Episode 9: How Animations Are Produced for Brands and Businesses


Episode description

In this week’s episode of The Video Marketing Show, Graham & Phil talk you through the process of animation and what happens at each stage. From time frames to budget, it is all covered in this week’s episode.

Watch the full episode via the link above or listen to the podcast below.


Welcome to the Ark Media Video Marketing Show.

Hi, welcome to The Video Marketing Show, I’m Phil Arkinstall

My names Graham Allsopp

 Now today, we wanted to talk about the process of animation. Do you want to just tell us a little bit about things like styling?

Yeah so I get asked a lot by people about the whole process, I think more so just because they’re interested by it because the process with live action is fairly simple, isn’t it? You go, you kind of do a bit of a storyboard, you film it, you bring it back edit it. With animation, it’s completely new to them. So, what we do is we always try to sit down with the client, and almost not ask for examples they’ve seen that they like, but more just trying to get out of them what they like the look of and what will work, and then we can kind of see what their business is and almost kind of meet in the middle and brainstorm an idea and a style.

 And I also think something we’ve really improved on in the last year is to help the client with the style, we provide them with other examples that we’ve produced for other clients that sort of go across the levels of animation as well, because I think sometimes people don’t fully appreciate a stick man character versus, let’s say Shrek, there’s a whole chasm in between of the time it takes, the amount of assets you need, the amount of animating it requires, and I think that’s something we try to get across early doors now to try and demystify what they’re after.

I think that always gets chosen, in my opinion, when it comes down to budget as well, which it is a shame to a certain degree because it should be tailored for what will work best for the business, but obviously you can’t expect people to have all the money in the world.

 No, but then our challenge becomes hoe do we get the best results on the budget they have, so I think actually knowing and understanding the budgetary level that the piece of work is being aimed at really gives up scope. I mean our formula basically comes down to the budget, breaking that down into day rates, and how many days of asset creation, voiceover, animation, storyboarding, how much does that generate in the amount of work they can have within their budget? So, that does, in a way, frame the level that the animation can go to. So, again if time and budget allow, you can have the Shrek experience, but we find with the majority of clients they want something that gets their message across. So, their message isn’t necessarily all wrapped up in the quality of the character and the spend on that character and that world, it’s more focused on, okay what’s my end objective, and how do we get to that, from the budget that we have?

So coming back to how we get to the end objective, the kind of next thing that we do, once we’ve had a chat with the client, sat down with them and they’ve decided on a style, is what we do is we go away and put together almost a sample of the character and backgrounds that we want and then show it to them and get their feedback, because it almost brings it to life for them in that sense, doesn’t it?

 Yeah, there’s a visual, tangible asset to see.

Yeah and obviously this is the stage just before the storyboard.

 So just following the proves through then, we’ve produced some styles, some style sheets, the clients approved what they want it to look like, so then we move into the storyboard phase. So, just tell us a little bit about the storyboard phase.

Yeah, so for me, the storyboard phase kind of fits alongside the whole scripting as well, because obviously we’d help the client with the script, and the script is fifty percent of the story isn’t it a lot of the time, and it’s how you structure a video, it’s how you structure a story. So, what we do then is we have the script there, and then we have the storyboard there, and we almost break the storyboard down into sections of maybe like 12 to 26 slides scenes almost, depending on how the video is. And that is basically a visual representation of what the animation will look like, but a still version, and that is the time that we ask for amends, because if we get the storyboard right, then all we have to do after that is animate.

 The next step then, is obviously the animation, so someone used to say the final draft of a script is the first draft of an edit and I think that’s exactly the same in the animation world, that final storyboard becomes the first draft of the animation and then from there you can continue to build, improve and modify.

Let’s just have a quick chat about time, the time frame from the start of an animation, so we’re talking about the side where we’re brainstorming, right through to the finish. Obviously, you’re going to have obstacles and hurdles in the middle of it because it’s never just a plain sail, is it? Especially when it comes down to different forms of animation, but just run me through the timeline of an animation, how long can it take? How long should it take?

These things can go on a lot longer, but also, if something’s really straight-forward, we can knock it out the park in a couple of days.

There are so many hurdles that you don’t think of, and a client wouldn’t think of. It’s like the render time, I don’t know if people are aware of what rendering is, but you basically create the assets and then it’s got to render out, and while it renders out, it’s almost like putting all those assets together. But if you want a 3D object, flying through the sky, or something like that, it can take days to render out. CGI films animation stuff takes years to create just because of that concept, you know. If you render out even just a scene and you’re not happy with a little bit, it’s just.. 

Yeah exactly, that’s right. And I think the final thing that I’d like to sort of finish on is lifespan of animations. I think it’s interesting with animation because if you take it out of the real world, it can have a longer lifespan, whereas live action is very much focused down on the here and now. So I always think you have to explain to clients that the value of the animation is very much in it’s longevity. You can also cut down social media length versions of the same project, and maybe pull different thread out of it. You could also have different campaigns that come out of an animation, so if you design a character for the animation video, you could then turn that character and stick it on the side of a billboard or whatever, because it’s part of their brand identity then, and I think that’s quite important thing to say actually, if you bring animation to life within your business, as part of the identity, then it can filter through into that whole brand package that you have, and I think it’s quite important to build that in as well. So that’s a bit of an insight into the animation process, we hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of The Video Marketing Show, please join us for other episodes that are available on YouTube.



