I covered pretty extensively in the book Run ‘n Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide the secret of interviews and how to edit them.
The problem, of course, is that most of the people you’ll be interviewing have either never been interviewed before or they’re marketing people who have tons of ‘talking points’ stacked up in their heads that they just roll out when a questions seems somehow vaguely related.
In the first case, if you don’t handle it right, they will come off weak and unconvincing because the person is introverted and not speaking from the heart.
In the second case they will come off weak and unconvincing because the viewer will instantly recognise the marketing hype, immediately reject it and go to the ‘user review’ section to find out what real customers think about the product or service.
In either case, editing becomes the task of creating a narrative that best forwards the marketing message. And in both cases, this is achievable–sometimes better than other times.
Anyway, we ran into an unusual situation recently.
For starters, the production executive in charge of the multi-million dollar installation was surprisingly young. He was also very well spoken.
The 25 minute interview for the 3 minute video was almost 100% usable just as he said it.
What to do?!!
First off, this was a testimonial-driven corporate video as most of mine are. In other words, we are interviewing the client’s client. The video is for Company A who have produced a product or service for Company B. We don’t bother interviewing Company A (the producer) because of course they are going to say their product or service is wonderful. But is it really? Let’s ask their customer–and that’s the strength of corporate videos based on customer reviews. The viewer doesn’t have to scroll on down to the user review section because this video IS a customer review.
Anyway, turns out it was very difficult to cut this one down to 3 minutes. There were so many options.
Usually I have bits in there at the beginning and end talking about the producer of the product or service (our client). And in the middle a bit about the actual product or service.
Every version of the edit using that template was just too long.
In the end I opted to have the interview only talk about the producer (our client), not what they produced (and industrial automated conveyance and sorting system). Even that was hard to get down to 3 minutes.
This does pose a small problem: Normally the B roll in the edit should roughly correspond to what is being said. That’s integrated story-telling and easy to follow.
In this case, while he talked about the company that provided the service, I had no choice but to show in the B roll the actual system that was produced. Of course the two are related, but he’s not talking about what I’m showing.
In an upcoming update of the Run and Gun videography book mentioned above there will be a few more chapters that I wrote a few months ago. One of them is called ‘Marketing Viewpoint’. In essence, one has to assume the viewpoint of the eventual target audience you are selling to. It’s what they want to know that’s important, not necessarily what the video client wants to say. The video is for future customers, not the board room executives.
In the case of this video we knew that the potential customer for a multi-million dollar automation system would well know what such a system looks like and does. He’ll have done his research. So he’ll be far more interested in what an actual user thinks about the product than having the system explained. The purpose of the video is to get him to contact our client for more information. It is then that he can ask more questions or arrange a meeting. Job done as far as the video goes.
As you, reader of this blog, are probably not in the market for warehouse automation, most of this might go over your head. So you might have to watch it twice. First listen. Then watch. You’ll find, in both cases, that the video showcases our client’s service, but it is the narrative that is doing the real hard-sell.
The following videos were directed and produced by Leapfrog Marketing (Alan Myers – 0116 278 7788) in association with The Video Whisperer.
(Two for the price of…)
After the shoot the client requested of Leapfrog that I send them the raw GoPro footage unedited. I did.
They like it so much they asked for an edit (you know, take out a few of the bobbles and add some titles).
I decided to take my chances and do something a bit different, so I crossed my fingers and we sent them this: