‘The Business of Video’ is our blog series that shines a light on cool companies and the awesome things they’re doing with video. We’ll sit down with some resident video experts and pick their brain about their projects, process, and point of view.
Andy Orsow didn’t start as the ‘video guy’ at InVision but evolved into the role while learning, and moving, over the past two years. InVision is innovating the way people tackle design projects and Andy’s Design Snack Video Series helps showcase all of the awesome product features that help people prototype, collaborate, and work.
We recently chatted with Andy to learn more about how InVision is using video, how he works, and how he defines success in his projects.
Demo Duck: So, tell us about yourself.
ANDY ORSOW: I’m currently a communications designer at InVision on our Marketing Team, but I started as one of our product designers and since then have had the opportunity to expand beyond being a designer and work on a bunch of different teams. I’ve been everywhere from marketing to support to the content team, as well as getting involved in other areas where I have limited expertise…like the engineering team.
All of that cross-functional experience makes it much easier for me to create videos at InVision because I know who to go to when I’m kicking off a project. All of that valuable experience led me to the role I’m in today.
DD: Since you mentioned it, what’s the kickoff process like at InVision?
AO: The video projects originate from our product team defining what upcoming features are big and exciting enough to warrant a video. Once that happens, I keep an eye on those upcoming launches and people know to ping me early on since I’m the only video producer at the company.
There isn’t an extremely formal process in how I work, which I like. It can be as simple as someone saying, “We have this feature and it’s going to launch in a few months,” to which I say, “Great. Let’s touch base later.” Our timelines are pretty quick so it doesn’t make sense to work on videos too early.
The kickoff process is very straightforward because I sync with the product manager and we walk through the feature together, we generate a list of things we want to highlight, and from there I get started on the script.
DD: What excites you about video at InVision?
AO: I take my team’s really hard work and honor that work by putting it on display for a massive audience. I think that’s a pretty cool thing to be able to do. There are a lot of times when people say, “We really like that video!” but I wouldn’t be able to create fun videos without an amazing product to describe. I’m a people-pleaser so that’s exciting for me.
The other part I enjoy is that [the role] has expanded the way I think about design. When I came to InVision, I was a very traditional designer, but as I started writing more scripts I realized that writing incorporates a lot of the same creative elements as design and user interface development. As I’ve done more educational videos, I started to understand story structure and that how you explain something to someone really matters. The challenge to get people engaged is exciting.
DD: How would you describe the tone of your videos?
AO: The voice and tone we try to strike is to get viewers excited so we try to keep it upbeat and entertaining… or even epic. But we always want to keep it conversational, and [sighs] I want to say human but that’s such an overused term. We want you to feel like an ‘excited friend’ is telling you about something.
DD: How do you balance making videos in-house versus working with a company from the outside?
AO: One of the challenges for us as a company is that we’re 100 percent remote and our team is fast approaching 200 people. If we were all under one roof, I’d have the opportunity to do more live action stuff but because we’re remote and value being able to hire the best talent from anywhere, there are times we bring in outside vendors. We do that for events a lot of the time. We are currently working on a documentary called ‘Design Disruptors’ where we’ve partnered with very experienced film professionals to go behind the scenes of the world’s leading tech companies like Uber, AirBnB and Netflix to learn how they make their design-focused products. Our philosophy is: how can we hire the best people for the job?
DD: What makes a video project successful?
AO: It depends on the project. Sometimes I’ll ask the product manager’s “How do we define success?” and “How do we define failure? If this video fails, how would that happen?” I’m still learning a lot but I think knowing how to edit yourself is really important. That ties into keeping people’s attention; making something that is self aware enough to take viewers context into account. Instead of making a three minute video for your homepage, it’s better to make a short one because people don’t know if they’re ready to invest three minutes into your product, but everyone can spare 45 or 60 seconds upon visiting your site.
I like Wistia because I can track engagement levels across all of my videos, which is a good way to tell if people are watching and if I’m keeping their attention or not. At the end of the project, I can determine if I did a good job showcasing other people’s hard work.
DD: What advice do you have for companies who are thinking about giving video a try?
AO: Starting small is good and picking the right platform is important. This could mean starting with 30 second videos on Twitter and showcasing lesser known, but really helpful, things about your product or company. Those videos could be really basic and not have high complexity or production value but because it’s on Twitter or Instagram, people will still be receptive to it. Starting on social is a good place to get involved with making video.
It’s a really powerful thing to showcase the people and faces that make up your company rather than just your logo or website. Honestly, just starting video in any way is one of the best things you can do. Whenever you begin your video process you’re going to look back on it months later and go “Wow, look how far we’ve come”, but you can’t come to that realization until you start.
DD: Lastly, what’s the best part of your job?
AO: Working remotely is pretty awesome. I have lived in three different cities since I started at InVision two years ago. Plus, I get to interact with so many different people from so many different places, and it doesn’t feel any different as if I was working in an office with them… except we probably get more work done.