An introduction to the art of lean video

By 2019 digital video will account for 80% of all online traffic according to experts. There is no doubt that video is the fastest growing format and that moving images are the future of content marketing – not only because users demand more video, but also because we know that video means better brand recall and better conversion.

But can you afford to be part of this online video marketing machine? The short answer is yes – but you have to submit yourself to a new regime of lean video production. Clearly the way we have produced video in the past is unsustainable – it’s too expensive, it takes too long to produce and generally the output is more suitable to living room viewing rather than desktop or mobile.

Video production for online needs to be lean. Over the last couple of years Kontenthaus has helped numerous clients exponentially growing video audiences and most importantly increasing those all-important conversion rates. During this time we have developed a video product that is scalable, rapid in delivery a as well as optimised for online consumption. So here is what I learned about lean video:

1. Planning is 90%

Lean video means minimal resourcing and minimal resourcing means you need to employ maximum planning. Before the shoot – whether it is at an event or at someone’s office – you need a detailed plan in place with interviewees, storyboard, timing, questions/topics to be covered. Sounds like a no-brainer, but this is where most video interviews fail. You also need to know what the output is going to be – a 30-second soundbite, part of a highlight video, or maybe an interview series? Without knowing your goal you will end up with random footage delivering random results.

2. Less is more

This is true in many ways. Scalable video needs to employ a lean team with specific skills fit for the 21st century. Lean video producers can’t afford old-style point-and-shoot camera operators. We often send a journalist who can operate camera and sound plus most importantly can make that editorial judgment on the ground. And if required the person also needs to be able to edit and publish content in real-time. The new world of lean video demands less resources and more expertise.

3. Repurposing is a requirement, not an option

As part of the planning phase you need to decide how and when you are going to reuse material in the future. Lean video is about repurposing as often as possible. It increases our ROI and it helps make our video production scalable. If you get your planning right a single 30-minute interview can feed up to 15 different clips or re-uses in the future.

4. Optimise for each channel

I’m getting a little tired of pointing this out, but there are still too many video producers out there completely ignoring the viewing habits of their audience. This means a lot of videos are a waste of time and money – something you just can’t afford. We have analysed more than 100,000 video clips online to give us a better understanding of what people like to watch, in terms of topics, length and format. All this varies on each channel or platform, eg. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, email etc. Each channel may require a different length or format – such as subtitling for silent viewing. Don’t be a fool and fail at this final hurdle to video success!

Lean video means lean pricing

Our pricing starts at £500 for shooting and editing, so if you want to be part of the lean video revolution, give me a shout on torsten@kontenthaus.com or call me on 07528 920 782.

Some recent examples from Kontenthaus:

Long-form interview for LinkedIn and email campaign

Event showreel shot with single DSLR camera, iPhone and one journalist. We also produced a series of short expert interviews for Twitter and LinkedIn.

Short Twitter video clip produced in real-time

Promotional video for sponsorship presentation – resources: 1 DSLR, single camera operator/journalist. We also produced a series of expert interviews on the day.

Expert interview for email campaign

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