Do you know what the most important part of your Kickstarter campaign is? Without a doubt, it’s the video. Experts agree that the Kickstarter video is the most viral aspect of a campaign. Projects with videos succeed at 50% compared to just 30% of campaigns without a video.
However, putting together a great video can be a daunting task. Today, I’m going to show you how to break it into actionable steps. I urge you not to be intimidated because many of the best Kickstarter campaigns were created by amateur videographers.
We can break the process of creating a Kickstarter video into four major sections:
- Pre-Production – The work done before shooting the video
- Production – The actual shooting of the video
- Editing – The post production and editing of the video
- Sharing & Promotion – The export, sharing, and promotion of the video
We will now go through each of the steps individually in the below sections.
1) Video Pre-Production
Preproduction is all the work that comes before the shooting and actual production of the video. This step is often skipped by amateur videographers. The time that you put in planning your video will pay dividends when it comes time to shooting and editing.
Setting goals is one of the most important parts of preproduction. You need to think about the actions and outcomes which you expect the viewers to take.
Here are some common crowdfunding videos goals to get you started:
- Get viewer to donate to campaign
- Get viewer to share campaign
- Have the viewer explore more of the campaign
- Attract the attention of press who will then write about the campaign
- You can use the goals above or create your own!
The next, important task is finding inspiration for your video. The best place to get inspiration for your video is to look through other Kickstarter videos. I recommend looking at the most popular Kickstarter campaign videos, in particular the successful campaigns which are similar to your own.
The next important step is to create a storyboard. The storyboard is a great way to get the flow for your video on paper and explore multiple ideas. The storyboard happens before you start scripting.
If you have multiple ideas for your video, it is good to storyboard them out and then run them past a friend. I recommend creating at least two to four storyboards that have different directions for the video.
For each section, try to sketch out the visuals of that scene. Even if you are not a good artist, it is important to show the visuals. Stick figures are OK!
You can download a blank storyboard template here to print off and draw on.
TELL A STORY
As humans, we instantly connect to stories. A story is an excellent way to convey information and complex ideas in a short amount of time.
Christopher Booker has narrow narrowed down every major story to fit within seven plot lines. The important part to remember about each story is that there is a challenge or adversary which the main character has to overcome. Your video should position your campaign as the hero of the story, swooping in with the perfect solution and helping everyone arrive at the happy ending.
TONE AND VOICE
In pre-production, you want to decide on the tone invoice for your campaign. Is it funny, professional, serious, light-hearted, or creative? Once you choose a tone and voice make sure to stick to it through all materials. This consistency goes beyond the video and includes the graphics on your Kickstarter your page, your website, and any communications which you send through social media or email.
It is important to get feedback through the entire process of creating the video. Before we move on to scripting the video, show your storyboard to friends and family and get their (honest) feedback.
WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
One of the most important parts of writing is defining your audience. Before we start scripting, you want to think about your target customer. Make sure you’re talking directly to them in a way in which they will be receptive. Focus on one or two target audiences in your video. You can’t be everything to everyone.
who, what, where, when, why
When creating a video and writing your first script, you need to cover all your bases. A good way to check this is the age-old expression: who, what, where, when, and why. Make sure that your video helps to answer each of these questions. It may be helpful to jot down a quick one sentence answer to each of the prompts.
KICKSTARTER VIDEO SCRIPT TEMPLATE
Writing a video script will make it easier when it comes time to film the actual video. Before you start writing, take a look at the storyboard which you created for the video. The first step is to take every major section from the storyboard and write it as a heading on your script document. You can even go a step further and write some notes about the visuals for that scene.
At this point, you should have an outline for the script, and it’s time to start writing. Don’t forget about all the work we did above identifying the goals of the video, identifying the audience, and finding the right tone.
If you’re feeling stuck, a helpful tip is to speak out loud while you write. While talking out the video might seem strange, it’s valuable because you are going to be saying the words and not reading them.
