Video marketing: 4 tips to avoid trouble

In Brief: In the first blog entry of this series about Marketing Videos we talked about: Why a movie? Plus, thoughts about our target audience, our goal, and what is the best content.
The second part of our series covers more production tricks and examples.

How can you avoid common problems in video shoots and preparing for them?

We can provide details, because our own past experiences were a process of trail and error. To reflect on our projects allows us to optimise our working process in the future. Learning never ends and we are motivated.

This time we came up with a variety of answers to these five questions (click and read the answer immediately):

  1. 1. Which equipment do we need?
  2. 2. Who is involved and who is responsible for what?
  3. 3. What are the legalities?
  4. 4. What is the best location?
  5. 5. What is your opinion?

For more information read the following articles:

How to Prepare Your Marketing Video?

Marketing video: 4 tips for creating relevant content
Video marketing: 4 tips to avoid trouble (you are here)
Video shoot: 4 secrets experts won’t share (coming soon)

Read this blog entry in German here.

To stay tuned and get the latest updates on successful video marketing, sign up for our newsletter here.

1. Which equipment do we need?

The technology

Everyone would probably list the same item first: a camera. But keep in mind, lighting and sound are equally important. These two components are almost always underestimated, especially by beginners.

I would say, if you provide for professional lighting and sound you don’t even need to have a big professional movie camera. A good video nowadays can easily be shot with your iPhone. The image quality is more than sufficient. That is, under certain circumstances (outdoor shooting on a bright and sunny day).

However, without a high-quality microphone, your marketing video will seem amateurish no matter how good the image quality is. Synchronisation in a recording studio is possible but requires a lot more technical know-how and an experienced voice behind the mic.

If your shoot takes place indoors, you can almost never expect the natural light (from the windows) or the installed lighting in the room (usually only from above – another disadvantage) to be enough.

If you want to guarantee a professional-looking outcome, consider good-quality spotlights a must for every shoot.

And, to be honest, we from DrKPI do not make the marketing videos with our iPhones. We use camera-like camcorders like the P2HD solutions offered by Panasonic. Of course, you need a lot of accessories as well: memory cards and devices for transfer data compatibility, the tripod, and so on…

Without sufficient know-how in camera technology, you might be lost. And the same goes for the cutting. The Windows Movie Maker cannot compete with a professional video editing software like Final Cut Pro X. But this program calls for an expert, too.

In short, everything calls for one thing – and that is professionalism.

Tip

A highly authentic marketing video can be shot with an iPhone and some headlights.
Start collecting short videos (pictures only) from products that are made, hands that work on something, a walk through your company (for stabilization consider using an Osmo that fits your Smartphone), etc.
Film everything that comes to your mind.
Then contact an expert and discuss the value of your material and what can be done with your clips.

More equipment needed

If you work with a production team, you can leave these questions to the experts. That gives you time to think about other things you need, such as:

  • props,
  • clothes (also known as costumes), and
  • catering.

For LomMedical (more information here), we made a video about how they integrated the smart retractable syringe for single use.

By the way, this is one of our first videos. It illustrates, what can happen, if you do not have the opportunity to test the location prior to the actual shoot. Therefore, we had no time to conduct light and sound tests.

It turned out that the long and narrow conference room was poorly lit, with windows at only one end. Even with the three spotlights on (at the best positions we could manage) the lighting for this project was not the best…

What clothes should our speaker or actors wear? The director and camera operator (responsible for visuals) can help you. Start with thinking about the Corporate Design first. This should form part of any marketing video.

And then, if your project will take a lot of time, you should provide for your team. Prepare some food and drinks. Or, at least, inform them that there will be no lunch at the set, but there is a restaurant and a supermarket nearby.

Tip

Show your process on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms!
Take pictures from behind the scenes (Smartphones are perfect for a cool little making-of).
But keep in mind, everything that’s in the room – cups, plates, bottles, food, notebooks, pens – will become props. It’s worth thinking about how these things look on moving (and unmoving) digital film, and how they will be perceived.

2. Who is involved and who is responsible for what?

Participants can be divided into two groups:

  1. those working in front of the camera, and
  2. those working behind the camera.

Choose the face on screen: should it be an influencer, CEO or an employee “like you and me”? A poor choice can ruin the whole project.

All persons involved are present at the shoot (left to right): Peter Johann (CEO, Lumendi Ltd.); Corina Rieflin (Investor Relations, Lumendi Ltd.); Patrizia Sinistra (camera operator and editor, DrKPI); Urs E. Gattiker (producer and director, DrKPI).

The next question is, who is responsible for what? Expertise is needed in every area. That is why it’s almost impossible to make a movie on your own.

For instance, the head of a company can instruct a manager to take on the organisational tasks of a producer, but they will not necessarily have the technical know-how to operate the camera and lights, or the eye to arrange a scene.

It would be frustrating to realise that the material just does not look good once you’re in the editing room. Or an editor from a contracted company tells you, there’s nothing to be done with material this bad.

And you will still have the production costs to deal with.

It’s helpful to include everyone from the beginning:

  • actors, speakers, extras – everyone who is expected to be in front of the camera,
  • producer,
  • director,
  • camera operator,
  • lighting and sound experts,
  • someone responsible for legal issues
  • financial officer,
  • editor, and
  • the marketing people.

