This video about rice got us all emotional

As you know, at TopLine Film we gave up most of our hobbies to dedicate our free time to scouring the internet for beautiful, powerful videos to inspire us, spark our creativity and generally entertain us. But nothing quite prepared us for this video about…rice.

Here’s what we loved about this promo for Andy’s Charleston Gold Rice:

  • It’s beautiful: this video contains lovely shots and is very cinematic.
  • It’s credible: the interviews have been done well. The interviewees appear to be speaking from the heart – they aren’t being forced to say anything. They really believe what they are saying.
  • It tells a story: this video illustrates the farm to plate story very well, even showing how they cook the rice in their restaurant. This breaks the story up nicely, giving it a bit of unique flavour (!).
  • It uses drones the right way: we are all about content with a purpose here, and we often think the purpose of using drone footage is to showcase that the video production company has a drone. But in this instance, the use of drone is on point.
  • It achieves its purpose: the purpose of this video is almost certainly to leave the viewer wanting to try the rice – which is exactly how we felt after watching it.
Video production costs explained

Contents

When it comes to video production costs, we feel confident in saying that confusion abounds. We get video production and animation enquiries from companies with £1,000 to spend and companies with budgets exceeding £100,000. And while we will always turn away the £1,000 leads, the fact is, a video can be made on an iPhone for free, or a motion picture production studio could make it for millions.  So when someone asks us about video production costs, there really isn’t a single, definitive answer.

That said, if you know how you want your video to look (remember, we have research that shows that the quality of your video reflects on your brand) and you know how long it should be, we can guide you as to the overall video production costs.

Factors that influence video production costs

Two factors have a bearing on video production costs: resource and process.

The sheer physical resource required to bring a project to fruition – hours in pre-production, number of people working on the project, quality of any equipment used – will significantly influence the cost. A 4K shoot might use a Sony FX9 or a Canon C500; a budget shoot might use a DSLR camera designed primarily to capture still images. The difference between five days of editing and half a day of editing can be the difference between something sleek, professional, and well-paced and something that looks cobbled together from stock footage in Windows Movie Maker. For animation, a higher budget means better graphics and more detail.

The second factor is the process. It’s less tangible, but it’s just as important. A significantly cheaper video might be visually indistinguishable from a more costly one: it might use the same grade of camera or the same animation style, and it might have the same sound quality. However, corners will inevitably be cut in pre-production, production, and post-production. A skeleton crew (and no, not the fun Pirates of the Caribbean kind!) will be used instead of a full five-person team, and most likely populated with newbies and graduates instead of veterans. Mistakes and delays will happen, and whatever you think you’re saving in raw cost, you’ll pay for in sheer hassle.

What the ideal video budget should cover

With the right video production budget, you’ll get a complete, experienced crew: a producer, director, camera operator, assistant, sound recordist and editor. In other words, a well-qualified, well-oiled filming machine.

The crew will do a comprehensive location recce to figure out where to shoot and how, before the day of filming arrives they’ll:

  • try every angle
  • figure out the best lighting
  • check every room and corridor for the best possible locations.

For a case study video, a production team will interview several times as many people as they need to – figuring out who’s charismatic enough to sell the message and who should never under any circumstances appear on film!

But beyond that, the right video production budget gives you a deeper, more consultative relationship. With twenty hours of producer time, you’ll have many more options when it comes to crafting the video you want. If you’ve changed your requirements during the storyboarding process, the producer and designer will work together to meet your evolving preferences. Scripting services will typically be included via freelancers or in-house writers – bringing your message to life with intelligence and verve. If something goes wrong on the day, there will be contingency plans in place to accommodate it. In other words, you get what you pay for.

Different video production cost levels

We get it – if you’re researching video production costs, you want numbers. So we have broken down the different cost levels for a corporate video of around 30-60 seconds in length. It’s designed to give you a ballpark idea as to what your video production might cost.

Do it yourself (almost free)

The cheapest option is to use your smartphone or a DSLR camera. As a rule, if it has decent audio, then it’ll do the job. But because it won’t have the production value, this type of video needs quality content to carry it. Just remember not to be too ambitious if you haven’t got the resources to pull it off. And maybe take an online course in video production to make sure you avoid some of the obvious mistakes.

Our tips:

  • Get audio done right – buy a lapel mic from amazon to make sure the audio is good enough.
  • Try to use natural light and have the scene well lit.
  • Use a tripod.
  • Film at the highest resolution and quality possible.
  • Make a feature of the fact that you’re filming it yourself – user-generated content can be compelling if you commit to the style.

