According to a new LinkedIn study, two-thirds of B2B marketers regard video as a priority format. The vast majority of respondents are already generating more leads, and of a higher quality, thanks to existing B2B videos.
However, generating new video content is seen as an expensive and time intensive task. But, where explainer videos are concerned, it doesn’t have to be, thanks to Moovly’s easy-to-use, online ‘make your own explainer video’ tool.
The process is simple. First, you pick a video template or opt to start from scratch. Then, choose from a huge range of free images, video clips and audio, easily dragging and dropping each into your video. Finally, once complete, simply export and share your video.
The length and complexity of your video will decide how long the process takes, but we’ve found a good product video will take only a few hours – not bad compared with the usual time shooting and editing a video takes!
Once exported, you can use your video on social media, on your website, in e-newsletters, in new business pitches, for recruitment, and in any other way you see fit.
Check out Moovly here and start creating great explainer videos today.
Just when you thought that all the Alexa hype had calmed down, someone’s gone and decided to get her involved in some silly but oddly satisfying stunt.
Rap artist duo Too Many T’s have created the world’s first track featuring Alexa on the vocals – all you need to do is set your Alexa to US English and play the video next to your Alexa and she’ll join in!
And you all thought the Thriller music video was revolutionary.
Often you catch yourself watching short, inane videos for quite a while before you’re hit with the realisation that you’ve wasted boat loads of time and got nothing out of it. Well, this video is definitely not one of those – it’s worth your 2 minutes 12 seconds – trust me.
Creator Oliver KMIA has created something really quite beautiful out of cliché tourist Instagram travel pictures. Beautifully put together, you truly take a trip around the world in 132 seconds. It does make you rethink those Instagram posts you believe are unique.
Instravel – A Photogenic Mass Tourism Experience from Oliver KMIA on Vimeo.
In an age where whole TV series’ are available to watch instantly and our smartphones constantly update us with news, it’s no wonder that 37% of Brits feel that they don’t get enough sleep. We’ve all taken our laptop to bed in the hope of watching a movie to distract us from the outside world and relax our mind before going to sleep. Yet all this does is keep us awake, leaving us groggy and tired the following morning.
Now, instead of staying up all night on Netflix, you can sleep all night with Napflix.
Napflix is a video streaming service aimed at helping people nod off by boring them to sleep. Created by two Spaniards, the free “siesta video platform” was launched due to their belief in the importance of having fulfilling naps.
The site has a catalogue of mind numbingly boring videos that include The Wonderful World of Tupperware, a documentary on Quantum physics and a 2-hour video of a burning fire place. They have even started to produce their own content, such as “Subway, from Canal St to Coney Island”.
So, stop panicking when counting sheep doesn’t work and fall asleep to some of the internet’s dullest videos.
With the amount of online content and social media in our everyday lifestyle, it’s no surprise that digital PR campaigns are now an important staple in modern PR and advertising.
Give as you Live wanted a stronger social presence and to reach a younger audience that likes to shop, and Firefly advised collaborating with a fashion YouTube vlogger. While traditional media is still valuable, YouTuber popularity is growing fast, and would provide access to a younger audience as well as an authentic assessment of Give as you Live and how they see it in their everyday lives.
Firefly created a campaign plan, including researching the right talent, reaching out and securing a YouTuber within the allocated budget, and working with the vlogger to create a video that maintained their style while weaving in Give as you Live in a way that would resonate with their viewers.
Following the structure of her classic videos, Amy Valentine produced a haul video about products she purchased through Give as you Live. Viewed more than 5,600 times in one week, Amy’s video helped Give as you Live reach self proclaimed shop-a-holics, drove traffic and sign-ups on its website, and increased its social profile thanks to Amy’s mentions.
This is the second in a two part series, where I provide tips on how to get the most out of a PR video interview. My background is teaching video skills to would-be journalists and bloggers in Vietnam. What I learnt there translates beautifully to the UK – after all, the art of communication is not limited by geography or language.
Last week I looked at interviewing skills, but this week is all about the filming component – an aspect that can make or break the success of your video interviews.
The ability to interview and film like a journalist (or as close as you can) is becoming an increasingly important part of our business.
While interviewing is not too hard of a skill to pick up for PRs, learning the ins and outs of a video camera can be a little more painstaking. Here’s how we prepare for and complete our filming on the day:
Before you go to do any kind of video interview, you need to make sure all your equipment is ready. Have you charged all the batteries? Do you have spare batteries? Do you have SD cards with plentiful space with you? Do you have lighting capabilities? Do you have several places to back up your files once you’ve finished filming?
These are must-have elements of the preparation process. If you answer “no” to any of these, you’re planning for disaster. There is nothing more embarrassing than realising you’ve forgotten something or haven’t got enough battery in front of your talent. Create an inventory checklist of what you need to do, and go through it one to two days before your scheduled interview.
