I’ve talked a lot on Filmmaking Lifestyle about the need to have a good looking website and a portfolio of work that stands out in order to attract potential clients. I get asked quite often whether people should have video intros on their company pages.
Well, the answer should be obvious. You’re a video production company. So what’s better than a video to introduce yourself to potential clients?
If you know anything about screenwriting, then you have surely heard the principle that says: show, don’t tell. When it comes to branding and trying to sell your services, the same principle applies: it’s way more efficient to show what you can accomplish than to say it textually or verbally.
What are you introducing?
Now, we’ve got three main types of “video intro” that we’re talking about here:
- a promo video highlighting the good things that you do and exactly why a client should work with you.
- a selection of your best clips ‒ a showreel, if you will.
- a client testimonial(s) video.
You can, of course, combine any of those options into a kind of hybrid.
So you can make it either an introduction video, a showreel, a client testimonial video or a mix between all of those. But different situations call for different types of video intro. Here are some pointers:
- a promo video highlighting why a client should work with you seems to work better on corporate/commercial production sites.
- a showreel of your best clips works great on the homepage of a wedding videography production company.
- client testimonial videos can work on either type of production company homepage, but in my experience they work best in their own section of your site ‒ a reviews/testimonials section.
Now, you should have a section of your site dedicated to showcasing your work. This is your portfolio and it’ll contain clips of your best video work. Call it something like Our Work or Samples.
If you’re making promo videos for business clients, I’d highly recommend that you make an outstanding promo video to showcase what you do. This is, after all, what you’re doing for your clients, right? Lead from the front.
Tips for making your introduction video
Introduction videos work sort of the same way as a resumé. It’s not a straight-up showreel where you simply show work that you’ve done. You’re introducing yourself to an audience.
Have these these points in mind when you’re creating it:
Write a script
Whether you have material already written down (text on your website, for example) or you’re going to use new material that you write after reading this article, have a well written script. Now, you’ll get to a point where you’re comfortable just riffing and going off-script. You know, how folks often do when you’re recording an interview with them.
Have a script, but let it be fluid and dynamic. You can chop and change once you see what works.
Get ready to act
If this is a promo video about your production company, I’d strongly advise that you be physically present. Clients want to put a face to someone who’s going to be working with them. This is also your opportunity to inject some personality and charisma into what you’re offering.
Make sure you speak clearly and communicate your message effectively. Filmmakers don’t appear in front of the camera so often, and it’s natural that you might feel nervous or you realize how hard it actually is to open up to a starring lense.
Relax. Here are some tips:
- do something physical before getting in-front of the camera (workout, yoga is good).
- do some vocal exercises (yes, it looks stupid when people do it in movies, but it really does work).
- read some acting tips.
For example, if you’re a funny person, don’t be afraid to show that. Clients and colleagues want to know who you really are so don’t try to act fake, or otherwise prevent your true personality from sing through.
Also, as an addendum, if you’re not funny, don’t try to be. That just ends in cringe. I’m sure you’ve seen examples of that.
Know that all eyes are on you
This is simple. You’re creating the very kind of video that you’re marketing yourself at clients to provide for them. Therefore, you need to be ‘on-point’ in everything that you do. You need to create outstanding work that captivates attention and gets visitors to your site thinking, “Jeez, I’d love something just like that.” They need to envision themselves being featured just like that.
You need to blow them away.
Types of videos
Now let us show you some examples of different types of video that, according to what you do or want to show, will be useful. Obviously, your perfect video intro is going to depend in large part who your ideal client is. Think about your audience when you make your company’s intro video.
You can see a good example of an introduction video in this one that Eyecon Video Productions did. They’re not afraid to have a bit of fun and keep it loose:
Like I mentioned earlier, knowing your audience is paramount to putting together a solid company video intro. Without knowing Eyecon Video Production’s audience too well, I can tell you definitively who they’re targeting themselves at with this video intro.
Your company’s intro can be more serious, or as wacky as Eyecon’s – it all depends on who you want to market your services to.
Having seen that, we could summarize some of the things that this video intro did right and what you need to remember when creating yours:
Don’t forget to briefly give your name, position in the company and a little bit of background. People love the human factor.
Introduce your team
Give them a tour of your team. Reassure everyone you’re working with the best professionals. It took you a while to choose them, so show them off proudly when presenting your company.
Introduce your technology
Since you spent so much on your new gear, you can brag about it from time to time…just a little. Let your clients know you are working with top-notch gear. And remember, your clients are not professionals themselves, so you should explain the items as you show them.
Show off that new crane, or the cool dolly. Something that gets attention. You don’t need to go hog wild here and showcase every piece of equipment you have.
Introduce your workspace
Of course, don’t forget to sweep first. Once everything’s shiny and everybody’s in place, then show the best parts of your working space and office. This might be a nice touch even if your office is a part of your house, as long as you do it professionally.
Introduce your services
The most important thing for getting clients through an introduction video is telling them exactly what you can do and how it will benefit them. So don’t forget to point out all the services you offer. You can do this while introducing the professionals that work with you, or the gear you use. Be creative.
Introduce your results
Editing bits of your work into your introduction video can be really powerful. If you do a video just showing a collage of the best of your work, then that is a showreel video. More on that in a bit.