We should add here that even if you can borrow all the equipment and don’t have to spend a cent, this approach isn’t really free, because your time is valuable!

Video creation platforms (£50-£300)

We have come across quite a few video creation platforms. Promo.com is one example. While we don’t use these much ourselves, they can be great for social content, particularly when you need a lot of this. There is still an art to getting it right, and you’ll have to educate yourself on messaging, image selection and the entire process.

Freelancers (approximately £1,000 – £5,000)

Freelancers can normally do the job for less than a production company. Ideally, you want someone who can do everything – an all-rounder who can produce and edit and help with concept creation and shooting. You can expect the equipment they use to be modest but still professional.

The downside to this is that an all-rounder won’t be good at everything. You’ll also be completely at the mercy of that person – if they have one style, you’ll have to go with that, and if they go on holiday or have other clients, they might take ages to make changes. Many freelancers don’t take much of a strategic approach either.

To find a good freelancer you can look on directory websites like mandy.com and Production Base, but we find just asking around is the best way. Most people know someone who works in video production. Also, look on Vimeo for showreels and try contacting the publisher yourself.

Production company (approximately £5,000 – £50,000)

If you work with a reputable corporate video production company, you can guarantee that you’ll have a team of people working on your video. That means you’ll get specialists in each discipline (editing, camera work, and scriptwriting) that will elevate the whole product. If you have lots of creatives bringing their brains to your video, you’ll also get their collective experience of working with thousands of clients.

A production company should also take all the management off your hands – the whole process should be a lot more strategic and methodical, with an emphasis on results. They’ll likely have experience and a legacy in creating result-driven videos, and they will be able to advise on your video distribution strategy (and create your video with this strategy in mind), making them that much more reliable and effective. Plus, they should have access to better equipment, meaning they can scale up to handle larger projects and or multiple projects at once.

Most production companies don’t charge usage fees for anything they create, but it may be required for actors, talent, and voiceover. When these are needed, they should negotiate on your behalf. Again, your video company should discuss this with you right at the beginning of the project.

A £5k budget video can still look very good even if simple for filmed content. However, animation at the same price point can be a bit sketchy. The starting point for animation is around £7k for quality, but from this level, film vs animation is priced similarly, with the following starting points:

  • Filmed case study £5,000
  • Filmed corporate video £7,500
  • Brand film / promo + socials £12,000
  • 90 sec 2D animation £7,000
  • 90 sec 2.5D animation £8,500
  • 90 sec 3D animation £10,000
  • 60 second motion graphics / typography £6,000

So, that’s the short answer to “how much does a video cost?”. But other common questions or queries we get about the price of videos include:

What about that cheap video production company?

We found a company who can do it for really cheap and price is the most important thing to us. Do you think the video will still be OK to use?

The answer here is that ultimately, you get what you pay for. You won’t get something that is high-quality and credible for cheap. If you can’t afford to use a quality agency, then we suggest finding a good freelancer. You’ll be removing the margins, but you’ll have to manage them, which requires more investment of your time and brings more risk – especially if you have no experience managing video projects.

Delivering ROI

To get a video made, we need to provide a clear return on investment (ROI). How can we do that?

ROI comes from the video strategy, which any good corporate video production company will help you build. If your video must deliver leads, for example, then that needs to be built into the strategy right from the beginning. If your video production company doesn’t think the video will deliver the ROI you’re after, they should say so as they won’t meet the brief.

It’s important to clarify that your video doesn’t have to break the bank: if it won’t be made appreciably better by 4K or a crane shot – as fun as crane shots are – then there’s no point in paying for it. Your priorities should determine  your video production budget.

But quality videos don’t compromise on the things that matter: whether they’re tangible things like equipment or intangible things like experience and process. It doesn’t matter how low the price point; it always costs you more to buy something shoddy in the end.

Good work isn’t cheap – and cheap work isn’t good. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

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Our guide to internal video production

Your corporate video is usually aimed at potential customers, which means its primary purpose is typically to capture the viewer’s attention and hold it for as long as it takes to deliver the message.

But internal videos are different. Your audience already knows you, they are usually happy to hear from you and they need a lot less convincing to watch to the end. So thankfully that means you don’t need to worry too much about content, message delivery, scripting, visual impact or memorability in an internal video.

