5 questions to ask before creating a video

johnworkingthecamera

John recording a video for Social Brand Forum

 

One question I always get asked about video:  “How long should my video should be?”  In the past 10 years of creating videos, I have shot and edited videos ranging from live 1-hour events, to 30 second commercials.  The most popular videos are under three minutes.   Saying everything you want to say under three minutes can take be hard.  But these five tips will help you Cut. It. Down.

5 questions to ask before creating a video.

  1. Why do you want to do a video? Ask if video is the platform or tool for what they want to accomplish.  Often times I have coworkers requesting a video, but once I start asking clarifying questions, I realized I was asking them to define why they want video.  “Tell me why you need it, not what you need“.
  2. Who will be watching this video? Again, another question for definition and to provide specifics of the overall voice and tone of the video. The overall tone for a video will differ greatly based on the demographic, for instance: creating a video for a millennial is very different than creating one for Baby Boomers. The pace of the video is different, the music you choose will be different, and animation will depend on your audience. You’d be surprised at how hard this question can be for people to answer.
  3. What are 1-2 things you want the audience to know after watching the video? This question gives you the bullet points of what makes this video a success in their minds.  If you cover these two things in the video – they will be happy.  I learned if I don’t ask this question, I had more revisions in post-production, because the goal of the video wasn’t accomplished.  The more answers you get before shooting the less editing you have. 
  4. How and Where is this video being shown?  Will this video be shown at an event? or sent via email? or shared on social media?  You need to know if the video is a ‘stand alone’ video.  Or will there be some context provided before its shown? Knowing the context of how the video will be shown will help you better frame the video – how much information you need to provide….and what you can leave out.
  5. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the last question is When.  This question is pretty self-explanatory.  What’s the timeframe and deadline.  This gives me a timeframe to work with and lets me know how much time I have to shoot and edit.  I work backwards from the date given, and send the video two weeks before this date just in case there are any changes. I will let the client know this too, so they can expect a date to get the video.  That why they aren’t sending you emails asking where it is.

If you ask these five questions, you won’t have many changes to the video. And that’s a good feeling. It’s very rewarding to get it done right the first time.