Making video visions visible

20 May 2020

‘Bringing stories to life digitally’ was the focus of the latest Monday morning JCM Coffee and Cake catch up.

During this current pandemic, we’re all immersed in the ‘zoom boom’ and digital craze. One thing which is sought more than ever before is online video content, which is estimated to make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022. *Source: CISCO

Below are JCM’S top tips on how to create digital stories:

A good brief is key
Planning a clear brief before beginning to create any video is a crucial first step. The brief should identify why this video is important and what it aims to achieve – will it will be a standalone video or part of wider campaign? – as well as they key questions you are planning to ask. It’s also a good idea to run a series of videos and have a plan in place, for example a weekly video series running over six weeks which will be posted on your channels. If you post on YouTube, you can share to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but you will gain more engagement if the viewer can watch the video direct on the channel. For Instagram consider using IGTV. Always consider health and safety measures are in place too, such as ensuring helmets are worn when filming quad bike driving. Having a strong brief will help you focus!
If you are asking someone else to capture the video for you, make sure you prepare a brief that clearly outlines tone, filming format (landscape), where you want them to stand, to avoid noisy locations and clothing (if there is key branded items they should wear). The more detail you can provide, the less time you will need to spend editing.


Next step – recruitment
What is your vision behind the video? Who do you see starring in it and best able to portray your message? These are important questions you should ask yourself when considering who to recruit for your video. When doing so, think about age, where they are from, what they do, reasons for choosing them and consider their digital following and previous online engagement. It is always worth producing a simple disclaimer form that is signed by those featuring in the video providing their consent – this is essential if you are working with under 18’s.


All the gear and a full idea
One thing our JCM & Co team members know is that having the right equipment can make all the difference during your video creating experience. However, don’t rush into this and assume the more expensive the better – your phone and a low-cost microphone could be all you need. Browse the internet to find what is available and familiarise yourself with the equipment you will be using. Investing in equipment such as a tripod, extension cable, set of headphones, windjammer and a microphone are all worth looking into.

  Some of the tools we often recommend include:

Rode Lavalier Microphone for Smartphones
– Amazon link:
Windjammer to help with noise
Amazon link: Filter/dp/B07XF3TRW3/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&keywords=windjammer+smartphone&qid=1589964559&s=musical-instruments&sr=1-15
Extension cable so you have a little distance when filming
– Amazon link:

A tripod is key but find one that works for you on the internet, there are hundreds of varieties available.

Nail the basics
Don’t forget the simple things which can make all the difference, such as checking to remove your phone cover before filming so it doesn’t reduce the sound. Another useful trick which the JCM team are often doing is using your arms and legs as a tripod to ensure balance, if you don’t have a tripod. Also, position the interviewee slightly off centre to allow space for logos or text when editing, and we would always recommend recording in landscape.

Creating a sense of storytelling with cutaways
One of the easiest ways to bring a story to life is by using cutaways in your video, small videos or photos that might demonstrate what the interviewee is discussing. i.e. it could be a tractor working in a field. This also helps the video flow seamlessly and give context – engaging the viewer further. Top tip: make sure they are also landscape as this will make the editing process easier.


Putting it all together
The editing process is an exciting step, where you can really get creative. Adobe Premier Pro and Final Cut Pro are examples of professional editing software. There are also lots of free and in-built apps, such as iMovie and Windows Movie Maker, that will allow a basic level of editing, however they offer a good starting point.. Once ready to transfer files, Dropbox, WeTransfer and iCloud are all useful – watch transferring your files via WhatsApp as it can often compress the quality.

Build, Build, Build
Once the concrete foundations of your video are in place, you can build your video from cutaways, music, voice recordings, graphics, logo’s and text; there are many ways you can make your unique story stand out among the digital crowd. 85% of videos on Facebook are watched in silent mode, so we strongly recommend using subtitles to increase your level of engagement. *source – instapage

– When you press play on record, pause for 4 second before starting and when you have finished, again pause for 4-seconds before stopping. This will help with the edit.
– Try to avoid filming in selfie mode unless the person is on their own. This reduces the quality of the film. If someone is on their own, a tripod is useful.
– Don’t have the interviewee too close to the camera but close enough the viewer feels a connection. We recommend setting the camera so you can see their head to waist. This then allows you to zoom in to a head and shoulders shot when you come to edit the film, giving you a mix of scenes without using lots of cutaways.
– If you are using a microphone, face it down not up towards the face. This will help with consistency of sound.
– When you come to edit the film, if you are going to publish it direct on twitter remember the channel will only upload videos of 2mins 20 seconds or less.

Finally, creating your own films are great for social media where they are instant and often only viewed for a short period. If you are looking for something that might be used more long-term and might be viewed on a larger screen than a phone such as in a presentation, consider using a dedicated video producer.

Two we love include:

Craig Stephen
Breeze and Freeze
If you would like to chat to Jane Craigie Marketing about your digital campaign and creating videos email

Campaigns we supported:

NFU Scotland video: Team JCM supported NFU Scotland in producing a video which focused on sharing Scotland’s farmers and crofters message with the public.
RYP Covideos: During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Rural Youth Project have been releasing a series of online ‘Country Covid-eos’ videos, to help connect rural young people during lockdown.
QMS Farm Kid Dairies: Quality Meat Scotland have recently launched a new series of ‘Farm Kids Diary videos’ as a way of connecting children and supporting home schooling during lockdown. One video is released each week.
BASF Strong Together – link to twitter: BASF have also launched a series of ‘Strong Together’ videos, which shows how the business is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and to highlight that they are here to offer support.