Written by Tate Holcombe, Senior Director, Video Production
You’re not doing enough video.
Yep, not even close.
In the digital world we live in, there are more mediums for delivering video content to consumers and potential voters than could have ever been imagined just a few short years ago. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Twitch, Hulu, just to name a few, and all have different formats and best practices. Keep in mind, it’s not always advisable to use the same video in a tweaked format for all of them. For instance, did you know that the best length for video on Instagram is 26 seconds in a 1x1 aspect ratio? What you need is a variety of content and a production team that knows how to navigate this expanding river of video content.
To help you create that content we’ve come up with a list of the 4 types of video shoots you should be planning to add to your campaign’s media plan.
The one that a lot of people do halfway. The embed means putting a professional video shooter with your campaign for up to a week. That’s right, a week. Not one or two random events; several days worth of shooting. Having a good video shooter with a professional cinema camera with your campaign or team every step of the way for several days of events, speeches, or even just getting your candidate talking on the phone, eating lunch, driving around town, gives your video team dozens of opportunities to create content. If you have all of this footage on hand, it’s easy to always find a perfect b-roll shot for ads, social videos, or just a cool background for a graphic. Having a properly embedded video shooter also adds cohesion of look, style, and shot selection to all of your future video projects.
This may be one of the simplest ones to execute. For instance, you could record something with your candidate saying “You’ve seen how I’m willing to fight, will you help us keep up the fight with a $22 dollar donation?”, that can be used by your social media and editing team after every earned media clip to have a direct fundraising ask built into EVERY social media you post. These can even be shot on a smartphone, though you want to make sure they still look professional and well done. It’s best to shoot a variety of these with different outfits and backgrounds if possible, though it’s best to avoid green screen here. Other concepts could have a candidate's spouse, kids, or even a dog asking for either donations, sign-ups, or to request a yard sign.
When you hear livestream, you’re probably thinking of Instagram or Facebook lives that were so popular in the 2020 campaign. However most campaigns don’t even try for good production value on these. Adding a decent USB microphone and HD webcam to a laptop, and a cheap LED light from Amazon can literally triple your production value. Having a designated area for live streams or live interviews is a huge miss by most campaigns. For under $250 and a small room, you can have a professional live streaming setup, that can also be used for Zoom or Skype media interviews. One of the biggest benefits of live streaming is the ability to directly interact with consumers or voters. As higher production value becomes more common, especially on platforms like Facebook and Twitch, it will be important to keep up.
The "We Made 10 6 second ads in 2 hours"
Please do your video production team a favor, don’t ask them to make a 6-second video ad from a 30-second one. It’s not going to work right. Instead, plan an afternoon (or early evening for that sweet golden hour light) and put together several plans for 6-second ads. These types of ads still see plenty of inventory availability, they’re easier to repurpose for platforms like Instagram stories, and they’re easy to shoot. The trap to avoid here is to only use previously shot b-roll or clips from longer videos to fit a 6-second format. The best 6-second ads are the ones that have the most planning. For instance, take the candidate running for congress in NYC whose whole ad was “Bill DeBlasio Sucks”. That was it. But you need to create a plan with your production team to have several ideas ready to go so that you can shoot all of them and never run out of ads or short social videos.
Hopefully, this list of video shoots and setups helps you fill the never-ending content needs of your next digital campaign. Video production is about more than having a nice camera and pointing it at a subject. It’s about knowing the right way to plan, shoot, and create content for all of the different media channels that exist in our digital world.