How to go about videos

A lowdown on Video Creation – from the horse’s mouth

It was August 01, 1981. A historical moment. The first 24 hour music channel – MTV – was launched and our lives were going to change forever. Video creation had started long back and music was joining the bandwagon too. As ironic as it sounds, the first video ever played on the network was the 1979 super-hit track by The Buggles –

MTV First Song

The further irony was that the song’s lyrics referred to concerns about mixed attitudes towards 20th-century inventions and machines for the media arts. Little did they know that the advent of the 21st century will see new media arts created using computers! Video creation has since evolved into a powerful tool to drive messages across to people.

Back to the present – Social media, with its roots established in countries and communities around the world, has added another weapon to the arsenal of video makers – Video marketing. Think about it – what engages you more when you are on the move and have a dearth of time – text, images or video? The answer is almost unanimous in favour of video.

But not just any video, is it? Consumers are really choosy, subconsciously though, about the kind of videos that merit their time. Over the years, video makers realized this and stepped up to the challenge by creating a harmony between creativity and analytics. The videos delivered the intended message while keeping the user interested. Video creation is no longer about getting the angles, light and sound right – it is much more.

We spoke to professional video makers, Akshata Samant and Suyash Modi [the horses in question!] to understand the intricacies of video creation. We have reproduced the important elements from our marathon discussion below:

Video types

Today, brands need a video for every stage of their marketing plan. Here are some reasons why brands create videos:-

  • A new product/service launch
  • Explainer or educational purposes
  • Sales
  • Pre-launch curiosity development teasers
  • Testimonials
  • Social cause backed Goodwill creation
  • Campaign or event
  • Making the brand’s presence felt – Brand Promotion
  • Revamping the brand image

These can be produced either as LIVE-ACTION, ANIMATION or HYBRID videos. Live-action videos are a recording of still or moving objects/people. Animation videos, on the other hand, are created using computer graphics or modeling. Hybrid videos use live recording footage and combine them with motion graphics and/or animation.

Live-Action Videos

Live action videos have been prevalent long before computers existed. A scripted enactment of a brand story that conveys the intended message has always worked well with consumers. Video advertisements, testimonials, event coverage, etc. are some examples of a live-action video. Here is the first video advertisement from 1940 of Band-Aid, a name synonymous with adhesive bandages:

The advertisement covers all the benefits of Band-Aid while highlighting the skin-color of the product. The example of a bandage sticking to an egg when it is boiling and the strength of the adhesive in warm water which the hand is exposed to while washing utensils, makes a crisp statement. The ad clearly targets young mothers who have to deal with a lot of nicks and cuts in the kitchen or bruises on their children’s arms and legs while playing.

Live-action video making has since gone through a sea of change. There are three main categories:

  • Scripted
  • Unscripted
  • Hybrid

As the names suggest, scripted videos are made with an approved script. A script contains the storyline, dialogues and all information essential to shoot the video. All elements of the video are discussed and decided beforehand to get an optimal output on the day of the shoot. Unscripted videos, on the other hand, are ones where the video depends a lot on the reaction of the environment and/or people being shot. It is an uncontrolled environment and is edited suitably during the post-production phase to deliver the message desired. Hybrid videos are a mix of these two. While a lot of importance is pegged on the candidness of the video, some elements are controlled to ensure that the desired output is achieved.

Some handy tips for Live-Action Video Creation

If you are looking at hiring a video production expert for the job or have never worked on live-action videos before, then read on for some handy tips by our experts-

  • If you are looking for a particular style of video like fashion-centric location driven, then look for similar videos when you are scrolling through the portfolio of the Production Company / Freelancer. Usually, the director and creative visualizer take the credit for a memorable video. However, a good production professional can help create the magic. Check the treatment of the video and the overall production control.
  • Budget plays an important part in live-action video creation. Discuss the budget to the finest details so that no last minute costs put your budgets in jeopardy.
  • Timelines are critical for any task, more so for video production as it involves hiring actors, crew, renting equipment and finalizing the location. Mutually agree on timelines for every leg of the process.
  • Offer inputs and support during the pre-production phase and once satisfied give your nod for the shoot. If some elements are missed, then shooting again can cost twice as much.
  • Be present on the shoot day and actively participate in the creative process. This is the best way to ensure that the video maker is following the storyboard to the tee.
  • Review the first cut carefully and ask for edits within the scope of the approved work.

There would be some elements that get added to the list of requirements depending on the type of live-action video desired. The key lies in creating a unified vision of the output with the production expert.

Animation Videos

From Paleolithic cave paintings to Egyptian murals to Leonardo Da Vinci to the Flipbooks, animation dates back centuries before cameras were born. Recreating a motion or movement using the available tools has always intrigued humans and it fascinates people even today. Animations come in all shapes and sizes now. Here are some common types:-

Each of these types needs a different kind of approach and preparation. A production partner or a freelance animator will try and understand your expectations with respect to characters, color palette, and storyboard. It is absolutely important to finalize the script before the animator gets to work.

Some tips for Animation Video Creation

Here are a handful of things you can keep in mind before executing your animation video plans:

  • While the animator will contribute to the creative part of the process, you must provide a detailed understanding of-
    • Your brand’s personality
    • Demographics and psychographics of the target audience
    • The objective of the video
    • The platform intended for
    • The length of the video
    • Continuity of the style-guide (if any)
  • Work independently or with the animation expert to draft a script to the finest detail. This is the foundation of a good animation video.
  • Storyboard – With all these inputs, the animator will prepare a storyboard and present it to you. Ask questions and try to understand the relevance of all elements chosen by him in the storyboard. Don’t leave anything for later – this is the best time to assert your opinions.

It is important to remember that unlike live-action videos, animation requires hours of effort to bring a single line of script to life. It takes double the time and effort for an animator to make a one-line change especially after creating the entire video. Don’t wait for him to complete the entire video. Ask him to submit the first 10-15 seconds of the video for approval. View this sample critically and assess character movement, colors and flow of story before you give your nod for the complete video creation. Remember, prompt feedback is the key to an animation video that meets your expectations.

The final neighs

Of all the different kinds of content a brand creates, videos are the most challenging, time-consuming and impactful. Akshata and Suyash are pretty animated towards the end of our discussion [pun intended]. They unanimously list down some hygiene elements to keep in mind:

  • Video creation is an effervescent process. Intuition and creativity drive the entire process. Give the liberty of creation to the expert while you keep a check on the presentation of your brand in the video.
  • The video expert helps you create digital assets which can benefit you commercially and/or create a brand image. These assets communicate with the viewers and work as brand ambassadors of sorts. Brainstorm with the video maker to come up with memorable videos. Make them a part of the planning process.
  • If you are straying away from the initial brief or agreed scope of work – expect additional costs. An edit, no matter how small it seems to us, might require hours of work and additional resources for the production team. Consider these aspects well.

Creating a video is an enriching experience. Watching your brand and imagination take form is truly rewarding. Create a positive environment where ideas can flow seamlessly between you and the expert. Do that and sit back as you enjoy seeing your dreams turn into reality.

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