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9 best practice tips for using video in annual reports

With broadband becoming increasingly high-speed across Britain, streaming video for business communications, especially annual reporting and accounts – full year or interim – will steadily becoming more common.

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Your printed report and accounts may look nice, the copy be well written, the cover eye-catching, the figures correct. But until you shoot a video where your chairman makes it come alive, honestly, then you’re only halfway there. Many companies are starting to see the advantages, but not all of them do it well.

I’ve been rooting around looking for the best and worst videos of annual reports and accounts, and found a few where not only should they have known better, but sometimes the video needed reshooting entirely, some serious sound engineering, or should not have been published at all. I’m not going to name and shame, but here are a few tips based on The Team’s video experience knowledge from our in-house specialist publishing team.

  1. If it’s your first time, shoot some test footage first
    Your chairman, CEO or CFO may be media trained, but it may not be something they feel comfortable doing. There are techniques you can use to get past this issue such as getting them out of their office and into a ‘real business environment’.
  2. Use an interview technique
    Consider the style of each shoot. Straight to camera can be very honest, but being interviewed can get a more real response. Make sure you use an interviewer with knowledge of your industry, or someone experienced in getting the right response with a single question. It’s a skill that only a few people have, but it looks fantastic when it’s done well. And make sure questions are prepared in advance.
  3. Use cut-away footage – otherwise known as ‘b roll’
    Your business has had lots going on the past year. Your report and accounts video can include footage or stills from some of the most memorable moments. It’s not that your CEO isn’t good looking, but including other visual stimuli keeps viewers engaged.
  4. Shoot additional footage earlier in the year for filling
    Plan the content in advance. It’s not uncommon for very large organisations to send a video crew around the world with your business leader. This footage can then be edited into your report and accounts to add depth and make them – and the business­ – look more human.
  5. Shoot and edit on the day
    This can be a big ask due to tight deadlines, or business leaders that are so busy that getting time to shoot the video a week or two in advance just isn’t possible. It’s often the case that the figures they talk about simply aren’t ready until a day (or two) before the announcement. It is possible to shoot, edit, encode and deliver on the day. It’s not easy, or cheap, but it can be done.
  6. Make it look as professional as possible
    Poor video can make your business look unprofessional. Use a high-spec camera like a RED to get stills as well as video; shoot with 2 cameras; dress the set using company colours or branding; don’t be afraid of using makeup, or at least suggesting it – or just combing some hair; and make sure you know where you are shooting to get great sound. There’s nothing worse than an air conditioning unit switching on mid-video.
  7. Make it accessible to everyone
    Encode and deliver the video to deliver on as many platforms as possible, and allow users to download it. If you put it on YouTube, make sure you have a transcript available, either in full or at a link in the description. Also, consider embedding the video in a digital media like a PDF for offline viewing.
  8. Top and tail the videos with a branded sting/titles
    It’s a business communication so it does have some marketing potential. But don’t overdo it – if it appears somewhere that isn’t your website, at least you have some branding.
  9. Don’t under-budget
    A good, professional-looking video should cost between £7k and £50k. Yes, that’s a wide budget but it all depends on what you are trying to achieve with you video. It all comes down to how much you need investors to believe in your business and your future. The main face of your video is a big part of who they are investing in, and a poorly produced video could put off potential investors.

If you want your report and account to be more effective, reinforce your brand and give the right message to investors, why not email me – even if it’s just for some advice. I’m not in sales and I don’t bite (often).

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