The Ark Media Video Marketing Show, bringing you powerful video marketing strategies to truly make an impact.

Episode 5: What Next For Video Production


Episode Description:

In this week’s episode of The Video Marketing Show, Phil & Graham will give their views and opinions on what the future of video looks like. Could the role of the camera operator become obsolete? Are we more likely to be consuming shorter content? Find this out and more in this weeks episode.

You can watch the entire episode via the link above or listen to podcast below.


Welcome to the Ark Media Video Marketing Show

Hi and welcome to The Video Marketing Show, I’m Phil Arkinstall

My name’s Graham Allsopp.

And todays episode we’re going to talk about what’s next in the video industry, so I think to start, to set the scene, I think it’s important to see what has changed within the last few years as well. So when I set the company up eleven years ago, we were still working with VHS tape, we did have DVD’s as well, the internet was a lot slower, broadband connection, YouTube existed, but perhaps wasn’t as prevalent as now and that started to change. I mean, when you stated in your career, how have you seen it change?

Yeah, so when I first started we used to shoot on my DV tapes which were little tapes that went into the video camera, expensive, you never really, once you had filmed it you never really wanted to throw them away because it was always the case of, you know, if you overwrite them then the footage is gone if you haven’t captured it properly. That was at the very start of my career, and then as it progressed it was literally like SD cards.

Yeah and very much the industry has changed now so that you plug your SD card into the back of the computer, you can put it onto things like DropBox , for both showing to clients, but also, for storage, which we tend to use it for quite a lot now, a terabytes worth of storage that is on the cloud, it’s much better back up being backed up by massive server rooms around the world.

That’s something that we didn’t have, when I first started, the company that I first worked for, we had like a whole massive safe with just hard-drives and they were all two terabyte’s which was quite expensive then at the time. But it was like a fireproof, waterproof safe that if anything happened you would know that your footage would be protected in that safe.

So yeah,  very much when we started, you could make a three minute promotional video, you’d put it on a company’s website, it would sit on that website for about two or three years, they’d probably have a few staff leave, and then want to change it about a bit, they might have a new logo, a new brand identity, and I think that was very much how it was in the early days of Ark Media. But then when Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now Instagram and things like Tik Tok as well, now that all this evolution of the social environment has changed things, we can’t really just make a one size fits all promo.

Yeah, it’s very much the industry has changed so it dictates around what platform it sits on, so as you said before, a three minute  video two and half was perfect wasn’t it for like a promotional video, you could get everything across, all your benefits, why use us, but as social media has formed, I think social media at the start was designed for those kind of videos and people’s attention spans were fit for that, but as there was more content pushed out, more social media platforms, even the way that they have designed Facebook and Instagram, you’re literally scrolling up all the time, it’s designed for your attention span of ten seconds. That’s definitely where video has changed, in the past ten years

I think something that I found really important to pass onto clients in recent years is that if you go to the trouble to professionally produce the video, you don’t want just one output, you don’t want just one three minute film, you want that added value, you want the fifteen second clips, you want five of those from different parts of the video, you want different call to actions graphics on the end of It, you know there is so much you can do now that previously you wouldn’t do, you’d just literally focus on one product and that’s a much more powerful offering from a video production companys point of view because you’re literally saying we can go out, do a day’s filming and we can deliver you twenty different films of different durations.

Do you think it’s harder from a video production point of view, do you have to be smarter in how the sense you get across your messages and your story in that shorter time frame? Because obviously, forty-five seconds now for Instagram, really that’s all you’re going to get, especially if it’s not a very creative image.

Yeah, defiantly, I think you’ve got to get to the point a lot quicker, if you’re treating it like, say a news article, you’re ten to fifteen second social clip now, would be the headline that you see on the front page of a newspaper. If they’re grabbed by that, they might watch a longer version of the video, so actually, that’s where you can expand and open up the debate and the discussion a bit more.

Yeah, so going off that, I think people’s attention spans have moved, but I think that if you’ve got a subject that you are interested in, I’m a big football fan, so I could happily sit there and watch a five minute video on Facebook about pundits talking to each other about football. So, I think although attention spans are smaller, if there is a subject that you are interested in, then you are going to be still open to watching.

I think what you’ll probably find is that corporations will start trying to move us back to longer form, Instagram are now doing Instagram TV which is purposely built for longer form, so actually, it may well revert back to that, but that headline grabbing, social media, that banner at the top of your screen, you’ve really got to be quite clever with the content that you put out, you can’t afford a nice establisher of the building that your company is based in anymore to set the scene, you’ve just got to hit it hard and get to the crucks of what your offer is to the person who is watching it.

Do you think video? Live action filming and animation, where do you see them going forward?

