• Ben E

Coronavirus: How To Keep Producing Video During The Lockdown

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

Over the past few weeks Covid-19 coronavirus has taken hold globally. It’s a deeply scary time for many, and governments are rightly stepping up measures to curtail the spread of the virus.

Everything that can be shut has been shut, and everyone who can lock themselves in their homes are now required to do so by law.

These are unprecedented times indeed.

As a result, almost all businesses find themselves now trying to adjust as swiftly as possible to the radical new landscape. The logistical challenges of transitioning to remote working is the priority for many teams right now.

These circumstances provide a strong opportunity for brands to connect with their audiences

But once the dust has settled and the initial kinks have been ironed out, there are some opportunities for brands being presented by the current situation.

Firstly, with a large portion of the globe now confined to their homes for all but essential trips out, people are spending a much larger proportion of their time online.

And these online audiences are seeking out content for a number of reasons:

· To keep up-to-date with the latest news

· To be entertained and kept sane

· To get companionship and comfort during isolation

These circumstances provide a strong opportunity for brands to connect with their audiences and help to fulfill these needs in a time when many are seeking mental stimulation and distractions from the cabin fever.

However, also because of the lockdown, marketing teams aren’t able to go out and shoot fresh video footage, which makes it hard to meet the increased demand for video content.

With this in mind, I have listed a number of ways brands can still step up their video content even during these times of self-isolation.

Here are some ideas:

1. Re-purpose existing media assets

Past projects. Previous years events. Abandoned or half-finished campaigns.

These are all good places to start looking for footage which could be re-purposed, recycled, or re-sized.

If you released a series of YouTube videos last year, you could think about re-sizing them to fit TikTok or Instagram Stories and re-releasing them on those platforms.

Similarly, cutting the best bits of a previous video campaign could allow you to create a series of snappy social microvideos.

Here’s an example of a standard 16:9 video which we resized and reformatted for NBC Universal's Snapchat Stories.

2. Make GIFs from your video clips

It’s not always just about video.

You can look for eye-catching clips from your asset library which could be made into looping GIFs to accompany blogs, or even just stand alone on your visual social channels like Instagram.

Adding simple animated overlays can really help to make your GIFs pop out from the newsfeed, and it’s easy enough to do.

Here's an example of an animated GIF we made from still imagery supplied by one of our clients:

3. Create short animated clips

If you’re struggling to get hold of assets to re-purpose, creating short animated clips can be a great way to tell a story, while having complete control over the end result.

Although this is more labour-intensive than re-purposing videos, the end result will be something completely original with tons of room for creativity.

Another option is to use overlaid animations on video. This allows you to give pre-existing videos a new lease of life when being recycled for new formats.

This doesn’t need to be complicated either, some simple After Effects animations can do wonders on even the most mundane looking videos.

For example, here's an animation we recently made for the British Heart Foundation:

4. Use stock footage

The internet is a wonderful place, full of wonderful resources. Some of these resources exist solely to offer free stock video footage to anybody who needs it.

This is a really useful option if your ability to shoot footage is limited.

While you may struggle to find specific shots (particularly of people and events), it’s easy to tell a story using stock media, without it even being obvious that it’s stock.

Below is an example of a promo video for a fitness app made using entirely stock footage:

5. Moving imagery

Sometimes simplicity is the best option. If you need to spread a message or tell a story to your audience with as short a turnaround time as possible, consider using imagery brought to life with a Ken Burns effect or eye-catching transitions.

Overlaid text and simple After Effects animations can help to make these simple-to-create videos pop out of the newsfeed.

Here’s an example of a simple image-based story we created for a client:

6. Kinetic Text Videos

If you’re looking for a punchy way to get a detailed message to your audience, whilst also keeping them engaged through the video, kinetic text is a great way to achieve this.

Created in After Effects, these videos tend to work particularly well when set to a specific music track or beat. These can branch out into moving infographic territory, with animated illustrations adding further depth and detail.

Below is an example of a kinetic text explainer video we created for one of our clients:

To conclude

Creating a stream of fresh, engaging video content for your online audience doesn’t need to be a long, drawn-out process involving teams of videographers and in-house editors.

So long as you’re clear on the story you want to tell or the message you need to get across, there are multiple ways to achieve this without the need to physically go out and shoot footage.

The current coronavirus situation is an opportunity to get creative and engage with your audience during a time when many will be looking online for comfort, company and entertainment.

If you need any help producing any of the above, you can try a week of our unlimited video editing service 100% free. And you get to keep everything we make for you even if you decide it’s not for you.

Videoprawn is an unlimited video editing service helping marketing teams to produce video at scale.

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