Testimonial-style videos have now become the bread and butter of corporate video messaging. DSLR cameras that shoot amazing HD video and easy to use edit systems have made filming and cutting your testimonial spots both inexpensive and efficient.
But, creating a compelling video that draws in your audience and keeps them watching takes more than a nifty camera and fancy editing suite- it takes a great story-telling, lots of prep and high production value. With this in mind, I’ve created my own list of the 5 Killer Apps for creating awesome testimonial videos.
I call them apps because they can be applied to any testimonial video you’re creating- plus who doesn’t love a killer app or five ?
1- Story is everything.
A good story told well is a pleasure to listen to or watch. If you’re shooting executives at your company, corporate partners or valued customers, it’s always a good idea to get to know who you’re interviewing. Even a quick phone call can help gauge what he or she wants to talk about, and give you an idea of their personality. With that knowledge you can begin to craft the story you need to tell.
2-Scout it out.
It’s a no brainer, but too often crews turn up at locations without even a cursory scout as to where they’ll be shooting. Try and scout out the location a week before hand with your camera guy. Figure out the prime locations to shoot and select a different location for each interviewee. This adds interest and much greater production value to the final spot.
3- Questions, questions.
Have your list of questions prepared before hand. This may seem obvious, but it’s critical that you know the answers you need before hand. In the words of a trail lawyer- never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. And, on the subject of questions, don’t just jump in with the big questions at the start, warm your subject up by getting them to talk about their company and their role first. Everyone loves talking about what they do- it gets them comfortable and relaxed.
4-Roll on the B-Roll.
You’ll need plenty of B-roll to cover the flubs, hesitations and curse words before your final spot feels like it’s the easy, flowing video you’d envisioned. Allow time for shooting the interviewees doing their jobs (holding a mock meeting, in their office on the phone, even walking down the hall). Your editor will lavish you with praise and you’ll have a quality product that you’ll be proud to showcase on the company website.
5- Story is everything- redux.
The story you had planned in your head now needs to come alive in the edit suite. This takes time. You might prefer to work with an editor to go through the footage, or spend a day or so going through it yourself before handing it over (rudimentary editing skills in Final Cut have helped me immensely in this process). Create a cut that best tells the story, then add in the polish and b-roll later.
And, how does all this look put together?
Check out the video Symantec recently produced for their Sealed App Program with strategic partner, Accellion. The spot was conceived and written in house. San Rafael based production company, GB Films, provided the production, directing and editing expertise.