I think with COVID animation has grown, particularly with what we do. What’s been interesting, within Ark Media, we have clients come to us who, they have an animation brief, but they don’t necessarily even pre-qualify ‘Oh do you do animation,’ there’s just an assumption that you’re a video production company. I think as time moves forward we’ll probably be asked for more and more animation, but I think if we are talking in terms of where the whole industry is moving in the future, there’s other formats that are coming through as well, so there is personalisation, that is where you send an individualised version of the video to a particular end user, so you can use that, particularly in animation, you could actually  make a video tailored to the demographic that its aimed at, maybe if the same video goes to a different demographic, the video could be adapted a video specifically looking like its aimed at the person could drop into their inbox or a video card format, so that it comes through the post, they open it, you know it’s a …

Where do you think that’s going to go in the next couple of years? Because I mean when I first started in video, that was kind of a new technology.

The video card?

Yeah, the video card, for people that don’t know, it’s a brochure that you get in the post, you open it up and the video is there, it plays automatically, it’s got a little speaker in there. It was revolutionary when I first started for kind of corporate video production, but I haven’t really seen them being used much

I think they’re cost prohibited, they are quite expensive, but again, as technology moves on, as they get massed produced, just like all technologies, they’ll drop in price. But again, there are other formats that will come into play as well, to sort of revolutionise the industry, so, interactive video, you can do that on Netflix programmes, there’s a couple of programmes on Netflix

Black Mirror

Black Mirror have done it, I think Bear Grylls does it with his sort of survival guides, you know do I go down the waterfall or do I go through the jungle?

It’s much different, like immersive storytelling


It’s passing the story into the viewers hands  

Definitely and I think that will work quite well in the corporate market as well because it offers something a bit different so if you’re trying to do some training internally, you could let your staff have a choice of ‘do I choose that option or that option?’ It’s still steering them in an educational way to get them to where they need to be, but actually it passes the message in a more interactive, more engaging way than perhaps just watching a video and not having that engagement. So, there is plenty of scope there

Especially as technology goes on I think that, going back to the whole social media length of videos, I think that they’re the ones that are going to dictate where the video industry goes

Yeah, yeah

I think realistically.

But it is a cultural shift, that’s saying well okay we have got the attention spans of a gnat when it comes to consuming social content, but actually, we used to allocate a couple of hours to watch a movie, now we’re allocating, probably twelve hours to watch a ten part series or whatever it may be.

I still think that, even if they had said in cinemas now that, there was no warning about not using your phone and stuff, I think everyone would be getting their phones out halfway through

Yeah probably, yeah. But going back to the roots of video production and what we do as a business, there are a lot of changes that we are on the cusp of its just finding early adopters who are happy to use that within their campaigns, and they don’t feel scared to try something new.

How do you think it’s going to move forwards in the next five to ten years, with the concept of having it on your phone?  

Yeah so, the very much prosumer or consumer

Yeah because surely as cameras get better and as phones get better, people will start to use them for filming purposes

Yeah and I don’t have a problem with that for a certain level of content, I think to two things that they have improve are sound, you know the reality of sound recording still is if you want good sound, like we’re doing this video now, the microphone is literally a metre away from us both, it’s out of shot obviously, but it’s only a meter away. If you’ve got an iPhone and you’re filming someone across the room, the sound is adequate but not great. The second one is lighting again, they’re still not as good as the professional camera.

And again, it’s all well and good having a good camera on your phone that records good audio and that can control the light, but ultimately, there is that underlying skill level

We’re talking about evolutionary steps within media, if you imagine the technology of a drone, that flies, some drones now are the size of your hand, or even smaller, if they can find a way to make the drone quieter, so some sort of audio repression on it, sound repression, and that hovers around following you, if it then uses telemetry sort of sensors if you like to know where your eyes are, where your head is, and it knows what a good frame looks like, because we’re talking about what we know as professionals that perhaps consumers don’t know of what is a good frame, if the camera floats around because of the technology, and  it knows what a good framing is, you can almost press go on your drone camera, or your iPhone whatever it may be, iPhone twenty, you press go it flies up into the air it follows you around in exactly the sorts of shots I would consider professional, it’s got high quality sound, it’s got no problems with the background noise from the drone, it maybe even has even better lights built in, because the iPhone now has pretty decent lights built in just for

Yeah, I think you’re onto a good idea here, lets

Yeah, but you know there are layers upon layers of technology, that can make it really exciting, I still think you’re going to need a human touch because it’s all about human need, and you know, just to conclude really, I mean the evolution in picture quality over the years has been impressive, and what you’re finding now is that we’re up to 4K TVs, but they’re actually selling 8K TVs now, I read an article a few years back saying that the human eye can interpret 32K, well give them another ten, twenty years, maybe even five years I don’t know exactly if I’m honest, but within that small amount of time, the technology will be there where you’re looking at a 32K screen, and you can’t actually tell it’s not real. It’s interesting where the world is going, and I think there’s plenty of scope though really. So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode, there’s plenty more on our channel and hope to see you again soon!

Don’t nick our idea about the flying drone as well, that’s ours.

The Ark Media Video Marketing Show, giving you powerful video marketing strategies to truly make an impact.

