It had to happen...check out the video above.
As BiteSite gets more and more into scripted works, we're starting to realize the huge benefit of using a very powerful yet simple tool: Storyboards. Storyboards are a great way to answer a lot of questions and in this article we're going to explore why and how we use them.
Why bother doing storyboards?
The biggest reason we use storyboards is it gives us a preview of what the final video will look like and let us know if our vision will actually work. When you write a script and have a vague idea of what your visuals are going to look like, it's not enough to dictate what shots you're going to use and if they'll work together in the final edit.
Storyboards to the rescue!
Storyboards are a cheap way early in the production to figure out exactly what it is you're going to shoot. When you're on set, busy with squeezing in 30 or 40 shots in a 10 hour day, it can be hard to keep track of the bigger vision. By doing storyboards, you're guaranteeing that up front, your vision is going to work. Once you get to the set, things get very expensive and if you're not sure your vision is going to work, things could get very difficult.
When you do your storyboards and base your shots on your storyboards - you can concentrate on getting great shots and not whether or not things are going to flow together.
How do we use storyboards?
It's a pretty simple process that we employ at BiteSite.
- Everything starts with the script and a visual ideas. The script will give us a vague idea of what we'll be seeing on screen.
- Then using the script, we'll draw storyboards using either simple pencil and paper, or apps like Paper for iPad.
- After the storyboards are done, we'll sometimes edit them together in Final Cut Pro and put music to it to see how everything fits together.
- If all goes well, we'll base our shot list directly on the shots we see in the storyboard edit.
You don't have to be a professional storyboard artist to see how things are going to work. Just some simple drawings to guide you.
Our latest project with App8 showed that we stuck very close to the storyboards and we were very happy with the results.
So if you find yourself working on a video production, take some time to layout your ideas using storyboards. It'll make the shoot go a lot smoother and you'll end up with a great video in the end.
Be sure to checkout out our video above to see a side by side comparison of the App8 Promo Video storyboards and the final video.
When you're creating a corporate video or working with an external video production company, you'll have a lot of choice when it comes to format. You could go live-action, animated, unscripted, scripted and more. One thing you should consider, however, is using voice-over.
Voice-over is the process of recording spoken words separate from the video and the reason we're a big fan of using it at BiteSite is that it is a relatively low-cost, low-logistics way of getting professional, high-quality videos.
Let's explore this a bit deeper.
The benefits of using voice-over
The biggest benefit to using voice-over is that it is a low-risk way to get professional quality results. When you're recording video, there is a lot that can go wrong. The lighting might be off because the sun is in the wrong place. The weather might not corporate. Your on-screen subjects might not behave the way you want them too. The location might not be ideal. There is a lot to consider. However, one thing that has a lot less risk and that almost always go well is recording voice-over.
With the right talent, voice-over can be as easy as providing a script and some direction. With as little as that, you'll end up with something that rivals broadcast television commercials.
Not too mention, if voice-over and music is all that you envision in your final video, a lot of technical logistics are removed because you don't have to record any location audio.
So for these reasons, we're huge fans of this format.
Prepping for the voice-over
At BiteSite, there are a few steps we take to prepare a voice-over. The first is writing the script. We could write a whole article on this, but obviously you need to put together a script that contains the important messages you're trying to communicate.
Next, we time the script. Reading the script in your head or just picturing how long the script will be can be dangerous in that you might be way off in terms of how long you think it'll be. What's best is to grab a timer and actually read the script aloud in the tone of voice and speed you anticipate the final product to feature.
With those two things out of the way, the script is ready.
Book your talent
Although there are many sites out there that offer voice-over work, we've dealt with two: www.voxtalent.com and www.voicebunny.com. Most of our dealings have been with VoxTalent so for the rest of this article we will speak to that. However, VoiceBunny is still a good alternative to explore.
With VoxTalent, you should start by browsing their rates. For a typical corporate video, you're looking at spending between $250.00 and $400.00 CAD. Once you're familiar with the rates, you can then browse their actors and actresses. You'll have to option of dealing with actors/actresses who can attend a recording session in person, or have them record at home. Again because of the ease of logistics, we typically pick the latter.
You'll be able to listen to their demo reels and check their availability so you can get right person for the job.
After you're happy with a candidate, it's just a matter of filling out a form and dealing with the VoxTalent agents to book your talent.
Prepare Director's Notes
After your actor or actress is booked, you'll be sending a script but also director's notes if you choose to have them record the voice-over at home. Director's notes help your talent nail the tone and style you're going for and clarify any questions they may have.
You can download a director's notes template from our downloads page https://www.bitesite.ca/download.
Here is a brief breakdown of what we include:
Project - The name of the project.
Non-disclosure - Any non-disclosure notes if you are working on a project that has not yet been announced to the public.
Type - Whether it's animated or live-action.
Talent - Name of the actor or actress selected.
Ideal Length - The final length of the voice-over (e.g. 1:10, 1 minute and 10 seconds).
Narration Tone - Notes about the tone of the voice-over (e.g. 'Serious with authority, but calm')
References - Sections of the talent's demo, or YouTube videos that are similar to the tone you are going for.