The inverted pyramid is the idea that the most important content goes first and then deeper into the content you present more detailed information. This strategy is used by newspaper articles. The inverted pyramid allows someone to just read the top of the article and walk away with an understanding of the content. You should look to use the reverse pyramid when creating your crowdfunding video. Someone can watch the first 20 seconds of your video and understand what the goal of your campaign. This is crucial as we know that not all users will watch the entire video.
Cut the Fluff
Make sure to cut out all fluff. When you read your script make sure you are not going on and on about the same point.
I won’t write any more in this section as that would be hypocritical, but take a good look at how many words it takes to make your point.
Have a hook – unexpected and simple
Before you get into the content, you may want to have a hook. The hook can be as simple as the first sentence in your video. Or an intriguing visual. You probably remember from English class the different types of hooks you can have.
- Start with a surprising statistic
- Start with an intriguing question
- Start by stating a problem that the viewer can associate with
- Start with a famous quote
- Start with a joke
- Start with an unexpected or stunning visual
Start with Why
While creating the outline for your video I recommend using the concept of “start with why” by Simon Sinek. If you have never seen the talk on how to “start with why”, take the time to check out the embedded video above. If you don’t have the time, here’s the Spark notes version:
- Why: The idea is that we start by telling the viewer why you are doing what you are doing.
- How: Then you go on to tell them how you will do that.
- What: Finally, you say what you were doing.
The rationale goes that this is more compelling as most marketers tell the story in the reverse order what, how, and then why.
Show don’t tell – concrete examples
Your campaign is solving a real problem – so show it off! Videos are visual mediums so people want to be entertained and see your product in action. A common mistake made by many Kickstarter founders is they spend the bulk of the video simply talking about their idea. Talking to the camera is a total waste of the most compelling part of the video!
Make sure you show don’t tell viewers about the content. A strategy to enhance your ‘show’ is to review your script and see what visuals can aid and enhance the script.
Problem and Solution
Once the problem is clear, you need to show the audience how your project provides the perfect solution. If you are raising funds around solving a problem of individuals, you need to directly agitate that pain point and then provide the solution.
Explain the idea
After you have started the video, you need to explain your idea. This is a careful balance between being too high-level and too detailed. This is another time when reviewing other Kickstarter videos will be useful to see how much detail they go into. Remember you only have a few minutes to convey your idea.
It is important to build credibility for your campaign. People are going to be donating their hard-earned money; they want to know that you know what you were doing. It is always beneficial to have and to demonstrate your related experience. If your Founders have experience in doing similar projects, be sure to let the viewers know that.
Use these tactics to further build credibility with the viewer:
- Expert appearances
- Proof of concept
Make it emotional: funny, happy, sad, angry, empowering!
Video is incredibly powerful because it has the strong ability to emotionally connect with viewers. The most popular viral videos all play on our emotions. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to bring out a feeling in your viewer. Depending on your campaign you will want to focus on a different emotion. Even within in different parts of the video, you may be targeting different emotions.
Strategically think about what emotions you want the viewer to have while watching different parts of the video. Is your video funny? Does it make you happy, sad, angry, or empowered?
What do the backers get
As you get towards the end of the video make sure you do a quick overview of what the backer will receive. Don’t spend too much time here but briefly run through the rewards which are available in the campaign, or at least make it apparent that there are desirable creative rewards.
Recap & CTA
At the end of the video make sure you recap the most important information that you want the viewer to come away with it. Don’t make the ending too long as viewers know the end of the video is coming and will just click away. It is important to end the video with a call to action. The most common call to action is to help support and back the campaign. But you also can ask users to take other actions like sharing the campaign video.
How long should my Kickstarter video be?
The question we get all the time is: how long should my Kickstarter video be? There is no magic number, but we do have a few handy guidelines.
The shorter your video, the better. The longer your video is, the less likely people are to finish watching it. We don’t recommend that your crowdfunding video is over 3 to 4 minutes. At the same time, if your video is too short users may not get enough information. Be aware when you are scripting your video that some users will only watch half of the video. This is why it is so important to use the reverse content triangle. Put your most important content first.
