For the ecommerce startup or for the ecommerce veteran who has recently decided to take advantage of product videos, there is much to be said for creating product videos in-house. With the price of technology falling and new easy-to-use software available today, you can create professional looking videos in your home or office. If you are in need of these coveted videos for a large batch of products and you need them quickly, then by all means, hire a production company. But, if you want to start out slowly and your resources are minimal, take the plunge and do it yourself.
Assuming that you are not out to win an Emmy, a video that answers a specific question or resolves a particular problem will turn up the heat on your conversion rates. The consumer does not need to be entertained, only engaged. Your video should assist the consumer with the decision making process, end of story. Most startups will go without video before attempting to create their own or spend whatever resources available to hire a marketing company, but you can do it yourself with just a little bit of coaching:
The Script – Writing a script can be intimidating at first for the amateur. But remember, who is going to sell your product better than you will? Simply provide the information about your product and be almost matter-of-fact about it. Remember also that the consumer does not buy the features, they buy the benefits. If you’re absolutely against writing the script, hire a freelancer. There are many places such as fiverr and elance that have writers who will help at a very good rate. Be certain to end the script with a “call-to-action” request or, in other words, ask for the sale.
The Road Map – Create a story board that will mirror your script with a description of what the viewer needs to see as the script progresses. The script and video should flow as the product is described. You may want to use index cards rather than write on the story board so you can move them around as needed. If you are planning to do just a straight-on camera shot, then you can eliminate this step.
Camera – Once you have your script and story board in place, it’s time to think about a camera and lighting. Yes, you can record video with the better smart phones but using the zoom and keeping your camera steady will be difficult. There are many great video cameras available today at very reasonable prices. The main thing to be concerned with is whether the camera has Zoom capabilities and if it records in HD. These two items are a must if you want the video to appear at least semi-professional. Quality cameras such as Canon or Sony start at about $150.
Lighting – Lighting can make the difference between a good in-house video and a terrible one. Although there have been terrible videos that have gone viral, those videos are usually about a slip and fall or other slap-stick episode. Your product is important and needs to be visualized by the consumer in the best light possible. Be careful with direct lighting as it can wash out brand names on a label or any other light colored item. It is very difficult to see a pair of light colored shoes with a bright white light shining on them. Experiment with your lights at various angles until you have them positioned so the product can be seen clearly. This may take some practice but will be well worth it as you begin to understand how the lighting will affect each different type of product. Basic lighting kits with 2 or 3 lights and tripods start at about $250. Now you have created your own little studio!
Video Editing Software – A very good video editing package can be had for less than $100 and would be money well spent. Having a good video editing software package will enable you to edit your videos instead of starting over each time you make a mistake, and you will make mistakes. The software will also help the final product look more professional so take some time and learn the software.
Now that your mini-studio is ready to go, there’s nothing left to do but make great videos and make a lot of them. Remember, after you put the video on your website, you need to submit it to all the popular video hosting sites as well, especially YouTube. The videos will then not only help you sell more product, they will also improve your site stats, increase your search ranking, and ultimately increase your conversion rates.
This article was written by Joe Forte, co-owner and producer of Arizona video production company D-Mak Productions. D-Mak Productions specializes in professional video production services from script to screen.