Steps to Make a Winning Video

This week I’m featuring an article by top Director of Photography/Editor/Film & Video Expert Rick Wise. I’ve always admired Rick’s vast knowledge, mastery of film & video – both in lighting/shooting, his directorial abilities to know what works and what doesn’t, the ability to guide clients who’ve never worked in this surprisingly complex media through tough choices in editing, and his efficiency getting months of work done in just days. He teaches at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and is writing a book on lighting for film/video. (you’ll see his mastery in the video links at the end). This article summarizes his top tips for using video on your website. THANKS RICK!


Placing a video on your web site or blog is a great way to introduce prospective clients to you and to your services. When well crafted, videos draw people in to spend time with you. As an added bonus, Google places a lot of value on videos and pushes your site up in its ranking so that a prospective client searching for your service is more likely to find you.

At first blush, making a video about you and your service looks like a simple thing to do. And in the hands of a professional, making a good video can be relatively simple for you. Yes, you can find a friend to slap something together. But to craft a video that both entices the viewer and promotes you and your service in a way that future clients will want to come to you, that’s not likely to happen by itself. After all, if you needed someone to work on your teeth, or paint your house, or give you legal counsel, would you pick just anyone to do the job?

Let’s parse that out a bit more. Here are some of the steps it takes to end up with a winning video:

  • Identify what you have that sets you apart from others in your field. This can be a surprising difficult step. A professional such as Allison Bliss will help you enormously with this part of the process.
  • Write an outline of points you want to make to support step one. You will likely want to include both testimonials of some of your clients along with a taste of what you do and how you do it.
  • Write a script fleshing out the outline.
  • Line up the people you want to video along with time and place. If you are shooting outside of your own place, obtain permits to shoot if necessary.
  • Line up the video and sound equipment as well as the locations that you will need.
  • Shoot the testimonials, perhaps at your place, perhaps elsewhere. To get five minutes of good testimonial footage it takes several hours and sometimes days of shooting. Capturing good clean sound as well as shooting people so they look interesting and inviting is an important part of this step.
  • Shoot the sections of the video that show you at your work. Whether you are a dentist, a lawyer, a healer, a florist, or any other profession, there is always a way to make what you do look friendly, inviting, and professional. If you can get what you want by shooting ten times as much footage as you end up using, your are being extremely efficient.

  • Find and shoot or obtain the right graphics.

  • Edit. This can take multiple days, and many trials and revisions. In many ways, less is more. It is so much better to make a short, compelling video than a long one that bores the viewer. There is always a conflict between the desire to tell your “whole story” and the reality that at this stage no one really wants the whole story. What the viewer wants is a delicious taste of you. All the details will come later in person-to-person meets.
  • Find the right music and obtain rights to use it.
  • Encode the completed video so that it can be easily seen on your web site.
  • Publish to your web site.

All of the above is labor, time, and equipment intensive. And that is why it is eventually going to save you both your time and money to hire a professional to craft this video with and for you.

Here are a few links to some sample videos.

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