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Producing great video content is hard.

You’ll notice I specified great video content. Technically, any jamoke can shoot a video — all you need is some natural lighting and a decent camera (or even an iPhone). And BAM! you’ve got a video ready to go up on YouTube or Facebook or wherever you share stuff.

But just because you’re shooting video footage doesn’t mean it’s going to be effective advertising or worthwhile content. And if your videos don’t interest viewers, there’s no chance they’re going to watch to the end and take whatever action you want them to take.

If your goal is to produce marketing videos that stand out from the crowd and build excitement around your brand, then there are a few key things to keep in mind.

 

The cornerstones of good marketing video production

I won’t hit you with a list of 25 different steps you can take, or gear you should buy, or technical specs your footage should hit. In fact, if you read the title of this post, you know we can streamline everything down into 4 simple action items that you can start doing today.

Thankfully, these particular points are adjustments any business can make, regardless of your size or budget. That’s why we’re calling them “cornerstones” — because they are consistently effective and reliable tricks used by filmmakers and content creators.

1. Make the most of pre-production

If you don’t have a background in filmmaking or video editing, it’s easy to put all your focus on the “doing” part of the process. But the truth is that video production is inherently a creative process, and that sort of endeavor almost always benefits from a lot of brainstorming.

Pre-production for video marketing takes a couple different shapes. Part of it is thinking about  your budget, your gear, and any other factors that could limit what you can do. Another piece is the technical side of things, like using a storyboard, shot list, or call sheet template to help you plan out and even visualize the video you want to create.

But for someone who’s just looking to invest in marketing video production, your first step in pre-production is thinking about what you want the project to accomplish. You already have strategies for other platforms; pre-production gives you a dedicated space to translate that mindset into your video content.

2. Pay attention to video lighting

Some filmmakers and photographers will tell you that lighting is the single most important factor in any shoot. And you know what? They’re not wrong.

Let’s start with the obvious: Lighting determines how clearly we can see what you’re trying to shoot. But the less obvious thing to keep in mind is that lighting also sets the mood and tone for any piece of visual content. Bad lighting doesn’t just make it hard to see — it can make something foreboding, uncomfortable, or (in a worst-case scenario) very amateur.

Do you need every shot to have cinematic lighting and look like a Hollywood production? No, not really. Especially not if it’s a testimonial video. But there’s also a lot of value in using light to create a distinct and visually exciting shot.

And hey, learning how to create cinematic lighting is actually easier than you might expect, even for something as unexciting as an interview.

3. Think about support footage

B-roll footage is a key component in video production. That’s because, if used correctly, b-roll holds a viewer’s interest while also giving the impression of higher quality/production value.

It’s something of a buzzword for filmmakers and content creators, and that’s because it’s becoming increasingly important for anyone who wants to level up their production game. But before you can get in on the action, you’ll probably want to know what b-roll is and how to use it.

In a nutshell, b-roll is the footage in a video that doesn’t focus on the subject matter. That’s kind of a reductive explanation, but here’s an example that should help you visualize it:

 

 

The good news is that you don’t have to bring along a second camera crew, or schedule a few days of extra shoots to get the b-roll you need. You can easily get some shots on any set, or you can even license stock video footage and not think about it again.

4. Choose your music with care

One trend you may have realized by now is that video production is made (or broken) by things that aren’t the actual focus of the project. And in the same way lighting sets a tone and draws a viewer’s eye, the music you choose can build emotion and pull us into your video.

But there’s more good news! You no longer have to shell out hundreds or even thousands of dollars to license a single song. (Let’s be real: Most marketing video productions don’t have that sort of budget to throw around.)

Soundstripe produces royalty free music for this exact reason. Content creators, filmmakers, and marketing teams don’t have the resources to license the newest radio hits, or hire a composer to score custom songs for them.

That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve radio-quality music to help you make the best videos you possibly can. How are you supposed to improve your marketing video production skills if you’re locked out of something as important as the audio side of things?

And if you try to use a song without paying to license it, you run the risk of copyright infringement. In a best-case scenario, your video will be taken down; in a worst-case scenario, you’ll be sued for a lot more money than it would have cost you to get the song legally.

Royalty free music means you can find great music and not have to worry about all of the confusing legal stuff. And if you use a subscription-based service like Soundstripe, you’ll get unlimited access to thousands of professionally made songs for a single monthly price.

Video marketing for any brand

The point of this list isn’t to make you a video marketing guru, or ensure that your company will see a huge spike in conversions. These four cornerstones of great marketing video production are just that — tips to help you raise the ceiling for what you can make.

And, if we just look at the statistics, better video content tends to have wide-ranging benefits.

And as you start implementing them across your video content, you’ll see improvements that reflect across your entire strategy. Because better, more effective video isn’t just better to look at — it’s also a way to invest in content that builds trust and turns that engagement into leads.

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