Music Inspiration - Links to samples of music that might help convey the tone.
Pronunciation Notes - Pronunciation of words that are not obvious including company names, regional words.
Wrapping it all up
After you've booked your talent, and sent them the script and director's notes, you'll play the waiting game. VoxTalent has been very responsive and in some cases had a 24 hour turn-around. However, it does vary from case to case as the actors and actresses may be booked up.
When they are finished, they'll send you an audio file that you can easily throw into your timeline of your edit and then you're all done.
Consider using Voice-over on your next project
As mentioned, video production can have a lot go wrong and if things are not executed properly, you might lose out on some of that gloss or shine that other videos have. Voice-over is a low-risk way to ensure you're video will sound professional.
Every actor and actress that we've worked with to date has delivered incredible work that has taken our videos to the next level.
If you're producing a corporate video yourself or working with a video production company, you should highly consider incorporating professional voice-over into your video.
Similar to our previous post, here we are looking at different methods on how to include visual elements in videos. While some of the techniques outlined here are similar to that last post, they're slightly more aligned with having a logo appear at the end of your video as opposed to having text appear throughout. It's often desirable to include a logo at the end of a video in order to remind the viewer of the company or brand and leave them with that final image in their minds. You can find this method being used in promotional videos, advertisements, and other corporate/commercial videos.
If you're editing a video for your own company or a client's, the methods that we go over here should help to solve potential issues as well as show different creative options that you might use when including logos in videos. First, we'll cover the most common way that logos are displayed after a video is completed.
Overlaid On Black or White
If you're not looking for different or creative ways to display a logo in your videos, the most logical and easy method is to simply cut to black and have the logo appear there. This method works fine and will in no way take away from the professional look in your video that you might be going for. Cutting to black and bringing up either ending credits or logos is something you see in many feature films and other professional video formats (commercial/corporate included). Cutting to black keeps things clean and is a great go-to method when adding logos to videos.
Alternatively, you can have the logo appear on a white background instead of cutting to black. This can be useful for a couple reasons. First, the logo in question might simply look better on white than on black. For example, if the logo has any black visual elements in it, they will get lost in a black background; placing the logo on white resolves that issue. Second, a white background can better suit the feel of the video it's being used in. A white background could help to keep the tone lighter and happier, while a black background could come across as more serious and cinematic. At BiteSite, we have even opted for white backgrounds for this very reason, even when the logo would have appeared just as visually pleasing on a black background.
Overlaid On Video Footage
Pushing things a bit further in terms of creativity, logos can be displayed on top of video footage rather than simply on black or white. This requires that the final shot of the video is chosen with the logo in mind so that everything looks clean and works well together visually. Using this method can help to create a unified feel to the entire video; you're not cutting away to a completely new visual to end it off. Cutting to black or white can sometimes be a bit jarring. Rather, you're sticking with a similar visual look that the viewer has grown accustomed to as they've been viewing the video up to that point. Simply cutting to a different shot (rather than black or white) and having the logo appear on top can help to mitigate that jarring sensation you might otherwise create.
Even if none of the shots that you have available are well suited for placing a logo on, you can still use this method if you first apply a blur effect to the footage to have it appear less visually noisy. Many visual backgrounds can be used once blur is applied, some might just require more blurring than others. That being said, blur doesn't necessarily solve the issue of your logo potentially looking better on a lighter or darker background. Blur will only solve the visual noise, not the lightness or darkness of an image.
Composited Into The Shot
While this technique requires a bit of planning and creativity and can also require a little more work in post-production, it's not too difficult or time-consuming to implement. Compositing the logo into the shot refers to having a shot that is specifically meant to have a logo placed in it. This can be as simple as shooting the shot in such a way that the logo fits well on top of it, for example shooting an outdoor landscape shot with enough empty sky to hold the logo. You can also push this further and have motion occur in the shot where someone or something in the frame moves out of the frame, revealing the logo from behind. For example, someone speaking to the camera in the frame can deliver their final line, and then walk out of frame, revealing the logo which would appear to have been floating behind them the entire time. To see what I'm struggling to convey here in writing, check out the video that is posted along with this article.
When you use techniques like this, it can help to add a little more visual appeal and gives more attention to the logo itself. It can be a great way to have a stronger ending to your video without going overboard.
Full Screen Logo
Lastly, you can have a logo animation that takes up the entire frame of the video. Picture for a moment the Paramount logo intro that you see in many feature length Hollywood films; that constitutes a full frame logo animation. When displaying the logo in this way, you no longer need to display it on black, white, or overlaid on top of video footage. Rather, the entire logo becomes a video clip in itself which you can simply end the video with. Furthermore, you can incorporate this full screen animation into the edit by creatively wiping to it rather than having a potentially jarring cut from the video footage to the full screen animated logo scene. For an example of this, check out the video posted along with this article.
Keep It Simple
That covers some different methods you can use for adding logos to videos. When it's all said and done, you can always just cut to black (or white) and have the logo appear there. It's generally best to keep things simple or in line with whatever brand or company you are dealing with. When using any of the other methods outlined here, just make sure that it does fit in with the overall tone and feel of the video and suits the company's wishes as well.
