By Ibrahim Muviazalwa 

The best organizational videos do not just happen – they are a result of meticulous planning and preparation.

Your organization’s video provides a visual overview that explains why you exist to your target audience. With so much to think about – from limited budgets, lean staff, camera equipment, editing software to lighting a shot, and optimizing audio – the barriers for organizations to produce quality videos in-house makes it realistic to commission skills from experienced consultancy firms or professionals.

Recently, ADRES Group got the chance to support the IGAD Centre For Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), and Pact World in producing their organizational and project videos below. From the experience while working with ICPALD and Pact, as ADRES Group, we did learn some lessons that we are happy to share with you. Below are 10 golden rules for planning, editing, and producing compelling videos.

  1. Allocate appropriate budget

Well, while video production is not particularly easy, it is not affordable for that matter. Before you even think about commissioning skills out of your organization, consider taking some time to consult industry experts on what would be a realistic budget for the video project. This allows you to plan well and resource for quality.  Failing to work out the financial costs during pre-production is a good way to inadvertently go over budget. Plus, vagueness means that it is impossible to manage expectations. Quality organizational videos should not be an afterthought or a cost. Rather they should be an investment.

  1. Know your target audience!

Whether you want more views, or engagement figuring out and defining your audience is the first step in any content-creation process. Do not fall into the trap of assuming that all your target audience wants to watch the same content. Spending time to understand the target audience and their needs can help shape the content in your organizational video.

  1. Make your message crystal clear

Although the importance of knowing your audience and narrowing down a target market is critical, clearly defining your message is just as important. Your message should be put in the first 10 seconds. The average attention span is just ten seconds these days. That means most viewers will click away from your video in as long as it takes to have a sip of coffee if their attention wavers.

  1. Create a storyboard and/or shooting script

Once you have a video consultant on board, that is not the end of the road for you. Consider working together with the consultant in putting a storyboard and shooting script together.

Storyboarding helps you figure out exactly what shots you need before the consultant starts filming, and a shooting script is like a screenplay for your video. You do not have to draw your ideas. All you need to do is use a series of still photographs as a storyboard, or your stick figures. It is a way to visualize the shooting.

The truth is that the most important part of the video production workflow happens before the camera starts rolling. Pre-production, or the planning and logistics phase of a video project, is where most of the magic happens — long before you hit the “record” button.

Visualize your shoot with your storyboard. It can help answer questions like:

  • Where does the light come from?
  • What does the location need to have for the production to work?
  • Is there a location in mind?
  • What tools will each shot require in order for them to look and feel the way the script intended?
  1. Prep your presenters or interview subjects

You have to brief your subjects of presenters so that there is no place for errors or wasted time on the day of the shoot. Talking before the shoot is a way to keep things clear. You have a good idea of what the video is going to look like before filming on location. It is better to avoid having your video presenters memorize the script. Let it be as spontaneous as it can ever be.

  1. Know what B-Roll footage you need

B-roll is essentially any footage that is not of your primary subject. Whatever footage you need, figure it out during the pre-production phase to avoid situations in which you need footage you do not have. Remember – there is no such thing as too much B-roll.

  1. Find the perfect location

Before you start filming, check the acoustics of the location in which you are planning to film. Is there an echo? If so, try and find somewhere else to shoot. You can fix a lot of audio problems in post-production, but even a faint echo can be a nightmare to get rid of completely.

  1. Lights, camera, action!

You do not want your footage to be under or over-exposed, so set up lights and eliminate any unwanted shadows. Use a tripod to keep your video stable — and not wobbly, as it most certainly will be if you hold it yourself. Make sure the camera is in focus — and then lock the exposure so it stays in focus. Be mindful of keeping shots white-balanced to keep lighting neutral and even, too. Remember to obey the rule of thirds.

  1. Choose the right run-time

Shorter videos tend to have better engagement. If a video is less than 60 seconds, over two-thirds (68%) of viewers will keep watching until the end. If a video is over 20 minutes long, only 25% of viewers will finish it. Generally, videos that are 2-4 minutes long perform best and will have more people watch to the end. But if your video is supremely engaging, time is not as critical a factor.

  1. Remember: video marketing is a must

If you’ve reached this point and are questioning whether the video you’re planning is worth the effort, don’t lose faith — and remember that video marketing is worth it!. It might pay off not leaving that video on the shelf, but pushing it out there, where your target audiences belong.

And … Cut!

Hopefully, this blog has given you some ideas on how to plan for your video. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact me:

Go create your successful video…

Women in peacebuilding in Kenya’s borderlands. A video developed by ADRES Group for Pact’s PEACE III project, funded by USAID, working along Kenya’s borders with Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia to strengthen conflict-management systems and build the capacity of regional and national institutions to stem cross-border conflict.

In a bid to showcase the impact of ICPALD in the IGAD region, ADRES Group supported ICPALD to illuminate its impact through the Memoranda of Associations and Sanitary and PhytoSanitary (SPS) measures.

Funded by the European Union Trust Fund for Africa, the Regional Approaches for Sustainable Conflict Management and Integration, or RASMI, works to build peace in the Mandera Triangle, a border region of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia that has experienced armed conflict, violent crime, extremist attacks, political instability and state failure for years. ADRES Group video production support to the project.

Humans of Africa is a vibrant storytelling series by ADRES Group that looks at the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people across Africa through the lens of their journeys, struggles, circumstances, and endurance.

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