To iPhone or Not to iPhone?!

phone bots

When I started editing video, I had to sit in a suite surrounded by humming decks, blinking cubic buttons and tapes as big as War and Peace. Before I could even attempt an edit, I had to scan each tape’s timecode, hoping desperately that it didn’t have a break anywhere. A single glitch in those numbers meant a mess of re-assembling clips into a distorted version of what you had planned on using. You would rewind and enter your start-points, fast-forward and enter your end-points, set your preroll times, hit “Edit” and pray as tapes began spinning and gears began clicking in a cacophony of mechanical desperation. It worked 2 out of 3 times.
I can now download Apple’s iMovie to my phone for free, take HD video, edit it in the Starbuck’s drive-through and hand it to the entire world before pulling out into traffic. Wrap your brain around this for a moment: 6.5 years ago, we all clamored for the first look at an iPhone. 4 1/2 years ago, there was no iPad. Android devices notwithstanding, we all have a production crew and gear in our back pocket. The very idea seemed like nonsense a decade ago as we all felt Star Trek cool flipping open our clamshell phones. (or was that just me?)
The technical requirements for shooting and editing video for the budget product purveyor have certainly shrunk. However, the content expectations by viewership have done the opposite! It might be easy as pie to create video these days, but the internet is drowning in video content. You have less than 10 seconds to engage your viewer before they click away. The public is swamped in online video and you must look like the big brands or you will seem exactly as you appear on your video…small time! If you are a vendor of tools, you are not competing with the video for the “Amazing Magic Wrench” sold by Joe Smith out of his garage when he is not working his regular 9-5. You are competing with Dewalt, Craftsman and Rigid! These companies have huge marketing budgets and their videos are in the face of every consumer looking to buy a tool. If those consumers run across your video and it looks like your wife shot it on her iPhone while you showed your product’s features in your own driveway, you won’t even make that 10 seconds I mentioned.
Viewers are getting more and more accustomed to seeing great video with professionally scripted content and real production value. They are spoiled by video marketing. Right now, online video is the biggest marketing initiative being employed by every major brand. They are dumping more money into it than any other advertising endeavor and it is in the face of the entire online world. Therefore, viewers have begun expecting a much higher caliber of video in order to take an offer seriously. This trend will only increase over time.
Luckily for the average vendor, production companies can now provide marketing video to vendors lacking huge marketing capital. The industry has seen some incredible advances in technology that now allow real cinematic video to be created at a lower cost. Just don’t delude yourself! If you are going to create video, do it right. Have a good script, know your audience, keep it brief (less than 2 minutes), keep the action moving and make sure your video appears professional. Your ROI will be far more significant as your viewers take your product and business seriously. Real production value goes a long way toward engagement! It tells people from the first moment: you are anything but small-time and just as prolific as the big brands that set the standard for marketing video in the first place!

by Cory Bergeron
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