How to… create engaging video content

The pen is mightier than the sword, but in this multimedia age moving images are a sure fire way to hold a captive audience. And it’s easier than you think.
The power of the viral is widely understood, with over 24 hours of content uploaded to You Tube every minute threatening to take the world by storm.  And people love watching things on any webpage; ComScore reported consumers stay on retail sites an average of two minutes longer, and are 64 per cent more likely to make a purchase, when video content is included. So, here are the basics.
(Don’t) go shopping
Camera wise forget expensive HD kit.  Lower priced handheld models like a Flip will do the job wonderfully, as will many high-end mobiles like the iPhone4. For editing software you probably already have iMovie for Mac, or Windows Movie Maker on Microsoft based systems; both will easily suffice. All of which means you may well realise stage one is complete without much effort at all.
Get a pen and paper
Write down what you want to shoot- is it a complex piece comprising numerous chapters, or something simpler, with one or two short sections? Once that’s settled list out, shot by shot, exactly what you need to take away on the memory card. At this point you should also put together a script, or at least bullet points, so anyone addressing the camera directly, or via voiceover, knows what to say.

The People
Chances are you need a face for the footage, so enlisting someone with relevant experience will ensure the best results. This might also reduce the need to draft out a full script, but don’t worry if John Snow isn’t available. With detailed direction, and probably a couple of takes, anyone can look capable in front of camera. Just make sure they speak clearly, and look directly into the lens.
The Places
Never work with children and animals, so the saying goes. But experienced filmmakers know the perils of location shoots too. If it’s absolutely necessary take the project public, otherwise avoid unpredictability by filming in closed conditions. And remember if you want General Views- shots of objects and areas- these need to be taken for a minimum of three seconds, by someone with a steady hand.
The Talkies
Video is a combination of moving pictures and sound. The latter will probably be made up of two main parts; voices and music. Most cameras have good enough microphones, and for voiceovers a digital sound recorder with USB is a safe bet. Make sure any words focus on the accompanying images, and they are spoken as though addressing an individual. For soundtracks always remember copyright.
Editing- the 7th art
Make sure the shots are ordered before you begin, and if using software for the first time watch the tutorial videos (included with most programs). After that it’s time to get creative, though it’s a good idea to remember that post production trickery is best kept to a minimum, and nothing polishes off corporate work better than a closing still frame with the company logo, Facebook details and more.