Episode 3: Q&A On Video Marketing

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Episode Description:

In this week’s episode of The Video Marketing Show, Ark Media’s Managing Director, Phil Arkinstall, and Head of Marketing, Judith Hutchinson, have complied the questions they get asked the most about video production and video marketing. We are certain they have answered at least one of your burning questions! You can watch the full episode on out YouTube channel above, or listen to the podcast version below.


Welcome to The Ark Media Video Marketing Show

Hi welcome to The Video Marketing Show, I’m Phil Arkinstall.

And I’m Judith Hutchinson

And today we are answering questions that have been sent in by our social media followers and our clients. So, the first question is, Judith can you explain what video marketing is in simple terms.

Yeah, so basically, video marketing is how you get your message to your target audience, with video, and that is it in simple terms.

Excellent. So, the next question is how do I integrate video into my current marketing strategy?

It’s like you would integrate any other comms channel, so you would obviously start with your marketing objectives, what is it that you want to achieve? I’m guessing that if you want to integrate video into your marketing strategy it’s because you know video works, because you know your audience are consuming video, but maybe start to think about where they’re consuming that video. So, you know, then you’ll start to get to grips with how you are going to distribute your video, so are you looking at a cinema ad? Are you looking at social media videos? If so which social media channels? Is it for a social paid campaign, or is it an organic campaign? Once you’ve answered those sorts of questions, you’ll formulate a campaign plan to be able to hit your objectives. Okay Phil, so next question can I create an overview video or promotion of my company and be done with it?

I think in this day and age that’s a bit naïve to just make a stand alone video, in the past we would’ve say, made a three minute promo that would potentially go out on a VHS tape, or in the early days of the web it would just go on the website, but actually now, with social media, and peoples habits have changed massively. So, people will consume content for a lot less time, they want more concise answers and call to actions, so actually no, the thing that we really promote with our customers is, film the material once, but then recycle it, reuse in many different ways. That way you can end up with lots of different videos, you can focus around a particular area of your business on one set of videos, but then actually go for the wider, bigger picture on something else, so it is definitely, you should definitely be making maximum use of your content.

Yeah, so you might have a sort of three- or four-minute brand video, and then you might have several thirty second shorts from the same footage for social media and that sort of thing.

Yeah, it’s picking up on threads within a part of your business or your product offering.

I think that any client that has come to us and asked for a promotional video that is for their homepage on their website, has realised how much that helps them in terms of SEO, and people staying on the page and that sort of thing, and they’ve realised the benefit of video and that they should be using it more anyway because of the return that they are getting from it.

Yeah, I agree with that. Okay, so, the next question we had was at what stage of the customer journey should I be introducing video?

So, I’m obviously biased here, but I think all of them. You’ve got your awareness at the top, so it might be you know if you’re using social, or if you’re using television advertising, anything that is going to create awareness of your brand, on more of a mass scale if you like, you can absolutely be using video there. I think further down the funnel, you could be using video at the consideration stage, you can be using video at all of the stages, but things like client testimonials, making people sort of have a keeping up with the Jones’ you know if it’s worked for them it’ll be great for me, it’s almost like thinking of the consumer buying process, so what is going to help them make the decision to buy from you? And using video along each of those different stages, and even when they are a client looking at how you can use video to up-sell, to cross sell, all of those different things.

I think that you’re absolutely right, you have to cover the whole of the sales process.

Okay, so next question Phil is how much should I budget for video in my overall marketing plan?

It’s a really interesting question because there is a massive scale here, you can go from what we call our quick edit service which is where you film yourself, we then top and tail it with graphics and take out any of the bloopers and give you a video back, that could be just a few hundred pounds. On the other end of the spectrum, it could be a cinema or television advert campaign, the thing with that is you shoot on better quality cameras because it has to be shown on a massive screen. You also have to go through the sort of compliance side of working with broadcasters and the cinema chains, there’s a lot more intricacies in the budgeting of the project there, and all the way along there is different sorts of scales to this. There’s self-generated content in the sense of making your own YouTube videos or Tik Toks or whatever it may be, they can be just as effective as spending a lot of money on a campaign. Then there is literally all the stages in-between, where it might be just a day’s filming and a couple of days to put an edit together with some graphics that can look very professional. It really depends on what you’re trying to say to your audience, if you are saying to your audience, we’re a slick professional company, you’re probably better off having a slick professional video that reflects that. If you’re saying, you know we’re talking in volume or it’s a low cost sort of product, you could put some really, quite basic content out there, still try to make it as professional as possible, you know, I’d always suggest that if you’re putting things out on YouTube, to do it horizontal, not portrait effectively, it just makes it look more like a video that you would see on the TV or on at the cinema rather than doing it the other way round, which has its place, because on social media, it lays out differently on your phone. So, there is so many variables, but it really does go back to looking at your strategy, where do you want to position yourself in the market? If you perhaps want to be at the bottom end of the market, you might do something quite low budget, again if you want to do something at the top end, John Lewis’ Christmas advert, you’re not going to do it for hundred quid, on your iPhone, you’re going to do it with a full crew, with a full cast, with scripts, you know visual effects, directors, all things that you would expect at that level of production.

Yeah, it depends on the return you want to get doesn’t it and also, it’s thinking about your video strategy as well, so it might be that you have an amalgamation of self-generated stuff, high end stuff, and also maybe user generated content as well, so videos that your customers have taken of them using your product or your service and your using that for social content.

Yeah, because ultimately the video is to engage with people, it’s to get an emotive reaction out of people. You can do that from a video that someone has shot themselves, if that emotion is in there, you know, some of the best videos you see on Twitter and Tik Tok are the ones that just connect with the audience because they are real, they are real, whereas the glossier stuff, sometimes perhaps it’s harder to get that emotional connection, and that’s why as I said about John Lewis, they spend an absolute fortune, because they are paying for that emotional connection, through the production values and the story that professional people are putting together. So, it’s a real, you know, you can go right from the top to the bottom, or the bottom to the top, it’s got so much scope in there. So, our next question is how do I market videos once they are made?

I think the secret is, or not so much of a secret, but you would have a plan before you made the video. You know, you’d put together where you wanted the videos to be seen, based on what your target audience was, you’d have some objectives in terms of, you know, if you was sharing them on social, you would have some objectives in terms of how many views you wanted them to get, what you wanted people to do as a result of your video, so is it to buy a product or a service? Is it to download something? Is it to, what feelings do you want them to evoke, what do you want to compel them to do after your video? So, you would plan all this out before you made the actual video, because I think that also will link to what the video actually is. So, yeah it’s not a case of making a video and then thinking what do I do with it, you should be thinking what do I do and then making the video based on what you want to achieve.

So, effectively what you’re saying is a video strategy in the early stages, and again that’s something that we offer, is a video strategy session to help explain to our customers, you know, figure out what their problems are, how can video help to solve that problem, and obviously with the different product ranges that we have within video, it’s working out what product goes with what problem. So, actually yeah, I think that’s definitely correct.

And thinking as well about the different types of video that you can use, because when we are doing a video strategy session, I know lots of clients, you know we will show them interactive video and they’re like ‘oh my god, I can totally see how that works, where I could use that or I could use that not just for external communications, but I could use that for internal communications,’ and it’s almost thinking of yeah, what you want to achieve, the type of video you want to produce, and thinking about your brand as well, and how a video links with your brand, so, how you can communicate your brand voice through video. But you would absolutely have a plan before you even commissioned video.

Absolutely, no that’s brilliant. So, thank you to everyone who has sent a question in today, we hope you have enjoyed this episode of The Video Marketing Show and we’ll see you next time.

The Ark Media Video Marketing Show, giving you powerful video marketing strategies to truly make an impact.

Episode 2: Are You Using The Right Type Of Video For Your Business Or Brand

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Episode Description

In this week’s episode of The Video Marketing Show Ark Media’s Managing Director, Phil Arkinstall, will talk you through whether you are using the right type of video for your business or brand.

Areas that will be covered in this episode are:

  • What is the problem that you are trying to solve and will video help you to solve that?
  • Offering different types of video ideas and how you could be using video to help reduce costs and time within your business
  • Different touch points within your customer journey where you could be using video to benefit your business and client experience.

You can watch the full episode on our YouTube channel above, or you can listen to the podcast version below.


Welcome to The Ark Media Video Marketing Show

Hi I’m Phil Arkinstall and welcome to The Video Marketing Show. Now are you using the right type of video marketing for your business or brand?

We want to discuss the different types of products that we offer, and how that fits together with what you might need as a company. So, the first thing we always try to encourage is, not looking at what that product is, so whether it is an animation or an advert or an explainer video. What we always try to do is actually work out first what’s the problem? What are you trying to achieve and also why you think video is best used to achieve that goal? When we do that in a strategy session, we’ll look at exactly what your problem is, is it something to do with recruiting the right people? Is it do with engagement with your brand on the internet? Is it to do with communicating with staff and getting messages out there? Or is that you just want to cover off a bit of news that the company has, and that all falls into different products that we offer.

Proportionally within our business, our biggest product, even though we are a live action video production company on the whole, as a stand-alone product, animation is by far our most popular, and the reason for this is because it actually covers a lot of different bases, so it allows you to convey a message that doesn’t require filming. If you have a business where there is nothing visual about it, or there is something in the business where you can’t actually see by filming it in live action, what the end product looks like, then animation is a good place to go. So, for example here, you could have a company who does some work underground that you cannot get a cross sectional view of the work that they do. So, an animation might be perfect there to help convey that message. Another area might be that staff don’t want to be in the video, they might be feeling that they don’t want to be represented on screen with their own image so actually telling the story through animation might be a powerful method to achieving this.

There could be other reasons why you’d choose animation, perhaps it’s easier to update certain members of your team leaves instead of having to cut them out of the video or come back and do more filming you could actually just change the name of the character in the animation or it might not even be identifiable to that person. Also, they’re vibrant animations, there’s colour, there’s graphics that can fly around the screen, you can get a lot of call to actions by using those graphics and make them memorable, so they’re a really good form to be using to convey your messages.

