Using video on your website is a powerful way to engage your visitors. Here’s how planning and shooting the video for my website went.
At long last I’ve had a video shot for tempertemper.net!
I’ve mentioned the Shoemaker’s children thing before. I have to make a concerted effort to spend time on my own website, and one of the things that has been on my to-do list for ages is to introduce video. But it seemed big, scary, time consuming and expensive. So I’ve been putting it off.
I have a Spanish friend who shoots and edits videos. He works for a UK-based company from his office in Spain, but he often flies to the North East to shoot new footage to work with.
When I found out my friend (Dani Fernandez at Green Siren) was flying over recently, I asked him if he would have any spare time to shoot a 30 second video of me for my homepage. Luckily he did!
So 30 seconds isn’t long, is it. How difficult can it be to prepare for a 30 second video? Actually, when you think about it, that’s a pretty tight time-frame to communicate everything you need to say!
I had about a week before he was free to shoot the video, so I set about preparing for it.
The first thing to do was look for examples. To see how other people do it. Take lots of notes. Nothing distracting in the background Check. Logo at the end? Check. You get the idea!
It started out with a surprising amount of introspection. I had to stop and think about who I wanted to attract with the video. How would I do this? What did I want to say?
Once I had decided what I wanted to say, in a very broad sense, I started writing a script. It was binned and rewritten at least ten times before I was happy that it was ready to rehearse.
I then set about recording myself reading the script aloud. This meant more refining: whole paragraphs were removed as it was too long, a lot of what I’d written sounded weird when read out loud.
When I finally had something I was happy with, I gave it a couple of days before watching the videos I’d recorded on my phone. Then I made more refinements to the script!
One the script was just right, I rehearsed it over and over; changing the intonation of words slightly until I had it down to a fine art.
I knew that Dani would take care of the lighting, sound and location, but I wanted to have some music playing in the background. What type of music, though? I trawled loads of stock music websites until I found something I was happy with that didn’t break the bank.
I printed an abbreviated version of the script out on A4 paper to act as cue cards. Someone would hold them up behind the camera so that I wouldn’t lose my place.
What to wear
Even simple stuff like what I’d wear was considered. My glasses are a good example of this: sometimes I wear them, sometimes I prefer contact lenses. It has happened before that I’ve met someone when I wasn’t wearing glasses, then bumped into that person in the street some time afterwards when I was, and they didn’t recognise me at first! (So Superman disguising himself with a pair of spectacles wasn’t that daft after all!) If I was to wear my glasses in the video, would people recognise me if I wasn’t wearing them? Personal brand… blah blah blah… I think I might have other-thought this one!
In front of the camera
You’d think with all of that preparation it would’ve been a breeze to shoot. Not so!
I’m not a professional actor. I’m not even an amateur one! So nerves were the big stumbling block. It’s one thing videoing yourself in a room where nobody else can hear you, but when there are others around it’s a bit nerve wracking.
I’d read that it was a good idea to loosen up before each take. The way I did that was to jump about a bit and act daft. This removed the embarrassment-factor and lightened the mood in the room. There’s nothing like making a fool of yourself to make everyone smile!
I did take after take (Dani was extremely patient!) until we got one that was about right. I say “about right”: there are a couple of things about the finished video that I’ve done slightly differently but neither is noticeable to anyone other than me. See if you can spot them!
But the point is, in most takes, 95% was spot on. But the 5% that could be better was different each time. I’d nail the thing I messed up the last time, but then something else wouldn’t go quite to plan.
I’m sure I would’ve eventually got it just right, but by that point the fun would probably have gone and the overall tone would’ve suffered.
Watching it all come together
Post-production was the exciting bit. Watching as the audio was made clearer, the music added, the logo faded in at the end. Great stuff.
It doesn’t stop with simply putting the video on my site. As with any change to my website, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the analytics to see if it changes how visitors engage with the site. That’s what these things are about, after all!
Wait… you’ve not seen the video!? Head to the homepage and enjoy!
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