 

We’re joking of course (we know – we are hilarious). Because your internal audience matters just as much as your external ones. While you might have slightly more leeway on some aspects of script writing for internal videos, you really do still need to apply the principles of marketing when speaking to this audience.

We spoke to our friends at internal communications agency, Words & Pictures and they told us that internal can mean many things, so the first step in producing an internal video is to understand:

  • who it’s for (all employees; finance team; EMEA stakeholders)
  • how they are going to consume it (online; corporate away day)
  • how much they know about the subject already

Internal comms videos are often discussing change – the videos need to promote that change and encourage the audience to feel a certain way about it. That means the brief is important. You need to establish the overall goals:

  • What do you want viewers to DO after watching your videos? It’s really important to have a handle on the call to action.
  • What should they KNOW? Is there a policy change that you want them to really understand?
  • And how would you like them to FEEL after watching? Should they feel more engaged or connected to your company? Empowered? Inspired?

Internal videos can be longer than external ones where you are competing with unlimited noise. Your internal audience is already somewhat invested and the topic is likely to impact them directly. That said, it’s best to keep it short – the rules of online video still apply – your internal audience is still being bombarded by a lot of noise, and you don’t want them to stop watching because they get bored.

And when it comes to tone of voice, you can be a lot less formal and corporate when speaking to your employees and other internal stakeholders. In fact, it’s encouraged!

Location, location, location – how to choose where to film your company video

It’s day one of your corporate video shoot. The CEO knows her lines. The crew has tried and tested all their equipment. The caterers have fresh croissants and coffee. Everyone is ready to roll. Except no one can find the location. One camera assistant gets lucky and stumbles upon it, only to discover there are no plug-points and it’s full of old office furniture. Phone calls are made, fingers are pointed, time passes and the light changes. The entire production schedule loses a day and you spend the night combing budgets to cover the overtime.

Choosing where to film your video is as important as writing the script. Neither is easy and honestly, both are better left to the experts. While the executive boardroom may look good to the naked eye, its fluorescent strip-lighting overhead, or its proximity to the construction site over the road, make it an immediate no-no for the camera.

At TopLine Film, our very experienced corporate video production team has navigated some tricky shoots and follows one very important rule: wherever possible, recce the location beforehand. It’s not always doable and can ruffle some feathers, especially if the chosen location is the CEO’s office, but it does pay-off in the long-run, saving our clients from dull-looking videos that may not present them in the best light, literally.

If you’re looking to make a company video that sticks to the schedule and budget, delivers on the brief, and doesn’t cause unnecessary stress, consider where to film it carefully. We’ve put some handy pointers together to help you.

Seeing the light

It’s your company video which means shooting it at your offices is the preferred location. However, bear in mind that most offices, even the über trendy ones, suffer from the sin of fluorescent lighting and cheap energy saving bulbs. The light they cast may look white but it’s actually tinged with green or pink – which the camera can pick up. Crews can spend hours fighting with light rather than controlling it, especially in offices where one switch controls a whole floor. When choosing where to film, opt for a space in which the light is dimmable and isolated. Faces that look bilious or sunburnt can be fixed to some degree in the edit, but avoid adding that to the post-production and choose a location with the right light from the start.

Climbing the walls

If you want to drive your production agency dilly, give them a room with four white walls to shoot in. Plain white walls are, quite simply, plain. And reminiscent of a lunatic asylum which we doubt is the look you’re going for. Unless your CEO looks like Halle Berry, a boring backdrop will lose audience interest and there is not much a camera or edit crew can do to liven it up. Our video team has seen this mistake time and time again, and has spent precious minutes running around trying to find an office plant to artfully throw in shot. If you’re not sure where to film, choose a couple of rooms that are aesthetically appealing and let the crew in to check them out beforehand and make the final call. Ultimately you want to create a video that holds your audience’s attention for its full duration so don’t let the décor let you down.

Go big or go home

Bigger rooms are better. Unless they are filled with big, heavy, expensive, shiny, immovable boardroom tables. Production crews work faster when they have space to play with angles and lighting, and space to store all their gear with them.

Easy access

If your company is on the 22nd floor of a central London skyscraper, security and parking issues can cause irritating delays. Whatever the size or location, always clear the production crew with security beforehand, be there to meet the crew and show them where to go, and provide them with all-day parking permits as close to the chosen shoot location as possible. We’ve experienced lengthy back entrance security sign in processes for our gear and crew that were completely unexpected and unplanned for – should this be protocol, inform the crew so that they can arrive even earlier and no time is wasted.

