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The Insider’s Guide to an In-House Web Video

Shooting a web video

Web video is growing in popularity – if you want to ride the trend, perhaps it’s time to create your own. If you can afford it, avoid the DIY corporate video approach.  But if you can’t, then here’s how you can create your own web video on a budget.

1. Write the Script

Every web video has a story and writing the script is the first step in telling that story. If you want to show how your company, product or service is different or useful, a carefully crafted script will send that message to your audience.

Shooting a web video

Most videos are only a couple of minutes and the scripts are correspondingly short. Hollywood script writers know that the average 120 minute film has a 120 page script – that’s one page per minute of video.

That makes it easy to work out roughly how long your script should be. If you have a 10 page script for a one-minute web video, it’s a sure sign you need to look at it again. Here’s a handy online Script Timer to check how long your video is likely to be.

Think about the main points you want to make. Your script and your video must articulate the pain point for your target customer, identify the solution you provide and include a call to action so that customers approach you for the solution. And you need to deliver all of this in an appealing and conversational manner.

Here are some more tips on scriptwriting from Bode Animation:

Get together a small focus group, read the script out loud and check that it’s hitting your targets. If you’re happy with your script, it’s time to move on to the next step.

2. Record the Audio

Getting the audio right can be a problem when creating your web video in house. That’s because the quality of the audio is directly proportional to the quality of the microphone and sound equipment.

This is one area where a professional setup makes a difference. If you’re on a budget, pick an affordable podcasting microphone then find a very quiet room to lay down the audio track. Watch out for background noise – these sensitive mics can pick up a curtain flapping or someone sneezing three doors down.

Speak clearly and audibly and don’t worry about mistakes – it’s a short video so you can either:

  • Take a breath and continue, making sure to eliminate any errors in the editing phase
  • Use the first couple of takes as practice until you’re comfortable enough to record the whole thing error-free.

3. Create a Storyboard

You know what you want to tell your customers and you have the audio – now it’s time to think about how the video will look. Just like they do in Hollywood, you need to create a storyboard. It’s your first attempt at thinking about the visuals for your web video. Think about whether you will:

  • Appear in the video yourself
  • Use animated characters
  • Use images
  • Or a combination of all three.

The storyboard lets you plan the video in your imagination – and then on paper – before you put it together. It helps you identify the flow of the video and see if there are any potential problems. You don’t need to be able to draw – rough sketches and thoughts about each frame will be enough.

4. Add Bells and Whistles

Next it’s time to source the other elements of your web video. These will include graphics, music and sound effects. Here are some of the things you could include in your video:

  • Powerpoint slides
  • Stock photos which you can buy from one of these ten sites
  • Screenshots
  • Music – you might even be able to get some Creative Commons music for free
  • Sound effects – FreeSound aggregates Creative Commons sounds

You probably won’t want to put all of these in a single video, but you can mix and match depending on your needs.

5. Put It Together

The final step in creating your in-house web video is putting it all together. To do this, you will need a video editor. VM Tricks has a list of free video editing programs, of which Lightworks has the most functionality. Be warned, though, it’s complicated, which is why the professionals get the big bucks!

Other popular video editing tools not listed in TechRadar’s article include iMovie, Keynote, AfterEffects and Camtasia, though not all of these are free.

Fire up your chosen program and then:

  • Import your primary audio track (the one you created from your script)
  • Add video clips, images, and other visuals
  • Add music and sound effects.

Use your storyboard to check that you’re on track and makes sure audio and video are in sync. Once you’re done, check the final cut to see that it does what you want and you’re ready to share.


Image credit: Bill Rice

Written by Sharon Hall
Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website.