and get people remembering your name and your product. Use the live streams to further your cause but please don’t turn away from the positive powers of pre-recorded video content. 

If you are interested in our work, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you and how we could help make your product the best it can be. Thank you and stay safe.

Categories
Video Video content tips

Why is video content important?

Everyone talks about how video content is everything, but what exactly is so special about it, and why is it such an indispensable part of any content marketing strategy? We asked Will Wray-Lang, our Junior Video Producer, to look into it…

Here’s a quick game for you. When you next go online on your mobile or laptop, have a look for video content appearing on every website, profile, blog and app you come across. The likelihood is that more often than not you will come across some form of video content while surfing through. Maybe it’s a showreel or highlights film about the organisation, or it may be something irrelevant and comical which makes you warm towards the marketer. Video content is a great tool for marketers and consumers to build trust and engagement between the parties. The point I’m trying to make is, video content is important – and here is why.

Over 80% of all traffic will consist of video by 2021.

Cisco
A person filming video content with their phone
Photo credit: Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

The realisation is, consumers want to look at video content, as it is a fascinating tool that spurs return on investment (ROI) for marketers. Let’s look into this in a bit more detail – we should have made a video ?

By the way, if you need help getting started creating video content for your brand or organisation, read our guides on creating your own video content for social media, and how to devise an effective video content strategy.

Marketing in the Digital Age

Over 500 million [think about it – half a BILLION] people are watching videos on Facebook every day.

Forbes

Let’s take a minute to think about the times we live in. It’s the digital age and content online is being poured on every single day. Our age consists of a video content extravaganza and it keeps on growing. As mentioned by the quote in the introduction, video content is surging and the clients and consumers are also taking notice. 

Marketers are always looking for ways to improve their workflow and build stronger connections with their consumers. They will create websites and social media accounts to interact with their audience on a more personal level, as well as interacting with the businesses they would like to partner with. However if they release video content, it can be a game changer.

97% of marketers claim that videos help customers understand products.

HubSpot

This statement exemplifies the importance of video content for the marketer’s benefit. If the consumer understands the product, they are more likely to invest in it. Video content is simply the best way to give customers a good look at the product or service on offer.

Photo credit: REVOLT on Unsplash

The importance is the same for consumers, who are always looking for the best deals and want to build a connection with a marketer they trust. If you take a minute and think about the amount of websites and social media accounts that are scams, it really is no wonder why they are wary of who they do business with. It can be a dilemma. 

90% of consumers claim a video will help them make a purchasing decision.

Social Media Today

Think about that, 90%! Take note of this statistic and realise the power of video content. It is also important to remember we live in an age where people are so busy and have little time to sit down and read pages of text content, which could be explained in a 1 minute video instead.

 Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.

Forbes

A landslide of a comparison! Video content targets a varied audience compared to text, from those who may struggle with reading to those who need to see quick fast-paced content to make a decision. It’s a versatile, universal means of communication.

Building trust and providing clarity

The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video.

MistMedia

Between conversion and sales, trust plays a significant role between the two parties, short-term and long-term. If you can trust a company, you are far more likely to go back to them or refer another consumer to them. Video gives the consumer the opportunity to look at what’s on offer and build a realistic expectation of the product or service they will acquire.

Not only this, but videos can also explain the product or service in more depth for the consumer, in the way that text or images just can’t. An example of this could be a new product or a charity explaining why they need donations. Video with dynamic visuals and a well thought-out structure is essential to get your message across.

Why video appeals to mobile users and social sharers

Our research suggests that people who view videos on their phones are 1.4X as likely to watch ads as those who view videos on desktop computers or televisions. And smartphone viewers aren’t just more inclined to watch ads; they’re also more inclined to share them. Those who see ads or branded content on their smartphones are 1.8X as likely to share it as their desktop counterparts.

YouTube Insights
YouTube video content on an iPhone
Photo credit: Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Video really does appeal to mobile users on a deeper level than on a desktop and TV. Mobile users tend to feel more connected to their device and adopt a stronger sense of trust when watching video content; it is somehow a closer personal experience.

Social video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined.

Tubular Insights

Here is an alarming statistic that parades the power of video content. When done right, video has the potential to generate exponential organic engagement. Your product or service is likely to get much more attention if it has video content which can be shared on social media.

Video content helps your SEO

You’re 53 times more likely to show up on the first page on Google if you have a video embedded on your website.

Moovly

Clearly, Google loves videos embedded into websites! This statistic may be the breakthrough that some marketers and consumers need to bolster their product or service. It can have an unbelievable impact on your business if you make this one improvement to your website, and it may even spiral you into a totally different world of work.

Start making some video!

Whether you’re self-employed, working for a small business or a bigger company, you’re probably a creative sort of person, which means you’ve already got the skills you need to start publishing video content. This blog should have made you realise how important your role really is and the future indicates one thing….it’s only going to grow! Video content can be made in so many different ways from full studio setups to using nothing but a phone; the choices are infinitely varied.

If you’re someone who creates video content, realise the great position you are in and the possibilities that can come in the future. As you build your own websites, social channels and profiles, enhance your video content empire as you could be the ideal link between brands and consumers!

Overall, we are basically trying to say….video content is important. (Apologies if you missed that memo.)  It’s crucial to the success of any product or service. Really take the information on board and see what you can build with the help of video content. It could change your life!

Categories
Case study Charity Video Video content tips

Why phones are sometimes better than professional cameras

St Ann’s Hospice, one of Manchester’s biggest and best-loved charities, approached me recently with a problem. They had lots of footage shot on phones of their supporters at various fundraising events, but they were worried that the quality wasn’t good enough. There were wobbly shots, lots of background noise and varying degrees of picture quality. They wanted to know if I could stitch them together into one snappy video that would somehow look professional and on-brand.

Naturally, I was happy to help; editing clients’ footage is something I do on a regular basis. I love taking raw materials and crafting something polished. By hand-picking the best soundbites, creating bespoke branded graphics and adding some upbeat music, I was able to create a fun video that encourages people to get involved with the charity.

In fact, the phone videos weren’t just useable, they were better in some ways than professional footage would have been. There’s a level of authenticity from the self-shot style that we might not have got from a more traditional filming approach. It’s also a massively cost effective way of doing things compared with sending a videographer to several different events.

Categories
Business Video Video content tips

Facebook cover videos

Andy Lee is a coach, helping people and businesses become the best version of themselves. Social media is a big part of what he does, so he asked us to create a cover video for his Facebook page. The aim with these videos is pretty simple – to communicate a sense of brand, without overloading people with too much information. Think of it as fancy wallpaper. Potential clients visiting the page will see from the video that Andy is professional and business-like while also friendly and approachable. That’s all they need to know to persuade them to read on and see what he’s all about.