An A-to-Z guide to producing internal videos for employees

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This article was produced in partnership with Candidio.

Research has shown that 93 percent of communications teams view video as an important tool, and now, more and more companies are shifting away from newsletters and memos and toward video.

They’re easy fairly quick to create, and the more familiar you become with the process, the better the videos you can create. New procedures and policies, new products or services, introducing new hires-videos are excellent for getting your employees to care about your message.

How, you ask?

Remember back in school when a television would be rolled in and placed at the front of the room? It brought excitement, no matter what video you were going to watch. The same goes with internal videos. Though memos and newsletters often go unread — and emails remain unopened — videos are a direct communication point with your staff.

Learn how to get started producing video in this free “Ultimate Survival Guide for Internal Communicators” download

Whether you’ve been asked by a boss to create a video or are simply looking for a new, effective way to communicate internally, look at the planning and shooting process as a time to be inventive, creative, and — most important — fun. Not only will this make your life easier, but employees will be more likely to respond if you’re passionate about the video you’re creating — even if it’s just a company profile.

Here are some steps to consider.

Create a plan — a production brief or simple video planning template — that you can refer to, making sure you’re getting all the shots you need. This can include, but is not limited to: interviews, graphics, and B-roll. At the core of every good video is a good story, one that’s compelling and relevant to the work you’re doing. Spend time brainstorming with other people in your office to generate ideas.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Communicate company’s core values.
  • Recap a town hall meeting.
  • Introduce new procedures or policy.
  • Showcase new hires or veteran employees.
  • Introduce a new product or service.

Each of these topics promotes the company’s values and its reason for existence — and it’s important that your employees know these. Brand journalism videos like these can be as simple as one quick interview or something much more extensive.

Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, for example, values communicating internally through video, so it created “A Day At Lilly,” a video that captured the processes of the global company in one 24-hour period. Employees from more than 30 countries contributed video clips to show that everyone was a part of a bigger network than just the work they saw in their offices and labs. The video went on to receive a national award for best internal communications video.

Review a checklist of equipment you’ll need. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend thousands of dollars — many videos can be created on an iPhone or other late-model smartphone — but you do have to make sure that you’re prepared with everything you need, be it extra lighting or a microphone. Here are the three main components to think about initially — camera, lighting, audio:

Camera

There’s no video without a camera, so that should be at the top of your supplies checklist.

  • A smartphone from the last couple of years (any iPhone after version 4 should do, and most Android phones now have HD cameras, too!)
  • A Flip camera
  • A DSLR camera with video capabilities
  • A consumer camcorder

Lighting

If you have a consumer camcorder you plan to use for your video, you could pick up a special LED light to mount right on top of the camera. They can range in price from $ 100 to $ 500. For most situations, taking a little time to find a naturally well-lit area will help improve the quality of video without having to spend money on professional lighting equipment.

Audio

We recommend finding a shotgun microphone in the $ 100 to $ 300 range. Compared with the built-in mics on smartphones or even camcorders, these directional mics can significantly increase the quality of your audio. Do you see a lot of interviews in your video production future? Then you might also consider picking up a wireless lapel mic for as little as $ 250.

Come prepared with interview questions, but also be prepared to ask follow-up questions based on the interviewee’s responses. This creates organic content that shows the personality of your employees. The interview process gives you the chance to highlight important work that’s being done, and it fosters team-building within your community.

When it comes to what questions to ask, let the situation dictate which questions you ask. If you’re considering a policy change, ask about the history of the decision, and why the policy is changing. If you’re interviewing an employee, ask about how they’ve arrived at their position, and why they care about what they do. Consider the objectives of your video: What’s the one question you want answered for your audience? Be sure that’s the question you get answered.

At the end of the interview, be sure to ask others whether they have questions for the interviewee. The person running the camera might have thought of something you missed, so it’s always good to ask them what they thought. Also, make sure you ask your interviewee at the end of the video: “Is there anything else you’d like to add?” This is often the best information you’ll get from the shoot.

Be sure to take test videos — 10 or 15 seconds long — to ensure you’re getting the right angle, the lighting is correct, and you’re coming from the right distance. Also, take pictures during the shoot; these can be used as stills later in the editing process.

Employ editing software after shooting everything you need to make the editing process much smoother. This is the time to take stock of what you have, ask people who were on set what moments they found to be most interesting, and begin constructing the complete product.

If you use a PC, you might want to consider this editing software:

  • Premier Elements is easy-to-use software, but it has plenty of features to keep you going.
  • Premiere Pro requires a monthly subscription. If you’ll be doing a lot of video editing then you can sign up for an annual subscription for just $ 20 a month.
  • Sony Vegas Pro Edit is an editing software that’s a step up from Movie Maker and iMovie. The price is a bit higher at around $ 400.

If you use a Mac:

  • iMovie simplifies video editing in a way that is easily accessible to novice users.
  • Final Cut Pro adds extraordinary speed, quality, and flexibility to every part of the editing process. The price: $ 300.
  • Premiere Pro is great for PC users, but it also works wonders for Mac users.

For further information about software, prices, and editing technique, check out a more extensive guide.

Share your video as much as possible. Be it email, company intranet pages and websites, digital billboards, and/or company sharing sites. You want as many of your employees to see this so they (A) engage with the information and (B) want to be a part of the next video.

The process doesn’t require as much time and effort as you might think. If you find the right approach, you’ll begin to look forward to the next month’s video planning and collaboration and you’ll be proud of the finished product.

Maybe you won’t roll any televisions into the office on a cart, but you will tell your company’s story in a motivational way.

Still have questions? Check out The Ultimate Survival Guide for Internal Comms Video, which will lead you through the process of creating internal videos.

Rocky Walls is CEO of 12 Stars Media, the parent company of Candidio, a video production platform and editing service. 

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