Ideally you’ll be filming in a location that gives context to your interview and your talent will be dressed accordingly – for example, a doctor dressed in scrubs with a background that looks like a hospital or GP’s office.
This can be challenging if your client can’t elaborate on what your location will look like in advance or if you know you’ll be in a dull setting, but do your best to dress the background appropriately and bring props if necessary.
Regardless, ensure there’s nothing distracting happening in the background of your picture, such as extra people, signs with text, and bright objects (or inappropriate content!). Likewise, avoid filming in front of things that may look like they’re protruding from the talent’s head or body, such as trees or poles.
Set up an interview in a (right-angle) triangle. Your interviewee should be positioned in a straight line from the camera lens, while your interviewer stands slightly to the side of the camera. This will ensure your talent is looking at a slight diagonal to your interviewer without looking too front-on or side-on.
We like to remind the talent to maintain eye contact with the interviewer for the duration of the interview too, so that they don’t get nervous and look down the middle of the camera. If you’re the interviewer, also do your best to be at the same eye level as the talent, so the talent doesn’t appear to be looking up or down at you in the footage.
Use a tripod wherever possible and ensure it is set at a height at the eye level of the talent. There is nothing worse than shaky footage!
If you’re stuck without one, try to find a solid wall or post to lean against and clamp your elbows together to help reduce the shakes while you film.
If there’s nothing to lean on, crouch in on yourself as much as possible. Keep your elbows locked, bend your knees, and rock in gentle, small, and very slow side to side motions as you film so any shakes are controlled. It sounds ridiculous, but it works!
Always monitor the audio as you film with a pair of headphones to ensure it’s clear throughout. Ideally your talent should be speaking at -6dB (not over -3dB) – you will usually be able to check this level is being met on the visual display – at their usual talking volume to get the best results.
Keep your microphone as close as possible to the talent without obstructing the visual, and take care to ensure the talent removes anything that may jewellery ‘jingle’ in the microphone, such as necklaces, bracelets, or watches.
Have them say a few lines before you start filming to ensure everything sounds correct and that they’re sounding clear. We often ask clients to introduce themselves to the camera with their name and title – this comes in handy in editing too if you need to confirm surnames or positions for title slides.
A well-framed shot is essential for video interviews. Generally for an interview, a medium-to-close shot of the subject is good, but ensure you aren’t cutting them off at the elbows or the tops of their shoulders.
Another important part of framing is the looking space. If your interviewee is looking to the left at your interviewer, ensure there’s background showing to their left of the frame and vice versa. You don’t want your talent to look like they’re too centred or as though they’re staring into the edge of the shot. Similarly, ensure you leave a small amount of space above their head and to the side of their body that’s not on the looking space side.
This is where things get a bit more technical. The best way to ensure a perfectly lit video interview is to use natural light wherever possible. If you’re outdoors, stick to the shade (but ensure no harsh shadows are falling across the talent); if you’re inside try to make sure the talent is near a window and the light falls on their face and shoulders (there’ll be a shadow if they have their back to it). If the light is falling strongly to one side of their face, you may need to use a prop light to balance the unlit side and ensure they aren’t too shadowed.
Before filming, check if your camera has a button or dial called ‘zebra’. This will bring up moving, zebra-stripe like lines on the footage to show how exposed your footage is. Turn the zebra stripes to their lowest point (the shot may go dark), and slowly bring them back up until the stripes are just falling onto the talent’s face. Your shot should now be well exposed.
If there’s no natural light or you can’t bring in your own lighting, look for a setting on your camera titled ‘gain’. Set this to low, or L, and see how the shot looks. Ideally you will be able to keep the setting on low, but you can increase it to medium, or M, if it’s too dark. However, the more you increase your gain the grainier your footage will get – this is particularly bad if you’re going to display your video on a large screen. The lower the better!
Having gone through these, you should be safe to film. But there’s a few more things to ensure you’ve done before you wrap it up. If you’re going to be editing your interview to include the questions being spoken from the interviewer, set up your camera after the interview so it faces the interviewer and film them re-asking the questions. You’ll also need to film the interviewer’s reaction-shots of them nodding, laughing and so on. You never know what you’ll need in editing!
Similarly, if it’s a long interview you may like to include other footage of the interviewee doing something that relates to their answers – called overlay – to keep the visuals interesting. The more footage and angles you can get, the easier the editing process will be.
At the end of the process, it’s better to end up with too much footage than too little, and the more you can get right before the editing process starts the easier it will be to create polished video interviews. Don’t rely on post-production – always fix everything you can while filming. Good luck!
Go back to Part One: Interviewing.
