SIX QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BEFORE YOU INVEST IN A CORPORATE VIDEO. PART 3 (Cont.) - “TO SCRIPT OR NOT T
Updated: Jun 2, 2020
What you want to say in your video and how you say it is probably the most important consideration prior to filming your corporate videos. It is fraught with many pitfalls that can make the difference between a professional and amateur looking video.
As suggested by the title, the first consideration is whether or not you want or need a script. This will largely be dictated by the function of your video (remember our mantra – “Don’t lose sight of the purpose”).
The following video forms may dictate the need for a script:
Animation – no, live contributors appear on screen and the information is given in the form of a voiceover.
Product demonstration/instructional – if the video is all about the product with little screen time given to people other than as users of the product and a voiceover is, again, required.
Presentations direct to camera – presenter led pieces, informational videos or video messages to colleagues at corporate events delivered directly to the camera by a live person. This may require the need for autocue (a mirrored device placed in front of the camera lens allowing the presenter to read straight to camera).
Promotional/corporate (1) – where the precise wording is essential and you want a strong, hard-hitting, authoritative delivery of your information.
In contrast the, following forms may negate the need for a script:
Exhibition videos – where the noisy surroundings of exhibition stands would make it hard to hear a voiceover and the information is given instead via onscreen text:
Promotional/corporate (2) – where you prefer a friendlier approach with information delivered in the form of qualified interviews with a members of your team or experts on the subject:
As with our previous articles, the list is not exhaustive. Again, a good production company will always offer creative advice as to which approach would best suit your project but there are a few, important points for you as the client to consider when deciding what to say and how to say it.
KEEP IT SHORT, SIMPLE AND GET TO THE POINT QUICKLY
Don’t say in three sentences what can be said in one. The more succinct or concise the information, the more likely it is to hold the viewer’s attention. In general, the shorter the video, the better. Viewers are far more likely to watch a neat, to-the-point, 2 minute video than an exhausting, 20 minute one (the exceptions being educational videos or full, PowerPoint led conference presentations aimed at very specific audiences). Also remember that viewers are most likely to click away in the first few seconds of a video so the quicker you get to the point the better.
“Employing the DCU for the RJP may make the H-TAP System more effective but could end up compromising the comp. slider…” You see what I mean? There is no quicker way of losing an audience than bombarding them with terms they don’t understand.
HAVE YOUR SCRIPT WRITTEN, EDITED AND CHECKED BY A PROFESSIONAL
There is a huge difference between the written and the spoken word and scriptwriters will know how to make your information work best on screen. Again, good production companies will always know what works and what doesn’t so take their advice and let them whittle and sculpt your information. Scripting is a collaborative process – you know what information you want to give and the scriptwriter will know how to make it more accessible in video form.
USE PROFESSIONAL VOICEOVER ARTISTS
Voiceover artists are paid good money for a good reason. They know where to put the appropriate inflection in scripts and are trained to take direction on style and tone. Deciding to use an untrained member of your own team instead can, potentially, ruin an otherwise creative video.
WHO IS YOUR PRESENTER?
By this I mean, whom do you want to give the information on screen to your audience? If you decide you want to present the video straight to camera, think about using a professional presenter. As with voiceover artists, there is a reason why presenters are paid well for what they do and a company employee will never be able to deliver in the same way that a professional presenter can. If your budget won’t stretch to an on-screen presenter, consider conducting on-screen interviews rather than have your colleagues talk straight to camera – Which leads us back to the key point of this article…
SCRIPT VERSUS NO SCRIPT
Having decided that you will use sound and have the information given on screen by a live person, there are two, main ways in which you can do this – presented straight to camera or to an interviewer off screen (see images below). There are pros and cons for both approaches.
DIRECT TO CAMERA
It gives the impression that the presenter is speaking directly to the audience and so can be more personable
The information is more easily digested when the audience has eye-contact with the presenter
It offers the opportunity to read an autocue script straight into the lens, allowing you to get the wording absolutely correct
It can look more professional and expensive (although this is normally only true if you use a professional presenter)
You can edit the script before the presenter arrives on set, which means the filming time is reduced.
It can seem confrontational.
As this approach is often used in certain TV commercials it can seem a little too “hard sell” and potentially cheesy. (Insurance, PPI, pension plans anyone?)
If the presenter is an untrained colleague from your organisation there is a danger that they could look a bit “rabbit in the headlights,” the intonation could be wrong, it could sound a little flat or it could look and sound as though they are reading a script rather than simply chatting to the audience.
There is a chance that the presenter’s eyes can wander from the lens if they are not using an autocue. Wondering eyes instantly make a person look “shifty.” (This is also why you should never hold prompts or scripts beside or below a camera lens).
It can seem as though the presenter is trying too hard to make the audience accept the information he is giving.
THE INTERVIEW SETUP
A much more relaxing situation for the interviewee as they are able to interact more with the person in front of them.
It’s chattier and therefore the words will be accepted as more “real” rather than read from a pre-prepared script.
It is often more believable. If it feels like we, the viewer, are looking in on a relaxed conversation with an expert in their field, we are more willing to believe what they have to say. Audiences are savvy enough to realise when presenters have been hired to read a script.
It’s less confrontational as the interviewee is not looking directly at the audience.
It’s a format that TV audiences are used to, as it is the standard approach used to share information from experts on television in news, current affairs and documentary programming.
It can take longer to film as you may need to shoot several versions of the answer before you get the desired response.
Viewers are often more aware of backgrounds so location choices often need to be more carefully considered.
The interviewers themselves need to be well briefed to ensure they evoke the correct response and put the interviewee at ease throughout the filming process.
As far as the script itself is concerned, I would suggest that a script is often required if you intend your presenter to speak directly to camera. An autocue in front of the lens will hold the presenter’s focus and ensure that they get the words correct each time.
In an interview situation never prepare a script. The information should be delivered in the interviewee’s own words as though chatting to the interviewer. Don’t give the interviewee the opportunity to learn a script and, if necessary, actively discourage them from doing so. Forgetting a single, simple word from a learned script can throw an interviewee entirely, making the filming process much longer and increasingly stressful for the interviewee. Instead, prepare open, friendly questions, designed to evoke the responses you require.
If you have any questions or suggestions arising from this article, please leave a comment below or get in touch via our CONTACT PAGE and we'll be happy to chat with you about any aspect of video production.