Do you know what the most important part of your Kickstarter campaign is? I would say without a doubt the video. Experts agree that the Kickstarter video is the most viral aspect of the campaign. Projects with videos succeed at 50% vs. 30% of campaigns without a video.
But putting together a great video can be a daunting task, but today I’m going to show you how to break it into actionable steps. I urge you not to be intimidated, though, 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.
- PreProduction – 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 individually go through each of the steps 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 is one of the steps that 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 goals of crowd funding videos 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 section 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, and successful campaigns that are similar to yours.
Them all in this article but if you’re interested, you can view the most funded Kickstarter campaign videos in an article I wrote here.
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 and a short amount of time. I wanted to quickly review the different types of the story that you can use.
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. Then positioning your campaign as the hero of the story, swooping in with the perfect solution and helping everyone get to the happy ending.
TONE AND VOICE
In preproduction, you want to decide on the tone invoice for your campaign. Is it funny, professional, serious, lighthearted, or creative? Once you choose a tone and voice make sure to stick to it through all materials. This 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 make sure to show your story board to friends and family and get their 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 to them in a way that they are receptive to. 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 make sure you cover all your bases. A good way to check this is the age old 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 props.
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 for the video.
You can now start writing the script. A good tip is to speak out loud while you write. This might seem strange but remember that 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 further down the document you present more detailed information. This is the strategy used by newspaper articles. This 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. This means that someone can watch the first 20 seconds of your video and understand what the campaign is about. This is important as we know not all users will watch the entire video.
Cut the Fluff
Okay, there are a lot of videos that just have a bunch of crap and then.
Make sure to cut out all fluff. When you read your script make sure you are not going on and on about the same thing.
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. It may not even be a sentence but an intriguing visual. You probably remember from elementary school 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
When creating the outline for your video I like to use the concept of “start with why” by Simon Sinek. If you have never seen the talk on how to start with why I haven’t embedded it above. Here is the spark notes version for those of you who don’t like watching videos.
- 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
You were making a video it is important that you play to the strengths that video has. Many Kickstarter founders spend the time just talking about their idea; this is a total waste of the most compelling part of the video!
Make sure you show don’t tell viewers the content. Review your script and see what visuals you can have that directly aid what you are talking about.
Problem and Solution
Then you need to show them how you are the perfect solution to that problem. 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 it is good to look at some of the other Kickstarter videos and 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 money; they want to know that you know what you were doing. It is always good to have experience which you can talk about. If your Founders have experience in doing similar projects, make sure to tell viewers that.
Use these tactics to further build credibility with the viewer.
Statistics are a great way to convey information and present yourself as an authority on the topic.
- Show don’t tell
- Proof of concept
Make it emotional: funny, happy, sad, angry, empowering!
Video is incredibly powerful because it has the ability to emotionally connect with viewers. 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, and in different parts of the video, you may be targeting different emotions.
Strategically think about what emotions you want the viewer to have during different parts of the video. Is your video funny? Does it make you happy, sad, angry empowered? Think about the most popular viral videos, they all have one thing in common, they play on our emotions.
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 get. 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 great 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 users know when the end of the video is coming in off and we’ll 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? Well, there is no magic number to this, but there are few guidelines.
We know the shorter your video, the better. The longer your video is, the less likely people are to finish the video. 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. Just 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. If you can record the reading then you can play it back and listen to the performance. This is the most objective way to hear your script. Is also good if you can read it to some friends and family and get their feedback. Don’t forget to time to read through see you know exactly how long your video will be. This will let you know if you need to add more or remove some content.
You want to sit down and read your script out loud. If you can record the readings, you can then listen to it played back. This is the most objective way to hear your script. Is also good if you can read it to some friends and family and get their feedback. Don’t forget to time to read through so you know exactly how long your video will be. This will let you know if you need to add more 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 it will take more time in editing.
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. Below we will review tips and tricks for shooting your video.
What camera to use
One of the most common questions we get is what 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 this. But don’t be afraid if you just have an iPhone. Today the iPhone ha ssuch a great camera that you can easily shoot in HD video. We will outline tips for using the camera below.
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 videoography 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 try to use natural light when shooting as it will look best. If you want to put together your own lighting kit there are some affordable do-it-yourself tutorials.
The best advice though is just don’t shoot under terrible 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. Do not shoot vertical video you will have large black bars on the side of your screen
Use a tripod
A tripod will help steady your camera. It is an inexpensive accessory that will make a big difference. It is the second most important thing you 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. Center in your subject is okay, but it is also beneficial to put them on a third.
The rule of thirds says that you should put a subject on one of the thirds of the image. If you divide your image in two-thirds both vertically and horizontally you will have 9 separate blocks. The corner is where these points intersect are the points where you should put the subject. For most videos you put the eyes of the subject on the upper left-hand third or upper right-hand third period.
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 backdrop for an interesting backdrop. Don’t make it too cluttered and make sure that it does not distract from the video. If you have a large budget you can purchase a roll of paper to put up behind the subject.
Get loose for the camera
Okay, so you have everything set up for your shoot and it’s finally time to film. Make sure to do a few tests with your set up first to make sure the lighting, audio, and subject are ready to go.
Once you already it is time to get loose for the camera. If this is your first time on camera don’t be afraid, you can do as many takes as needed until you get their right performance. Remember that you can edit Clips together, 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 to a friend. If it is your first time filming a video you can actually talk to a friend just to the right or left of the camera. It is less intimidating if you talk to the friend opposed to looking directly at the camera.
Do multiple takes
Don’t forget to do multiple takes, you can choose your favorite in the editing! If you get frustrated after a few takes. Don’t be afraid to 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 time to edit it. 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 were 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 what your favorite takes are.
After you have chosen what your favorite Clips are 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 go in and fine-tune the actual edits. I always like to Circle back around 2 videos that I chose in the first step for inspiration while editing. You can compare your video to their videos and it will be a parent when there is a long pause or the audio is too soft.
Music is an important part of most crowdfunding videos. It keeps the pace moving forward and hides any background noise. You want to be careful and what type of music you use though, as copyright 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 your video for free or at little 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 to your project and listen to a few different music tracks. 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 a 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. you want to make sure that the image is 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 to be more advanced correction 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 in 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 not 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 done for your video 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 most common files which are exported from your editing software. Below we have included the specifications from Kickstarter for uploading the video.
And finally a few technical specs: videos must be 250 MB or less and have a file type of MOV, MPEG, AVI, MP4, 3GP, WMV, or FLV.
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.
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 in your campaign has launched it’s time to share the video! Make sure to share 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.