Let's take a look at some of the best Kickstarter videos of all times, and reveal some of their secrets. Script? Pace? Videography?... what makes them so powerfully awesome? Learn a few best practices along the way and make an even better video for your project.
1 - Start your Kickstarter video strongly
Viewers of your crowdfunding video decide in the first few seconds whether to continue watching. Kick things off with an evocative part of your project: a beautiful design, a funny scene, etc. Think about what is special about your project and what embodies it best.
Similarly, the creative geniuses behind makey-makey waste no time and immediately start showing us what their invention let's us do.
2 - Keep your video varied
Now that we have your viewers' attention, we need to keep them engaged by building pace and variety into your video. This is the part where video-making requires attention to detail and prior planning.
Think about mini-stories within the main story. For example, show your product being manufactured, recount how you came up with the idea, interview a happy user, or show a team member being awesome. Done well this allows you to show multiple people on camera while filming from many angles, locations, and backdrops.
3 - Show character
Kickstarter projects are personal. Backers want to know you; therefore, your video needs to show your personality. So, be genuine in your tone and in your message. Show openness by inviting the audience into your life.
Being authentic while standing in front of a camera can be difficult, so try moving around the office or around the house as if giving a tour. Film yourself interacting with your team or with your family.
There are many more great examples of authentic videos. In her Crowdtilt video Holly Munoz visits her friends and has casual conversations with them about her projects. She comes across as someone you'd like to have as your friend.
In a more scripted way, but equally characterful, Brandon Grisworld plays the "manly-man" role and is instantly funny and engaging.
4 - Articulate the value to backers
Campaign videos aren't infomercials, so go easy on the sales pitch. But you still need to articulate the value to backers. What are they getting? Perhaps a cool product, a fun experience, bragging rights? Whatever it is, try to provide tangible benefits.
5 - Prepare
For best results and to save time, you'll want to plan ahead and prepare. You'll find it helpful to follow some standard steps:
1) Start with a Creative Brief: Take 30 minutes to articulate, on paper, your key messages, your objective for the campaign, the value to backers, the tone you are aiming for. It will clear up your mind, and it will make communications with collaborators a lot easier.
2) Brainstorm some Concepts: Come up with a few concepts for the video, get some feedback and progressively hone in on one as you complete the next steps. You have many options: film one long unedited sequence, interview various team members and cut to shots of the product, plan a number of funny skits, create a stop-motion animation...
3) Draft a Storyboard: Now is the time to draft your storyboard. Don't set the bar too high at first, just write down what happens in each sequence of your video. Detail both visuals and spoken text. Use this template for example.
4) Enrich and Tighten your Story: Once you have a rough structure, think about ways to make the story even better. For example, make sure that each sequence in your story has something new and interesting to show - as in the Lumio video, where the lamp is used in a different way every 5s or so. If applicable, try to end each sequence with a punchline - as in the Double Fine video. Or maybe you can find a recurring theme - like the marionettes in the Little Bee Pops video?Want professional writers to review and improve your script? Email your script to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll get back to you with feedback and suggestions within 24h for free.
6 - Get help filming
It has become a lot easier to film good quality footage. And in some cases, when the natural light is good and there is no background noise, nor echo, a recent camera phone might be all you need! That said, for most projects, you'll probably want two HD cameras, some external mics and a few lights. This equipment is not easily operated alone, and having experienced people to help you, will make a huge difference. It depends on your project, but if visual quality matters, know that, for $500+, you can find professional videographers near you, who will bring their own equipment. Professional-grade videography made sense in the case of the Lumio video. The videographer was able to capture the subtle grainy details of the lamp, while amateurs would probably have over-exposed their shots. In the Manly Marks video, the crew managed to get beautiful images and impeccable sound. Most pros also have dollys/sliders and know how to operate them to get those traveling shots that immediately boost video quality - as with the FormLabs video.
Need help finding a videographer? Check out a selection of the best videographers on Videopixie.
7 - Bring your video to life in post-production
The story comes to life in post-production (aka "editing"). Your editor will sequence and intertwine the shots to build pace into the video. Depending on the amount of footage and the frequency of the cuts, this can be a big job. For your images to pop, you'll also want some color correction. And you may need some sound treatment, for example to attenuate static noise. The choice of a soundtrack is more important than most people think. It's often worth spending $20-$100 to license a great artist (sites like triplemusic offer crowdfunding licenses). Music makes a big difference. Finally consider adding motion graphics and animations to convey complex topics.
We hope these tips serve you well. We'd love to hear about your project, or tips of your own that you'd like to share. For more inspiring examples, make sure to check out our Best Kickstarter Videos of 2014.
Now, go on and make your campaign take off! with an awesome video.