Before we move on to shooting the video, I want to briefly talk about the table read-through. The read-through is the most important part of script writing. You want to sit down and read your script out loud. It’s highly recommended to record the audio so you can then play it back and listen to the performance. This recording is the most objective way to hear your script. Ask friends and family for their feedback on the recording, too.
The read-through will also confirm your video length. The recording time will let you know if you need to add or remove some content.
We recommend having a script, but it’s okay if you don’t! If you don’t want to have a script and just talk off-the-cuff, you at least should create an outline using the steps above. Be warned, though, if you don’t have a script the editing process will take more time.
2) Kickstarter Video Production Tips
In the video production section, we will review tips to shooting your video. We want to make sure we get the highest quality video and make it as easy as possible for us during the editing stage. We will review tips and tricks for shooting your video.
Which camera to use
Another top question we are asked is: which camera should I use?
The correct answer is the best camera you can find!
If you have a friend that has a DSLR, it would be great to shoot with such high-quality equipment. But don’t be afraid to use an iPhone or other smartphone if that is what you have available. Today, the iPhone has such a great camera that you can easily shoot in HD video.
If you are using an iPhone to shoot video make sure you are shooting in the highest resolution under the settings. The biggest issue with mobile phone videography is the sound quality. For that reason, we recommend that you upgrade and purchase a microphone.
The microphone is probably the most important part of your production equipment. Nothing is more annoying than having terrible audio. It is often at telltale sign between amateur and professional video. If you are shooting with an iPhone there are many different microphones which you can purchase for your device. They don’t have to be expensive but they will greatly increase the quality of the audio. Don’t be an amateur: buy a microphone!
Light in front of subject
When you shoot video you want to make sure the main light sources in front of the subject. This means their face should be facing the light source. If possible, use natural light when shooting as it will look best.
The best advice though is just don’t shoot under unflattering artificial light. If possible, buy light kit or setup a cheap DIY light kit for under $100.
Don’t shoot vertically
This seems obvious when you get to editing but make sure you shoot horizontal video when shooting with a smartphone. Do not shoot vertical video because you will have large black bars on the side of your screen which is a waste of visual space.
Use a tripod
A tripod will help steady your camera. It is an inexpensive accessory that will make a big difference to the quality of your video. It is the second most important piece of equipment to buy after the microphone!
Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds will help compose your shots.
Most people center their subject when they first start shooting. While the center is okay, but it is also beneficial to shoot following the rule of thirds
The rule of thirds says that you should put a subject on one of the thirds of the image. If you divide your image into thirds both vertically and horizontally so you will have nine separate blocks. The points where these lines intersect are where you should put the subject. For most videos, the eyes of the subject should be on the upper left-hand third or upper right-hand third.
The off-center composition is more natural and pleasing to the eye. You can view this video above about how to use the rule of thirds. This will also help you when you do photography for your campaign.
Make sure that you either have a clean or an interesting backdrop. Don’t make it too cluttered or it will distract from the video. If you have a large budget, you can purchase a roll of paper to place behind the subject.
Get loose for the camera
Okay, you now have everything prepared and it’s finally time to film. Do a few tests with your set up first to ensure sure the lighting, audio, and subject are ready to go.
Once you ready, it is time to get loose for the camera. If this is your first time on camera, don’t stress. You can do as many takes as needed until you get the right performance. Remember, you can edit clips together so you do not have to fill the entire video in one take.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated, schedule lots of time so you are not rushed, and do whatever you can to relax and feel natural before the shoot.
Try to speak naturally as though you were talking directly to a friend. A trick to help first-timers is you can actually have a friend just to the right or left of the camera to talk to. It is less intimidating to talk to the friend than the camera.
Do multiple takes
Don’t forget to do multiple takes, so you can choose your favorite in the editing! If you get frustrated after a few takes, take a break and ‘Shake It Off’.
