Updated: Nov 23
If you've been thinking about creating a product video for your online business you may find yourself sitting in a puddle of sweat before you lift a finger. It can be daunting if you don't know where to begin. Well, I'm here to help you get started and in no time, and with no sweat, you can have yourself a professional product video demo to show off your product or products in all their glory.
Now I won't be one to tell you it's easy to create great video of any sort and product videos are no exception. Product videography is a unique art on its own as each product has it's own unique shape which has to be taken into account while lighting, not to mention it's texture - you definitely light a long, glass bottle a lot differently than a shoe, for instance.
So where to begin?
Before you start production on your product video there are a few things to consider. Most importantly, what is the purpose of the video? Are you looking to bring awareness to your product? Or do you want to show customers how it works? Maybe you want to show off the benefits and features or how it will make a person's life better?
Next question: what is your product? There are a gazillion products out there that are used for a gazillion different purposes. 'Product' is a very broad term, so is your product an app for a smartphone? Or is it a pair of slippers? How you demonstrate your product is going to hinge heavily on what it is.
By answering these main questions you'll be able to narrow down what type of video you create. Here are a few types of product videos you can create for your e-commerce store or website:
Product demo (or product 'in action' video)
UGC (User Generated Content)
Animated explainer video
So whether you're selling an app, a T-shirt, or a blender you might start seeing how you can narrow down your options for the type of video dependent on your type of product. I mean, you're probably not going to make an unboxing video for your new smartphone app.
By the way, that is not an exhaustive list and there are many nuances within each type of video.
To help you answer those questions you're going to want to think about your audience/customer and what kind of videos they would connect to. The great thing about video is that it's the most engaging way to communicate with your customers on an emotional level. So think about your audience and what they might react to.
Are they 70 year old aristocrats who enjoy fine wine and afternoon naps? Or are they teenagers who like to post TikTok dance videos and scroll snapchat? The latter probably won't likely be buying your handmade silk cravats.
So cater your video to their style and sensibility. The aristocrat will likely stick around to watch your detailed video of the features and benefits of your high quality product should they be in the market, while the pimple-faced TikToker... won't.
Planning your Product Video
Let's go with a product video demo as our example moving forward, since it's the 'simplest' to get started on.
Producing a commercial for your product is another game altogether and my advice is to go hire a production company to help you do it. You can check our other post about hiring a video production company such as One Inch Punch Productions to help you with that.
Okay, back to a product video demo - now you've figured out who your video is for, what your product is and what kind of video will best work for you.
Let's say you're going with a simple product video demo where the product sits on a table, with nice light and a few text graphics popping up, pointing out it's features and benefits.
In this pre-production phase you'll want to write down an outline or script so you know what you want. You can search online for other videos and see what you liked and then use those as inspiration.
Here's a video we created to demonstrate what we mean:
Think about what you liked? Was it the mood (re: lighting and camera movement)? The music? The font? The sound design?
Take the inspiration from a few of them and write it all down. You can even make a storyboard/mood board with other images and notes beside them. Think about wide shots, close shots and camera movement. Study your chosen inspirational videos and see what they do. Detail is key to show your customers what they're getting with your product, so you want to be sure to highlight them.
Once you're happy with that you can move on to...
You can consider this the 2nd part of pre-production, where we think about how you're going to film it. Do you have a DSLR camera? A RED cam? Or are you totally new to this and you're just using your smartphone camera? Which is totally fine.
To control the settings even more on your phone you can download the app FilmicPRO and that gives you many amazing options.
Next is your location - are you filming on the floor, on a table or in the backyard? Think about your 'set dec' and 'location' as a character that creates mood and has certain lighting. What reflects your brand and your product? If you're hawking diamond rings you probably won't want to film it in a chicken coop!
Lighting is really important so if you really don't know what you're doing, my best advice is a large soft source coming from a 45 to 90 degree angle to the subject (in relation to the camera). This will cover many objects nicely as the soft light will roll off the angles and soften shadows. Move it around until it looks good.
A large soft light? The sun is a good large light, but it can be a hard light, which causes hard shadows. To diffuse it just put a translucent shower curtain up in between the sun and your product and then work fast - the sun moves! Alternatively you can use a lamp or a bunch of lamps behind the shower curtain and get a similar effect - NOTE: the closer the diffusion is to the product the softer the light.
A back light is great as well as it can help create separation from the background and puts a nice rim light around the subject. You can even use practicals right in the shot, placed further in the background to create mood and back light your product.
Alright! Now that you've planned your location and lighting, have gathered all your items, and prepped your camera. You're ready for some product videography!
Set all your items up in the location and set up your lights. A few things to look at for in your framing is:
Leave enough space between your product and the background to give the image depth (unless it makes sense like using a white board for your background)
Make sure everything in your frame is as you want it - clean well placed items that suit the 'scene'
Light your background if it's too dark, but not brighter than the light on your product
Leave enough space in the frame around your product if you're going to be adding text graphics (work this out in your storyboard)
Don't film down onto your product unless it makes sense or you're purposefully doing an overhead shot - the camera at the same level or even a bit lower for that 'hero' shot
Consider all the platforms you'll be distributing to and make sure you can fit your product and essential scene items into vertical, square and horizontal frames. I know... it's a pain.
Okay enough of this nonsense! Hit 'record' and start filming! Move the camera slowly around your product (you can also record in slow motion - 120 frames per second - to get that buttery smooth feel, but you might need more light). Move in, slide in, slide sideways, move out, rotate around it. Remember you can't do anything wrong here as you'll be editing all the bad bits out later.
I also like to capture static 'safety' frames in a wide angle (as well as all the close-ups) just in case my movements don't work out - you can do some digital movement in your editing with ease.
Excellent! Congratulations! You've now filmed your product - it's 'in the can' as they say and you're ready to move onto the final stage - Editing.
Yet another sweat filled, daunting task to the freshman, but fear not, we've got you.
If you're brand new to editing I suggest you start with an open sourced, free software called OpenShot. It works on all machines and looks pretty simple to use. There are tutorials and good support. I think with this program you'll be posting in no time.
Watch the tutorials on how to use it as teaching you how to edit here is just too much.
Great! Now you have at least one editing tool to start building your video.
What you want to focus on is pacing, emotion and the general feel of the video. A lot of editors and creators like to start with the music - even before filming actually - because music is big driver of mood and emotion.
Use the music and edit to it - the pacing will become inherent when you follow the music. We like to find our own visual rhythm, within the music, so that it's not so bang on the beat, but compliments it and keeps it interesting.
Some other basic things to look at are:
Do the visuals build on each other? Telling some sort of story.
Does the movement within the shot flow to the next one and isn't jittery?
Are all bad shaky moments removed (unless it's a part of the story and feel)?
Do the shots match in color and lighting?
Are the text graphics readable, but not overpowering?
Can the video experience be augmented with sound effects?
Could the video use some voice over?
Once you've created on cut of the video - do another one. Pick a slightly different bit of music and a few different shots in different orders. Play around, take chances and see if you get any happy accidents - sometimes you can't see it until you see it - know what I mean? It's also good practice.
After doing a few versions and you've finally settled on one version (or even a few) you're all set to upload to your website and social media accounts and watch the magic of video help you sell, sell, sell.
If you have any questions or anything isn't clear you can leave a comment or question in the comments or contact us here.
If you need someone to help you create a product demo video the One Inch Punch Productions can help!