Looking to produce high-quality video animations for your marketing needs? We sat down with one of our animation designers, Erin Pollocoff, to get her expert tips on obtaining high-quality video footage. Here’s what we learned:
Q: What are some of the top issues you’ve run into when it comes to creating content with video footage?
A: I think a major issue that I see time and time again is that the video footage is not the level of quality it could be. As an example, for one of my first big animations at image.works, the footage of a customer testimonial we received from the client was wobbly and shaky. That’s probably not something the client was thinking about when looking at the footage, but when you’re trying to use it in a commercial, you don’t want your customer shaking around like they’re caught in an earthquake. There are a few basic principles of collecting video that can prevent a lot of those issues.
We tend to work with a lot of client-sent customer testimonials. A particular interview comes to mind where the customer was happy with the service he received. It was an interview over Zoom, which is great as it lends more authenticity to the interview, seeing as this man agreed to sit down in his living room and be recorded. However, the interviewers were so excited by his responses that they would start cheering for him as he was finishing a sentence, which cut into the audio of his statement that we needed to use. It was awkward to dramatically cut him off right at the end of his sentence because of the cheering. It sounded strained and not organic. I suggest that in an interview, when your interviewee has made a good point, ask them to repeat it at the end so you have a clean cut of it to use.
Another issue I’ve run into is when some clients have wonderful footage taken by professional videographers and provide us with that; however, the videographer put in background music, which is great for other video purposes, but when we’re inserting it into a longer animation, it creates issues for using that footage with other sounds and music. Making sure you have access to the raw footage is important.
Finding the right videographer for your marketing purpose can be hard; check out these helpful resources:
Q: Are there any other tips you have for clients to get the most out of their video footage?
A: Make sure you get a ton of B-roll of people smiling or laughing or being happy – making appropriate reactions to whatever is going on. I have a video right now where I’m having a difficult time finding a freeze frame where the person speaking is smiling or looks otherwise pleasant and doesn’t look like they’re making a funny face. You can’t have enough extra footage. Even if you think you have enough, maybe let the camera run for another minute or two, because you never know what you have.
If your footage involves an interview, you can also send your interviewee the questions ahead of time, so they can think about the questions and form clear answers. You don’t want to be scripted, but if everyone’s prepared and being authentic to their experience, you’ll have some great testimonials.
Q: You mentioned clients shooting their own footage versus using a professional videographer. What are the pros and cons of one versus the other?
A: If you have a professional videographer, you should be able to come away with high-quality footage that is well lit and well framed without having to worry about wasting your time or an interviewee’s by setting up your own shoot if you don’t have the experience and equipment. Having that peace of mind can be priceless. You’ll have the qualities of a professional video without the headache, and videographers know what they’re doing. They’re the pros. The con of hiring a videographer is that it can be a big piece of your budget. I think it’s helpful to look at collecting quality footage that can be repurposed in several ways as an investment in your brand.
When shooting your own footage, you can save some money, but putting in the research to create a good setup is important to have a result that reflects well on your brand. Everyone can be some sort of filmmaker with a newer iPhone®, but you do need to put in the work to get what you want out of your shoot.
For best practices on shooting your own footage, check out these helpful resources:
Q: How can clients “up” their visual storytelling game or make their footage more appealing?
A: When it comes to social media, you need to get to the point quickly. No one wants to wait – they want to know why they’re watching the video within the first three seconds. Even when you’re doing longer explainer videos, you need to have a hook that grabs the audience quickly, whether that’s an exciting moving graphic or a fun video clip.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like clients to know before beginning the video footage process?
A: If you’re doing it yourself, make sure to have the highest quality camera you can, a tripod for it so there’s no movement and good lighting. That’s half the battle – just having a good setup, which creates a solid foundation for great footage.