Drop a pin

Whether in the city, out in the country, or somewhere in between, your production crew needs to know where to go. Use Google Maps Drop Pins to share your location. Nothing wastes more time than getting lost.

Noise levels

Don’t just look at where to film. Listen too. The perfect location is immediately undone by uncontrollable noise levels. We’ve often arrived on set only for our sensitive audio equipment to be drowned out by construction either next door or in the building. Air conditioning can be a problem too, causing lots of background noise that is impossible to separate in post-production. Also, it’s worth remembering that air conditioning is like office lighting; often controlled by one switch per floor.

Mirror mirror on the wall

Too many windows or well buffed surfaces can cause numerous hassles for crew, often reflecting them into shot during filming. A good crew will check this in their recce and come to shoot with the right equipment called ‘flags’ to block the reflections.

Come rain or come shine

The weather can cause havoc whether shooting indoors or out. A sunny day is great – until a cloud passes over and changes the exposure. This makes continuity a challenge, especially if the video is being edited. Time of day is a factor too as the location’s natural light will be impacted by the direction in which it faces: a 5pm shoot when the sun is lower in the sky may result in unwanted lens flare or overexposure. By visiting the location before the shoot, and at the same proposed shoot time, the production crew can assess any issues and plan accordingly.

Going the distance

How far away is the location? Remember that the crew needs time to set up before the shoot, and time after the shoot to wrap up. If the location is too far from base and it’s a two-day shoot (or longer), then overnight accommodation will have to be budgeted for in the production costs.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you make the best company video possible, talk to Jamie, our managing director.

1,624 video marketing statistics that prove that we want to rank for the term “video marketing statistics”

Tiger Woods once said, “winning solves everything”. And we have a LOT to solve. So when our in-house SEO nerd told us we should write a blog post about video marketing statistics so that we could rank on Google for the term “video marketing statistics” it was game ON.

Did you know that there are over 100 online searches a month for “video marketing statistics?” I mean it’s no “what country is Germany located in?” (1,000+) but 100 is still a lot and totally worth going for as a video production company. Because if someone is in the market for video marketing statistics, they are almost certainly in the market for a video too.

Do you know how we know this? Because our competitors are currently stealing all of that great video production business right from under our noses with their rank-worthy listicles of video marketing statistics.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the market for lists of video marketing statistics has been tapped.  We found cunning suitors aplenty wooing the same term and our feathers were suitably ruffled. Influencer Marketing Hub offers 60 powerful video marketing statistics. But then Lemonlight steps up to the plate with 67 video marketing stats you need to know for 2020. Little did they know, Zidivo had found three more (cheeky fuckers). We thought Wyzowl was gonna win with their 100+ (keeping it nice and vague) but then Review42 only goes and swoops in with their 147+ video marketing stats, leaving the rest of us all feeling inadequate.

Yes when it comes to video marketing statistics, more is more.

But fortunately our content team has had six months of lockdown to come up with a plan. Review42 we see your 147+ statistics and we raise you +/- 1,477 to present 1,624 video marketing stats. It might take us a while to deliver on these, but just you wait – we will get there…and when we are done it will be the longest list of video marketing statistics ever compiled. The internet will not know what to do. So here goes:

We’ll start with the obligatory intro to video marketing

We’ll say something like “unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past decade”. And then we’ll mention the “video marketing landscape.” After that we will talk about “the advent of smart phones” and then we’ll deliver some platitude about the “rise of social media.”  We might even pay homage to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index.

And then we’ll move onto our stats, ensuring that we never cite the true source of a statistic, but rather a blog reference to a blog reference to a blog reference of the original. Because by maintaining three degrees of separation from the stat’s birthplace, we can help our readers meet their daily online step targets.

Here they are:

