What goes into making a Kickstarter video

By Palmer Stanfield (creator on Videopixie)
Oct 21th, 2014

So you are looking to make a Kickstarter video, and you are probably starting to feel both excited and a little nervous. This is especially true if you have never made a "high-stakes", crowdfunding video before. As a video freelancer, I have made my fair share of Kickstarter videos. I have distilled some of my insights to guide you in making your perfect video. Here are some practical tips that should put you on the right track.

Video lighting

As a video professional, a big question I often get from individuals who have shot their Kickstarter videos themselves is ”Can you make it brighter?” Unfortunately, the lighting you use on the day of shooting will oftentimes represent the best your images will ever look, and any attempt to brighten them digitally will only lead to pixelated headaches and compression noise nightmares.

The best way is still the old school way; use TONS of light while filming to ensure that everything is crisp and visible in camera! And don’t worry if you don’t have a professional kit. Good lighting can come from anywhere, be it a window, a desk lamp, a few affordable clamp lights from Home Depot just make sure there’s plenty of it!

If you want to learn even more about the best lighting practices for your Kickstarter video, be sure to check out the hundreds of great tutorials, readily available for free on sites like Vimeo and YouTube, and always know that you can hire a professional, should you want to get really fancy with it.

Cameras

A lot of noise is being made in the media today about 4K or Ultra-HD cameras, but the truth of the matter is that you don’t need any of that supremely expensive kit to shoot a great Kickstarter video! Video technology has progressed to the point where most DSLR with the ability to shoot video will deliver great results. The main concern here is to make sure you keep the camera locked down (i.e. on a tripod or flat surface) and keep your lovely face in focus. We want to be able to see you!

If you don’t own a DSLR, or know anyone who does, the camera on most modern smartphones will suffice. Again, the key is simply to ensure that the camera remains stationary, and with some good audio (more on that in a minute), you’ll have something solid. Sure, you won’t be winning film festivals, but you’ll at least clear the bar, and you can always compensate with a positive attitude and an interesting story!

For those looking for truly impressive imagery, you will need help from the pros. Hiring a small crew of 1 to 3 people often makes economic sense, especially if it's the difference between an average and a great video. They'll come with pro-grade equipment, and years of experience and will help your video stand out from the rest visually.

"Action!"

Now comes the fun part of the process... filming your campaign video! Everyone’s likely to do things a little differently when it comes to finding the best way to pitch your campaign, but there are a few basics worth keeping in mind:

  • Make sure that you maintain strong eye contact with the camera lens, rather than your script or monitor; this is your moment! The audience has come to see you, so make sure they have your undivided attention.
  • Be sincere. I’m not saying a script is a bad idea, but make sure you come across as conversational, rather than mechanical. People empathize with a real person, warts and all. And don’t worry if it takes you a few attempts before you really start to loosen up. Everyone’s a little camera shy at the start!
  • Don’t worry about length...yet. Take as much time as you need to hit the important bullet points, and say what you need to say. If you end up with a little bit of fat, don’t fret; it can always be trimmed and cleaned up in by an editor in post-production.
  • Don’t worry about screw-ups either - to try and get the whole schpeel in one take is only going to lead to error and frustration. If you flub a line, simply take a deep breath, and start from the beginning of that particular thought. In editing, you can splice together all the good stuff, and leave the bad on the cutting room floor.

And Oh Yeah... Sound

If there’s one element of a great Kickstarter video that’s overlooked even more often than good lighting, it’s good sound. Entirely too often I hear concerns from clients, who fear that the audio in their video isn’t up to snuff, and that no amount of editing magic can save it. And it always breaks my heart when I have to concede to them that they may be right.

Sound is one of the most, if not the most crucial elements of a good video. If your audience can’t hear you, or the sound quality is bothersome, they won’t want to finish watching. It’s the one area that you absolutely have to get right on the day, and it’s worth spending a little bit of money to do so, but you don’t have to break the bank. There are a ton of creative and affordable solutions out there, including the great line up of microphones from Zoom and Rode

The trick is, to make sure you can get the microphone as close to the subject as possible. This is why lav mics are such a popular option, and some have even taken to using the built in microphone on their smart phones! Moral of the story, you don’t have to spend a lot, to get crisp audio, but don't take it for granted.

One More Thing... Post-production

Post-Production can often make or break a great campaign video. Assuming your assets have all been put together with the quality tools and solutions referenced in this article, the editing phase will be focused entirely on establishing a fun pace, and hitting all the right notes. Things like color correction, animations or illustrations, and good music can all contribute to keeping your audience (and potential backers) interested in what you have to say.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to plan for at least a week to play with the edit, making sure that you’ve got the hardware to handle the task. Anything with an Intel Core i5 processor (and it’s AMD counterpart) and 4GB of RAM (ideally 8GB) should suffice to run Adobe Premiere Pro CC, a current favorite amongst editors for its ease of use and interconnectivity with other Adobe Programs like Photoshop and After Effects.

If you’re a total novice, it may take a few days more just to teach yourself the basics, though you can always turn to the formidable DIY community on YouTube to aid you in the learning process. And if that all sounds like a little more than you’d like to have to handle, you can always outsource the job to one of many pro editors here at Videopixie.

Your turn!

Hopefully this checklist has provided you with the basics, and please, we’d love to hear from you too, whether it be about your next project, or any tips of your own that you might want to share with the Videopixie community! So leave a message below or shoot us an email, at human@videopixie.com