There has to be an active exchange of important information and the communication must be totally reliable to avoid misunderstandings.

Tip

Include everyone from the beginning before taking any step in any direction. (Sometimes you will not need everyone, but it is good to have someone for everything – just in case.)

3. What are the legalities?

Do we need consents, contracts, insurance?

For everyone’s sake, any agreements should be done in writing. Especially when it comes to personal rights there should be signed consent forms. Prepare the paperwork with your legal expert and collect the signatures.

That goes not only for your actors or anyone else on camera, but also for anyone in the background, who may not want to be filmed. This is of particular importance if your shoot takes place outdoors. For shooting in public, you almost always need to obtain a permit. For privately-owned places, you might need permission to access the facilities.

Ensure that you have insurance to cover the work you’re doing – just in case. It would be terrible if you suddenly could not publish your marketing video because you unwittingly infringed on someone’s personal rights…

Tip

Start the paperwork by making a list of every consent you will probably need.

4. What is the best location

You have an idea that suits your marketing video? A location with the perfect atmosphere or one that is able to reflect your company’s philosophy? Be sure to do light and sound tests before the shoot.

If necessary, you may need to increase your equipment, e.g. more spotlights, a wind-attenuating cover for the microphone, etc. Sometimes you need to reconsider your choice in order to prevent budget overruns.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan ahead. There should be an alternative date for the shoot. The publication can be delayed by weeks or months if you start organising a new shoot date too late.

Tip

Be specific. The location has to be perfect.

5. What is your opinion?

Have these tips helped you so far? Feel free to leave a comment below. Or proceed with the third part of this series (coming soon) to get more answers to important questions regarding the preparation of your successful marketing video.

During production we often experience sudden insights we want to share with you as our secret tips in filmmaking. We hope to support you in optimising your own marketing video production.

  • Do you have experience in video marketing? What would you improve next time?
  • What interesting insights do you want to share? Tell us about your “Eureka!” moment.
  • Are you planning to make a little movie for your company, for an event or produce a short video for some of your blog entries? Tell us about it in the comments. We answer as quickly as possible.

4 thoughts on “Video marketing: 4 tips to avoid trouble

  • 1. October 2018 at 12:14
    Permalink

    Thank you very much for the very interesting blog post, which I read with lots of interest.

    One thing that spontaneously comes to my mind is the subject of permission and filming in public spaces (and what many people don’t know about it):

    — For commercial photography and filming, you need to apply for a permit before you start filming on public grounds (e.g., streets, squares, city parks, riverside promenades and city forests).

    How this works in Zurich you can read about here:

    ===> https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/pd/de/index/stadtpolizei_zuerich/approvals_information/trade/film_foto.html.

    The Swiss Broadcaster has a case where it experienced what can happen when you do not get the license before starting to tape your video on public grounds. Some years ago it wanted to sHow important this is for assuring things go right when you are on location Some years ago, it wanted to shoot a video with Viktor Giacobbo (a comedian) without having gotten the permission first:

    https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/zuerich/stadt/Giacobbo-von-Polizei-verzeigt-weil-das-Fernsehen-patzte/story/24527704

    The police was not amused 🙂 as the story (see above URL) indicates.

    Reply
    • 1. October 2018 at 15:35
      Permalink

      Dear Miss Svec Goetschi,

      thank you for your comment. It is indeed an interesting example of what can happen during a production.

      Most of the time it is better to spend more on a private location for the shooting than filming on public grounds (that is if we don’t have to focus on a specific monument or city). With extras one can arrange the shooting location as if it is a public location.

      Once when we were filming in Zurich, we were asked to delete our takes. People were afraid to be seen in the background. Of course, we had a permit and at that time we had just arranged the camera equipment with the camera still turned off. So before anyone gets angry, try to find a better shooting location. It is advisable to spend more time and money on this in order to avoid such problems.

      Greetings,
      Patrizia Sinistra

      Reply
  • 1. October 2018 at 20:09
    Permalink

    Dear Patrizia

    Thank you so much for this interesting and informative article. I worked on a marketing video once so far and we had lots of work with

    – the script,
    – finding actors,
    – locations,
    – sounds and
    – legal challenges.

    So I really enjoyed reading about the topics which are important while creating a marketing video. In fact your article really helps to understand. What I like with marketing videos is that you have a lot of work but in the end you do have a great product, which you can be really proud of.

    It would be great to try to create a video of our next MC Lago Event. https://mclago.com/gesundheitsversorgung-muss-besser-werden-1/

    Best regards
    Lea

    Reply
    • 2. October 2018 at 13:52
      Permalink

      Dear Lea

      Thank you for your comment.

      Our DrKPI camera team usually has a lot of fun too while making a marketing video. Of course, one has to work hard to get the results needed. The work flow starts when we prepared everything in order to prevent common mistakes.

      I’m afraid this time there will be no video of the #MCLago Event, because I will be on vacation. Those who are interested in marketing for children’s rare diseases have to attend the event for themselves to get the important information on this sensible issue. You can sign up here for the event and get to know our Marketing Club in person.

      Best Regards,
      Patrizia

      Reply

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