06 Dec 2019

Video Production at Scale: Maximising Production Efficiency Whilst Retaining Quality

Product Video

Video Production Needs Organisation

The word online is that in 2020 business video will become more important for … well for just about everything to do with connecting prospective customers to a business offer. Whether it’s Google search, engagement, information or brand enhancement, products with video will simply outsell those products that don’t have video.

Fragmentation and complexity in online marketing is now so pronounced that without expert digital specialists and analytics support, the internet is like the Matrix; an ever changing, disorientating landscape.

So it’s refreshing that visual content producers offer some certainty in this environment; product video, animation and photography, along with their older cousins, copy and design, are fixed points in a crazy ecommerce space.

Whilst distribution and linking strategies are the element which the digital marketers navigate and which to most remain a foggy landscape, content creation offers business the opportunity to take control of its messaging.

This is not to minimise the interaction between product adverts and their distribution on social media, websites and ecommerce platforms. But content is at the very least something to hold on to when online marketing starts to morph into an endless set of analytical data.

If the ecommerce space feels a wild ride for business, we all know as consumers what it is like to browse, search and compare across multiple sites. Search engines are a starting point for most of us, and whilst the SEO battle rages on every search term it’s no surprise that as online shoppers we’re exposed to some of the fallout from the increasing complexity of the web.

Like the businesses that are retailing online, consumers want certainty too; which is why visual content is such a relief in the shopping environment. We get to see something we recognise. It gives immediate information and helps us to build trust in the seller.

It’s for this reason that all the online marketing predictions for 2020 have a lot to do with video as a sales tool.

Want Scaleable Video Content?

So how do significant online retailers create product visual content at scale, especially when their inventory changes from month to month?

Since video has been accessible on the web, there have been and will continue to be attempts to mechanise video production. The holy grail of scaleable video production was on the boil even in the early days of online video with pioneers like Giff Gaff leading the charge.

Nowadays, there is an ever increasing list of apps like Promo and Magisto offering to create throwaway retail video. And for some ecommerce sellers this will do the trick; it’ll boost SEO and give some stickiness to the product page.

But for retailers, particularly in the B2B space, who are concerned to maintain brand reputation and provide truly informational video, the answer is not an off-the-shelf solution that relies anyway on the creation or purchase of product footage and the ingestion of the correct footage into an app. A fact the smart marketers recognise as a quick-fix because there’s no way to short the production process; it still requires someone to organise content creation, albeit not necessarily a video specialist.

Can Scaleable Video at Realistic Price Points Be Achieved?

So how to create multiple videos whilst keeping costs realistic and without impacting on the quality of the content?

Saleability whilst retaining a consistent quality is the defining feature of industrialisation. The only way it can be done, as Henry Ford discovered when he started to refine the complex manufacture of cars, is by creating a workflow that invites repetitive process to create something standard.

In the case of video the standard is a format.

A video format is like a mould, it helps to retain the shape of the content whilst elements inside can be mixed and changed. It helps to speed up production because the videographers can repeat certain parts of the process, like lighting or shot size, to help maximise efficiency.

This does not mean that all products in an inventory must have the same format – that would be erring too close to the mechanisation of a video creation app. But whole product ranges can be formatted; for example fridge freezer videos might all have the same format – shot sizes in the same order, text graphics, lighting, whilst cooker or cutlery videos could be formatted differently

The Workflow is Everything

Once the standard is defined, a production workflow can then be created to serve each format.

Whilst the format guarantees quality and consistency in the creative process, it’s the wrap around organisation of production that is key to cost effectiveness.

It is this that ensures there are few errors in the transmission of information throughout the video production process.

In a multiple video shoot across several days or weeks, from signing in the products to be filmed to ensuring the correct scripts and messaging are understood by the film crew to post-production addition of overlays, the workflow needs to be robust.

Both the client and producer have to invest in the workflow for multiple video or photography production to work effectively.

Casestudy: QVC Home of Multiple Product Video & Streaming

QVC sells hundreds of thousands of products through massive scaling up of operations. It does this whilst retaining the technical quality of broadcast output.

To watch the organisational brilliance of this enterprise is to understand how effective for both the clients and the producers a well-structured production procedure can be.

QVC is totally process driven, shifting a mass of product through its headquarters in Kew by scheduling exactly how products for filming are to arrive, to be packed, to be stored and to leave.

Timing is everything. From presenters to crew to online and telesales, the whole operation is slick, with client and producer investing together to make it happen.

For businesses that are large retailers with an expanding inventory and big ambitions, the benefit of this type of workflow is to generate massive cost reductions on the production of each video.

It is a case of classic discounting on the commission of volume.

To create bespoke, branded and consistent product video that is scaleable requires not only a financial commitment to video in a business’ ecommerce strategy.

It is also the recognition that the organisation of resources and the integration of client and production teams to generate a disciplined workflow, is the only way to achieve informative and cost effective content that increases sales in the online space.