Stay Connected:

This article was first published in the June 2018 issue of British Dealer News.

Want to make better videos for social media? You can do it all with your smartphone, but the trick is in the editing.

Now that we’re into peak riding season, there are shed loads of opportunities for you to create original, engaging content for your website and social media channels. Continuing with that theme from last month, I’m going to offer some tips on how to produce good quality, shareable video content.

Most of the time for social media purposes, your smartphone is the only tool you need to film and edit videos, and to post to your social media accounts. However, there’s one golden rule to follow: always film in landscape mode.

It’s also worth remembering a couple of guiding principles that apply to social media video specifically. First of all, less is more, so limit video duration to a maximum of 60 seconds. This will enable you to post on Instagram without getting trimmed, to share the same file on Facebook and Twitter without having to make different versions, and of course it panders to the short attention span most people have on social media. Secondly, because the average ‘watch time’ for videos on social media is only about 10 seconds, you need to use those crucial seconds to show branding, a call-to-action if appropriate, and to capture your viewers’ interest so they’ll continue watching.

Before you start filming anything, install a video-editing app on your phone and learn how to use it. There are plenty to choose from and most of them are free. ‘Splice’ and ‘Adobe Premiere Clip’ are both good options. Whichever one you choose, experiment with how it lets you trim clips, change clip order, adjust or mute audio volume, and add transitions and background music.

Filmmakers refer to ‘shooting for the edit’, and it’s the most important habit you need to acquire. It’s about thinking ahead to the editing process to help you decide what to film and how to film it. Rather than trying to cover everything in one ‘take’, you’ll be filming a collection of potentially usable segments of footage, and then editing that raw material into a polished final video.

Let me explain further with a real example. A while back I visited Bike Stop in Stevenage to film a simple store walkthrough and ‘piece to camera’ with its social media-savvy owner, Martin Brown. You can view the final 59-second video below, but here’s how it was put together…

The first essential step was preparation. I explained to Martin what I wanted to do and gave him the chance to ponder what he might say in about 30 seconds. While he was thinking, I took some time to wander around, remind myself which brands were displayed where, and plan how best to film them.

Then the filming began, starting with a branded ‘establishing shot’ outside followed by a whole bunch of ‘cutaways’. Mostly product focused in this case, cutaways are filmed as six-second clips that eventually get edited back to two or three seconds. They’re not the real meat of the video, but they help to move it along and break up longer clips.

Martin’s piece to camera was filmed in two sections. This was partly just to make the final video visually more interesting, but it also gave us the chance to highlight a couple of different brands. 35 separate clips were filmed altogether (about five minutes’ worth of footage), including several takes of Martin speaking to camera. 18 clips were used in the final edit.