  1. TikTok now has 1 billion monthly active users (January 2022) (source)
  2. After watching a product video, consumers are up to 85% more likely to buy it (source)
  3. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in the text (source)
  4. 87% of business-related videos are still viewed on a desktop (source)
  5. As of January 2022, on average viewers are watching over 700 million hours of YouTube content on TV daily (source)
  6. Facebook Instream video provides the best CTR for marketers – 0.33% (source)
  7. Video is the second most common post type on Facebook – 16.5% (source)
  8. Facebook Live videos are only being used 0.7% of the time (source)
  9. Facebook Live delivers almost 3x the engagement of traditional video (source)
  10. 1.5bn – predicted TikTok active users in 2022 (source)
  11. 85% of Gen Z adults use TikTok daily (source)
  12. 75% of millennials use YouTube daily, with…
  13. 60% spending more than 30 minutes a day on the video network (source)
  14. 63% of Gen X adults use YouTube daily (source)
  15. 49% of small business decision-makers use YouTube every day (source)
  16. 39% of UK baby boomers spend more than 30 minutes a day on YouTube (source)
  17. When looking for business advice, 56% of small business decision-makers would head to YouTube…
  18. …and 38% would look for videos on company websites (source).
  19. 87% of businesses now use video as a marketing tool. This number is up from 63% in 2017 and 81% in 2018 (source).
  20. Video is expected to make up 82% of internet traffic by 2021 (source).
  21. 88% of marketers plan to increase spending on video in 2019 (source).
  22. 91% of video marketers consider video to be an important part of their marketing strategy. That’s an increase from 82% in 2017 and 85% in 2018 (source).
  23. 99% will continue to use video in 2019, with 88% saying they’ll spend more than they did in previous years (source).
  24. 88% of marketers plan to increase spending on video in 2019 (source).
  25. By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017 (source).
  26. 25% of companies publish videos every week (source).
  27. Digital video marketing is a $135 billion industry in the U.S. alone (source).
  28. Businesses in high tech and professional services industries are publishing the most new videos on a monthly basis (source).
  29. 68% of people say they’d prefer to learn about a new product or service by watching a short video. This makes video more popular as a learning tool than text-based articles (15%), infographics (4%) presentations and pitches (4%) ebooks and manuals (3%) (source).
  30. 71% of people watch more video than they did a year ago (source).
  31. 87% of consumers say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2019 (source).
  32. When asked to identify the type of video content they’d want to see more from brands, 39% of people cited explainer videos; 20% want entertaining ‘viral’ videos; 12% want to see more product demo videos; 10% want more video blogs; 9% want more interactive videos (source).
  33. 6 out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than television (source).
  34. 59% of senior executives favor video over text (source).
  35. 90% of users report that product videos are helpful in the decision process of the buyer’s journey (source).
  36. 56% of consumers believe that a company should have video content on its website (source).
  37. 79% of people say a brand’s video has convinced them to buy a piece of software or app (source).
  38. 84% of marketers say video has helped them increase traffic to their website (source).
  39. Including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80% (source).
  40. Adding video to your emails can increase click rates by 300% (source).
  41. 81% of marketers say video has helped them generate leads (source).
  42. 64% of consumers will make a purchase after watching branded videos on social platforms (source).
  43. 80% of marketers say video has increased dwell time on their website (source).
  44. 41% of marketers say that video has helped them reduce support calls (source).
  45. 52% of marketing professionals worldwide said video is the type of content with the best ROI (source).
  46. Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video marketers (source).
  47. A website is 53 times more likely to reach the front page of Google if it includes video (source).
  48. 65% of executives have gone to the marketer’s site and 39% have called them on the phone after watching a marketing video (source).
  49. On average, people spend 2.6x more time on pages with video than without (source).
  50. 93% of businesses reported gaining a new customer as a direct result of a video posted on social media (source).
  51. Because of its visual nature, 80% of users can recall a video ad they’ve seen in the past 30 days (source).
  52. 46% of users take action after viewing a video (source).
  53. When users enjoy video ads, their purchase intent is increased by 97% (source).
  54. Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year (source).
  55. Facebook is the most popular platform for businesses to share video content (81%), followed by YouTube (62%), Instagram (57%), and LinkedIn (32%) (source).
  56. On Twitter, 82% of users watch video content (source).
  57. Nearly half of Facebook and YouTube users consume more than an hour of video per week (source).
  58. Social media posts with video have 48% more views (source).
  59. Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined (source).
  60. Video campaigns on LinkedIn have 50% view rates (source).
  61. 81% of businesses prefer to use Facebook for their video marketing (source).
  62. Facebook has over 8 billion video views per day (source).
  63. Over 1.9 billion people, roughly one-third of the Internet, use YouTube (source).
  64. Consumers engage with branded videos the most on Facebook (49%), followed by YouTube (32%), then Instagram (24%) (source).
  65. Sponsored video content views on Facebook has jumped 258% since 2016 (source).
  66. Mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year (source).
  67. 75% of all video plays are on mobile devices (source).
  68. 92% of users watching video on mobile will share it with others (source).
  69. People are 1.5 times more likely to watch video on their mobile phones (source).
  70. 90% of Twitter video views happen on a mobile device (source).
  71. 48% of Millennials are watching video exclusively on mobile devices (source).
  72. Mobile video ad spend is expected to be around 72% of the total digital ad spend this year (source).
  73. The average mobile-viewing session on YouTube lasts more than 40 minutes (source).
  74. Mobile viewers now watch over 40 minutes of video on their phones every day (source).
  75. Video will account for 78% of mobile data traffic in 2019 (source).
  76. Streaming video accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic and is expected to jump to 82% by 2020 (source).
  77. Live video is more appealing to brand audiences: 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82%  prefer live video from a brand to social posts (source).
  78. 63% of people aged 18-34 watch live streaming content regularly (source).
  79. 47% of live streaming video viewers worldwide are watching more live videos compared to a year ago (source).
  80. Viewers are likely to watch a live video approximately three times longer than a pre-recorded one (source).
  81. 79% of marketers say live video facilitates a more authentic interaction with an audience (source).
  82. 67% of audiences who watched a live stream purchased a ticket to a similar event the next time it occurred (source).
  83. 63% of marketers say live video brings a human touch to digital marketing (source).
  84. Live content on Facebook receives 10x more comments than regular videos (source).
  85. 61% of marketers say a benefit of live video is that it creates content that can be viewed or repurposed later (source).
  86. 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound (source)
  87. 57% of consumers have purchased something discovered via a Facebook video ad (source)
  88. 25% of consumers have purchased something discovered via an Instagram video ad (source)
  89. 25% of consumers have purchased something discovered via an Instagram video ad (source)
  90. 33% of viewers will stop watching a video after 30 seconds, 45% by 1 minute, and 60% by 2 minutes (source)
  91. 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions (source)
  92. The most popular time for people to view a B2B video is mid-week (source)
  93. 66% of consumers say the quality of a company’s video reflects the quality of its brand (source)
  94. 55% of consumers prefer to watch a video over reading text (source)
  95. 67% of consumers want the brands they follow to entertain them with video (source)
  96. 78% of Marketing Professionals Say Videos Helped Increase Sales (source)
  97. 88% of video marketers are satisfied with the ROI of their video marketing efforts on social media (source)
  98. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in the text (source)
  99. 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool — up from 63% over the last three years (source)
  100. More coming soon

