Posts Tagged‘trailer’

Film reel close up

6 Key Questions for Producing Effective Videos

We work on video production projects at various stages of their development. Often the project is almost fully formed, and all we have to decide on with the client is a filming date. However we also come on board at the very earliest stage, which is often something along the lines of: “we want to make a video, any ideas…?” We have a number of key considerations that we go through with our clients who want to start producing video content.

1. What marketing objective will the video satisfy? In other words, what’s it for?

–    Selling tickets?

–    Building awareness?

–    Key message to members of your organisation?

–    As a tool to pitch for future funding?

The marketing objective informs everything about your video, from length to distribution method. If you can’t answer this simple question, it might not be time for a video. Driving ticket sales for an event your video should have a clear and simple call to action on why and how to buy tickets, it should not be overly informative but quickly convey the essence and unique selling points (USPs) of the event.

Bottom line: make sure you know exactly what the video should achieve and measure it where possible.

2. Who is the video for?

Your target audience buys certain publications, visits certain websites and responds to certain methods of communication. Similarly you must consider what kind of video they will respond to – not just create something you think looks great. High production value is pointless if your video doesn’t speak clearly to the target audience. Say you are producing a promotional trailer for the second run of a performance, first time round ticket sales were high among the 45+ age group, but this time the goal is to bring in younger audiences too. You may want to consider focusing on young interviewees when shooting audience reactions in order to get the language and perspective that will speak to a younger age group. Have a look at this Sadler’s Wells promo that clearly targets a young internet savvy audience.

Bottom line: a good video isn’t a good video unless the target audience think it is.

3. What creative direction will best suit your marketing objectives?

Depending on the message you are communicating and your video objectives,  you might consider a variety of creative directions. Motion graphics are ideal for expounding a process or service clearly, and leave loads of room for visual branding. Other directions suit different marketing objectives. We produced a live action theatre trailer for the UK tour of To Kill A Mockingbird. The marketing brief was to capture the nostalgia of the original novel, while stirring emotion in generations of readers who experienced the book as a child. A cinematic approach allowed us achieve that nostalgia without telling much of the story or recreating the stage bound production. This is generally a suitable approach for theatre as it is the themes of a play that draw an audience. The physical thrill of live theatre cannot be recreated in video, so we focus on translating it to film.

Bottom line: your video is first and foremost a marketing tool; aesthetic and style is important but it must serve a specific purpose.

4. How will you distribute it?

–   Website homepage?

–   YouTube advertising?

–   Email newsletter?

–   Front of House?

The method of distribution has a huge bearing on your video in a number of areas, none more so than the length. Where and how someone has come across your video pertains to their interest and commitment to watching it. If the video has been developed as in depth content on an event or production, you will likely want to place it on your YouTube channel and push it on social media, where the attention span of your audience is likely to be quite long. Alternatively, if you are producing a video with a view to engaging new audiences and driving ticket sales, you might want to seed it with YouTube’s advertising service and in this case your video would be short and snappy, grabbing and holding attention in the first 5 seconds. Take a look at a YouTube ad we produced for the Young Vic’s production of A Season in the Congo for an example of this type of ad.

Bottom line: strategise your distribution method early to suit your marketing objective as it will inform everything about the video.

5. Who will create your content?

Your gut reaction would be to do it in house if you have a video producer, or outsource to a video production company if you don’t. But don’t forget about your customers; user generated content can save you money, offer creativity, perspectives and insight that you would never have achieved on your own. If your objective is engaging your audience, what better way that challenging them to contribute to something? We designed a campaign with the International Youth Arts Festival where all the participant theatre companies submitted their own trailers as part of a competition. We then selected the winners and cut a trailer of them to be seeded as an ad on YouTube. Shooting a project of this scale ourselves would have cost IYAF thousands they didn’t have, by getting the participants involved we saved time and money while representing the diversity of festival.

Bottom line: think about who might be best positioned to generate content (especially if the budget it tight).

6. A sustainable video strategy.

No matter how well targeted and relevant a video you have produced, if it grows old and lonely on a sparse YouTube channel it is ultimately in vain. If you’re going ahead with a video project it should be part of a broader video strategy where regular content is created and distributed and its success measured. Engagement on YouTube is all about quality and regularity of content, as well as how often people interact with your videos. It could be the video you’re planning can be easily edited into a series of short videos released at intervals to your audience. Check out the National Theatre’s fantastic YouTube channel for an idea of how a channel can grow with regular, quality content.

Bottom line: don’t be a one hit wonder, plan a long term strategy.

Note: this is not a progressive list. Each of the considerations detailed above interact with and inform each other.

