Q: We’re a training consultancy about to embark on a major training video production exercise requiring ten 3-5 minute training videos based around sessions in our training workshops.
We specialise in leadership development.
My concern is that the videos will be dull stuff to watch, or that we’ll make mistakes, when our real aim is to inspire and motivate as well as provide learning material.
How can be we be more creative and professional in our approach to producing custom training videos?
London & New York
A: The last session for our training video production seminar looked at 4 great ways to start your training video project.
Before we move on let me promote an in-depth information guide on training video production
Now we’ll look at Picking a great treatment for your training video
Here are some treatment choices/options that have been proven winners in the field of training video (and tv for that matter).
It’s not a conclusive list, but should create enough ideas to get you going:
> Use extras to demonstrate procedures or systems where possible
> Shoot a senior management person on location very briefly explaining to camera why the new training is necessary
> Offer employee endorsement interviews that show their visual support of the new methods
> Have graphic captions to creatively emphasise key points, or summarise sections/contents
> Use 2 presenters (one male and one female) to front the whole training production
> Have interactive quizzes feature at the end of each section
> Dramatise key training messages using professional actors
Employing any or all of the above will deliver more impact that your audiences will appreciate, whether as DVD viewing or online elearning. All these video treatments are common in broadcast television (and schools and youtube), so why not in corporate training?
It’s your training video producer’s job to suggest which of these potentially powerful options, or combination of options, will ensure your training video delivers impact and memorability, enabling it to communicate more effectively.
How to specify your treatment
You, or your team, don’t always want to decide on every production detail right at the start of your video program.
With training video it’s common to have an open-ended specification, one that allows the opportunity for added-value ideas to develop during production.
So what do we mean by an open-ended specification?
An open-ended specification is a spec that provides sufficient video production resources (filming days, editing, studio graphics, adobe effects, voiceover, music & audio, animation technologies etc) to allow for some flexibility during production – but – without every detail needing to be confirmed as a cost at the quotation stage, ie, you have room to maneuver without increasing costs.
I know from experience that it’s only when the scripting stage is reached that many clients feel absolutely clear on what treatment they really do need.
Up till then they’ve got a general idea, but no more than that.
And the training video producer isn’t necessarily any wiser, as they’re partly taking their lead from you.
Then – at the script meeting – ideas start to flow as a the training content is examined in detail (sometimes this doesn’t happen until the storyboard phase).
Here’s a few real life situation examples to illustrate this key point, examples that will work in any industry or commercial sector:
Example 1: There’s a section in the training video where the background issues are being discussed. Rather than (typically) have voiceover explanation rattle on over some generic-looking video footage, it might be much more interesting to hear your CEO and 2 or 3 employees have a motivating dialogue about the need for the training.
Example 2: When the training topic is particularly dull and no employee thinks it’s very relevant to them. Office Health & Safety issues springs to mind here (no laughing). As a solution, you might decide that two presenters, male and female. in track suits walking around a typical office will make your Office Safety video much more interesting to watch – compared with a dry voiceover huffing and puffing about overloaded plug sockets!
Example 3: When the video involves lots of demonstrations of safe methods. For example, instead of filming employees acting out the demos, which often look stiff and wooden, why not hire a couple of low costs extras who’ll make the scenes more compelling. Extras, when filmed, intuitively know how to capture and hold audience attention.
The above examples are typical of the sort of ideas that can arise at a script development meeting.
You could probably think of a few educational examples yourself.
The point is: If you budget for a flexible specification, you allow these good ideas to be realised, as and when they occur.
You can learn more about different training video services and types here
How does a flexible video specification impact on a training budget?
I can almost hear voices saying “it’s all very well to be flexible if you’ve got the money”. So let’s look at this.
Training video budgets are of three types:
> Absolutely tight, ie, you have to buy the cheapest quote possible. That’s it.
> Medium tight, ie, you can spend a bit extra on getting it right, but not much
> Reasonable budget, ie, you need to get the job right, even if you have to spend something extra.
Let’s see what sort of flexible options you get for the different types of treatment.
If your budget is:
Absolutely tight, you can always squeeze in some filming of your CEO and 3 employees. This costs nothing extra, and will dramatically improve the finished results – for free.
Medium tight, you can cost in a couple of extras for one day each, even if you weren’t quite sure exactly which scenes you’d use them. This won’t break the bank.
A reasonable budget, then you could include 2 presenters for one day each in the spec, and plan the precise details later. This might add up to 20% on the overall budget
Your training video producer will advise you on these sorts of ideas, and their complete package costs.
What you’re aiming for is to specify a flexible bag of video production resources that fit your available budget, while still delivering high quality motivational learning. The best solutions allow for this.
You needn’t worry if you’re not quite sure what resources you need yet, as your training video producer will discuss your different creative options and prices with you, helping you to work out in advance what resources you’ll need, and costs to allow for.
The producer’s aim is to develop the best treatment options you ever had – or it should be!
In the next part of this online training video production seminar we’ll look at when and how to use drama in training video, and hopefully give you a few pleasant surprises.