When you get into video production you'll find that the more tools you have at your disposal, the better equipped you'll be to get your message across. Additionally, more skills will generally open up new and creative ways to execute on that message, helping stand out and be original. One of those tools is the ability to add visual elements to your video on top of the original footage that was shot on camera. In today's post, we'll be talking about one of those elements (text) and some techniques you can utilize to use text in to your videos.
There are many opportunities to implement text in video. Sometimes the decision to include it will be a necessity while at other times it can provide a creative and different way to communicate the message. For example, a title graphic at the beginning of a video to introduce a topic is not uncommon. Less uncommon, but perhaps an effective implementation, is including text throughout the video in order to repeat and emphasize points being made vocally. Text throughout the video can also help to break it up into sections and give it a more structured feel. You can also have ending titles or credits, closed captions, lower thirds to introduce a person's name and position, etc.
It should also be mentioned that while we are focusing on text graphics, the techniques outlined here can also be applied to any other visual element you want to include in your video such as logos, icons, motion graphics, and more. Let's get started with the first way you can incorporate visuals into your video.
Overlay text is quite simply overlaying the text on top of your video footage. This can be useful in order to repeat and emphasize what is being said by someone on camera and can help to keep the pace of the video up by not needing to cut away from the main content. Oftentimes this technique is used to display the introductory title of the video. In fact, in any feature-length movie you watch, you'll likely see overlay text at the beginning of the film, showing either the actors names or the main title of the movie. So, now that we've classified 'overlay text', what are some techniques you can implement to use it in an effective way?
Text will oftentimes get lost in the visual noise of a video background. It will either blend in too much, or there just won't be a logical place to position it based on what is in the shot. Sometimes it's best to either just go without text, pick a different shot to use the text with, or use any one of the three methods outlined below. Let's start by looking at shade and colour.
Shade and Colour
To put it simply (and it is simple), if your video background is bright, keep your text dark, and vice-versa. Additionally, contrasting hues (warm vs cool) or different levels of saturation can also help the text to stand out from the background rather than blending in too much.
Applying a drop shadow effect allows you to be less restricted in choosing the shade and colour as no matter what look you choose for the text, you can just add a contrasting drop shadow behind it. If your text is light, add a dark shadow and vice-versa.
Lastly, you can also separate your overlay text from the background by putting a bounding box behind it. It might not be the look your going for, but is the most widely applicable way to include text no matter the background it's being placed on.
Blurring the video background is a similar technique those mentioned so far as it's about separating the text from a noisy background. All editing applications will likely have a blurring effect, causing the detail, contrast, and hard lines of a video's image to soften and blend in with each other. When you apply enough blur, the image becomes much more uniform and calm. Once blurred, you can place text, or any other visual element on top and have it completely legible, just as much so as if it were on a white or black background with no visual information at all.
When it comes to scenarios where blurring can be used, well, of course it's up to you! Generally though, this can be useful at the end of a video where the final scene eventually becomes blurred and the final titles or logos are displayed on top. Other than that, a blurred background can work anywhere else where you want to create a relevant and usable image behind your text rather than something more plain or design centric.
Composing Text with the Shot
This method is all about creatively and consciously positioning your text on a video background in a place where it appears natural, pleasing, and legible. There are two ways that you can go about using this method. First, you can have happy surprises where a particular shot just happens to have the qualities required for text to be added and look good. The second way to implement this is to actually shoot your shot with the text placement in mind. For example and landscape shot with only a bit of sky might be too noisy in all places of the image for the text to stand out. However if you shot with text in mind, you might include a lot more of the sky, allowing text to be placed against a consistent and calm blue hue. For another example, reference the image here, or check out the video included with this post.
Full Screen Title Cards
Lastly, you can add text to your videos by creating a full screen title card. This is the only method here where the original video background is completely discarded and an entirely new visual is created from scratch. This might sound like a lot of work, but it can be as simple as creating a solid colour that covers the entire frame, and placing your text on that. That being said, it can be helpful to dress things up a bit by adding some visual elements as well. In these cases a graphic designer would be quite valuable!
Full screen title cards also have the advantage of breaking up the video footage into sections. When you cut away to a title card, it gives the impression that you are taking a pause to acknowledge that a new point is being made, even if the audio of video continues to play underneath. Full screen title cards are very useful in educational content, pre-recorded video presentations, an otherwise creative ways to implement text into video.
That's it! Keep Text in Mind.
That covers four different quick and simple techniques on how to add text to your videos. Sometimes it can seem like adding text to your videos will just appear tacky and cheap, but hopefully these methods help to mitigate that concern. There are of course endless ways you can creatively implement text, but the creative energy and time spent on those applications might not be feasible. Lastly, the design of your text will play a big part in how it fits in to your video. It's important to consider font, point size, layout, and colour. While graphic design and working with type is entirely its own domain, the techniques outlined here will help to fit that text into your video once the design is complete. Stay tuned for more content like this and feel free to leave a comment below!