It’s been a busy month for me working with various clients on production. In my last article I wrote about UNYQ and the video campaign we executed using bundled video content. This post is a little bit different and focuses on a template used for enterprise software companies looking to tell customer case studies via video.
5 key topics covered in this article:
- Scoping and planning the final product
- Translating the vision into a storyboard
- Production and delivery
- Approval and Legal
- Publishing and distribution
Scoping and planning the final product
I always like to start with the end product and work myself back-to-front when designing video content. If I know what scenes need to be included in the final product, it makes a whole lot more simple to piece together the script and b-roll footage. For planning purposes decide on what channels you are looking to distribute video across, so you can get a sense to the average playtime duration needed across clips. Read my article about bundling video content from a single shoot to produce multiple videos optimized for each distribution channel.
Once the distribution plan is mapped out, think about the story. What do you want viewers to take away from the video? What call-to-action will the video have associated with it? The answers to these questions will translate into a storyboard that can be used as the master plan for your videos. Depending on your distribution use case, multiple storyboards will be needed for a single shoot. I always like to have a shot list that incorporates all storyboards on the day of production.
Translating the vision into a storyboard
In this phase, ideas come to life, but in a structured format that can be shared and mutually agreed upon between both marketing and creative. The storyboard is the blueprint for production, the master plan. This simple customer storyboard example was designed as a template for B2B companies needing to tell the story of their customers and related success. Final duration for this storyboard is 2 minutes max. Although its not posted here, there are two other storyboards, one for a short YouTube ad and another for an Instagram video.
Based on your storyboard you and the production team (if not operating alone) will need to scout out locations within your office or your customer’s office that fit the scenes outlined to be shot. In some cases it might be hard to shoot onsite at a customer location due to geographic reasons and security and sensitivity restrictions. Staging your own office in a lot of cases will be the best option. In the next section I will explain each scene in the storyboard in detail.
Production and delivery
Before you arrive on location its a good idea to coordinate time slots with your customer and the person who will be on camera. I like to block 2 hours onsite for customer videos. 15 minutes to set up, 45 minutes to film the interview portion, and 60 minutes for B-Roll collection. So tell your customer that you will be onsite for 2 hours but will only need an hour of their time.
Another thing to consider before arriving onsite is where the filming will actually take place. Are there restrictions on what can be filmed? Is there sensitive information on white boards that would cause the video not to get approved by legal? It’s better to get this worked out before the camera rolls.
Once you arrive on location, there are two main sets of content you need to capture: Interview and B-Roll. The Interview content is the story, audio and visual of person being interviewed is very important. As you can see in the storyboard (in the first frame) the subject is well positioned in front of the camera. B-Roll content is a whole different animal — think office shots, movements, people, action, but related to whats being said during the interview. This content is used to bring the Interview to life. In the second frame, we bring in B-Roll shots of the main subject working at his desk as we layer the audio of what he is saying behind it.
To complete the customer story, we need to follow a few different topics during the Interview phase:
- Intro/Responsibilities: The subject introduces themself — name title, what they are responsible for at their company.
- The Before: Before they started using your product or service, what was life like? Aimed at the problem solved.
- Life With: They implemented your product or service, how awesome is life now?!?
- The Results: The subject provides key metrics and stats tied to success with your product or service.
- Conclusion: Now that they have your product or service, life ahead is great — video is rounded off with an out-tro.
When it comes time to preview the video to the customer, you want to make sure the video has gone through at least a few rounds of edits and is polished to a point that your internal team feels is ready to publish. Present the preview video in an environment that is controlled and branded, not on YouTube. Wistia and Vimeo have great tools for this that provide password protection, which I highly recommend. In the next section I will talk about approval and legal.
Approval and legal
The process of getting your customer video approved should have started in the planning phase. The first stage of this is to ask the question of whether or not a video like this will get approved? Obviously the answer is yes because by now you have filmed your video.
Here are a few questions I typically ask the customer that will appear in the video early in the planning process to set up the project/campaign for success:
- Have you produced a video like this in the past? If so, what’s your internal process for getting video content approved?
- Who needs to be involved in the video approval process (you want to get an idea of who on their team will be handling this)?
- What general time-frame can be expected to get the video approved?
- What type of shots or content would NOT get approved?
Having those questions up front will help speed up your customer video creation process and set you up for success with your own team. Not doing this right can have strong ramifications and cost a lot of money. I have worked to produce detailed, high production videos, only to have them die on the vine waiting to get approved.
Publishing and distribution
Once the customer video is approved you can move on to the distribution phase, which depending on your goals for the campaign or project may differ greatly across the board. If you are planning to send an email that includes your new video — read our guide on Video and Email.