Director's board of The Departure production

Short Film in Theatre

The recent confluence of short film and theatre heralds an exciting step in digital storytelling for theatre. Long before the advent of YouTube theatre companies were experimenting with video production to advertise their work. Now, in 2015, almost every new stage production has a trailer.

But a more recent and interesting development is the use of the short film format as an extension of the stage play; a fresh interpretation of the themes. As a form of digital content marketing it’s what marketing moguls call digital storytelling; extending the conversation beyond the live performance for existing audiences and involving new audiences.

It’s no coincidence that this trend mirrors the the rapid ascension of the short film format as a mainstream art form. Online, audiences are more accessible than ever and the amount of online video they consume grows astronomically each year. Branded or otherwise, the amount of video hours watched by people on YouTube  is increasing by 50% every year*.

In response to this trend, the BBC launched iPlayer Shorts last year, a series of six short films to be produced over two years by new filmmaking talent. Head of TV content at iPlayer said the venture “Explores storytelling outside of a scheduled TV slot or duration. Audiences will be able to discover, share and enjoy these dramas whenever and wherever they choose.” Three of the films have been made and are available on the iPlayer now.

bbc i player

Theatre makers who have worked for a while with video production have cottoned on to the broad appeal and accessibility of the short film format. In 2014 The Royal Court Theatre collaborated with The Guardian to produce six short films responding to six current British issues. ‘Off The Page’ short films are all viewable here on the guardian website.

The Guardian describes them as ‘microplays’ conceived as a meeting of minds between journalists and theatre makers and it’s encouraging to see how theatre makers are using the medium to generate interest around their craft and in new writing.

Young Vic Shorts is another high visibility stage to screen program – again in collaboration with The Guardian – but it differs slightly in that it uses the short film format to directly extend the narrative or reinterpret a stage play that’s currently on stage. Since 2012 the Young Vic has created six short films to accompany their main house productions. Find the full set here.

Their most recent short was The Departure, inspired by Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, in which Gillian Anderson directs and stars, and for which we were commissioned to make a behind the scenes video (below).

There’s no doubt these high profile collaborations are bringing new audiences to the theatre as well as spotlighting new playwrights. The exciting part for existing theatre audiences is that by embracing the visual language of filmmaking, creators are reinterpreting and refreshing, instead of simply repeating. Audiences’ have a huge appetite for digital storytelling across platforms, and short film is an ultra-accessible medium ripe for experimentation.

At Impact Video we are interested in producing film content that responds to theatre using cinematic language. Get in touch with to talk about theatre trailers, short film, or other collaborations.

Juliet Stevenson through camera monitor

Behind the Scenes of Mayday

We were commissioned to make a behind the scenes promotional video for the Young Vic short film Mayday, a response to the stage play ‘Happy Days’. The production was a two day shoot, one day on the set of the short film and the second at the Young Vic theatre filming the interviews.

The first day on set was by far the most challenging, staying out of the way while capturing quality footage for the promo video is tricky. The short film was shot entirely in a small bedroom so space was minimal for our videographer. These restrictions bare comparison to filming an event video reactively, where you’re always the least important person in the room (read our blog post on event videos here). There’s a fascinating article on Making-Of films at, about Niko Tavernise, who has made multiple such films for Darren Aronofsky.

The second production day for the promo video took place months later and was more pre planned. We watched a screening of the finished short film with the Director Natalie Abrahami and star Juliet Stevenson, then they chatted on camera about the genesis of the project and the filmmaking process.

Mayday is part of Young Vic Shorts, a program of short film created with the Guardian in response to each Young Vic main house stage production. Read our blog post on the use of short film in digital storytelling for theatre.

Get in touch with to talk about your a behind the scenes video production.

Screenshot from promo video for Harlem Dream at The Young Vic Top Stage Videos Mention

“South London will soon be swinging to a sexy New York beat if this trailer for A Harlem Dream is anything to go by.”

We were very pleased to see one of our recent video productions had been featured on the Guardian website. A promotional piece we shot for the Young Vic Theatre’s upcoming show by Dance Umbrella, A Harlem Dream, was included in a list of the best stage videos. Here is the segment:

Across the road to the Young Vic where south London will soon be swinging to a sexy New York beat if this trailer for A Harlem Dream is anything to go by. Part of the London-wide Dance Umbrella festival programme, Ivan Blackstock’s BirdGang choreography matches contemporary hip hop to the sounds and stylings of 1920s Harlem. Our dance critic Judith Mackrell is looking forward to a “new spin on a familiar form” when the show opens in October – read her full assessment of Dance Umbrella’s new direction under Emma Gladstone

Watch the trailer below and check out the other picks in the full article.






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