Anyone marketing themselves online these days needs a video. Here are two videos I put together for Darlene Quinn, a novelist who wants to promote her book and land more speaking engagements.
The videos are very similar, but vary in length. One includes soundbites of her speaking; the other does not. We made two in order to give Ms. Quinn some marketing flexibility. Plus, making two videos, using some of the same visual elements and taking advantage of the same pre-production and production stages, is more cost effective than just doing one.
Generally, online videos need to be short. Following that rule, we created a short version for the general audience. We also edited a longer version to show a smaller, more targeted audience. No doubt we could also find a use for a really short, (:30 second) version too.
These videos I am posting here are just “rough drafts.” Rough cuts is usually the term used. As you know, making video is a process, and what you are seeing here is only about 90% finished. I thought my readers would be interested to see this stage of the process. As I work with my client, I want her to approve what I am doing at various stages before we move on and finalize the edit.
The scripts gained approval last week so I gathered my visual and audio storytelling elements and edited the two videos you see here.
Now, all that is left to to is tweak the edit details and find a real narrator. My voice is on there right now, but honestly, my voice simply is not high enough quality to be used on a video like this. (I can’t sing well either. Dang, I wish I could!) I only cut the audio in order to have a frame work to edit and make sure the client liked where I was going visually. No one who is not familiar with the video making process will have a difficult time visualizing how a written script will translate into a talking and moving video.
Letting her see a rough cut video and see it all together may inspire her to want to change the script. Fine, let’s do it. That is what a rough cut is for. If we had already paid a professional narrator, we’d have wasted money.
I cut the audio because using my voice is the easiest and most efficient way to do that. My voice is good enough to do that much! I read it using the same pacing and general tone I would instruct a real narrator to use.
Assuming Ms. Quinn likes the general flow and style of this video, swapping out narrators at this point is extremely easy assuming the PACING is the same. If the real narrator read it substantially slower or faster, then I’d be stuck modifying the length of my shots which would be very time consuming. When I send the new narrator the script, I’ll indicate exactly how long each paragraph needs to be. Any good narrator will be able to match the pacing I have established.
But Lorraine, You Have a Nice Voice!
This blog often discusses issues of “quality” in making videos. As you know, I am a firm believer in “good enough.” How to determine what is good enough depends completely on the specific video you are making. My narrating voice is OK for some videos and 90% of the videos I make use my voice in the final version. But in this case, my voice will not cut it. We are trying to be dramatic here in a highly competitive marketing situation for Ms. Wuinn. We need a booming voice. No matter how hard I try, I can not make my voice boom. In fact, I think I sound a bit silly! (Before I could edit this piece, I had to stop laughing at the goofy-sounding narrator.) That is NOT the effect we are going for.
Speaking as someone who has made thousands of videos, one of the best tips I can share with you is this. Making video well requires you to get your ego out of the way. My feelings are not the least bit hurt to admit that my narrating voice is less-than-stellar. I simply do not possess the raw talent. I use my voice when it is appropriate, but am grateful to have access to real narrators when I need them. The difference goes way beyond apples and oranges.
Some people tell me they love my narrating voice, that it is calm and soothing. OK, maybe so. For some videos, my voice works reasonably well. But for the style and effect we are going for in the Darlene Quinn videos, we need booming, not soothing.
When I need to hire an outside narrator, I use Voices on Call.com. They have thousands of voices to chose from so you can get precisely the style you need. It is helpful to supply a narrator instructions on tone, emphasis and pacing. In this case, I will simply have them listen to my versions. That’ll give them a sense of job security, no doubt!
Thanks for reading Video Production Tips.