YouTube has become the most popular place for everything video, be it how-to videos, cats playing the piano or babies laughing, or to promote something or someone. What was earlier the sphere of budding musicians and filmmakers looking for easy and free ways to showcase their latest song or film, has today crossed over to every industry. YouTube is where company outing videos, annual day shows and such get mass distributed, giving a feel for a company, its "coolness" and employee friendliness. It also ties into a growing realization about the power of visuals. Showing and capturing information in a three dimensional manner is the best way to reach people. After all, most people are visual learners. It's not just fun and flash or directions for do-it-yourself projects. As an SME, you should think of leveraging the power of video to your advantage.
Making the most of the Medium
At a time when attention spans are limited and people tend to skim rather than read through content and are most interested in quick sound bites and nuggets of information, videos can make an impact and demonstrate a product or company in a quick manner. Video can be used to promote visual content about a company, products, services and solutions. Creating a video does not have to be just for the tech savvy organization nor does it have to be intimidating because of the cost. Yes, videos of the kind you'd want to use for a company or product promotion can't be shot on a mobile phone or tablet and a certain minimum standard in terms of production values is a must. Still, rather than focusing on the technology used, when you make it about the messaging, it becomes about how you're saying it. Fancy production values are not a requirement.
Asking the right Questions
Knowing where to start, and what the different required elements are, is the most important aspect to getting video right. Who is your intended audience, what is the purpose of the video, what length are you looking at (a 2 minute snappy product demo or a 5 minute facility tour or a 10 minute interview with a client showcasing your successful implementation, a 15 minute corporate video that gives a full flavor of your company and its offerings)?
Next up you need to think about what kinds of tools and technology you can get your hands on, and the costs involved. With these questions answered, ideation, storyboard, design and actual shooting choices need to be arrived at. You can go for a straight forward "here's what we do" video, or a more indirect, problem-solution approach. A talk direct, for instance, requires a single, fixed point camera, decent lighting (professional quality or spotlights not required), and of course, a strong spokesperson to get the message across.
Picking the Technique to match your Story
In order to create a compelling video within your budget, you need to understand the types of techniques you can employ, for example: stock images with voiceover, in-house production, animation, whiteboards, etc. For a video using stock images and stock footage, you will additionally use text and a voiceover and/or background score. If you choose to add product/location/factory/client place details, then actual filming is required in addition to the other elements, to capture these different locations and in-action shots. There is great power in a quote or interview with a customer who is using your product or solution and is willing to talk about it on film.
Whiteboard videos are gaining traction, with sites like Amazon Web Services creating multiple, simple, line drawing animation videos. If you choose to have someone create the line drawings, then the cost of the artist needs to be factored into the process. Generally, animation is expensive when custom hand drawn images or even computer generated ones are in play. However, there is a reasonably inexpensive way to create whiteboard animation videos with graphics, using a technology called Videoscribe. Videoscribe allows for fast, impactful and original whiteboard video creation. The software has thousands of royalty free images available to choose from and since it boasts of HD quality output, you can be secure in the knowledge that the video you create will look as good on a full screen projector as on your laptop.
The Power of Sound
Finally, a word about the power of music - never underestimate the emotions you can elicit with a strong soundtrack. The sounds in your video are as important as the images. If you choose to use a popular song, then remember to budget for buying the rights. Or you could hire a musician to create original music (costs here would depend on the number of instruments and of course, how experienced or well-known the musician is). You can wow your audience with the right music and images - no fancy techniques, high priced lighting or expensive production values required. A strong message and compelling audiovisuals can do the job just fine!