How to order a video about an IT product and get what you need
Do you want to create a great video about your service or app quickly? The contractor wants to do just that for you! You have the same agenda, all you need to do now is to learn to interact effectively. What can a client do to make creating a video seamless and bring only positive impressions? Having analyzed our experience in creating videos about IT products, we at Alconost have come up with seven recommendations.
1. Put someone in charge
Identify one person who will send the provider the necessary files, answer questions, and accept the work. Needless to say, this person will need help from their coworkers when assigning tasks, and they’ll also need their opinion when confirming intermediate results. That’s fine. The entire team can participate in discussions on your end. But it’s the job of the person in charge to inform the provider about your team’s decisions.
If the team has competing ideas or visions, discuss and reach consensus among team members and return to the provider with a perspective that satisfies everyone.
2. Warn the provider about planned changes to the product
Sometimes an app can be continuously improved, and new features or changes to existing ones can appear in the app while the video is in production. Warn the provider about any features that are still being finalized, or, even better, send the provider a test version of the app with functionality that comes as close as possible to what will be implemented at the time the video is released.
3. Give the provider enough information
The provider may ask you to fill out a design brief — if so, take your time with it — this is an important step! The brief will contain questions the provider needs in order to understand your product’s “certain something,” as well as what you expect from the video and its technical specs. The more accurately you fill in the brief, the less likely you will be to end up with a video that doesn’t entirely match your vision, or is even the opposite of it!
Of course, if you’re trying to select the right company and are in contact with multiple agencies or freelancers and they all want you to fill out a brief in their own format, this can be quite time-consuming. But you can prepare technical requirements in advance in a format that’s convenient for you and use this mockup when filling out design briefs. If you’ve never done this before, that’s okay — once you’ve familiarized yourself with three or four briefs from different contractors, you’ll understand which questions they all care about.
4. Don’t be shy about asking for explanations
Sometimes providers are so immersed in the production process that they forget to swim back up to the surface when talking to clients. If you encounter a specialized term while talking to a provider and you aren’t sure what it means, go ahead and ask. You’re under no obligation to be well-versed in the field of video production. And there’s nothing awkward about asking a provider to talk to you in plain English rather than technical jargon.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Ideally, you should always know when a provider is planning to show you the next intermediate result and which phase you will move to once it’s confirmed. If a provider has forgotten to inform you when you should expect to get a storyboard or reach some other milestone, go ahead and ask them about it.
And don’t forget that you can ask the provider to draw up an approximate plan with individual steps and deadlines during the initial phase.
6. Take the confirmation of intermediate results seriously
Confirmed material forms the basis of subsequent steps. For example, the script is the basis on which voice-over is recorded, and the tempo of that voice-over will then become the basis for the animation. Changing confirmed results is like deciding to redo wiring or tear down a wall while you’re hanging wallpaper. That being said, nothing is impossible. You can adjust things or just tear them down completely — as long as you’re ready to allocate additional money and time to do so.
Sometimes it can be difficult to ignore the urge to just say “well, no big deal, and if something comes up later, we’ll fix it.” But rather than letting your doubts pile up, you’re better off discussing them with the provider as early as possible so a snowball of issues doesn’t come crashing down on the video when it’s almost ready to be released.
Also, when setting a release date for a video, consider the time it will take to formulate a response to the intermediate results. After all, the pace of the approval process is up to the client — the provider has no control over it. During approval, the ball is in your court — you’re the only one who can decide how soon production will move on to the next phase.
7. Give constructive comments
“Let’s make this text smaller” is something you can ask for, and it’s a simple enough request to fulfill. But it’s still best if the provider understands which problem you’re trying to solve with this change. It’s not just that an 18-point font looks nicer than a 24-point font, after all.
“We need to focus on the action in the interface in this scene, but the text is drawing too much attention to itself. Could we make it smaller or something?” This is a comment that a provider can work with constructively. Maybe it would be better to make the text a lighter color, move it somewhere else in the shot, display it earlier or later, shorten it, or get rid of it entirely.
It’s your job to identify and discuss problems — it’s the provider’s job to find optimal solutions to them.
In your experience, which of these can actually save your project? What would you personally recommend to a manager who plans to work with an outsourcer? How did your approach to outsourcing teams change over time? Share your thoughts with us.