So we’re at 99 video marketing stats so far. Only 1,525 to go. We will add to this post as more information comes to light. And if you happen to be in possession of additional stats, please email them to hello@toplinefilm.com.

Oh and thanks to Sam Holzman, Content Marketing Manager at ZoomInfo, a leading B2B contact database that helps organizations accelerate growth and profitability. He helped us pull together some of this data.

We love this explainer that explains nothing

At TopLine Film, we are all about content with a purpose. We like to create videos to achieve a specific objective. And that objective is never to leave the viewer confused.  But we’re also fond of creative risk-taking, which is why we were happy to be left confused by this video:

 

It didn’t leave us wanting more. It left us entirely unsure of what we wanted. So we did what any self-respecting millennial would do: we put down our avocado toast and we googled “Hedvig” which immediately established that this is an insurance company. Not only did we google Hedvig, we also visited their website and then re-watched their videos. Bravo guys!

 

We suspect this video was shot on film – it looks that way, with its 1970’s vibe (are we right? We love being right). It has the target audience spot on. The deadpan comedy tone works so well. The casting is on point – the talent really makes this. The messaging is subtle in contrast to the brash style adopted by many insurance companies. This feels like the anti-insurance company.

Thanks for the creative inspiration Hedvig.

Recruitment video case study: Central Bedfordshire Council

Across the United Kingdom there is currently a major shortage of people working in care. This has been caused by a number of factors including Brexit and the pandemic. But there is also a stigma attached to working in care, with many care workers seeking employment elsewhere.

Since the pandemic, the need for people working in care has increased dramatically, which is why Central Bedfordshire Council commissioned a recruitment film to help generate interest in the care industry in general and also applications for jobs.

We knew we needed to showcase both the human benefits of a job in the care industry and the career progression opportunities for care workers, and so we decided to take an interview-based approach.

We had worked with CBC before and our team (a director and a camera operator) spent the day at a care home and interviewed people within different roles. These included front line staff who support residents one on one every day, to managerial staff that help develop staff and run care homes.

The video captured honest and emotional interviews – we wanted to showcase careers in care as fulfilling and meaningful and the interviewees didn’t disappoint – it was obvious that these people love their jobs and are proud of the impact they have. It was a delight to work with them.

