Many beginning video marketers use PowerPoint to try to spice up their graphics and get their points across. Unfortunately this only produces the same result you get using PowerPoint in a stuffy ballroom, minus your captive audience politely covering their yawns.
But it’s understandable. You still need something to wake up your prospects. You need something that makes money, not something that costs you tons of time to produce. You don’t want to become a full-time video producer.
What if you could get great results on your own, without the fuss and without using that lumbering, stumblebum PowerPoint? Wouldn’t you like to really engage your audience and get the results that video marketing promises? Well, you can, you know. You just have to start by understanding that PowerPoint is dead. Dead? Yes, dead. Well then, let’s have a moment of silence.
OK. That’s long enough.
So now that we’ve laid poor old PowerPoint to rest, it sure wouldn’t be right to let you struggle on your own for something to replace it with. Well, struggle no more. Today you’re going to get the straight scoop on how to use graphics to make your videos soar!
As a visual aid, let’s use a video we just made for a wonderful client. We started with a 7 page script that we cut back to 3 by using very simple motion graphics. So before you read any further, please take a look.
The Counselor is in:
So if you were paying close attention you noticed something a little unusual. The counselor never appears live on camera. Normally we’re huge advocates of putting yourself on camera. Why not this time? Well, there were three reasons.
1. We wanted to focus on the healing and compassionate sound of the counselor’s voice. It is a remarkable voice, honed from 20 years of putting people’s lives back together. We didn’t want anything to distract from it.
2. This video needed a fair amount of polish because that’s standard operating procedure at his level in his space. But there was very little time to work with to get that polish. We had a week to write and produce the video before launch. So, with no time for a 3000-mile airplane ride, we would be without live video. Luckily for us we had “the voice”. And by the way, that voice had to be recorded perfectly since it would be substituting for him being there in person. It took about 30 takes, but the narration works beautifully.
3. We wanted to create a little bit of mystery about who this uber counselor might be and how he helps people in relationship trouble. This video would give him the space to do video blogging later, the mystery firmly planted in people’s minds with an arresting series of images, before they ever saw him on screen.
So much for why we didn’t go live. Let’s look at the motion graphics element so you can see how easy it really was to have it stand in for the doctor.
We used 5 simple techniques:
1. The Moving Background
2. Stock Footage
3. Stock Photos
4. Screen Captures
5. Motion-based Text
The Moving Background
They just help so much in establishing mood and energy. In this case, I wanted to have a background that could do double-duty; showing both anxiety and the elimination of anxiety. There are literally dozens of places you can buy backgrounds like this online. There are even free backgrounds you can get from sites like ignitemotion.com or freevideobacks.com.
We used Digital Juice for all of the “live” video segments. But again, there are free resources for stock footage at sites such as vimeo vimeo.com or masternewmedia.
The strategy of using stock video pieces was this: We wanted the good relationships to be more vivid than the troubled ones. Notice that the sad images are all still photos. There is no video. We did not want to leave the prospect with a sad image. We wanted them to see instead what might be possible.
But doesn’t this fly in the face of putting a magnifying glass on the problem? Au contraire. When someone is in pain from a relationship that is breaking up, it takes very little to coax that pain to the surface. In fact, seeing happy couples, in effect seeing what they’ve lost, is far more powerful than seeing a simple reflection of how they feel now. Make sense? That’s a layer of meaning that is emphasized by the juxtaposition of video to the still images.
This was a critical piece that we actually spent a few dollars putting together. Could we have found some pieces for free? Probably so, but we didn’t want the client to worry about copyright. Also, as I said before, we had a very tight time frame. And as you can see, stock photos used well can make the piece work much better. Of course there are hundreds of places you can go to start looking for just the right image, starting with Google images.
You probably noticed that almost none of the still images are actually still. That’s to keep from having too stark a contrast between the video and the photos. We moved them around a fair bit.
I used Camtasia to grab a live shot of the squeeze page showing a form being filled out, keyed out the rest of the graphic around it, turned and twisted the page in fake 3D, then timed its entry and exit. Not a big deal. All this can be done inside a standard version of Final Cut Pro. We showed this so people could see what to do next in case they saw the video somewhere other than the squeeze page. It also added a subtle layer to the call to action.
This is really the heart of the video. The way the text moves on and off the screen was graceful but silly simple. We didn’t use any special filters or blurs. We did make liberal use of changing the size of the text over time using keyframes to insure that nothing happened abruptly.
From 1:13 – 1:39 in the video you see several pieces of text. These were layered over the narration that mentioned these points in general while adding another layer of reassurance. This entire 26 second section replaced several minutes of reciting these points out loud.
I can’t overemphasize how important this simple technique is to the success of your videos. In fact, if you were to practice nothing but this one technique over and over again, you’d be an expert in short order and your videos, even ones without you in them, would be better than 90% of your competitors who actually put themselves in their videos.
Note that almost any standard editing program will do this. I happen to use Final Cut Pro, because I like it when a program doesn’t make the whole computer crash. ☺ (I welcome your cards and letters…)
In fact, moving text around the screen simply, but in a captivating way, is so important I’d be happy to do some video training on it for you. If you want it, that is. Just let me know if you’d like to know how to make your text do the samba and I’ll get that done.
Ah, the music was critical! Music is always critical! If you choose it right, your images look better and add layers of meaning that you wouldn’t have seen without it. In this case, we asked for a list of emotions a person might be going through in order of importance. The list had about 50 emotions on it. Fortunately, most of those emotions would stem from the original ones we selected music for.
You can find free production music online at places like internetaudioguy.com, audionautix.com/, or freesoundtrackmusic.com.
Now It’s Your Turn
Normally we believe in making yourself the key element in your videos. It’s the very best way to find those people who will resonate with you. But sometimes it just isn’t practical or in this case, necessary. Video is a flexible enough medium that it can move people’s emotions in any number of ways. A motion graphics video is just one of many you’ll have an opportunity to master as a member of the BrainyVideo community.
You really do need to work at this, though. Especially now. Halloween is approaching. Unless you get started right away PowerPoint could easily rise up from the dead and take over your computer like a big Video Zombie.
Let’s not let that happen, shall we?