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How to use video

by team Holly & Co

 

We’re now in the era of video. It’s no longer a nice to have, it really is a necessity, for all of us. Video is the most instantly engaging type of content – our attention stays on moving images five times longer than on static images. Evidence suggests 75% of consumers purchase a product after watching a video about it – it’s why QVC still does so well, people love to see how a product works and how it’s made. With video, concepts can be explained in simpler ways than by writing about them – or simply demonstrated, no words needed – and recalled by the viewer long after. Think bite-sized pieces of information that are easy to digest. 

How often should I post videos? It’s less about how often and more about how much mileage you’re going to get from each bit of footage. How useful is it to my customers? Can I use what I’ve filmed across social media, emails and your website? We’re here to give you some pointers and help make video something fun that you want to do rather than something that you feel you have to do.

We asked Holly & Co resident videographer (that’s someone who captures video), Charlie, to give us his top tips for getting started. And then we chatted to Xanthe Berkeley who is a lifestyle photographer and videographer with lots of experience working with brands on how they can integrate film into their content.

The main thing that both of them want you to know is that you don’t need lots of high-tech equipment, all you need is your phone. A DSLR camera is the next step up, which you can buy for a few hundred pounds if you’re keen to try out more. But with a DSLR, your files are stored on an SD card so you’ll need to transfer them on to a laptop to edit. Something to think about for those of you who are adept at filming, but for the rest of us, here’s how to get the best from your phone.

Let there be light

‘Your lighting is probably more important than the piece of kit you’re using,’ says Charlie, ‘If your lighting is bad, your video is going to be bad.’ Think about having light coming in from all angles rather than simply a front-facing light which is going to shine directly on your face. A ring light is perfect to cast an even amount of light around you and help minimise shadow. Read through reviews before you buy and think about things like whether the cable is long enough and whether it has adjustable dials for tone and strength. What about bulbs? ‘I would say cool white bulbs are better than warm white bulbs as things can end up looking too tanned and you can’t adjust it. You can easily warm up cool white when editing,’ says Charlie.

It’s all in the planning

Having a bit of a plan is really important so that you’re producing a video that hangs together well. There’s no point in appearing at the top of a search page thanks to your ranking going up if someone then goes to your site and immediately clicks away because the footage is not engaging. It doesn’t have to be complex, all you need to do is plan what shots you need so that you can systematically film them rather than filming reams of footage which you then have to watch all the way through to edit. The pros call it storyboarding and you can simply do some sketches or note down ideas on Post-Its to create your sequence of images. Also, don’t forget to make and save snippets of footage as you start and grow your business. It’s great to look back on, and you can make a short film showing how the company has changed and grown. Think of it as a visual diary of your journey.

‘Can you hear me?’

The only thing worse than bad light is bad sound. Your phone is probably going to be fine for recording speech, but if it’s windy, the mic will pick that up which will distort any dialogue. Not sure if conditions are a bit too breezy? Just record for a minute or so and then listen back to it. Always consider the noise levels in locations where you want to film and maybe do a recce beforehand. If you’re out and about and inspiration strikes, Charlie has a tip, ‘On a busy, noisy street, go towards a wall, a shop front for example, because it’s going to help deflect the sound coming from the road.’ And of course, make sure you’re not accidentally covering your mic with your finger! If you feel like the built-in mic on your phone is not cutting it, you can buy an attachable external mic which clips on and can help pick up dialogue more crisply.

Don’t forget to make and save snippets of footage as you start and grow your business. It’s great to look back on, and you can make a short film showing how the company has changed and grown. Think of it as a visual diary of your journey.

Finding your best side

When it comes to filming, it’s all about finding your best side. You’ll notice that actors and models tend to be photographed from the left or the right depending on what they consider is their best side. Do some test runs in natural light and have a play to figure out which side you prefer. If you’re filming face-on, it’s more flattering to position the camera slightly higher than your face.

Post-production

Post-production is just a fancy name for ‘editing’, much of which can be done on your phone. If you do want to edit or optimise footage there’s good software available that’s free – Windows Movie Maker, or Apple’s iMovie. To dip your toe into the world of professional desktop editing, you can try Premiere Pro by Adobe with a 30-day free trial. There are lots of mobile editing apps available too depending on your needs and skill level. As for music, Reels allows you to use background music that’s all royalty-free, but what about video that you’re hosting on YouTube or Vimeo? Epidemic Sounds is Charlie’s go-to site for background music and sound effects.

Xanthe’s advice is to ‘Just jump in and start creating.’ She says that there’s so much to learn by just doing. ‘Don’t worry about, ‘I don’t have the right camera, I don’t have the right equipment, or I don’t have an idea.’ We have these amazing tools in our back pocket, these phones and the video on there is extraordinary, particularly on the newer models’.

Here are her top tips:

Decide what orientation you’re going to shoot in

If it’s for Reels, it will be vertical, for YouTube and IGTV, horizontal. Try and stick to that orientation so you don’t chop and change and have footage that you can’t edit together easily.

Think about photography angles

Are you going for a wide angle? Shooting from overhead? Can you get down at a low level? Try different things, there’s no wrong or right way of doing things (other than capturing good light).

Don’t worry about what’s trending

You don’t need to dance or point at text! Do what feels right for you. If something feels a bit mundane or ordinary, how can you shoot it in an interesting way? Practise shots and angles to find something you like.

Don’t worry about, ‘I don’t have the right camera, I don’t have the right equipment, or I don’t have an idea.’ We have these amazing tools in our back pocket, these phones and the video on there is extraordinary, particularly on the newer models.

Try a time-lapse

Time-lapse videos are really popular and great if you aren’t keen on speaking to camera, because you can simply show your making process. You can also share things like packing up a product to send to a customer – people love knowing what they can expect when they buy something. Hyperlapse is an app from Instagram that you can easily use to do this.

Try a stop-motion

Stop-motion is a really easy way to do a fun animation, you can bring a product to life by making it move around the screen. Both Android and iPhone offer the Stop Motion Studio app for free. There’s also a free stop-motion lesson on Xanthe’s website.

Always think about how you can repurpose video

Anything that you use on Reels can be cut up into GIFS which is a great way of using film in emails. Whenever you’re planning to film, think about how you can section out footage for shorter and longer versions.

Adding video to your emails

And what about video in email? Adding the word ‘video’ in the subject line of your email can increase the open rate by 6%*. So why don’t you try including it in your emails and see if it creates an uplift in opens or clicks. Don’t forget too, that any video on your website should be hosted by an external site like YouTube or Vimeo so as not to slow download speeds and put people off your site.

Go on, give it a go!

The key is to make it fun – even if your daily routine feels familiar and unextraordinary to you, film can be a creative and engaging way to share the details of what you do with a wider audience.  Once you start experimenting with video, you’ll soon find that you naturally reach for the camera to document both the everyday and the milestones of your growing business.

*Reference

How to go live

As video is now becoming part of our business lives, we asked Sarah Jane Mee of Sky News for expert advice and her top tips on what it takes to feel comfortable in front of the camera.

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