We shot the film handheld so we could be nimble throughout the day, capturing the special moments between staff and residents. The b-roll sequences work nicely in slow motion, so we can highlight the interaction between residents. As well as the main film, we also created 3 short social clips which would be used in targeted social recruitment campaigns.

You can watch the film here – we hope it piques your interest in a career in care.

 

Our 22 best ecommerce videos

People who watch videos on ecommerce sites are almost twice as likely to buy. They’ll also trust your brand more, spend more time in your online store. But what makes for a good ecommerce video?

We got our team of video producers, animators, camera operators, editors and directors to trawl the web in search of the world’s best ecommerce videos. Here’s their selection of the top 20.

Magento – The Art of Commerce

 

They said: “Clean lines and fluid movement keep the animation cracking along.”

Manscaped

They said: “Great use of humour and not taking themselves too seriously, we’ve shared this video a few times.”

This is Webflow ecommerce

 

They said: “Soft, muted, and unusual -almost dreamy- animation style looks great and sells the message.”

Solo Stove

They said: “Including user generated content and review footage for this product was a great idea.”

eCommerce Revolution: Leveraging Social Media for Big Profits

 

They said: “Love the energy in this film – with the colours popping, and the cool track.”

Wallprotex

 

They said: “This animation has a really unusual 50’s or 60’s ‘drawn’ style that works well in selling the product.”

Unilever Ecommerce

 

They said: “The bold colours and clean lines work well on this brand/ecommerce update animation.”

Bugaboo – Ecommerce Strategy & Platform

 

They said: “Super vibrant mix of colour, product cut-outs and pacey edit is eye catching.”

Die Post – Ecommerce

 

They said: “Love the home made/cardboard aesthetic of this promo.”

UFC e-commerce

 

They said: “Punchy well shots cinematic visuals make this short crackle.”

Blender Bottle

 

They said: “Very short, but it makes its point with beautifully shot imagery and unusual voice over.”

Dollar Shave Club

 

They said: “Cheeky, funny and well thought out, it proved to be a well-earned viral hit.”

Shopify

 

They said: “Simple 2D animation that works well because it has excellent flow.”

ASOS – More reasons to move

 

They said: “Great typography and energy.”

Comer.se

 

They said: “Icons. Icons. Icons. This company knows who its audience is.”

NIGHT Cable

 

They said: “The simple structure of this product video works so well. Identify what everyone has an issue with, and show how you have solved it. Easy.”

My cloud

 

They said: “Bright and breezy animation style really sells the product uses.”

eBay – It’s happening on eBay

 

They said: “Love the typography design in this with big bold colours and overall it has a really fun energy to it.”

Man Crates

 

They said: “So silly, but really enjoyable. The voice over choice really made this product video.”

Amazon – Alexa – Not everything makes the cut

 

They said: “More fun and games with Alexa, matching the hilarious tone of their 2018 Superbowl commercial with some more famous faces.”

Zalando – Dress for yourself, no one else

 

 

They said: “Trying to out-zany Amazon it seems. Love the energy and the clever cutting giving the illusion of instant costume changes.”

ASOS – My Style Is Never Done

 

They said: “Some lovely match cutting throughout this to keep the energy up and some animation in there too.”

Feeling inspired? Ready to get started on your video? Want to create a new addition to our best ecommerce videos list? We know just the video production company for you.

We’ve made over 50 fintech videos. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Marketing, writing about, and promoting fintechs is about balance. To convey the benefits of these fantastically complex and innovative products correctly (things that promise to change the game, upset the applecart, or otherwise verb the noun) you have to render them in simple terms. You need to highlight why your fintech is meaningfully different from a conventional provider such as a high street bank – and explain why it should be trusted as much as these conventional providers.

It’s a tough line to walk, and we ought to know: as a corporate video production company, we’ve worked on over fifty fintech productions for brands such as Zopa, Xero, Funding Options, and Divido – so we know how to make films for payment platforms, crowdfunding services, and challenger banks. We’ve learned a lot along the way.

Here are our key takeaways.

Story is everything…

…but don’t overcook it. A great many fintech companies, and tech companies in general, claim to have these quasi-messianic ‘missions’ (“We’re going to completely disrupt, destroy, and devastate the world of commercial finance”) but in practice, they offer a cool new spin on a conventional product that will make their customers’ lives a little bit easier.