In the first of a two part series, I’ll be providing tips about how to get the most out of a PR video interview. My background is teaching video skills to would-be journalists and bloggers in Vietnam. What I learnt there translates beautifully to the UK – after all, the art of communication is not limited by geography or language.
PR agencies can do more than just write a press release or blog post – video is really coming to the fore, both for B2B and B2C communications.
I’m not talking here about full-blown, high budget video production. Rather, the video work we do for our clients is designed to support their marketing activities – for example, video interviews with executives on topical issues, vox pops to support campaigns, or shots from an event our client is attending.
Even before you start to shoot, it’s important to have a sound knowledge of interview techniques. Here is how we approach video interviews for our clients:
Draft out a list of questions, but keep it flexible. To get the best out of spokespeople – your ‘talent’ – they must stay relaxed and be able to express themselves in their own words. Also, depending on the responses, it’s sometimes necessary to deviate from the plan and go down a different line of questioning in order to get the best answers.
Our approach is to start a dialogue with the interviewee before the camera starts rolling so that they relax, whilst ensuring their attention stays on us, not the camera lens! There are times where a piece to camera is appropriate, but it’s a harder skill to master and most of the time focusing on the interviewer is easier for the talent.
We also encourage the answers to be in full sentences – for example, if we ask “what’s your opinion about PR evaluation?” They say: “My opinion on PR evaluation is that most agencies don’t understand it,” not “Most agencies don’t understand it.” This means that you can better pull out sound bites in the editing process.
It sounds obvious, but really listening to answers can make or break video interviews. We never want to end up in the editing process realising that the interviewee could have expanded on an important topic or could have explained something complex more thoroughly.
Similarly, we ensure that the interviewee speaks more broadly than what we ask – they may add something we’ve not considered. At its simplest, we end the interview by asking “is there anything else you would like to say?”
As a public relations consultant it’s your job to ensure the video stays on message, so if you’re interviewing your own client or colleague, you’ve got a role to play here. Make sure you have your PR messaging sheet on hand and that you’re familiar with it.
Listen out for repetition or verbal tics. Often an interviewee will latch on to a phrase or term, that is repeated. It’s not noticeable in common communication, but on video it sticks out like a sore thumb.
As an interviewer and director, your role is to ensure that your talent looks and sounds as good as possible on screen. Most interviewees are too busy thinking about their answers to consider how it comes across.
Encourage your talent to ‘dial up’ their energy levels. Show them what you mean – often it’s important to make the case that no matter how ‘silly’ it feels being extra energetic in the moment, it won’t look over-the-top on camera.
Get them to talk about people they respect most on TV. Chances are it’s because of their passion for the subject. Another technique is to get them to talk about something they have a strong interest in, then dive back into the interview and see the enthusiasm levels maintained.
We sometimes find ourselves with an interviewee who is already particularly passionate about a topic. This is fantastic for the energy but it can also mean you get a lot of waffling. In these cases we listen to the answer in the first take, suggest the key points and retake until we have something succinct and punchy. Likewise, if the interviewee sniffs, coughs, sneezes, or another loud noise interrupts their answer, we simply redo the question. The result: neat, clear answers that make the editing process much easier.
The most important thing we strive for in the process of video interviews is getting it right first time. Messaging, particularly for client marketing material, needs to be on point and any mistakes in wording can’t be fixed in post-production editing. That said, while good interview technique is essential in producing a client-worthy result, the technical ability to frame a shot and film it properly is just as essential.
Stay tuned for our next blog post in this series – Part Two: Filming.
“The future of communications is integrated, the future of content is visual, the size of content is ‘snackable’ and the future will come to you via a technology device”…..
….so said the 25 interviewees we spoke to on the subject of PR in the past, the present and the future. We met with communications directors, entrepreneurs, publishers, journalists and PR practitioners – all of whom we videoed. We published the videos in our #Firefly25 interview series, which can be viewed on our blog.
Acknowledging that many of our readers are time poor, we’ve put together three short summary videos, to share some of the highlights of the series.
First up we have a summary of how different PR is today compared to the past. Back then we were faced with bulging post bags – now it’s bloated email accounts. Will we one day be overwhelmed by the constant barrage of social media?
In our second summary we have present PR trends on the wane. Low tech PR people have no future; we must find our inner geek and “harness the power”. What’s more, PR in isolation cannot exist – we must integrate and accept the end of “release blasting”.
And finally, when it comes to future trends we see that science has to meet art, with PRs becoming data crunchers. We want less volume, more precision, with better targeting and more ‘snackable’, easily digestible content.
In the fourth interview from our #firefly25 anniversary video series, Claire Walker speaks with James Uffindell, founder and CEO of Bright Network about his first PR experience when founding a business at the age of 20, how things have changed since then and whether journalists are as influential as they used to be.
James Uffindell on the past, the present and the future of PR from FireflyCommsPR on Vimeo.
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