The three tiers of online video
There’s no doubt that online video is becoming more popular, with the number of video posts per person having increased 75 per cent on Facebook alone over the last year.
But for media owners and brands alike knowing where to pitch online video quality can be tricky, especially in a ‘post-user generated content’ era. Is it best to play it safe and shoot for Hollywood production values? Or do you risk losing shareability if it’s all too slick? Content and tonality are key, and I’d argue that there are three tiers of production that need to be employed for online video success.
The base level of production doesn’t even just refer to video itself. It concerns the visual web. As the internet has become more aesthetically pleasing the arts of storytelling and empathetic communication have followed thusly, requiring an altogether less text-dominated approach. A themed stream of memes, GIFs and Vines can be produced extremely cost effectively, and this will enhance the level of empathy in your storytelling. It will also increase also increases the power of your content and breaks down the fourth wall between brand and consumer, which is where the real sharing begins.
Where to use: content like this is especially useful for enhancing existing articles and social media streams, and creating an ongoing, emblematic, conversation online.
Like in politics the middle ground covers a wide area, and from a video point of view it can also be a good place to shoot for to strike the right balance between professionalism and personality. Where possible we shoot everything using an iPhone, tripod, and lavalier mic – a ‘social media friendly’ form of filming that also sets your subjects more at ease. To this, basic – but not overbearing – graphics can be applied to either end and throughout, layering on a level of professionalism and branding that wraps around more conversational and engaging content.
Where to use: mid-level content is perfect for interviews, events, presentations and sketches – think a shimmering version of Google Hangouts, FaceTime, etc. suitably polished for a professional environment.
There is unquestionably still a place for Hollywood production values online, and I am probably even being a little cynical there in using the term ‘Hollywood’ in the first place. What we are talking about here is the really big value, high investment, low quantity videos that you’ll probably want to host on your own servers and use to promote high-end products online. Just remember that before you hit post-production the content you’re actually filming is still the main thing.
Where to use: more spectacular production is best suited to marketing products, where the supreme quality of the video can be used to be indicative of the quality of the product itself.
The ‘likeability’ test
Before you create an online video and share it with your audiences ask yourself this question: Would I Like it if it showed up in my Facebook feed? If the answer is yes then you’ve done the qualitative test, and you’ve focussed on a piece of online video content that carries the right content, tonality and shareability to pay its way. If it’s a no then you might want to rethink the approach – at whatever tier of online video production you are communicating your ideas through. To end on a cliché it is ultimately the content, and not what it is wrapped up in, that will determine the success of an online video.
How are you using video? Let us know!
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