Another, potentially interesting approach, could be to actually advertise on the television or to advertise on YouTube, so there you would probably be looking at making a more glossy video a bit more polished, certainly not something you would find on zoom or teams at the moment, we’d go through a full production process. There is a lot more detail required for this particular form of video, so you would have to get clear cast approval on the script, you have to be very careful that you’re not miss-selling anything and that you’re accurate about your messaging. It is still a brilliant way of getting maximum exposure, so you could have literally millions of people watching it, we did an advert a couple of years ago for Worcester Cricket, and it appeared in between Coronation Street so it was seen within the Midlands region by upwards of a few million people, and their gate receipts that year for their T20 tournament were absolutely out of this world because again you’re hitting a mass audience. They can be targeted because you might choose to have your advert shown during a particular programme, so if the advert was promoting cricket, it would be perfect to put it in between a sports programme, or if it was particularly about Worcester Cricket, it might be that it is in between a local TV show that focuses on that particular area. Same can be said for YouTube and using that format as well, so if you’re into computer games and you wanted to advertise your computer games, well the best place to go on YouTube would be before hints and tips videos that gamers are using, just being in that right area where that demographic is going to hang around.

Another type that we tend to offer to people is explainer videos, this is where you want to get some information about a product or service across to an audience, by explaining what that is and how it works. These can also be very useful when you’re helping your customer to understand the product and it can actually help to decrease things like support calls you might not need to have a call centre that’s explaining a certain product because they can be referenced straight to the video. This can both really help both B2B and B2C organisations that are utilising the post customer experience, for example if a customer needed to assemble some flat pack furniture, you could have a quick explainer video, explaining exactly how to do it. One of the ones that was always useful for our business was folding up the green screen, we could never seem to get it back into the bag so actually folding it up it was brilliant having access to a video.

A large area that we find video is useful for is internal communications. If you’ve got a team could be anywhere from say five to five-thousand people, getting consistent messages across to that team is massively important, and video is a brilliant way to do that, it’s actually quite vital in that industry to be able to communicate in that way. You can have interviews with the CEO or the senior team, you can have entertaining videos that just maybe convey some health and safety information but do it in an amusing way, but at the same time the message is serious and want to get it across to their staff, maybe even have event videos, highlights of an event that they’ve attended as a business, just to recap, just to capture that moment, newsworthy type material really.

Then of course, promotional videos, that’s a big area of focus for us as a business. This is usually the two to three minute long video, it encapsulates what a business or an organisation does, really brings that brand to life and makes it look as good as it can look, glossy shots, really good concise interviews with people explaining what they do, maybe a voiceover recording and some music, motion graphics, there’s a lot of scope within this area, but what has been interesting over the last few years for us, is that promotional videos actually now have a second life to them you can chop them back, you can make them into short social media clips, so instead of just having that one video that sits on your website or in a presentation for years on end, you can actually recycle and reuse the video and make more focused content. Instead of perhaps covering the breadth of what a business does, you might just cover one particular thread, this can be really highly effective if it’s targeted properly. It also helps having promotional videos because it engages with the visual learner, it helps to build a YouTube audience and ultimately, within business, the reason for having a promotional video would be to increase your presence online, but also to increase sales, and potentially can be more cost effective because it can be used as a touchpoint to a consumer.  Again, when you are filling your marketing funnel, you probably have to have, up to, well anywhere from five to thirteen touchpoints and this video is a brilliant way of reinforcing that, it’s probably one of the most powerful tools that you can have, and maybe it can be seen on your website, it might be seen on your social channels, shown at an event, can go onto your e-newsletter, there is a lot of different places you can use your video, the channels for your video, and it can offer a really cost effective solution.

As we move forward, as technology continues to grow, we’ve also launched a product called Tibi personalised video. Tibi is all about the individual experience, so the video is tailored to the person that’s receiving it, that can be the visual or the auditory. Visually, it could be that their name appears on the screen, some statistics relevant to the product that’s on offer appear, so maybe if someone was asking for a loan, the computer would calculate the repayment terms on that loan and actually show the person directly what they would expect to get from that product. Then on the sound side you could have the voiceover address the person by name, and also if it was say an animation, you could get it so that the characters were switched out to represent the demographic of who the video was aimed at. If you had an animation that had two different target markets, you could have two different characters that fit nicely into that market. It’s a real revolution in how video will be used in the coming years, and we are definitely on the forefront of that.

To conclude, I think the key thing to identifying if you’re using the right type of video for your brand or business is probably to have a strategy session. Sit down with our team, plan out what you are trying to achieve, what the pain points in your business are, sometimes these pain points they don’t, they obviously show that they are linked to a video solution, but actually once you have discussed that problem, you can find that there is a video solution, a quick example of that, would be if you’re bringing a load of new staff on, you could send them out a load of training material that are visual, that perhaps the company historically might not have done that before, but again, just having that conversation and figuring out what’s a particular developmental point within your business, across the whole company, video may well be able to offer a solution and the way that we try to do that is by having a strategy session. So please book onto a strategy session on [email protected]. Thank you for joining me for this episode of The Video Marketing Show

The Ark Media Video Marketing Show, giving you powerful video marketing strategies to truly make an impact.

Episode 1: How Can You Make Your Home Videos Better?