An example of this would be introducing your business and then cutting to some of your work every now and then. A kind of, “We use this piece of equipment to achieve a really cool affect, and this is what it could look like on your video…”
If you want to see some great examples of intro videos, then check out Video Brewery’s excellent list of the Top 10 Best Startup Explainer Videos Ever. Don’t miss watching the awesome Dollar Shave Club video (featured there) that I’ve mentioned before, but it bears repeating again.
Again, I’ve said it multiple times in this article already, and it kinda goes without saying: be creative. And ensure that you tie your introduction into what your services can do for them. It’s not just about showing how great you are: give them the benefits.
As you can see at their exemplary website, FortyOneTwenty has a great showreel video on their homepage:
As you can see from the example, a showreel video is a kind of compilation of your best stuff. This type of intro video works on a range of sites, but I’ve seen it work especially well on wedding videography company websites.
Clients like to see “the best bits” and the highpoints make it easy for clients to imagine themselves being involved. The key to a great showreel is the following:
- be short and concise.
- use catchy music.
- keep an upbeat and fairly fast pace – this isn’t a Béla Tarr film, we want to keep our audience buzzing*.
You will need to be short and to the point, but tie things into a complete piece. Here are some tips for making a great showreel:
Make the best selection of work that you can gather. Just because you liked to work on a particular project and enjoyed the experience, it doesn’t mean it’s the best clip to use. Be objective and get a second opinion on what you include.
Edit like the professional you are
Make exemplary use of your editing skills. Make sure cuts, sound and music are in place. Entertain and keep a good rhythm. Remember that it isn’t just a case of finding what you think are your best clips and throwing them all together. Far from it.
Your showreel should tell a story of its own. It should flow together and the clips should feel like they belong together as one whole.
Okay, that sounded a little woo-woo. But it’s true. 🙂
Know what to leave out
You simply don’t need to include everything good you did. Check some similar showreel videos to see how fast you get bored. One and a half minutes should be perfect for a showreel. No more than two minutes. Sadly, we live in an age where attention spans are an ever decreasing commodity.
Include some bits of all services you provide. Even if it’s a few seconds, and even if it’s not the kind of work you like to do the most, include it in your showreel, so you can show the variety and flexibility of your services.
This is not to be confused with: lump all your brands together. Only show work that fits the site that you’re promoting. If you have a wedding video brand separate to your commercial videography brand, then by all means keep those separate.
Pro tip: You can also have mini-showreels throughout your site that showcase a certain service offering.
Give some info
This is optional, but it can be incredibly effective at showcasing social proof (depending on your work and clients). When you show a clip, let the viewer know exactly who the client is, what kind of production it was and what service you provided (Example: Cadbury’s, commercial, postproduction and image correction).
This can be cool if you’ve worked with some big clients. If not, and you’d just be featuring Joe Bloggs’ Autoshop, then that’s fine, but if people haven’t heard of the brands then they’re probably not things you should add captions to your videos for.
Client testimonial videos
No one can promise your future clients satisfaction better than satisfied clients. You’ll only have to summon some of your happy customers to show in front of camera and then edit their praising words with some clips of the projects you’ve delivered for them.
Results are great! Check this example, from Indigo Productions:
How to embed a video
Let’s discuss the practicalities of getting your intro video online.
For complete information, check WordPress’s help tutorial. It’s a piece of cake! To embed a YouTube or Vimeo video into a post or page on a WordPress template, place the video URL into the content area, making sure the URL is on its own line and not hyperlinked.
It will automatically turn the URL into an embed! If it fails to embed the URL, the post will just contain a hyperlink to the URL. Another option is to wrap the URL in an embed shortcode.
Before HTML5, to embed a videos on a website you had to use a plug-in (like Flash). HTML5 includes a <video> element that gives the users a standard way to embed a video in a web page. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to embedding a video on HTML5. Otherwise, it’s super easy! You just need to use the <video> element:
<video width=”320″ height=”240″ controls>
<source src=”movie.mp4″ type=”video/mp4″>
<source src=”movie.ogg” type=”video/ogg”>
Using these elements, you can attribute your video controls like “play”, “pause” or “volume”. You can even set it to autoplay! I’d suggest that for most types of production websites, especially wedding video ones. It is recommended to include width and height attributes. If they’re not set, the browser will not know the size of the video.
If any of this is going right over your head, then it is of course recommended to consult with a web developer to get this stuff right on your site.
I always recommend you keep a channel on Vimeo and YouTube for your company. This is where you’ll upload the videos that later you’ll embed on your website and blog.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of these channels to bring people directly to your website, as well. If it has a good response, it will be recommended next to other similar videos, and if it’s really getting attention, it could even be chosen for something like Vimeo’s “Best…” list.
Social Media and other portals
There are many ways to boost up your video audience and use it to bring followers to your website and to your business. For example, check out how I managed to get over 1000 views on my production website by posting on Reddit.
Share your video on social media, and ask your friends and family to also like and share it so it can reach more viewers.
On you Facebook Page, you can add a “Watch Video” button right into your cover picture area, so it’s the first thing people will see when they enter.
To finish, I’ll add this thought: Don’t forget to have fun making this.
You are your own client for this project, so you have the chance to satisfy yourself without the pressure of a client and deadlines. The downside is that you don’t get paid for it… not directly, at least, but it can mean a lot to your bottom line if you do it right!
Any questions about production company website intros? Drop them in the comments below. Has this inspired you to start (or finish!) your company’s intro video? Get on it now!
* footnote from above: btw, I love Béla Tarr. I just don’t think his style of filmmaking is appropriate for a video production company intro!