That, ultimately, is the story of your video: what it does for your customers. If you absolutely have to do a whole spiel about how your founder was inspired to create the company after embarking on an ayahuasca-fuelled vision quest in the Amazon, keep it to the “About Us” section of your website. Fintech stories are most effective when they’re about the people who use your product.

Build sturdy foundations

So how do you tell these stories? Start by offering a logical structure for the video. We like to use a little technique we call “Pain, Claim, Gain, Proof” (we didn’t invent it, but we have nicked it from the guys who did and we are very grateful for that). Our Divido explainer is a good example of this technique in action:

 

PAIN – “Customers sometimes need help making large purchases.”

CLAIM – “With Divido, spread the cost over several months while the business gets paid in full right away.”

GAIN – “It’s a win-win. You can convert more customers and boost order values.”

PROOF – “It’s award-winning technology. Sales for customers typically increase by 20-40%. Don’t take our word for it, book a demo to find out more.”

There’s more to it, but using this technique does a lot of the work for you – and gives you more space to worry about the other features and benefits you can fit into the two-minute runtime.

Watch your tone

Rich coming from us, we know. Here, the issue of balance is again front-of-mind. You don’t want to adopt the stuffy, arch tone of a conventional finance provider, but you also can’t be too familiar; the technological graveyard is littered with the corpses of try-hard companies that thought they could be their customers’ best friends.

We hate to go on about Monzo, we really do, but the bank’s recently-released TV ad is an excellent example of the kind of tone you should be aiming for when writing a fintech explainer.

The emphasis is all-important here: the customers are the central characters and the agents of change. They’ve decided they’ve had enough, and they want something different. Monzo facilitates these wants, but the narrative doesn’t show the platform itself – it shows their desires being acknowledged and fulfilled. Even the comedy uses an appealingly light touch: the script as written isn’t particularly funny, but this sparing approach allows visual humour to take centre-stage.

It’s a minute-long masterclass in tone-setting and customer-oriented storytelling. Monzo even allows itself to be rudely dismissed at the end of the video – an appealing, self-deprecating moment that serves as an effective button for the video, and one that many companies would be too self-serious to ever consider.

Ultimately, it says what every fintech video should say: we’re here for you, the customer. You’re what matters. We’re some nerds who built a platform, and this platform can make your life slightly better in these specific ways. They don’t want to hear a long spiel about why high-street banks are bad; they don’t want to hear your origin story; they want to know what you can do for them.

In our experience, the difference between a good and bad fintech video is how clearly this purpose comes across.

Show and tell

Once you’ve nailed your script, you need to think about how you’ll visualise the narrative. If your product is tangible like a contactless card reader, then you might opt for filmed content. If the product is software/SaaS based, then animation showing the dashboard and interfaces would make sense. If there is nothing to show (the product/service is completely in the background) then you might want to do something abstract. You can also mix different types of visuals, like this example by Visa:

 

To avoid a marketing disaster, it’s really important to storyboard the video once the script has been written. When everyone is aligned on the storyboard, only then should the video be created.

Think about the longer term

Unlike most things that evolve, fintechs tend to evolve quickly, so a video can become outdated if you don’t plan carefully. You have three options here: you can update your video with every product update; you can enrage your user by showing them a video that no longer reflects the reality of your customer interface, or you could future-proof your video.

In most cases (where we actually like your Mrs Customer) we recommend the third option.  Instead of showing literal screenshots of user interface, you can strip these back and take a more abstract approach so the design is recognisable but won’t be outdated as soon as there is an update. If there are sections of the video that you know will date quickly, try to structure the video in a modular way so that these sections are self-contained and can be changed without needing to update the whole video.

Take a risk

It’s easy to fall into the trap of making a video that looks a lot like everyone else’s – if you knew how many companies approach us to make a video based on the Monday.com explainer, you really wouldn’t want a video based on the Monday.com explainer.

Don’t fall into the fintech version of this trap. Too many  fintech explainers follow this formula: a slightly abstract character design with infographic style icons and typography. Sure, it works. But if you’re disrupting your market, shouldn’t your video be disrupting its market.

Don’t play too safe. We often start projects and are told by our clients that they want to do something different and exciting and take risks, but along the way the fear sets in and the awesome original concept that we all loved at the start gets watered down to something bit ordinary. If you want to create a video that is as amazing as your product, don’t play it safe. Here is a prime example from Xero who did something a little different.

If you’ve got this far, you have to read our post on the top fintech publications