Retrograde (4)

Episode Description

This episode of The Video Marketing Show is brought to you by Phil & Graham. It has been proven over the past few months how effective video can be when communicating with staff or customers. In this episode Phil & Graham will give you hints, tips and ideas on how to make your home videos look professional. They will cover areas from lighting to sound and how to frame a video. They also offer advice and best practice for when you’re filming with your smartphone.

Watch the entire episode on our YouTube channel via the link above, or you can listen to the podcast version below.


Welcome to The Ark Media Video Marketing Show.

Welcome to The Video Marketing Show, today we’ve got Phil and myself Graham, and we’re going to be talking about five top tips about getting the best footage you can when you’re making your own videos at home. To start off with, let’s talk about background, have you got a couple of tips about background, what looks best what doesn’t look good?

I think the main thing with the background is, to make sure you haven’t got a window behind yourself, because that will just over expose, if you have ever watch things like crime watch where you have the person in silhouette and then the big window behind them, you cannot see them. That’s a bit of a lighting tip, when it comes to background, it’s trying to make it engaging and interesting for whoever is watching your video. So it might be that you have a roller banner or a banner like this behind you, it might be that you just have something like the company logo on the door that you’re in the office, or something like that or, if you’re in a factory, you might have the shop floor behind you to show the depth of your operation, show scale. It really depends on the environment, and I think that is one of the biggest challenges when we are out filming, is what do you put behind people? Sometimes you could be in a really horrible little room and there are no real options, so then you might try to make the background fully white, us a white wall or even a different coloured wall, just something so that it’s not taking the eye off the person being interviewed, it’s not distracting. It can be complementary, but you don’t want it to overpower them.

I would agree, when you’re looking at background, you should always try and find something that is relevant to what you are talking about. Because, if you’re talking about, I don’t know, if you’re talking about a factory and you’re stuck in an office somewhere, it doesn’t really work, you know, it’s really got to fit with it. Coming back to the whole lighting, because people might not understand this as much but, you have different forms of light so, you know, inside this room now is a lot darker than what it is outside, and that’s why when you film yourself against a window, the camera on your phone automatically picks up the light outside. So outside is going to nice and pretty and stuff, but your face is just going to be black. So the best thing to do in that situation is to just turn yourself around, use the natural light source that is coming in from the window to lighten you up, you know natural light is one of the best forms of light, it’s quite a light colour as well, it’s not kind of tungsten orange. Just be careful with that, if you’ve got harsh sun light coming through, you know don’t use it then, if it’s kind of diffused if it’s a cloudy day then one hundred percent use that.

Yeah that’s interesting because a lot of our clients think ‘oh it’s a beautiful blue-sky day, it’s going to look great’. When actually, for filming purposes, having clouds in the sky is much better because it softens the light, it’s too harsh contrasts, you get big shadows, whereas actually, yeah, if you have lots of cloud, it looks better on camera, it might not be perfect for the scene they’re trying to create, but it certainly creates a better filming environment. The other thing I would add to that as well, is if you are filming outdoors, it’s making sure that whoever is being interviewed is not looking into the sun. So, although it is useful to have the sunlight coming towards them, it would always be on an offset angle because you don’t want them squinting or not being able to see the camera. It just ruins the performance if the viewer is constantly looking at them squinting.

Yeah, so, we’ve covered background, we’ve covered a little bit about lighting, and how to utilise natural light in your home. Now let’s talk about composition, composition is kind of like the framing of the shot isn’t it, so what are your suggestions on the best way, for someone who doesn’t know a lot about filming, what’s the best way to get good composition?

Well it’s interesting it goes back to when I was a student at college, I was sixteen, fresh out of school, going to college to do media studies, one of the very first lessons the lecturer taught you was, if you’ve got the camera frame, you always try to get their eyes two thirds up the screen, because it feels like a natural height for someone to be looking at you. If you have their eyes in the bottom half of the screen or too high, you might be chopping their head off or you might have too much space above them, it doesn’t create a very good vibe for the viewer. The other thing as well is say I am looking that way, you always leave more space in front of the person, because then it just looks like they have space to talk into. Whereas if they are up against the edge of frame, it can feel a little uncomfortable, a claustrophobic, even for the viewer. Now sometimes, you might actually want to create that, you see a lot of films where they use really bizarre camera angles where it does feel like the actor is trapped.

Kind of feels strange and odd doesn’t it.

Yeah, but they are trying to do that on purpose because they are trying to create the mood of claustrophobia or threat or horror, but if you are doing a standard type of interview, where they are not looking directly at the camera, because that’s another interesting thing about composition, you could have someone look directly at camera, or you could have someone having a conversation piece where they are looking off camera, that’s very much again in how you are styling the video. Are you presenting? Are you like Ant and Dec or a news reader, or are you being interviewed so looking off camera? These are all the compositional decisions you need to make.

I think for a lot of people, when they are filming themselves or filming someone else, on their iPhone or their cheap DSLR or whatever, I’d always recommend, especially if your doing it yourself, talking straight to camera. Because, you know it’s simple then and it’s another way of getting a message across, if you’re talking straight down the lens, it’s almost like you’re talking to the person watching this.