Being on video is awkward, especially if you don’t do it often! One of the most important things you can do is be genuine. Don’t try to sound silly or goofy. Just talk as though you are having a conversation with an old friend.
3) Editing Your Video
Once you have your video filmed, it’s editing time. You can use any type of editing software for the video. Most crowdfunding videos are pretty simple so they don’t require a ton of crazy effects. If you are on a budget, both Windows and Mac come with a free video editing tool.
If you were looking for something more professional, you can find a ton of great paid video editors. Honestly, if you do not already have a pro editing suite, you probably don’t need to buy one.
The screenshots for this section are from iMovie which is free for Mac.
The first thing to do is import all the video from your camera and do a string out. Take all the footage and watch it. Choose your favorite takes.
After you have chosen your favorite clips, you can add them to the timeline of your video editor. It will be easier if you add them in chronological order.
Once you have the clips in the correct order, you can fine-tune with the actual edits. I always like to circle back around to videos that I chose in the first step for inspiration. You can compare your video to those ideal videos and it will be apparent when there is a long pause or the audio is too soft.
Music is an essential part of most crowdfunding videos. It keeps the pace moving forward and hides any background noise. You need to be careful about the source of music you use because copyrighted music is illegal to use without permission. The last thing you want is an expensive lawsuit!
The good news is there are a lot of websites which offer music for free or low-cost. Below we have listed a few of our favorites. You will be able to download a test version of the audio with audio watermark on it. You can import it into your project and listen to a few different music tracks with your video. Choose the one that you like best!
Free music for your Kickstarter video:
Paid music for your Kickstarter video:
You don’t need to have crazy graphics for your campaign video but sometimes it helps to have title slide or a name card in the lower third when someone is speaking. You can find these in most video editors today.
Choose a great thumbnail
An important and often under-appreciated part of creating your video is choosing the thumbnail. You want to choose a thumbnail which entices the user to click play. Do not put a bunch of texts on the thumbnail. Make sure to choose an image which is exciting. The image must be clear and it is easy to view at a small size. There is a great list of thumbnail tips on Tubular Insights. They recommend to:
- Feature color in the thumbnail
- Add a face to draw attraction
- Use an action shot
Once you have your video finished you will want to do a little color correction. Depending on your program there may be an audio auto-correct setting. If you want more advanced correction, simply search “color correction” and the software platform that you were using in Google. There will be a few tutorials on how to do color correction on your platform.
Many programs have auto-enhancement of the audio. Hopefully, your audio is not that bad if you purchased a microphone for your set up.
If your audio isn’t great, adding music underneath the audio will help cover any background noise. Is it is important to set the volume of your video as relatively loud.
A good way to test if your audio is loud enough is go watch a few commercials on YouTube. Then go click play on your video. The volume level should be about the same. I often find that it is louder than I expected, but you need to remember that many people will be watching the video in noisy environments over small speakers.
4) Publish and Share
Once you have all the edits completed, it is time to publish! The export can take a few hours depending on how fast your computer is. Don’t be afraid that it is taking a long time, just set your laptop or computer to not turn off and leave it overnight. If you have a fast computer you may be able to export your video in a lot less time.
Kickstarter Video File Requirements
Today most video players will accept the common file types which are exported from your editing software. The Kickstarter specifications for upload file types are MOV, MPEG, AVI, MP4, 3GP, WMV, or FLV.
Kickstarter also notes that videos must be 250 MB or less.
But in addition, we recommend uploading your video to YouTube. We did not initially upload a video to YouTube and then someone else uploaded it. It then went on to gain thousands of views and we did not have control over the video. Make it easy on yourself and upload the video to YouTube as well as your crowdfunding platform.
Share Your Video
After you have your video uploaded and your campaign has launched, it’s time to share the video! Make sure to share your video on all major social media platforms.
Sharing your campaign on social media is one of the top referrers of new backers. Also, reach out to press and tell them about your campaign. Don’t forget to always feature the campaign video. It is one of your most effective marketing tools!
If you have any tips or tricks that we’ve missed and this tutorial please put them in the comment section below.