How has COVID-19 changed the way we make videos
The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot about the way we work, the way we live and the way we communicate. It will be interesting to see over the coming months and years what changes will stick, that have perhaps changed things for the better, and what changes will simply disappear and return to the old normal. For video marketing, I believe we have seen a new phase emerge and one that I don’t think is ever going to revert back.
As mobile technology has developed we’ve naturally seen more and more people use their mobile phones to create video content. At the start this content was deemed somewhat unprofessional and something that could actually harm a business by making them seem cheap and unwilling to invest in themselves. And yet over the last couple of years, mobile phone videos have become more widely adopted and accepted.
However it has been in the last few months, during the COVID-19 lockdown, that we have seen DIY or self-made videos become the norm. Everyone has flocked to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet as a way to communicate with their friends, family, colleagues and clients, and have in turn begun creating video content at a scale that we have never seen before.
Amongst everything I’ve seen, two specific types of video have particularly caught my eye over the last few months, that I think will be completely changed as a result of this pandemic: online courses & webinars and social media videos.
ONLINE COURSES & WEBINARS
Many businesses saw their revenues either completely disappear or dramatically reduce almost overnight as the world went into lockdown. For those with deep pockets, they will largely ride the storm and undoubtedly emerge in a fairly good position, albeit with slightly less cash available, whilst others have had to think fast and adapt. Whilst those businesses are no doubt hurting right now, I think they will look back and see this period of time as rather beneficial. For those large companies with considerable cash reserves, the sheer fact that they haven’t had to worry will mean they haven’t been forced to innovate, so they won’t, which gives the small companies the advantage. There are obviously many large companies that have adapted and who will no doubt benefit as a result, but the vast majority have not.
Now for the businesses that have had to adapt, webinars and online courses have become particularly popular.
Over the last few months I’ve seen a plethora of webinars hit the web, from business coaches, to chiropractors, tech companies to HR consultants. The vast majority of these have been conducted through Zoom, who in turn have seen a massive increase in users and revenues over the last several months. Many of these webinars have been provided for free, being used as marketing activities to keep engaged and connected with their clients, prospects and communities, whilst some have been adopted as legitimate revenue streams whilst their usual products and services take a hit.
For those who have opted to invest their time into online courses, many are looking at it as a completely new revenue opportunity, not necessarily something to replace their normal products and services, but certainly something to nurture alongside them.
All of these videos are being filmed, recorded and edited from home, using mobile phones and webcams, edited on basic editing programs and hosted on any number of easily accessible platforms available through monthly subscriptions. The pandemic has proved just how accessible video marketing is to businesses of all sizes, and how easy it is to create.
SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS
Now the term “social media video” is frustratingly ambiguous, but I’m pretty sure you know what I mean; short form videos, usually thought-leadership based, with people talking to camera, sharing their thoughts, ideas and insights across LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. These types of videos have become a staple part of our social media feeds during this pandemic and I just don’t see them going anywhere.
Even looking back 18 months or so ago, self-made, mobile phone social media videos were fairly prominent and I for one have actually deterred clients from hiring us to film these kinds of videos if they are purely going to be used on social media. Now some people want the best, in which case they will always seek to work with a professional company, which is fine and if that’s what they want, then who am I to judge, however if you aren’t too worried about production value and just purely want to get your message out, then I personally don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t film these kinds of videos yourself and only outsource it to a video company or agency, if you need help with the editing, with adding graphics and with generally jazzing them up.
WE’RE BECOMING MORE AUTHENTIC
Over the last three months, we have become more accustomed to self-made video content than ever before, and as apps like TikTok continue to rise with a bias towards real, authentic video content, I just can’t see this changing.
We’ve become used to seeing webcam videos from those recording interviews through Zoom, and mobile generated videos from people’s living rooms. We’ve become more aware but less bothered by seeing the insides of each other’s homes, from washing hanging in the background, to our kids and cats pestering us as we try to conduct at least semi-professional video meetings with our teams and clients. Businesses can longer hide inside their nice, clean, white walled offices, or their crisp, corporate persona. You might usually wear an expensive navy suit and work from a 5th floor window overlooking central London, but now we know you as a T-shirt loving person, who plays dinosaurs with your kids in your spare time and who has a particularly needy cat that won’t shut up if it doesn’t get the attention it wants.
My point is that we now know the real you, and whilst for some that thought is scary and daunting, it’s a barrier to authenticity that probably would have taken us several more years as a culture to arrive at, if at all. Now I have no doubt that when this is all over, many will return to their old ways, to their expensive suits and nice offices and will pick up filming videos again in these environments and look to start regaining that professional look and feel.
Professional video production is never going to disappear, there is always going to be a market for high quality, professionally produced videos and certain environments that are just too difficult for one person to capture on a phone – events for example really need a professional crew. However I think that this level of production quality will become more reserved for promoting products and services, to discuss things that drive revenue and other financial incentives and that for everything else, we’re going to be ok with videos that have been filmed on a mobile phone, or on a webcam, and where the creativity is going to come from the editing and the graphics and the way the information is presented.
WE HAVE ENTERED A NEW AGE OF VIDEO PRODUCTION
I believe we have crossed into a new frontier, the frontier of DIY, of self-made content, of more people than ever before launching into video marketing. The barrier to entry is now basically nil and there’s nothing stopping us from getting started. And for someone who runs a company that makes a huge amount of video content for clients, I for one am excited! We’re going to see new creatives enter the arena who didn’t even know they had a creative bone in their bodies. We’re going to see old school video production companies who refuse to change, all but disappear, and I think we’re going to see new companies emerge, who are proud to support their clients with creative input, with advice, with education and with editing and distribution services to help make that content more eye-catching in a news feed.
To me COVID-19 has enhanced the video marketing industry, but levelled the playing field. It’s taught us that anyone can be a video producer at scale and that we don’t need to worry about the quality of our camera or the limitations of our environment. So let’s usher in this new age of video and let’s celebrate and revel in all the new possibilities that we’ve now discovered and let’s get ourselves out there in a way that we’re never been able to before.