Definitely, another interesting thing around composition and it’s a bug bear of mine for someone who has worked in the TV, film and corporate space for quite a long time now. I always want things shot horizontally. Now that’s very much changing in the modern world, because of things like Facebook and Instagram, people will scroll down whilst holding their device vertically.  But actually I’ve always taken the view that, the cinema screen is that shape, the television screen is that shape, or in the olden days it was much more square, but the medium was made to be that shape. Actually now, and the next generation that are coming through are sort of fighting a little bit against that, to create another question that perhaps a couple of years ago, you wouldn’t even ask, but which way round do I position the camera?

I think, for me they both have pros and cons. Now I think, you know, I’m the same as you, film everything landscape you know. You’ve got a lot more space around your shot, if you’re filming portrait your cutting it off

It’s quite tight isn’t it

Yeah, but a lot of social media channels like it, portrait now don’t they.

Yeah, if you’re holding it vertically, you could end up with the black bars at the top or the bottom, and that’s what people, they won’t like that either, because of losing that screen space, so, it has to be discussed and that sort of goes into identifying your audience, are they on Facebook? Are they on a cinema screen, you know if you work it out where you are actually aiming your videos, then you can adapt to actually, you know, that audience.

I mean, composition, all the rules that we have talked about are based around shooting landscape

Yeah, they are

So you know, if you flip it around and put it portrait, the same model applies but it’s just slightly different. It’s like why reinvent the wheel sometimes. When they used, obviously, you know TV’s used to be square, framing had to be different. So, like now when they are filming, they have this empty space here.


Back in the day it used to be here, it would kind of be here, there was no empty space. So as soon as introduced this wider screen picture, it gave people so much more room to play around with on this side. You could put objects there put colours there

Graphics as well

So, the next thing we are going to look at is a tripod. For me there is not loads to talk about with a tripod


I think if you are making videos at home, you’ve got to keep it steady

Yeah. I think the key there with a tripod, as you say, it is literally a bit of metal or plastic that will hold the camera still. But, that holds camera still bit is the key, the amount of videos that you see that are shot by someone with less experience, and they’re wobbling around or they don’t hold their shots for long enough, the tripod is the perfect way to take that element out the equation. For example, how we are filming today on three cameras, they’re all on a tripod, they’re all still, the shots stay the same. For any level of film making or making content on your phone, its much wiser to have a tripod just for the steadiness.

That’s it I mean, you know, it’s a tool isn’t it, use a tripod to get a certain type of shot, but I’d say like home videos, it’s not the kind of video where you don’t use a tripod. Because you just need it steady. If you don’t have a tripod improvise, but a table on a chair, and you know, just balance it on the table.

Absolutely, you can use anything, gaffer tape your iPhone to the wall. Whatever it requires, just keep it nice and steady for the duration of the filming.


So, the final thing that we haven’t touched upon is sound. Sound is such a massive part of video, its audio visual, the audio bit should not be neglected for the video bit. The interesting thing there is things like the iPhones and the Android phones, the cameras are so good now that you can get good quality video at proper high levels, you can drop a clip from an iPhone into some of our videos that are being shot on a really high quality DSLR. But actually, the problem arises with the sound, because the way that your sound waves go away from you means that the microphone has to be as close to you as possible, it doesn’t want to be the other side of the room. Again, in the scenario we are in now, you can’t see it on the cameras, but the microphone is just above our heads.  That gives you that clarity of sound, now if you’re shooting on an iPhone as a consumer, you’re always going to suffer, lighting and sounds are always going to be where you suffer

I mean there’s, for me, I think there’s a stat out there, that people are more likely to turn off a video if the audio is bad than the picture quality. I would, you know, if you can’t hear it, just get rid of it. There are a couple of way that you can utilise good microphones with your smartphone, I think the cheapest, and most efficient way is to use ear buds, or Bluetooth headphones and stuff, obviously they are designed for hands free calling, they do have a microphone in there, and that is going to be closer to your mouth that what your camera is over there


The second is you can get something that is called a lapel mic, or a lap mic, and it’s just a mic that clips onto your lapel here. So the microphone is there, it’s really close to your mouth, but usually there is quite a long wire with them and a lot of iPhones and smartphones are getting rid of the audio in which you would usually plug it into so you can probably still find them but they are probably a bit harder to come by. Another alternative that a lot of people don’t think about, it depends on how skilled you are at editing, but you could film your sound externally. There is internal audio, so you plug the microphone into the camera, they record, video is there, sound is there, they kind of compress themselves. Or you can do external audio, the video file is there, you’re recording it on your phone, but you’ve got an external recorder or a Dictaphone. You record them separately, and then when you get to the edit suit you can just sync them up.

Absolutely, yeah

And if you’ve got a bit of skill, I would recommend doing that because you can have the camera five metres away, but you can have the recorder there.

Yeah, absolutely.

I wouldn’t rely solely on the phone. So, that’s our five top tips about filming from home, we do have an online course so if you want to learn more about that we will put a link in at the bottom of this video. We do offer as quick edit service as well, which starts from ninety-nine pounds, plus vat and that is to edit up to two minutes of you home footage video. Thank you for listening, bye.


The Ark Media Video Marketing Show, giving you powerful video marketing strategies, that will truly make an impact.