Video : is it all about creativity?

Making films and videos is a discipline where creativity is important, but not at the expense of technical & other skills and knowledge. When implementing video marketing for a business, as well as areas of grey (like creativity where anything is possible) there are places where there are right and wrong answers. I thought I'd have a pop at trying to identify some of the ingredients of a business video. You may want to hire for 'creativity' or on the basis of price, but there should be a lot more going on.


Invariably the purpose is to sell. If the viewer is not better informed and hence moved up the buying curve at the end of the video, then outcomes have been diminished. Alongside this, the video often needs to be promoted, an element of push to the marketing. To do this, it has to go out via the channels where the audience is. If there is no defined existing audience then one needs to be generated.


Unless you want to be radically different and opt for weird compositions more akin to a TV drama, there are basic rules around lighting, shot framing etc. Things like 'headroom' and 'looking room' are pretty fundamental. Having looked over the shoulder of a camera person from another agency recently, it appears that even some jobbing videographers are not up to scratch when it comes to putting the subject at the right place in the shot. I'm lucky enough to have been to film school to study this stuff, unlike those whose baseline is how they shoot their home movies.


The viewer need to be guided through a journey, and sometime that means rearranging the script and storyboard so that the story arc is impactful and logical. As a creative writer of some 25 years, and having helped many clients finesse their project, I've seen that sometimes even seasoned business owners are too close to their company to convey things in an ideal way.


Like the visual style, there are rules here. Something like the 'jump cut' is often used in film as a quirky or jarring device. It's not the kind of thing you'd deliberately put in your corporate video. A DIY editor though might do it by accident, damaging the final product. Or it might be inadvertently conceived during the way the video is planned or shot i.e. the editor is backed into a corner. Thinking about the technical edit, and not just the video's flow, throughout the project helps us to avoid problems later.


The business video is by definition an extension or showcase of your brand. We're very picky about using correct logo formats, colours and particularly fonts within the video. I sometimes feel a client thinks we're being demanding when asking for the right material, but I'd rather do that than make all the subtitles in Times New Roman when all company communications use Helvetica. The detail of the video should receive the same attention as a brochure would.


Using copyright music or images in a company video, without the appropriate permissions and payments, is simply not a risk worth taking. Ripping things off Google images, using clip art, or using a pop song soundtrack takes a path down the home movie route.


There's hardly ever any leeway here - it just need to be right. This extends beyond the video content itself, to how it's titled, described and keyworded online.


One of the big decisions for a business is where to host the video content, and mostly this comes down to a choice between the company website, YouTube or Vimeo. It's hardly ever the former, and sometimes it's elsewhere, but mostly it's the two big hitters. Our view is that one of the key considerations is control - it should be a platform or account where the business has control. Hosting on your video producer's YouTube channel is a big No. Wherever you have the video, don't leave access to it to just 1 person. Think succession planning, as you would elsewhere. It would be the same as your social media manager, with sole access and knowledge of your passwords, leaving for a gap year in the Himalayas.


Probably the difference between success and failure when it comes to video marketing. There are rights and wrongs, the worst of which is doing nothing. There's no guarantee that specialists in filming, editing, web design, social media or marketing will have the level of specific knowledge needed to give your video the launchpad it needs to reach an audience.