Giles Rafferty, Corporate Communications

Video is a critical part of the communication mix. Video engages an audience visually, aurally and emotionally. If a picture paints a thousand words, then a minute of video paints 1.5 million! There are some *mathematics that underpin this assertion but the point of such a statement is to focus attention on just how rich a communication medium video is.

Video is everywhere. The convergence of faster broadband services, the expanding reach of 4G and emergence of 5G cellular technologies and the ubiquity of smart mobile devices means video can now be consumed, with ease, at almost any time; in almost any place and almost anywhere.

Video is easy. The emergence of one-to-one streaming applications such as FaceTime and Skype; one-to-many applications such as Facebook live and YouTube live and simplicity of using the on-board cameras in mobile devices means video can be created at almost any time; in almost any place and almost anywhere.

This democratisation of video creates an expectation amongst stakeholders that organisations will use video to communicate. The power of video to convey key messages quickly, accessibly and memorably make it a perfect tool for engaging stakeholders. It is also one of the most effective medium for communicating through social channels.

Video is a creative medium and can take many forms therefore, as with all communications, it is important to make sure the approach to creating content fits the audience and use case.

    • Animation and infographics are great ways to bring alive static data or reveal operational processes.
    • User Generated Video can tell authentic, inclusive first person stories that can promote employee engagement.
    • One-on-one video interviews can reveal the strength of a management team, consistency of purpose across an organisation and give context to important announcements.
    • Combining location footage, graphics and interviews to create virtual site visits can bring remote facilities, inaccessible operational processes or secure locations to the desktop of stakeholders.

It is also important to view video through the lens of brand. Poorly executed video that looks unprofessional can reflect poorly on an organisation or individual.  While on the flip side well-resourced video with high production values may still miss the mark, as this example of the Australian Federal Department of Finance recruitment video shows. If there is a trick to creating effective video content it is to get good advice, early in the process, from someone who understands your organisation, communication challenges and budget constraints.

The anatomy of a video production remains broadly the same whether you are creating your own video content or working with a video production agency. There are there different stages to the process, which flow into each other.

    • Pre-Production, when the thinking is done.
    • Production, when the filming is done
    • Post production, when the editing is done.

The success of an organisation’s video project will be determined before any camera is switched on or line of script read. If the Pre-Production phase is done well the whole project will run well. Pre-Production is point in the process where getting good advice on scripting, style of video, use of graphics, subtitles and music, etc. will have the biggest impact. The filming, whether done internally or by a third party, will capture everything needed, in the most cost effective way, if informed by a well-executed Pre-Production process. The editing will also be efficient, cost effective and deliver a final video that adds value through the content it captured and the look and feel of the finished product.

As the Federal Department of Finance recruitment video shows, spending a lot on video does not guarantee success. Video doesn’t have to break the bank, with the right advice and a well-defined brief, powerful content can be created on a budget. The impact of an organisation’s video content can then be amplified by repurposing and republishing it across social and on-line channels.

As with the filming, optimising video content for social and on-line channels should be a key element of a well thought out Pre-Production process. The repurposed videos can then be created as part of the editing process and published through the right channels to the right audiences.

Every organisation can be a publisher and broadcaster. Platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo are democratising video distribution. Content can be hosted and streamed for free and embedded into websites, intranets and social feeds at minimal cost.

Creating a distribution strategy that considers the correct video distribution engine to use; the correct channels, both internal and external, through which to publish and the most effective way to repurpose content will ensure an organisation’s videos deliver the maximum return on investment. An example of a key consideration when using Facebook as a channel for video content is to always use subtitles as, more often than not, video is viewed on Facebook without audio.

Distribution is another area where getting good advice, early in the process will save time and money. Agreeing a distribution strategy should be part of the Pre-Production process and will help to identify the right channels; identify potential issues, such as free YouTube accounts arbitrarily serving additional content thumbnails and advertising next to a video as it plays, sometimes with unintended consequences, and ensure your key messages get to the right audience in the most impactful way.

*1 Picture = 1,000 words; 25 pictures (frames) = 1 second of video; 60 seconds = 1 minute of video, \ 1 minute of video = 1.5 million words (1000 x 25 x 60)