Develop A Strategy
Explaining evolution, Bill Nye says, “It’s not the things that lift the most weights in the gym. It’s the thing that fits in the best that led to this expression the survival of the fittest.”
Defined Bill Nye’s way, survival of the fittest means the survival of that which is best adapted to its environment. As it happens, that’s also a great business strategy.
In order to figure out where your organization fits, you have to first understand the competitive landscape. You have to look at your competitors, acknowledge what they do well — because you have to be at least as good as they are — and identify what they do poorly because that represents opportunity.
Then the key to everything is to articulate what it is you do differently and better than these competitors you just learned about. Like evolution, this is where your organization “fits” in the competitive landscape. We call this your value proposition. It is the reason people will want to do business with you, buy your products or join your organization. Make sure that this comes across in your video and people will beat a path to your door.
Tell YOUR story
Video, at its core, is a storytelling tool on steroids. It opens a limitless world of possibilities. It utilizes the most impactful and engaging forms of art, communication, and emotional connection. You’re able to communicate using the spoken word, the written word, or both. Music is incorporated to elevate and emit the perfect emotion and to create the perfect mood. Sound design helps paint a detailed picture of space and environment, bringing the viewer into the video. Graphic and animation arts are utilized to visualize and simplify even the most complex ideas. Special and visual effects can be deployed to allow even the most imaginative ideas to become real. People and imagery can captivate and connect in very intimate and very powerful ways. When you combine these tools the right way, you have something that can reach and connect with people like nothing else can.
The best videos, however, start and end with a story. Your story. That’s why step 1 is to develop your story and tell it well.
Imagine Something Special
A video is an incredible tool that’s both uniquely powerful, and engaging. It’s why people view 19 hours of video online each week on average. And why 93% of businesses gain new customers as a result of video content. It grabs attention and sticks with the viewer… if done correctly. With so many videos being viewed each day, you have to be truly unique in order to stand out and make an impact.
We like to raise the ceiling of imagination and think outside the box early in the process. It’s a good starting place because anything is possible within a video, so why not start by thinking big. Really BIG. Disney calls this the “blue sky” stage of development. It’s the imagination phase where we don’t worry about budget or logistical constraints, we just imagine the most unique and creative concepts we can. Once we dream up something really unique and really special, we can then begin to come back down to earth and figure out how to make it happen in a practical sense, and within the realities and the annoyances of the little things, like budgets and timeframes.
Gather all the Pieces
This is the phase where we get a bit more realistic. We take the “dream” and create a plan of what we can actually do within the limits of reality – while keeping as close to the “big idea” as we can. This is the blueprint stage.
We strategize and create scripts, storyboards, schedules, casting sheets, prop lists, location options, and more. Creating videos takes a lot of planning, and the more planning we do before we pull out cameras, the better and more predictable the end result will be.
Once we have the plan in place, we then go out to search and discover what assets we have, and what assets we’ll need to create to actually make this thing a reality. This goes for everything from people and gear we’ll need, to stock footage and sound design elements. We try to figure out what needs to be created from scratch, and what can be pulled from assets we already have. Using assets we already have can be a great way to save time and money. Anything we don’t have already get’s planned and created. Sometimes things get created on a computer, sometimes with cameras, either way, we’re creating magic.
This is the phase most people think of when they think of “video production”. It’s where we take cameras, gear, and people to film what’s needed to make your video. Different production types require different levels of production. This determines to a pretty great extent the cost of your video. That’s because shooting video can be as simple as a single camera and a producer filming someone in a documentary style, or as big and impressive as a Hollywood production with lights, crew, cameras, actors, props, and more – but don’t worry, all of this is planned out well in advance in the previous phases so there are no surprises.
Put the Pieces Together
This is where the real magic happens. This is when we pull all the work together from the other phases, and actually create something real, and something special. This… (dramatic pause) …is the post-production phase (more commonly known as editing).
Editing can often be the longest process because there’s so much you can do during editing. Editing truly determines the pace, the mood and tone, and the overall feel of the video. Should it start with a really strong intro? Or should it build slowly over time? How much time? Should we leave that line in or is it better without?
It’s often said that there are 3 versions of any video. The version you planned to make, the version you filmed, and the version you edit. For all the planning we do prior to editing, there are more decisions to be made here than any other. There’s something special, and something tangible about seeing your video for the first time. Assumptions can be destroyed, new opportunities are presented, and ideas that felt strong before can be shown to be weak. Editing is the proving ground. It’s in all reality where the video is made.
Polish and Deliver
Once we have a “locked cut”, meaning the story is perfected, all the elements needed to communicate a strong message are intact, and anything but the very best is abandoned, we move to the final stage. This in many ways is the most impactful and transformational stage.
It’s the final 10%, the sprinkles on the cake, the paint, and the trim of the house. It is where we go from simple, to glorious. If this was a sculpture, these would be the details like the sparkle in the eyes and the refining of hair – or, to use Bob Ross as an example, this is the moment where he takes the canvas from “eh”, to “oh wow”.
In a practical sense, this is when motion graphics are perfected, special effects are implemented, and music and sound design elements are sweetened with enhanced visuals to shape and mold the final product. We also add in creative trickery like color grading/timing, visual effects, and sound effects to really amp up the final result.
Once the finalized video is perfected and ready, we run the final renders to deliver your video in any format or aspect ratio you need for optimal delivery on a variety of platforms.