Marketing: How to Plan a Video Shoot - dummies

Marketing: How to Plan a Video Shoot

By Alexander Hiam

Shooting good video takes more than competent lighting, sound, and camerawork. You need to do some advance planning to optimize the shoot. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you decide to shoot video yourself:

  • Write a simple, clear script and time it before you bother to shoot any video. Keep your script brief because the typical spot ad’s length is measured in seconds, not minutes (when you purchase ad time, you’ll see the options, which usually range from 15 or 20 seconds to a minute). See the later “Designing Ads for TV” section for advice on how to write an effective video script.

  • Make sure you have the right supplies. A fairly new hand-held digital video camera and a high-quality microphone are capable of producing effective video for your marketing, especially for use on the web where low-resolution video files are usually used, making camera quality less important.

    Additionally, plenty of software programs are available for editing video, although I recommend hiring an eager young videographer who already has the needed software and camera and can take direction from you but can do most of the technical work herself.

  • If you want actors, consider recruiting them locally and even asking people to volunteer. I hate to promote this idea, but if you can avoid paying union rates for your actors, you’re better off. Paying union rates and residuals is appropriate for major national campaigns but can be prohibitive for small marketers.

For information on video editing and production, check out the many For Dummies books that help you better understand what’s involved. Or hire a media production firm (for example MediaPro in San Francisco, California) that can do high-quality work at moderate rates.

With plenty of smaller production firms around, try interviewing some in your area and getting samples of their work and price quotes — you may find that by the time you master the writing, shooting, and editing of a video, you’d rather have saved the time for other business activities and let an expert do it for a few thousand dollars or less.

If you want an easy way to produce a video suitable for podcast or website use, go to Hipcast’s site, and click on the Create Video link. You can record video footage of you delivering a message into any digital video camera, send it to this website, and simply follow the instructions to turn your footage into a video podcast.

The result may not be stunningly high quality, but it’ll be done in a short while and cost almost nothing to make. Most marketers prefer something with higher production quality, but it’s nice to know you can do video production for cheap (or even free!) if you’re willing to use your computer to do it yourself.