A typical business video goes a little something like this:
Opening sequence of quick shots establishing the company and its products. Voice over begins explaining the company’s ethos. Cut to excerpt of interview with CEO. More shots of products, offices and employees as voice over continues. End.
Short, sharp, to the point and very, very safe.
Most corporate videos are as predictable as the weather in Los Angeles. And they are supposed to be. A video is a great way to project your company’s image and naturally those who commission them are usually very careful that the final product is more classical than rock and roll.
However, this kind of conservatism only serves established companies well. A Fortune 500 company doesn’t have to wow you with the wonders of its products or services. It can afford to take the safe, bland route.
But it’s vital for an up and coming company to make a splash. Grab some attention. Make a mark. And a safe video will not do that at all.
To freshen up your company’s videos you don’t have to do crazy, zany things though. Let’s take a look at some corporate videos that use four different filming techniques to elevate them from bog standard to brilliant.
Long, single take shots
Check out this corporate spot from Dollar Shave Club.
That video went viral and won acclaim from around the world for its innovative use of humour to get its message across – buy our cheap shaving razors. Most razor companies like Gillette spend millions of dollars paying celebrities to endorse their fancy razor blades and struggle to get the same response.
But Dollar Shave Club wrote a funny script and got founder Mike to talk to the camera in their warehouse. Instead of delivering lines one at a time, Mike talks to the camera for upwards of 10 seconds and refers to the funny things happening around him. As a viewer, this is very compelling. He’s talking directly to you and pointing out things in the surrounding environment.
By using long shots the video pulls you in and by adding movement it keeps you interested. Lots of videos use quick cut shots to establish pace and style but Dollar Shave Club’s spot proves keeping it simple also works wonders.
To do it well, write a good script with long sections and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
Time lapse photography
Shell is one of the world’s largest energy companies and, like it or loathe it, the social media channels it uses to promote its products are fantastically well produced and targeted. You can learn a lot from Shell – it always take the interesting route with its corporate videos.
Shell’s engineering projects are massive and full of numbers and concepts that can turn the average viewer to stone if they were simply presented as they were. But with the creative use of time lapse photography, the construction of a half kilometre long gas platform goes from snore to sublime.
The video itself is over seven minutes which is pretty long for a corporate video. We usually recommend something in the range of three to four minutes. But because of the time lapse elements, you don’t notice just how long it is. Time lapse can show off the footfall in your shop over a day, the buzzing hive of activity in your office between 9 and 5, or show off the creative process to design a graphic. Whatever your business does, time lapse can tell a complete story in seconds and look very stylish.
To do it well, find some action, set up your camera on a stable platform and hit record. In the edit suite, speed it up!
Use text instead of voice over
The standard way to get information across in a corporate video is through a combination of voice overs from a narrator (usually with a smooth broadcasters voice) and interviews with employees or management.
But why not shake things up and cut out the voice over? Check out this video we did over at our travel blog Double-Barrelled Travel when we visited NASA’s rocket museum in Florida.
It starts with a piece to camera and then comes the music and quick cut shots to set the scene. For the remainder of the video, we use graphic text superimposed over the images along with some time lapse photography. We felt this was a better way to tell the story rather than through narration because the images we are showing are very interesting and voice over could be distracting.
It’s also a bit more stylish and engages the viewer in a more direct way by getting them to read rather than listen.
Graphic text can be used in shorter videos where you’re seeking to get the viewer’s attention. For a longer video, narration would be the better option, perhaps with some text mixed in as well.
Show more than just the CEO
It’s easy to just show the head people in your business, but why not show the whole team? It’ll help portray your business as a company that believes in team work and people who work together. It’s beneficial to show a united front.
Innocent Smoothies does this well.
In their corporate video, everyone from the company’s founder to the receptionist have a chance to get on screen. It shows the company as a relaxed place that has a community working environment. This is great, because remember that the more other company’s like the look of you, the more they’re likely to want to work with you – and giving a glance into what happens ‘behind the scenes’ helps with this.
There are loads more techniques out there for making videos more interesting than the standard form. But these four – single take shots, time lapse photography, graphic text and a behind-the-scenes glance are easy to incorporate and will go a long way to freshening your videos up and making them stand out from the standard pack.