Hey, business video makers: aren’t you forgetting something?

Hey, business video makers - aren't you forgetting something?Speaking as someone who has written and produced more business videos than you can shake a stick at, I was fascinated to read the following training schedule for a 4-day course on how to make digital business videos.

We’re not talking pure production here: the company concerned feels that this is all you need to do to create a business video from start to finish. So why am I bitching?

Because as far as I can see, there is one essential element missing. And this element (to me) is so important that to make a video without it, would be like trying to build a house without foundations. So let’s see if you get the same impression that I do…

A schedule of training on how to make a business video: spot the missing component

(And I quote…)

Introduction to the production equipment.
Working to a brief.
Introduction to planning and how to make the most of recce.
Exploratory shooting
Exercise 1: Visit to venue for recce and exploratory shoot, establishing shots.

Viewing and Critique of video shot day 1
Planning for second shoot, planning interviews.
Interview techniques
2 camera shoots
Exercise 2: Shoot action, locations and interviews.
Uploading material to computer for editing day 3

Introduction to post production- editing. ( Final Cut Pro and/or Premiere )
How to import and organise material
How to edit – cutting, transitions, sequences,
Viewing and discussion

Final editing
Captions, titles, transitions, colour correction
Codecs, exporting to DVD and online

Enough already: what is  the missing business video component?

Hmmmm … hair and makeup artiste? Model release forms? Tea maker? Catering vehicle?

No. Much as the above seems to have covered everything imaginable that you might need when shooting a business video, hello?

What about the way you plan a business video from the start, so it isn’t just a bit of moving glitz on a website or on YouTube, but also is a powerful and very useful promotional / informative / entertaining / inspiring / etc. motion picture?

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Hmmmm. Thought not.

You may feel, with some justification, that this particular production company is techno-based and therefore focuses on the more practical elements of shooting and editing a business video. Needless to those elements are essential.

But let’s get real here.

With business video, a script isn’t just what’s said: it’s a blueprint for the whole damned thing

Let me briefly waft you back to the glorious 20th century when business videos – decent ones, anyway – cost at least £30K / USD $45K and frankly, were works of art compared with the cheapie cr*p we see in business today.

Anyway today, even if you have a fraction of that budget, creating a script may seem old-fashioned … but putting the effort into creating a script achieves two important, and potentially money-saving elements:

  1. It acts as a blueprint for the whole video so everyone involved knows what should go where
  2. Because it sets out what in effect is a skeleton plan of the whole video and outlines editing needs, it can save you money

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Many of the scripts I have written for business videos contain no dialogue, narration or any other type of spoken words.

The script’s job is to outline the story that has to be told, and how that should be done. It can incorporate visuals only, visuals plus music over, interviews (unscripted), fast-moving stills, graphics, dramatised sections/dialogue, and much more.

Often, the script of a business video is then turned into a storyboard: a mainly visual interpretation of the words. Also very useful for clients and production team to get it straight.

Yet scripts for business video and even TV seem unfashionable

Not long ago I was talking to a friend who is a very senior video editor working mostly for a major TV channel in the UK.

He was bemoaning the fact that with news and documentary television today, broadcast stations get the reporters in, hand them some highly sophisticated kit, teach them how that works, slap them on the buttocks and send them out to shoot news and feature stories. No script; just raw footage.

What the broadcast stations don’t teach them, is how to tell a story in a video presentation. So when they have shot whatever they think is suitable material, they hand it all over to the editors and expect them to create a cohesive story from it all.

Usually, these talented editors manage to scrabble something together to make it work. But with business video, you don’t normally have the benefit of such talented editors to make a silk purse out of your original material’s sow’s ear.

Want to know how a simple script can ensure your video works well?

Watch this space – I will reveal all in the next week or so.

In the meantime, what experience do you have with making videos with – or without – a script?

Please share!


Many thanks for the image which I have cheerfully stolen from Media Dog Productions. They seem like an incredibly professional and helpful Professional Video & HD Camera Hire – Broadcast Equipment Rental company so please check them out on their website here.




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