Regardless of your occupation, understanding why the use of video is becoming a powerful communication tool is crucial. While entertainment videos are still leading the ranks when it comes to the type of video being watched, instructional and informational videos are not far behind.
I’ve asked Matt Pierce, customer support manager at TechSmith Corp, to share his insights with us.
In fact, according to TechSmith’s Video Viewer Study, 78 percent of those surveyed in the United States said they watch informational videos and 77 percent watch instructional videos. These stats are close to entertainment videos (where 81 percent of respondents in the U.S. indicated they are watching). This further proves video is becoming more accepted as a means to inform.
With easy access to video creation tools, you don’t need to be a professional videographer to make an impactful video. Learning some best practices for video creation is the first step in harnessing that power for your communication initiatives.
Getting started: Preparation is key
- Learn about your audience and design your video with them in mind, taking into account their needs, concerns and questions.
- Write a script or at minimum, a solid outline before recording. This will ensure the language is concise and clear.
- Create a storyboard and plan exactly what you will record to ensure your framework makes sense, and you’re meeting your objectives.
- Get feedback from multiple people, and the more critical, the better. Even tear it apart yourself to refine and ultimately, deliver the best product.
Once you have a plan in place, recording the actual video is your next step. There are several pieces of advice you should have in mind when shooting that will optimize the quality of the video and the message you are trying to convey.
Shooting the video: The essentials for making it powerful
- To avoid clutter and distractions, conceal wires and lapel mics under clothes or tape in a hidden spot.
- Use lights to remove shadows and help with the quality of video.
- Record ample amount of b-roll (supplemental, alternative footage) to help with transitions between cuts.
- Keep clips short. A lot of time spent on the same clip can be dull, so mix it up!
- Use on-screen text sparingly. Watching, listening and reading at the same time is tough.
- Add captions for SEO and accessibility.
Next, you will need to edit your video – this is where simple and easy-to-use tools come into play, such as TechSmith’s Camtasia. Video editing tools can take you to new lengths: adding in sound effects, transitions, screen grabs and removing anything you don’t want heard will perfect your video.
Editing best practices: Finalize your masterpiece
- Keep it simple and focused. Doing too much will complicate the creation process and distract from getting your video finished.
- As you make cuts, consider transitions. They can help viewers get from one clip to the next. Use transitions sparingly though, and remember to use wacky transitions with purpose, not because they’re cool.
- Check your audio levels through both speakers and earphones and adjust accordingly.
- If you decide to use music, ensure it is appropriate for the tone of your video. Make sure your music isn’t overly loud as to where it would be hard to understand what is being said.
- At the end of the video, include a specific call to action. Ask yourself, what do you want your viewers to do at the end of the video?
As informational and instructional videos continue to be a way of learning for most, the investment in a tool to help educate is something to consider. You will not only catch and keep the attention of your viewers, but save time and resources.