Video: the potential and practicalities for our sites

Paul Boag

As a website owner are you using video effectively on your site? As a web designer, can you offer your client quality video services?

There was a time when online video was limited to YouTube, Netflix and other video orientated websites.

Today it is hard to find any self-respecting web start-up or iOS app that does not include a video introduction on their website.

No self respecting app is caught without a slick introductory video these days.

I guess it’s hardly surprising. Although there are a lot of outrageous claims about how much video increases conversion rates, there is no doubt that it enables you to explain complex ideas (such as a new application or service) very simply.

Finally, video allows you to control and spoon feed your message in exactly the way you want. It’s a marketeers wet dream.

Videos like this by Charity Water allow marketeers to spoon feed their message.

There can be little doubt that we will continue to see significant growth in the use of video as a sales tool on websites.

The delivery dilemma

This leaves us with a dilemma as web designers. Do we skill ourselves up so that we are capable of creating video content, or do we outsource this work to specialist animators and videographers?

This is something I have been considering for Headscape. Do we bring the skills in-house or outsource to specialists?

In some ways it makes sense for this work to be done in-house. It is cheaper, the final video will be more closely integrated with the rest of the design and there is no need to worry about the availability of outside contractors.

The problem is that training yourself (or your staff) takes time. Also because you are unlikely to be doing this all the time, you are never going to be as proficient as an expert.

Nothing beats going to specialist as can be seen from the work of a company like Pixel Kitchen

Depending on your business and target audience this might not be a problem. However if you are a company like Headscape, good enough is just, well… not good enough.

For me it is like suggesting that a print designer can do web design. Yes they can, but the results are never going to be as good as a specialist web design agency.

Fortunately, it turns that at Headscape we can have the best of both worlds. Dan Sheerman studied motion graphics while at University and has a lot of experience in this area. However, we also know various specialists in different areas of video production.

Selling what you cannot do

I have always found it hard to sell things that I personally cannot do or do not understand. How can I sell video services if I don’t know what goes into the process of creating a video? How can I advice clients about the best approach.

Recently there was a big debate about whether designers need to code. In the middle of all this back and forth I was thinking that not only do designers need to code, but so do project managers and sales people! They don’t need to code to a professional standard but they should be able to do enough to understand what goes into the process.

I now find myself feeling exactly the same way about video production.

If video is going to be an integral part of future websites we need to understand how to make them. We don’t need to be an expert, but we need to be able to make something basic.

So that is what I am currently doing. I have done animation and video production in days gone by, but now I am learning todays tools. I am currently working through an excellent set of tutorials on Adobe Effects just so I am in a position to effectively sell those services and work with a professional animator.

We need to understand how video is made, which is why I am currently learning how to create animations like this.

So what about you? How are you responding to the growth in video? If you are a designer are you getting skilled up? If you work for an agency do you understand it sufficiently? And if you are a website owner, are you looking at how to integrate video into your site.